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[18] Five Mistakes You’re Making With Your Etsy Shop and How To Fix Them

After working with hundreds of makers over the last few years, I regularly see people making the same mistakes in their Etsy shops over and over again.

In this episode, I share the top 5 mistakes I see people making with their online shops. I’m focussing on Etsy today, but honestly, these issues crop up no matter what online venue you are using – so even if you’re selling somewhere other than Etsy, you will benefit from this episode.

Today I share some really vital things which you can quickly and easily change right now to make your online shop more professional and encourage customers to purchase from you. Other issues I touch on might take some time to get it right, but it’s important to start on these now so you can add to your skills

I hope you don’t recognise these mistakes in your shop – but if you do, at least you now know what you need to work on to make it better!

Your shop will never be perfect: but you can always improve and be the best you can be.

Are you making any of these 5 mistakes with your Etsy shop?


Quotes and highlights from this Episode:

  • “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked at somebody’s store and they would have maybe 5-10 items. I can tell you immediately that this will be a turn off for people. They won’t take your seriously if you don’t have a well-stocked shop.”
  • If you have high priced or artist pieces, you might be able to get away with less products.
  • With Etsy, you should have 25+ products which will give you more than one page of products.
  • You want your shop to look full and that you’re serious about business.
  • But you also don’t want to have too much choice.
  • 100 products is said to be the magic number on Etsy but don’t panic if that’s out of the realm of possibility for you.
  • Grow your items slowly but surely until you have a good selection but don’t go the other way and have too many products.
  • “I ended up having too many with 400+ items and I had a lot of older ones which I made the decision to narrow my brand and took a bunch of them down. My business has grown more since then than ever before.”
  • Don’t be afraid to get rid of things that aren’t working.
  • Don’t use flash photography as it looks awful and makes harsh shadows nor does it to any products any favours.
  • A bit of styling is OK but don’t clutter the image.
  • Dial back your styling until your product is the star of the photo.
  • If your item blends into the photo, it’s too cluttered.
  • Taking photos freehand will definitely give you blurry photos sometimes.
  • On the camera screen it might look fine but if you blow them up on your computer screen and they aren’t sharp, redo them.
  • “I’ve made all these mistakes which is why I can talk about them. But I’ve learnt a lot since then and I’ve come a long way.”
  • It will take trial and error – you can do it, it just takes time.
  • Filtered or ambient light is best.
  • Before you work on your marketing, spend time on your photos and getting them right.
  • It’s important that people can see who you are especially with resellers and big companies infiltrating the market.
  • Show behind the scenes photos to show social proof that you brand is genuinely handmade.
  • Customers can separate your quality from all the rubbish that is out there.
  • It’s important with connecting with your ideal customer.
  • Be genuine and warm and tell them why you make what you make and why they’ll love it.
  • If you don’t have Policies or a FAQ in place, make that a priority.
  • It will make dealing with issues really easy since you will have a policy to refer them to.
  • Customers can know before they buy what your policies are and can make an informed decision to buy.
  • “Good policies will nip a problem in the bud before it becomes a bigger issue.”
  • There’s lots of great examples out there and see which ones are clear and especially in your specific niche.
  • Descriptions help you convince your customer to buy.
  • Most of the time you want to tell customers that you have what they need and the detail in your descriptions will do that for you.
  • People are inherently lazy and want to know all the answers to their questions upfront so describe the item as if they can’t even see it.
  • Benefits and Features are the most important aspects of your product so figure them out first.
  • What is the emotion attached to the item? Include that story in the description.


Download/Listen to this Episode

(You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher – just search ‘Create and Thrive’.)


Van Den has written 320 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



Hi Jess,
Thanks again for another great podcast, I love tuning in each week. I am never finished working on my Etsy shop and this episode has reminded me how long it has been since I last reviewed my shop policies, something I will have to remedy today! I am closing in on the ‘magic’ 100 listings something I never dreamed I would achieve but the current goal I am chasing in my shop, I’m interested to see if it alters any of my stats. I have to say a big thing for me as I do a lot of custom orders is to respond quickly to convo’s- to get those shoppers while they are in the buying mood!
Also I wanted to thank you again for my place in Shift last year, I now have a business modal almost solely based on online sales as compared to a previous market driven business and after much hard work in my Etsy shop I am now an Etsy Design Awards finalist! So a great big Thank You again for all your mentorship!

Enjoy your sunny day in Amsterdam!



Emmaline! I’m so happy to hear your business is going so well – and congrats on being an Etsy Design Award finalist, that’s fantastic!

J String Decor

I have been listening to your podcast for a few weeks now, gearing up for my first craft fair and launch of my string art decor business — J String Decor. I do not have an Etsy shop, but an online store through another site ( When I first heard your comment about the number of listings I should have I was a bit overwhelmed, but then I realized one thing that I was trying to do that many others may be stuck in. Condensing listings by type and adding different modifiers. To make your store seem bigger and more professional, spread out your listings so that sizes, designs, colors, etc. are categorized but separate. Makes for a much fuller store and better for showcasing all the beautiful images we spend so much time on! So that is my next step, separating out the listings I already have and maybe one day reaching the 100 mark…


What say you?