How to Make Money on Etsy

Many sellers who make money on Etsy are selling their own handcrafted items. But the Etsy platform is not limited to those types of sellers. In fact, you may be surprised by the range of ways an entrepreneur can make money on Etsy. This article will explain the process of how to make money on Etsy. We’ll also give you information about what you can sell and the best ways to do it.

Understanding Etsy: A Platform for Crafters and Entrepreneurs

Etsy is an online marketplace that primarily focuses on offering unique, handcrafted, and vintage goods. It’s a platform where artisans, crafters, and vintage sellers can create individual storefronts to sell their products directly to consumers around the world.

The range of products includes everything from jewelry, clothing, and accessories to home décor, art, and collectibles. Many of the items on Etsy are one-of-a-kind or produced in small quantities, emphasizing creativity and personal touch.

The best part of Etsy is that it bridges independent creators and those who appreciate unique and handcrafted items, providing a marketplace that encourages and supports small businesses and individual entrepreneurship. There are also many platforms and apps for Etsy that can help you connect with customers and optimize your shop.

What Can You Sell on Etsy?

how to make money on etsy

There are three main categories:

  1. Handmade: These are items that are crafted by hand rather than mass-produced. They can include anything from jewelry to clothing to furniture and typically reflect the individual craftsmanship of the artisan. Handmade items are often customizable and have a personal touch, making them unique and special.
  2. Vintage: Vintage items are generally defined as those that are at least 20 years old. This category can include clothing, accessories, furniture, art, and more. Vintage items often carry historical or nostalgic value and can be sought after for their unique style or quality craftsmanship from a bygone era.
  3. Craft Supplies: Craft supplies encompass the materials, tools, and accessories used in the creation of handmade goods. This category can include things like beads, fabrics, patterns, stamps, or even specialized tools. Sellers of craft supplies typically cater to other artisans and craft enthusiasts who are looking for specific materials for their own creative projects.

How to Make Money on Etsy Without Making Anything

how to make money on etsy

You can sell items on Etsy that you haven’t personally made as long as they fit into one of the allowed categories, such as vintage items or craft supplies. Vintage items must be at least 20 years old. Craft supplies include the various tools and materials used in crafting.

However, if you’re selling in the “handmade” category, the expectation is that you, as the seller, are involved in the design or making of the item, or you’re transparently collaborating with another artisan who is creating the item. This is to preserve the spirit of individual craftsmanship that Etsy promotes.

Choosing a Niche for Your Etsy Store

Choosing a niche for vintage or resold items on Etsy involves identifying a specific focus or theme that can set your shop apart from others and attract a targeted audience. For example, if you’re interested in learning how to sell jewelry on Etsy, you may focus on antique silver pieces or costume jewelry from a specific geographic region. Here are some strategies and considerations that may help you find the right niche:

  1. Research Existing Markets: Start by looking at what’s already out there. Identify gaps in the market or underserved areas where you might find success.
  2. Identify Your Interests and Expertise: If you have a passion or expertise in a particular area, such as vintage clothing from a specific decade or antique furniture, you may want to focus on that. Your enthusiasm and knowledge can help you connect with like-minded customers.
  3. Consider Trends and Demographics: Understanding current trends and the interests of specific demographic groups can help you identify potential niches. For example, if there’s a resurgence of interest in the fashion or decor of a certain era, that might be a promising niche.
  4. Evaluate the Supply and Demand: Consider the availability of items you intend to sell and the demand for them. Some niches might be oversaturated, while others might have strong demand but limited supply, making them potentially lucrative.
  5. Analyze Competition: Look at other sellers in potential niches and consider how you can differentiate yourself. Whether it’s through superior product quality, unique curation, better customer service, or other factors, identify ways to stand out.
  6. Determine Profitability: Think about the costs involved in sourcing, restoring, if needed, and selling the items. Choose a niche where you believe you can offer competitive pricing while still making a profit.
  7. Test the Waters: Consider starting with a smaller, diversified range of products to gauge what resonates best with your audience. Based on what sells and what you enjoy working with, you can then further narrow your focus.
  8. Build a Brand: Consider how you can create a cohesive brand around your niche, including your shop’s name, logo, descriptions, and overall aesthetic. Building a strong brand can help attract and retain customers who connect with your specific focus.
  9. Compliance with Policies: Ensure that whatever niche you choose aligns with Etsy’s guidelines and any relevant legal regulations, especially if you’re dealing with specific types of collectibles or antiques.

