Set Up Shop – Your Frequently Asked Questions, Answered!




Since I’ve been getting these questions asked of me, well, frequently, I thought it might be easier to answer them for you all, all at once!

If your question about Set Up Shop isn’t answered below, please just ask in the comments below!


Do I have to be in Australia to take the course?

Nope! We’ve had folks from all over the world take the class. I do cover a few topics in the initial housekeeping email where I give links to some Aussie stuff (tax and government registration info), but I also tell you what you need to look into no matter what country you live in. The rest of the course is just as relevant for someone living in Auckland as it is for someone living in New York, or London, or Johannesburg!


Do I need to make handmade crafts to do this course – or can I be an artist, designer, etc?

I wrote this course specifically for makers – but that goes for artists and designers, as well. If you don’t make your own products, but get them made for you (or sell supplies or vintage!), there will be a few lessons that aren’t completely relevant to you, but the vast majority of lessons will be applicable to you – stuff like working out your branding, photography, product descriptions, managing your time, marketing, etc.


Will you only teach me how to set up an Etsy shop, or does the content work for other platforms too?

What I teach in this course can be implemented across any platform. Etsy, Dawanda, Not On The High Street, Madeit, Folksy… or on Shopify, your own website, etc. I do show you how to set up your own WordPress website as an option, but the course is relevant for you no matter what platform you choose to set your shop up on.


Do I have to know how to use CSS or html or any other sort of code?

Not at all! If you choose to set up shop on Etsy or a similar platform, you’re good to go so long as you can use a computer, browse the internet, and upload stuff. If you can sign up for and take this course, you can set up an online shop!


Do I have to complete the whole course in the 30 days?

Ideally, you’ll have the time to work through each lesson as it arrives… but we all know that life sometimes gets in the way. I do ask that you at least make the time (10 minutes, tops) to at least *read* each lesson as it arrives, just so you can get a clear idea of how the course is progressing. But you can take the course at your own pace – whether that means you finish in the 30 days – or it takes you 6 months! The key is starting and making what progress you can, when you can. With that in mind, we come to the next question…


Do I get access to the course info and FB group after the course ends?

Absolutely! I don’t believe in ‘taking away’ the course content from you. You will have access to it forever – both in the emails you received, and in the form of an ebook, of the entire course at the end. And you also get lifetime membership to the course FB group, so you can pop in there and ask your classmates questions at any time (but I’m only active in there while a course is running).


Can I take the course again in future if I pay for it now?

Absolutely! Once you’ve signed up to the course, you can ‘retake’ it as many times as you like. The only caveat here is that if you are a Gold or Platinum member, you don’t get to participate in calls in future classes, or get your skype session/critique done again – those are once-offs. But you can always refer back to your ebook of the course and work through the course again with future cohorts of students in the FB group – in fact, I encourage it!


When are you running the course again?

I don’t have a set date planned, but I can tell you I won’t be running it again until the first quarter of 2016.


I hope that answered any burning questions you might have about the course! Remember, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have another question!


Set Up Shop is running again right now, with a one-time-only 20% discount offer!

Find Out More

Jess x

The Benefits of Selling your Craft Online

The Benefits of Selling your Craft Online

There are more ways to sell your craft than ever before.


You can sell it via wholesale or consignment to a shop. You can sell it at a festival. You can sell it at a market or show. Or… you can sell your craft online.


The invention of the internet has made growing a successful handmade business more accessible, more possible, and more convenient than ever before.


I’ve done it – and it wasn’t even imaginable to me 10 years ago that I could be making a full-time living from selling my handmade jewellery online. But I am. And I know thousands of other makers and artisans are doing exactly the same.

How are we doing this? By creating enticing, well-functioning, cohesive, and professional online shops to sell our craft all over the world.


Selling your work online has SO many benefits.


1. Rather than having to schlep yourself, your products, and your set-up to a market every weekend, you can instead accept orders while you sleep.

2. Even if you do still want to sell your work to retail shops, you can now showcase your work online, so that potential retailers can see everything about your work and your brand, and you can make it easy for them to determine that you’re a great fit for their shop, and effortlessly order exactly what they want – because they can see it in your online shop.

3. You don’t have to have huge amounts of items pre-made. Instead of having all your materials tied up in stock that might not sell, you can sell the item before you make it.

