Etsy is a global online marketplace where you can buy or sell goods of all kinds, including vintage items and handmade products.
It’s a popular website for individuals and shop owners to showcase their talents and make money off their hobbies.
However, as a seller, it can be challenging to stand out among the tough competition the marketplace already hosts. Don’t worry if that’s you—we’ve got the perfect guide.
In this article, we’ll tell you what makes a seller successful on Etsy.
We’ll highlight the best-selling items and most popular categories and stores, then provide tips to help you grow your brand and reach thousands of sales.
- What Are The Top Products to Sell on Etsy?
- What Makes an Etsy Shop Successful?
- What Are the Most Successful Etsy Shops?
- What to Learn from the Most Successful Etsy Shops
- Wrapping Up
What Are The Top Products to Sell on Etsy?
Etsy is a haven for handmade items, and the selection of goods available to buyers is almost endless. This makes it difficult to decide what to sell on Etsy.
However, these are the best-performing product listings. Consider them as viable shop ideas.
Handmade jewelry is the focus of many stores on Etsy. This item type stands out because it’s great for personalized gifts and statement symbols.
- Customized jewelry: Customers love unique items that only they can display. This is why many stores emphasize personal touch. They can help you turn an otherwise simplistic piece of jewelry into an attractive, sentimentally-valuable item by allowing you the choice of colors, custom designs, and materials.
- Premium items: Small jewelry shops put a lot of care into their handmade items. They ensure the use of premium materials and pay attention to the details that go into each piece to deliver high-quality products.
- Affordable replicas: Some stores also offer high-fidelity replicas of or resell designer brand products at competitive prices. For example, you can find a $250+ designer jewelry piece handmade on Etsy for around $20. A great example is Vivienne Westwood.
- Sustainable products: People who care about the environment usually turn to handmade items to reduce their carbon footprint. And on Etsy, many small businesses share that same mindset, adopting sustainability-promoting habits during product production.
Learning how to start a jewelry business on Etsy can facilitate this process. The category is very profitable if you capitalize on the advantages of a personal touch or are an expert at creating high-fidelity replicas of popular yet expensive brands.
A search for “T-Shirts” on Etsy returns over 2 million results. Considering the number of active buyers and sellers the marketplace has, there could be up to a million clothing shops selling T-shirts on Etsy.
- Handmade quality: Small businesses put a lot of care into their choice of materials and design to stand out among mass-producing businesses. In other words, you buy a T-shirt on Etsy because you know it’ll last.
- Unique and rare items: You’re also more likely to come across out-of-production, vintage clothing items or replicas of them at affordable prices. Selling rare apparel attracts a lot of potential customers.
- Attractive designs: Sellers with expert graphic design skills create attractive clothing items with unique, original artwork. The Shopify-Etsy integration also made showcasing and selling products seamless for businesses.
- Personal touch: Usually, when you buy a T-shirt off Etsy, you’re likely to receive cute packaging with a thank you card, note, or anything else that expresses the seller’s gratitude.
Selling T-Shirts on Etsy should be on your list of business ideas, especially if you have excellent graphic design skills. If you don’t know where to begin, let us teach you how to start a T-shirt business.
Home decor products make up a significant percentage of the best-selling products on Etsy. In fact, home & living was a top-selling category on Etsy in 2020, next to art & collectibles and jewelry.
- One-of-a-kind items: Once again, the main reason it’s popular is the uniqueness and variety of decor available. Decor shops create physical products not commonly found in traditional retail stores. Usually, you’ll be the only person with that decor piece in your locale.
- Unique aesthetic: You’ll also find decorations that match your design aesthetic, no matter how unique it is. Whether you’re into modern farmhouses or gothic styles, there will always be a seller on Etsy who can satisfy your needs.
- Custom-made choices: Stores sometimes work with buyers to create something one-of-a-kind, according to their taste and design choices. For example, you can request custom ceramic utensils, wall art, vases—you get it.
- High-quality materials: The materials sellers use are also often high-quality, and the products come at much more affordable prices than those sold in retail stores. Expect reclaimed wood, vintage fabrics, and eco-friendly options if you value sustainability.
Etsy is also home to many top-selling shops that specialize in customizable gifts. The appeal of having a unique gift tailored to your preferences makes this product category incredibly popular.