Where to Source Products

Finding items to resell, especially if you’re focusing on vintage or unique products, requires some exploration and creativity. Here are the top ten best places to source items for resale:

  1. Thrift Stores: These are often goldmines for resellers, offering a variety of vintage and used items at low prices.
  2. Garage and Yard Sales: People often sell valuable items at garage and yard sales for much less than they might be worth to collectors or enthusiasts.
  3. Estate Sales: Estate sales can be a great place to find antiques, vintage items, and collectibles, often at reasonable prices.
  4. Flea Markets: Flea markets often host vendors selling vintage and unique items. Bargaining is common, so you might be able to secure a good deal.
  5. Auctions: Both live and online auctions can be sources for unique and valuable items. They might include estate auctions, government auctions, or specialized sales for collectibles.
  6. Wholesale Suppliers: If you’re looking for new items or craft supplies in bulk, working with wholesale suppliers might be a way to obtain inventory at a reduced cost.
  7. Online Marketplaces: Websites like eBay or local classifieds may have individuals selling items for resale. You have to be discerning and knowledgeable, but there can be good finds.
  8. Antique Shops: Sometimes, antique shops may have items priced below their potential resale value, especially if you develop a relationship with shop owners and buy in bulk.
  9. Consignment Shops: Consignment shops may carry unique or vintage items at reasonable prices. Building relationships with shop owners can also lead to more favorable pricing.
  10. Storage Unit Sales: Sometimes, storage facilities auction off the contents of units that have been abandoned or defaulted on. These can be a gamble, but sometimes they pay off with valuable finds.

How to Make Money on Etsy with Canva

how to make money on etsy

Canva is an external tool that can be used along with Etsy to improve the visual content of an Etsy store.

Canva is a graphic design tool that offers a wide range of features to create visual content, such as images, logos, banners, and more. While Canva itself is not directly integrated with Etsy, many Etsy sellers use Canva to create visually appealing graphics for their shops.

Canva can help you design your shop graphics, create product images and create promotional materials. Even if you don’t have a design background, Canva can help you create professional-looking graphics – which will help you make more money on Etsy.

Creating Engaging Designs with Canva

Your first step is to create a Canva account. You can sign up for a free or paid account. The paid version offers more features and design assets.

Canva offers tutorials and design courses that can be helpful for beginners or those looking to enhance their design skills.

When you’re ready to design, take these steps:

  1. Identify Your Needs: Determine what graphics you’ll need for your Etsy shop. This might include shop banners, profile pictures, product images, promotional materials, etc.
  2. Choose Templates or Start from Scratch: Canva offers various pre-designed templates that are easily customizable, or you can start with a blank canvas for a more personalized design.
  3. Design Your Graphics:
    • Use the Drag-and-Drop Interface: Easily add elements like text, images, shapes, and icons by dragging and dropping them into your design.
    • Customize Colors and Fonts: Match your branding by selecting specific colors, fonts, and design elements.
    • Upload Your Images: For product images or other personalized elements, you can upload your photos and incorporate them into the design.
  4. Size It Right: Ensure that the dimensions of your graphics match Etsy’s requirements for various elements like banners and profile pictures. Canva allows you to customize the dimensions or choose from predefined sizes.
  5. Download and Upload to Etsy: Once your design is complete, download it in the appropriate file format (usually JPEG or PNG). Then, upload the graphics to your Etsy shop, applying them where needed.
  6. Create Cohesive Branding: Consider using similar themes, colors, and fonts across all your graphics to maintain a cohesive brand identity throughout your Etsy shop and marketing materials.