4. You can reach your ideal customer – no matter where in the world they live. Not to mention, no matter where YOU live (say goodbye to having to live somewhere because of your job – when you sell your craft online, you can live wherever there is a post office and an internet connection).

5. You can start selling for an extremely low initial cost – using a venue like Etsy, you only pay 20c per listing you add to your shop. That’s just 20 bucks to make 100 products available for purchase. Forget having to outlay hundreds of dollars on market fees and stall set-ups!

6. You can work – and sell – from the comfort of your own home. Bye-bye commute! Hello lunch in your own home, and naps when necessary.

7. Of course, you might still love to sell via other venues. Even if you can’t imagine not attending that regular market, or selling your work to shops all around the country, you should still have a strong online presence to promote your work. And if you’re going to go to all the work to set up a website to showcase your work – why wouldn’t you make your craft available to purchase while you’re at it?


The benefits of selling online are immense, yes. But so is the work involved in creating an online shop that will actually draw in paying customers.

Do you want to set up (or overhaul) your online handmade shop-

Setting yourself up for success takes a lot of hard work, planning, dedication, and knowledge. And a LOT of time spent on the business – rather than in the business. That is: lots of time spent on the ‘business’ side of things, rather than the ‘making/creating’ side of things.

So many people try and fail at the ‘handmade dream’ – not because what they make isn’t good enough, and not because they don’t have the desire to make it happen – but because they lack the knowledge to do it right, and they give up too soon due to frustration and burnout.


There is an immense amount to learn about online business.


Not only the technical side of things – how to set up a website/shop, how to take and edit click-worthy photos, how to create good seo, how to send an email newsletter – but also about the business and marketing side of things.

You need to learn how to sell. You need to learn what your brand story is, and how to tell it. You need to learn how to market your work through social media. All of these things time time to learn – and working it all out by yourself can turn the process of selling your craft online into an epic, years-long journey.

I want you to be successful. I want you to make your dream of turning your handmade hobby into a thriving business come true, just like I have.

That is why I created Set Up Shop.


I’ve taken over 1,000 people through the system that is Set Up Shop. It is more than a course: Set Up Shop is an integrated system of lessons and projects that will take you from having no knowledge whatsoever about selling online, to knowing everything you need to know in order to get your shop set up right – right from the start.

In the words of Set Up Shop Alumni Karen Lynch: “If you have ever thought you would like to have an online presence, but have lacked the confidence or know how, this is the course for you. If anyone has ever said “Your stuff is great.  You should sell online”, and it’s been a dream of yours for too long, you need to make those dreams become a reality and do this course.”


My flagship course -Set Up Shop – is running again right now, with a one-time-only 20% discount offer!

Find Out More


Set Up Shop – Now Open for Registration! {September 2015}

Set Up Shop Square (1)


Registration for the final class of Set Up Shop for 2015 is now open!

What is Set Up Shop?

It’s a 30-day e-course that will teach you exactly what you need to know in order to set up, or overhaul, an online shop for your handmade goods.

I’ve had the honour of guiding over 500 creatives through this course over the past two years, and I’m looking forward to helping you create or turn your online handmade shop into something that you can both be proud of, AND that sets you up to actually bring in sales and grow your business.

In this course, I’m teaching from a place of hard-won experience – I’ve done what I’m teaching you, and I have a successful online craft business that supports me and my little family (and employs both me and my husband). I am also a university-qualified teacher, so I both love to teach, and I have the education and experience to guide you through this learning process with the aim of helping you to create concrete outcomes.

I have (and am still) ‘walking the walk’ of running an online handmade business.  I’m right there in the trenches with you, every single day. This is not something I theoretically know how to do – it’s something I’ve done, and continue to work on. I’m still learning what works – and what doesn’t – and I pass that knowledge on to my students.

I know the system I teach in Set Up Shop works.

How? Both because my students tell me so, and because I used what I teach here to get my own business up and running.

I created this course because I’m passionate about sharing what I learn, AND helping others to realise their dream of having a successful craft business – because I want you to enjoy the freedom, joy, and fulfilment that comes from doing just that.

Registration is open now, and will close midday Sunday the 27th of September AEST (that’s Australian Eastern Standard Time!).


Class begins Monday the 28th of September, and runs for 30 days.

To find out exactly how the course works, the options you have for Membership, and what we’ll be covering, head on over to the course page here.

If you’re worried that you won’t be able to afford this course, because you’ve seen all the super-expensive courses that are out there – don’t be.

