Open an Etsy Shop

After you've finished reading, click here to open your Etsy shop!
What is Etsy?

Etsy is a global online marketplace for vintage and handmade goods. There are thousands of sellers on Etsy and millions of customers from around the world. Etsy's policies are simple: all items sold are handmade by the seller. Vintage items (20+ years old) and supplies are also eligible to be sold. 

For a series of blog posts written about selling on Etsy, click here.

Who can open an Etsy shop?

Anyone! It doesn't matter where you live or what kind of schedule you have. As long as what you make/sell is handmade, vintage, or a craft supply and fits within Etsy Guidelines, you are eligible to have a shop. 

What do you need to open a shop?

You can open your shop at anytime even if you do not have your items ready to sell. You can open it at your own pace and add items at any time.

To open your shop, you will need:
  • A shop name
  • A Paypal account (this is used to receive fund electronically from your customers)
  • A credit card (this is used to pay for Etsy fees and to validate your account)
To begin selling items, you will need:

  • Finished products
  • A camera (Click here for a post about taking great photos)
  • Decent lighting 
  • A backdrop for your product
  • Simple editing software ( is a great free online photo editing tool)
  • A measuring tape/scale
  • Measurement conversion chart (
  • Description of your product

When you list an item, there is a $0.20 fee. This will keep it on your shop for 6 months. After that, if you still wish to have it listed, there is another $0.20 fee. 

When you sell an item, Etsy's cut is 3% of the total sale (not including the shipping cost).

Your item will automatically be re-listed, which is another $0.20 fee. If you have sold multiple  listings at once, there will be a $0.20 fee for each one.

If a customer uses their credit card via Direct Checkout, there is a 3% + $0.25 charge.

If a customer uses Paypal, there is a 2.9% + $0.30 charge.

Overall, you can expect to pay around 6-7% of the total sale in Etsy and Direct Checkout/Paypal fees per transaction.

The Direct Checkout and Paypal fees are taken immediately, while the Etsy fees accumulate on your bill. They are due monthly and can be paid using your credit card, Paypal, or Shop Payment Account (which is where Direct Checkout funds accumulate).

Listing an Item & Description

Once you've clicked "List an Item" after opening your shop, you will have a form to fill out about that item. Please note that you will have to do this for every single item that you intend on selling. 

For a step-by-step process for listing items, click here.

Make sure that your photos are clear, bright, and true-to-colour. Photo editing software can help you brighten images, or make them darker if needed. Browse other shops to see the photos that they use. Taking great photos will take practice, and the Chatham Kent Etsy Team is more than happy to help.

Measure all of your items to include: length, width, weight, diameter, radius, volume, etc depending on the type of item you're selling. Make sure to include measurements in both metric and imperial as people from around the world may see your items.

In your description, you should also include: colour, when it was made (or state if it is made to order),  how it is used, suggestions for how it can be used, etc. Keep your description informative and relatively short. However, some items may need a long description depending on what it is.

If you're selling a food product, make sure to include a full list of ingredients. Etsy allows you to add up to 13 materials/ingredients, but if you use more, it is strongly suggested to end the description with a full list of the ingredients used. Make sure to clearly state whether your product contains or may contain: nuts, dairy, eggs, gluten, sugar, or any other ingredient which customers may have a sensitivity to. When in doubt, state that your product is "not gluten-free", "not nut-free", etc.

The same applies for bath and body products. Make sure to list all ingredients and specifically indicate whether a certain ingredient is used that many people are sensitive to or concerned about. For example: talc, fragrance/parfum, parabens, dyes, etc.


Make sure that your item can be shipped via your country's postal service by visiting their website.

Decide whether you would like to sell only within your own country, neighbouring countries, or everywhere. This will depend on what you're selling as some items may not be permitted to be shipped outside the country, by air, etc. If your item can be shipped anywhere, I recommend shipping everywhere.

Shipping costs will largely depend on the size and weight of your item. Most postal services will have an online tool that will allow you to estimate the cost of shipping. You will need the measurements of the package, the weight, and sometimes the value of the contents.

Currently, we are only able to list shipping costs based on the destination country. Sometimes, the actual cost of shipping will vary depending on where in the country it will be shipped to. It is best to average the cost of shipping for each country.

If you're worried about shipping costs, you can put one of your products in a box and package it like you would for a sale. Bring it to your post office and ask if they can weigh it for you and give you a shipping cost for a few destinations. This will give you an idea of what to charge.

It will take some time to figure out how much to charge for shipping.


Blog posts about packaging: Packing Large Boxes

Packaging is very important and should not be overlooked. No matter what you're shipping, it should be packaged securely in order to protect it in shipment. I sell paper flowers and while they are light and durable, they can also be delicate if handled improperly. 

I line the bottom of each box with tissue and bubble wrap. I place the flowers inside and in the empty spaces, I put more tissue. This keeps the flowers from bouncing around and hitting the walls of the box. I then place another pieces of bubble wrap on top and more tissue. This keeps the inside solid with very little room for the flowers to move.

I heard this once about packaging:

"Package your products like a gift"

This is great advice! You might not think that the packaging is important, but pay attention to products in stores. You'll notice that the packaging is clean, appealing, and perhaps a little unnecessary. But it's nice to look at and is fun to open! The same should apply to how your products are packaged. Use clean boxes that are bare on the outside. If you are re-using other boxes, cover them in kraft paper to create a bare surface. This is the first thing your customer will see when they receive their order!

Print the receipt from your order and hand write a note on it- even if it's just to say thank you! Personal touches are always great.

You may want to include a sample or a free gift. This is optional, but always appreciated!

Customer Service & Policies

It is very important to have great customer service. This means responding to e-mails as soon as you can (I try to respond within 24 hours), being honest and helpful, answering all questions as best as you can, and respecting the customer.

When editing your shop, you can list all of your policies. This includes how you will handle damages, returns, repairs, shipping, etc.


This was my biggest concern when I opened my Etsy shop. Paper flowers ship well, but I was always worried that something would happen in transit.

In almost 2 years of selling on Etsy, I have only had one package arrive damaged. It was so damaged that it looked intentional. The sides of the boxes looked kicked in and the flowers looked like they had been folded in half. Regardless of what happened on the other end, I gave the customer a refund and opened a ticket with Canada Post. Luckily, I had it insured so I received the item cost, plus shipping.

Getting your package insured can be expensive, especially if it is leaving the country. But it can be worth it in the end! 

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