- Unique touch: Your personalization and the seller’s unique touch make the product nonpareil. This makes customizable gifts much more memorable and sentimental than other products. Their exclusivity also ensures they remain a personal item that you identify with.
- Handcrafted style: These gifts are also handmade with a great deal of care. They instantly stand out from the mass-produced items in retail stores.
Sometimes, they can also save you the frustration of deciding on a gift. Thanks to their experience with their customer base, customizable gift stores can often advise you or create something that’ll impress your loved one(s).
Many Etsy stores also sell digital products for customers to download. If you are good with graphic design, learn how to sell digital downloads on Etsy.
What Makes an Etsy Shop Successful?
Several factors come into play to determine the success of an Etsy shop. We’ll break down the aspects you must focus on to elevate your store:
1. A Memorable Brand
The most vital factor in success is memorability. Etsy is a very competitive marketplace, and it’s challenging to stand out among the million+ stores if you don’t establish a compelling brand presence.
Only memorable stores can retain customers, maintain trust and credibility, and create a consistent shopping experience.
By having customers always come back for more—because they trust the service and experience quality—they can manage thousands of monthly sales.
Stick with us—we’ll tell you how to build a memorable store later.
2. An In-Demand Product
A problem that inhibits some small businesses’ success on Etsy is catering to niches.
While it’s fine if you’re okay with the marginal profits, you should consider switching to more in-demand products if you’re looking to scale your business.
Some popular products on Etsy include:
- Home Decor
- Vintage Items
- Bags and Purses
- Notebooks and Journals
- Graphic Designs
3. Great Service
Stores that value excellent customer service retain customers.
Etsy has a messaging feature where customers can directly chat with store owners to pose questions, ask for updates, change order details, etc.
Successful stores value the customer and ensure all their concerns are answered professionally and timely.
This isn’t limited to messaging, though. Exceptional service extends to shipping, packaging, discounts, freebies, etc.
The best stores build a loyal customer base by ensuring their products are delivered quickly and in mint condition, offering discounts during special events, and packaging their items well.
4. Good Pricing
Competing with successful sellers is difficult without competitive prices.
Another reason buyers shop on Etsy is product affordability. This is especially the case for jewelry makers; they create astonishingly beautiful pieces and price them at $10-$40.
This isn’t to say that they compromise quality, however. Although they may struggle with profits initially, popular shops are okay with marginal per-product wins if they can secure many sales.
No store would go far if it didn’t invest much of its time in advertising and marketing its services.
Very few buyers would notice you if you listed a few products and neglected them.
It starts with the store’s visual identity. You can capitalize on a catchy name, a logo, and unique selling points.
Thorough and engaging product titles, descriptions, pictures, and videos help make their items stand out.
Once that’s out, business owners go the extra mile by advertising their stores. There are several ways to do this. The most popular include social media advertising, SEO optimization, paid advertising, collaborations, etc.
What Are the Most Successful Etsy Shops?
These stores are among the most successful on Etsy. Statistics are as of April 2023.
Beadboat1 is a Dallas, U.S.-based store that sells various kinds of beads, charms, pendants, and other jewelry supplies.
The store, which has made over 1,750,000 sales since 2012, has an excellent star rating of 4.8 or higher on average. It has items costing from $5 to $10 and others ranging below $3.
The store values sustainability and customer experience. It uses as little plastic as possible, reuses packing materials when possible, and processes orders in as little as three days.
PlannerKate1 sells a variety of cute planner stickers, such as monthly and weekly kits, icons, labels, etc. Based in Oak Harbor, Ohio, it has made nearly two million sales since 2014.
Kate has a history of smooth shipping, where she provides customers with tracking information and delivers their orders on time.
They also receive freebies with orders. In addition to its excellent prices, ranging from $1.5 to $6, the store has managed a 4.8-star rating or higher on average.
CaitlynMinimalist is one of the few stores on Etsy to break the 2 million sales mark. The store is based in Los Angeles, California, and opened in 2014. It sells dainty personalized jewelry crafted with love, including necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets, and more.
The store has been rated 430,000 times, with 4.8+ stars on average. CaitlynMinimalist allows you to customize your jewelry as you see fit. The pricing depends on your design choices, but it usually ranges from $20 to $40.