The entry level Membership to Set Up Shop is just $85* – because I want every single person who needs this course to be able to afford it.

I want YOU to be able to invest in this course and experience the huge positive changes it can help you make in your life and business.

If you are in the United States, the UK, or Europe – there has NEVER been a better time to take the course. I sell this course in AUD, so with the current exchange rates, you guys are getting a HUGE ‘discount’ on the price of this course. As I type this, for example, that $85 translates into around $60 USD (and 54 Euro, and 40 Pounds). No kidding! It’s likely that it will never be more affordable for you to take the course, so don’t miss out.

Set Up Shop Alumni Carolyn Grill says this of her experience:

It has been eye-opening and inspiring and I can say, wholeheartedly, if you are thinking of opening up an online shop this course will save you so much time and frustration.  Plus, you’ll meet a host of other talented, helpful creative types.  Money so very well spent!

If you have any questions, please just leave them in the comments below and I’ll get back to you asap.

I hope you can join us and get your shop up and running in 2015!

Register Now

Jess x

P.S. I can tell you how useful, practical, and inspirational the course is till I’m blue in the face… but the true test of quality comes down to what the course alumni think


Set up Shop has been the most productive 30 days I’ve had in my business so far.

It has given me the opportunity to reflect on what I am doing, consolidate and reaffirm what I already do well and give me the push I needed to put into practice processes that will help me to grow my business further.

The daily lessons have been thought provoking and provided me with a clear series of action steps that I was able to work through at my own pace.

These together with the incredible support and shared knowledge provided in the private facebook group have really proven to be incredibly rewarding. I am so glad that I signed up for the course and can’t believe that I even hesitated to do so.

It is a small investment to make for such big benefits.

Thank you Jessica xo

~ Tania Robinson


I have found your course amazing and it has given me the knowledge and courage to do this. The help, knowledge and ongoing support shared by fellow like minded creatives also participating in your course through the facebook page has been invaluable and a source of inspiration.
So thank you Jess for creating this wonderful course and sharing all your know-how with me, I really have appreciated it.
~ Minna Cleggett


Loved this course… Really makes you think about your business & gives you a big kick up the bum to help achieve your goals… Now writing this, I think I need to go over it again so I can see how far I’ve come!!

~ Brianna Murray 


Thanks Jess – so great speaking with you and being a part of your fabulous Create & Thrive e-course.

Participating in the e-course made me feel more connected to a creative community of women and tapping into both yours and their Australian and overseas business experiences, was so enlightening.

It’s great to learn from someone who has done it and is current right now, working in their own creative business too – all from your at home studio/office and on the road too – fab!

Love what you do, mixing it up with your Epheriell jewellery designs, simply beautiful, together with your Create & Thrive business concepts and teaching methods – just so easy to follow with really useful practical information and lots of common sense too.

I am now better equipped to work on and in my business, having shared in the Create & Thrive experience, and I am so looking forward to kicking it up a notch, nurturing my business along and watching it grow.

Thanks for your inspiration, energy and extraordinary desire to help others in the creative industry, to get it right.

~ Colleen Moutsos


This class is awesome. Best investment I’ve made in my business. The private Facebook group is filled with talent and great ideas!

Lisa Palmer 

Register Now


(*price in AUD, and GST applies to Aussies)

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

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 18

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?


Good Policies

Download/Listen to this Episode

You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher


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.


[17] Should You Sell Your Craft Online?

The Create & Thrive Podcast - Episode 17

In today’s episode, I’m going to take you through a workshop that will help you decide whether you should sell your craft online.

You might find that you prefer to sell via wholesale or consignment in shops, or at markets –  or maybe you can do a mixture of all three.

I love selling online; it suits me and my lifestyle.

Why? Well, amongst other things, I like to have my weekends off – and I especially love the idea of making money in my sleep!

No matter what, you need to have a website and a couple of social media channels but that doesn’t mean you have to sell your products online if that isn’t a good fit for you and your particular product.

Listen in and think about each of the points below to see whether selling online is a good fit for your business.

  1. It will take you longer to make money.
  2. Is your item easily shipped?
  3. Are you happy to sell internationally?
  4. Is your work easily reproducible?
  5. Do you value face-to-face interaction over online interaction?
  6. Do you have the products to do markets?
  7. Do you like having your weekends free?
  8. Are you willing to invest the time to take and edit stellar photos?
  9. Do you enjoy the process of selling and marketing?
  10. Are you happy to make less money selling to shops?
  11. Do you have the time or the skills to set up an online shop?