Can I Sell My Canva Designs on Etsy

Yes, you can design something using Canva and then sell it on Etsy, but there are some important considerations and restrictions to keep in mind:

  • Licensing: Make sure to use only elements in your design that you have the appropriate rights to sell. Canva offers both free and paid elements, and you’ll need to check the specific licensing terms for each to ensure that your intended use is allowed. Some elements may be restricted to personal use or have other limitations.
  • Originality: Your designs should be original and not simply a reproduction of existing templates or elements. Adding your unique touch and creativity will not only make your products more appealing but also ensure you are in line with intellectual property laws.
  • Commercial Use: If you’re planning to sell your designs, you’ll likely need to use Canva’s commercial license or subscription, such as Canva Pro. This will grant you access to more assets that can be used for commercial purposes.
  • Type of Product: Consider what type of product you’re selling. Is it a digital download, like a printable? Or are you planning to print your designs on physical products like T-shirts or mugs? Ensure you have the necessary permissions and equipment (or partnerships with printing companies) to produce and sell these items.
  • Compliance with Etsy’s Policies: Always check Etsy’s policies to make sure your products and practices comply with their guidelines, particularly those related to intellectual property and the type of goods you are selling.
  • Quality: Ensure that the designs you create in Canva are of high quality and suitable for the intended product. This might involve using the right dimensions, resolution, and file formats.
  • Transparency: Be transparent in your product listings about what the customer will receive and the nature of the design. If you are selling a digital download, for example, make that clear in the description.

In summary, it is possible to sell designs created in Canva on Etsy, but you must pay careful attention to licensing agreements, intellectual property laws, quality considerations, and the specific policies of both platforms.

How to Sell on Etsy with Digital Downloads

how to make money on etsy

First, if you’re planning to print your digital download on an item, make sure you have the required permissions/partnerships, as well as equipment, to produce and sell this way. Selling digital downloads can be a profitable business model. Here’s how:

The Market for Digital Downloads

There’s a thriving market on Etsy for selling digital downloads, and it has become a popular category for both sellers and buyers. Digital products offer several advantages, and there are various types of digital downloads that can be sold on Etsy.

Digital downloads have several advantages, such as low overhead costs and instant access for buyers. Also, it helps you as the seller – you can sell an unlimited number of copies without having to worry about restocking inventory.

Tips for Success

Ensure that your digital products are of high quality and offer something unique that sets you apart from competitors.

Provide detailed descriptions and instructions so customers know exactly what they are purchasing and how to use it.

Be clear about the licensing of your digital products and what buyers can and can’t do with the download.

Popular Types of Digital Downloads:

  1. Printable Art: This can include posters, greeting cards, invitations, and more, which customers can print themselves.
  2. Digital Planners and Journals: These can be used on tablets or printed out for personal organization.
  3. E-books and Guides: Whether instructional or informational, digital books and guides are popular in various niches.
  4. Graphic Design Elements: This could include logos, illustrations, icons, or templates for other creators to use in their projects.
  5. Patterns and Templates: Crafting patterns, sewing templates, or woodworking plans are sought after by DIY enthusiasts.
  6. Music and Sound Files: Composers and sound designers can sell their audio work as digital downloads.
  7. Photography: High-resolution photographs can be sold for various purposes, such as website design or personal use.
  8. Educational Materials: Worksheets, lesson plans, and other educational resources are popular with teachers and homeschooling parents.

Setting up a Successful Etsy Shop

Understanding Etsy’s fees

how to make money on etsy

Etsy fees are subject to change, so always check the Etsy website.