Yakutum is based in Istanbul, Turkey. The store sells various jewelry craft supplies, including hooks, chains, rings, and connectors.
Having made over 1,000,000 sales since its opening in 2009, it is known for its inexpensive prices ($2 to $10 on average), smooth shipping, and speedy replies.
The store also has a dedicated WhatsApp number to tackle customer concerns and employs coupon codes, with discounts reaching 20% for orders over $500.
InkPug sells stickers, pins, and prints with pugs depicted engaging in various activities, from playing to eating.
Each sticker has a little story behind it, too. For example, the “Serenity” sticker depicts a pug winding down on a bean sofa with a cup of coffee—ideal for overworked coffee lovers.
Most stickers cost $10, but some items range from $5 to $20. The store is known for its speedy replies, with Lauren usually responding within 24 hours.
It also has a history of smooth shipping and an average star rating of 4.8 or higher.
RogueRetro is among the best vintage shops on Etsy. Based in Seattle, Washington, the store has achieved nearly 60,000 sales since its launch in 2009.
The store specializes in vintage items of all sorts. It mainly sells clothing items, but the catalog also lists toys, accessories, decor, and other everyday objects.
The price range also varies, with some pieces starting at $5 and others costing well over $1,000.
RogueRetro has an average star rating of 4.8 due to its smooth shipping history and brilliant customer service.
lotusfairy is the go-to store for everything crystal and miniature curios. The store has a wide catalog of witch-core and crystal-core items as well as premium jewelry, having sold nearly 78,000 items since its launch in 2009.
Although the prices range from $1 for some stickers to $240+ for large-sized crystals, the store offers coupon codes during special events like Halloween. The store also has a history of speedy replies and shipping.
Even though it has a no returns or exchange policy, the customers are happy with their orders, rave-rating the store with an average of 4.8 stars.
SEEDVILLEUSA sells flowers and vegetable seeds of all kinds. Based in Canton, Ohio, the store has answered over 700,000 customers’ gardening needs.
The store features a flat shipping offer, where you pay one shipping charge no matter your order.
Prices range from $2 to $429.99. Orders over $50 receive free shipping, and the process is smooth and reliable. The store also responds to concerns quickly, earning them a 5-star rating.
What to Learn from the Most Successful Etsy Shops
These tips will help teach you how to make money on Etsy. It’s best to learn them by heart.
As we’ve established before, memorability makes popular stores stand out.
- Determine your brand’s identity: Understand your unique selling point, and assign your business a personality and a set of values. For example, if you sell jewelry, you can focus on a niche, such as gothic or bohemian, and use a tone and aesthetic that match that niche. Highlight quality, craftsmanship, or sustainability as part of your brand identity.
- Develop your visual identity: Create an engaging logo and typography, and use colors that reflect your brand identity.
- Deliver phenomenal customer service: Answer all your clients’ concerns, provide excellent support and shipping services, offer discounts and promo codes often, etc. Going the extra mile to satisfy your customers will keep them coming back for more.
- Deliver quality and consistency: Prioritize these over quantity and unpredictability. Offer unique and high-quality products that aren’t available anywhere else, and ensure customers can expect the same results whenever they order from you.
Write Quality Product Descriptions
Your buyers must know what you’re selling. Here are some writing guidelines to follow:
- Coming up with strong product titles: Use attention-grabbing words to describe your products’ features and benefits. Additionally, focus on creating engaging product descriptions.
- Create a story: People find stories more memorable than facts. Your product will be more appealing if it has a backstory. Describe the product well, particularly its size, materials, colors, features, etc. Using appealing adjectives and descriptive language helps.
- Use persuasive language: Mention the materials or procedures used during manufacturing and highlight what makes your product unique. Clarifying your product’s drawbacks, if there are any, gives off rawness and honesty.
- Use relevant keywords: Identify and use appropriate and relevant keywords for your item to show up in Etsy’s search results. Consider hiring an Etsy SEO expert if this isn’t your forte.
- Create readable descriptions: No one likes walls of text. Use horizontal rules, bullet points, Unicode, paragraph breaks, and everything else to improve the buyers’ reading experience.