  1. Listing Fee: $0.20 for each item that you list. If the item sells, you’ll need to pay an additional $0.20 to renew the listing. If you have multiple quantities of the same item, the listing fee will be applied to each one.
  2. Transaction Fee: 5% of the total sale price, including the shipping price set by you. This fee is applied to the total amount paid by the buyer, including item cost and shipping.
  3. Payment Processing Fee: This fee varies by country and is related to Etsy Payments, which is the main way to accept payments on Etsy. In the U.S., for example, it’s 3% plus $0.25 per transaction.
  4. Subscription Fees: If you choose to subscribe to Etsy Plus, a premium subscription service offering additional tools and features, there will be a monthly fee. As of my knowledge cut-off date, Etsy Plus costs $10 per month.
  5. Currency Conversion Fee: If you list items in a currency other than your payment account’s currency, Etsy may charge a 2.5% currency conversion fee.
  6. Offsite Advertising Fee: Etsy may advertise your items on other platforms like Google and Facebook, and if you make a sale through one of these ads, a fee will be charged. For sellers who make over $10,000 in a 12-month period, the fee is 12% of the sale price, while for others, it’s 15%. You can opt out if your shop makes less than $10,000 in the qualifying period.
  7. Shipping Fees: If you use Etsy’s shipping labels, the cost will depend on the size, weight, destination, and other factors related to the package.
  8. VAT: Depending on the country, Value Added Tax (VAT) may be applied to some of the fees mentioned above.
Fee TypeDetails
Listing Fee- $0.20 USD per item listed.
- Additional $0.20 USD for renewal upon sale.
- Multi-quantity items incur fee for each.
Transaction Fee5% of total sale price (includes shipping set by seller).
Payment Processing FeeVaries by country. In the U.S.: 3% + $0.25 USD per transaction.
Subscription Fees$10 USD/month for Etsy Plus (offers additional tools/features).
Currency Conversion Fee2.5% if item's listed currency differs from payment account's currency.
Offsite Advertising Fee- 12% of sale price for sellers making >$10,000 USD/year.
- 15% for others (opt-out available for those making <$10,000/year).
Shipping FeesVaries based on package size, weight, destination, etc. (when using Etsy's shipping labels).
VATApplied to some fees, depending on country.

Understanding the Etsy Search Algorithm

how to make money on etsy

The Etsy search algorithm is a complex system that determines the ranking and visibility of products in search results. Although the exact workings of the algorithm are proprietary and may change over time, there are several known factors that influence how products appear.

Those factors include shopper keyword search relevancy, and the listing “score” based on past sales and customer reviews.

Etsy’s algorithm may also react to an individual shopper’s past preferences, such as choosing to purchase personalized items.

Shipping price and shoppers’ location also factor in. Sellers who offer free shipping may get higher visibility on search results. Similarly, the algorithm considers the location of the buyer and seller and prioritizes potential quicker shipping times.

Leveraging Etsy Ads for Business Growth

how to make money on etsy

Paid advertising, particularly on platforms like Etsy, is designed to increase the visibility of your products to potential buyers. By leveraging paid promotional strategies on Etsy, sellers can push their products to a wider audience and potentially increase sales. Here’s a deeper dive into Etsy ads:

  • Promoted Listings:
    • These are the primary form of paid advertising on Etsy.
    • Sellers pay to have their items appear at the top or within the search results when potential buyers search for relevant keywords.
    • It operates on a Cost-Per-Click (CPC) model, meaning you pay when someone clicks on your ad.
  • Targeted Keywords:
    • Sellers can choose specific keywords that they want to target, ensuring their products appear when those terms are searched.
    • It’s essential to select relevant and accurate keywords to reach the desired audience effectively.
    • Regularly reviewing and adjusting keywords based on performance can optimize ad spend.
  • Budgeting:
    • Sellers can set a daily budget for their ads.
    • Etsy will spread the ad’s visibility throughout the day to match the set budget, ensuring consistent exposure.
    • It’s crucial to monitor the budget and adjust it according to the return on investment and overall sales goals.
  • Performance Analytics:
    • Etsy provides sellers with detailed analytics on the performance of their ads.
    • Metrics such as impressions, clicks, and conversion rate can provide insights into the ad’s effectiveness.
    • Regularly reviewing these metrics can help sellers tweak their advertising strategy for better results.
  • Improved Product Visibility:
    • Promoted listings ensure that products stand out in a crowded marketplace.
    • With thousands of similar products on the platform, ads can give sellers a competitive edge by ensuring their products appear before others in search results.
  • Considerations:
    • While promoted listings can increase visibility, it doesn’t guarantee sales. The product’s quality, price, and presentation still play a significant role in attracting buyers.
    • It’s important to strike a balance between the advertising budget and expected revenue to ensure profitability.

While Etsy ads can significantly influence product visibility, success requires a combination of smart keyword targeting, budget management, and continuous performance analysis. Coupling these advertising strategies with high-quality products and excellent customer service will increase the likelihood of achieving desired sales outcomes.

Top Tips to Be a Successful Etsy Seller

how to make money on etsy

Customer service and branding are intertwined elements that play a critical role in the success of Etsy sellers. Here are some tips to help Etsy sellers succeed:

Customer Service:

  1. Prompt Communication: Always respond to customer inquiries in a timely manner. This can set you apart from other sellers and make buyers feel valued.
  2. Be Transparent: Clearly list all product details, shipping times, and return policies to avoid potential misunderstandings.
  3. Seek Feedback: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews. For any less-than-satisfied customers, reach out and understand their concerns to improve in the future.
  4. Exceed Expectations: Consider including a thank you note or a small freebie in your shipments to surprise and delight your customers.
  5. Stay Updated with Etsy’s Policies: Regularly review Etsy’s guidelines and expectations to ensure compliance. Remember, failure to do so can affect your shop’s reputation and rankings.


  1. Unique Shop Identity: Find a niche or a unique selling point that makes your shop stand out from the crowd.
  2. Consistent Visual Theme: From your shop banner to product photos, maintain a consistent look and feel that aligns with your brand.
  3. Create a Brand Story: Share your journey, the story behind your products, or what inspired you to start. This makes your shop more relatable and memorable.
  4. Utilize Social Media: Extend your brand presence to platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook. This not only drives traffic but also helps in building a community around your brand.
  5. Offer Branded Packaging: The unboxing experience matters. Use branded packaging materials, stickers, or seals to make a lasting impression on the buyer.

Integrating Both:

  1. Leverage Positive Reviews: Showcase positive reviews in your branding. These act as social proof and can be very convincing for potential buyers.
  2. Stay Engaged: Regularly update your shop with new products, blog posts, or customer testimonials. This not only refreshes your brand but also shows commitment to customer service.
  3. Customer Loyalty Programs: Consider creating a loyalty program or discounts for returning customers. This bridges the gap between customer service and branding by incentivizing repeat business.
  4. Seek Collaboration: Partner with complementary brands or influencers that align with your shop’s ethos. This can increase your shop’s visibility and establish credibility.
  5. Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Markets and trends evolve. Regularly reassess your customer service strategies and brand position, and be willing to adapt based on feedback and market demand.

In summary, a balanced focus on customer service and branding is paramount for any Etsy seller aspiring for success. It’s not just about making a sale; it’s about creating a memorable experience for the buyer that they would want to revisit.

FAQs: How to Make Money on Etsy

How much can you realistically make by having your own Etsy store?

There’s a wide range of numbers. For part-time sellers, some make a few hundred dollars annually. For full-time sellers, some make in the tens of thousands. Some high performing sellers make more than six figures a year.

In addition to Etsy, there are many other ways to make money on your phone or with other online platforms. For example, if you’re interested in learning how to make money on social media, you can read about how to make money on TikTok here. There are also guides on how to make money on Fiverr and how to make money on PayPal.

What are some common traits of successful Etsy stores?

Successful Etsy stores have found the correct niche, and customer base. They offer something unique and design a store that promotes their products.

What sets apart the top Etsy sellers from the rest?

Aside from providing a good product, customer service and branding set the top Etsy sellers apart from average sellers.

What can new Etsy shop owners do to grow their business quickly?

Focus on a small number of products. Design an eye-catching store with great visual appeal. Provide top customer service, which leads to great customer reviews. Buyers highly rate positive customer reviews.

What should an aspiring Etsy entrepreneur know before starting their own Etsy shop?

Before starting, create your account and carefully plan all the aspects of your store. Successful sellers advise that newcomers start small, paying attention to important details such appealing store design and as excellent customer service.

Image: Envato Elements

Lisa Price Lisa Price is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 4 years. She has a B.A. in English with a minor in journalism from Shippensburg State College (Pennsylvania). She is also a freelance writer and previously worked as a newspaper circulation district manager and radio station commercial writer. In 2019, Lisa received the (Pennsylvania) Keystone Award.