Be Responsive and Friendly
Your buyers will be spending hard-earned money. It’s only natural for them to expect exceptional customer service.
- Answer all their inquiries in a friendly and timely manner: Be thorough in your response and cover all necessary details (if you receive a paragraph, don’t respond with a couple of words and call it a day). Do your best to address all your customers’ concerns if they request a change in their order details or reach out for help.
- Be patient: Etsy is a global marketplace, and some people may struggle with language more than others. Give your customer time and treat them nicely if they ask multiple questions or struggle to get their point across.
- Assist even after delivery: Consider fair refund and return policies and anything else that can make the experience you provide more phenomenal than that of your competitors. Hiring a competent customer support team can facilitate this aspect if you’re a large business with many customers.
Have Plenty of Inventory
This is self-explanatory. You should keep your inventory well-stocked to offer a diverse selection and avoid running out of items.
However, don’t overdo it. Too much inventory can lead to waste, spoilage, or obsolescence, depending on your product category. Balance your supply and demand to ensure an optimized inventory turnover!
You may be interested in learning how to operate a dropshipping business if you’re not fond of inventory management.
Try Coupon Codes
Using coupon codes is an excellent way to incentivize customers. They work well during special events, but you can also use them to express gratitude or during milestone celebrations.
A common coupon code stores share with their customers is “THANKYOU” for a 10% reduction in future purchases, but you’re free to employ coupons as you see fit. They work exceptionally well during Christmas, summer, and spring sales.
Take Professional Photos
A common issue on Etsy is that stores reuse stock pictures for their products and provide minimal details in the product description. Don’t do this, as it makes it difficult for buyers to gauge product quality and may lead to frustration later.
Use your own pictures and ensure they’re high-quality. Create an aesthetic and stick to it.
A good example is taking pictures of rings on model hands against a visually attractive backdrop or displaying your bohemian products in a rustic space. Still, aesthetics will vary depending on your products.
Invest in a premium camera or a high-end smartphone. You can also use editing software, like Adobe Lightroom, to enhance your pictures. However, ensure they reflect your product; don’t use misleading images!
If you already have expert photography skills, we’ll teach you How to Start a Photography Business.
Advertise on Social Media
Marketing is crucial to your success. You can attract many customers to your store by advertising on social media, especially Instagram and TikTok.
Use catchy titles and attractive pictures to hook potential customers’ interest.
If you don’t have a large follower base, collaborate with popular influencers. They can help you reach a wider audience and boost your brand’s awareness. You must offer them free products or discounts in exchange for their promotions, though.
Be sure to use your social media platform of choice’s paid advertising feature, too.
Add a Personal Touch
To make your store a truly unique experience and connect with your customers on a deeper level, endow it with your personal touch. It could be anything from the values you stand by to your manufacturing and shipping procedures.
For example, if you are passionate about sustainability, you can use recycled or organic materials for your products or packaging.
Similarly, if you follow a specific aesthetic, you can reflect it in your store’s visual identity and product presentation.
Come Up With a Pricing Strategy
Find a pricing strategy that’s appealing to customers and profitable for you. It’s easier if you have a large inventory, as you can price items according to quality and materials.
You can also use different pricing techniques, such as discounts, bundles, and dynamic pricing. A common strategy that Etsy stores use is offering multiple variants of the same product.
For example, you can order a ring made from alloy, silver, or gold, with the latter being the most expensive. Don’t overprice your products to attract customers!
But you may be asking, “How much does it cost to sell on Etsy?”
You’ll pay $0.2 for each item you list (If you have a referral link from an existing seller, the Etsy 40 Free Listings program will help you get started) and 6.5% per transaction fee. This is why it’s important to consider your costs and profit margins when setting your prices.
But before you start, do you need a business license to sell on Etsy?
Yes. Once you get a license, come back and follow the advice we provided to scale your Etsy business up.
Although Etsy is highly competitive, success isn’t out of reach. The examples we’ve highlighted show that it’s possible to stand out in this crowded space if you have a solid business plan and unique product ideas.
Of course, you’ll need guidance. That’s why we emphasized the importance of memorability, special offers, pricing, personal touch, etc.
Let us know what you think in the comments, and share the article if you liked it!