In the podcast, I take you through each of these points in detail, in order to help you consider the pros and cons of each question.



Sell in your sleep

Quotes and Highlights from this Episode:

  • If you decide to focus on selling online, it will take you longer to make money; unless you have a lot of money upfront to get your shop running with lots of advertising and marketing.
  • Online is more about the long game.
  • “Once you’re established and you have traffic going to your site, you’ll make money in your sleep.”
  • Consignment and wholesale will make you larger chunks of money but more sporadically.
  • If you make small items, selling online can be easy since shipping can be reasonably low.
  • If you make large or heavy items then shipping might put off some customers.
  • If you sell online, you’ll make more sales if you’re happy to sell your things online.
  • “80-85% of my sales are International”.
  • It can be really exciting to sell to people overseas.
  • Don’t be worried about losing items in the mail.
  • “I sell thousands of parcels overseas every year and I have about four go missing. I write these off as expenses and send a replacement.”
  • Don’t be concerned about language, use Google Translate and use a disclaimer that you’ve used that service so the customer.
  • If you’re going to have a successful online business, you really have to have some items which are reproducible.
  • You need to do so much for one listing (photography, description, loading onto the site etc) that it makes more sense to sell the same design over and over again.
  • “All I have to do when an item is sold, is make the item and send it. Each item is as close to the prototype as I can make it – and though it might be the ‘same’ as another product I’ve made, it’s still handmade with love.”
  • You don’t have to give OOAK products all together, you just need to have a reproducible range too.
  • Then you can put your high end creations online when you have the time and passion to create them and not feel like it becomes a chore.
  • You can interact on your own terms and in your own time.
  • “I don’t even have a phone line, I do all my business via email.”
  • If you love face-to-face and you get energy from interactions with other people then selling online might not be the best thing for you.
  • “I don’t have any stock. I make a design, I photograph it and then more often than not, I keep it myself or I give it to Nick.”
  • Wearing your own jewellery is a great way to market your goods.
  • Markets don’t make much ‘time sense’ if you don’t have a lot of products lying around.
  • If you can make a lot of product quickly, markets might work for you.
  • If you don’t want to work on the weekends then markets probably aren’t for you.
  • “Most often I can make more online in my day at the markets than at the market itself.”
  • When you sell online, you’re not actually selling the product, you’re selling the photo of the product.
  • If you’re not willing to learn how to take amazing photos, it’s not worth starting.
  • If your photos aren’t stellar yet, as long as you’re willing to work on them, don’t let that stop you.
  • It might take you a week, a month or a few years but it’s worthwhile trying.
  • “I’m not a trained photographer but I’ve worked it out myself so you can do it too.”
  • C&T GUIDE: Product Photography by Jeffrey Opp
  • There’s no way around it, you’re now a salesperson and a marketer.
  • Do you enjoy telling your story? Because that’s marketing!
  • If you can change your mindset and think about marketing as telling your story rather than selling your product then it will be a much more authentic experience.
  • When you’re selling online, you need to enjoy that process and you need to work out how to enjoy it.
  • When you sell at a market or online, you get the whole price.
  • Through a shop, you will be getting around 50% of your retail price in your pocket.
  • Consignment is a bit ‘iffy’ sometimes since you get your money only after the product sells in the shop rather than upfront.
  • If you’re not already making a profit on your product above the wholesale price, don’t start selling to shops yet.
  • No matter what avenue you choose, it’s going to be a lot of hard work.
  • Time is part of the expense of your business.
  • Out of the options of Markets, Wholesaling to Shops or Online Selling: which one makes you feel a flutter of excitement?
  • Pick one to focus on and make it your priority.
  • It doesn’t mean you can’t dabble in the other options, you should just focus your attention on one route to start with.
  • “You’ll probably find it’s easier than you thought it was to get started.”
  • Nobody can tell you which way to go but there are lots of folks who help you with the ‘how’.
  • C&T COURSE: Set Up Shop with Jess Van Den

    My flagship course -Set Up Shop – is running again right now, with a one-time-only 20% discount offer!

    Find Out More

  • C&T COURSE: Wholesale Know How with Melanie Augustin

Download/Listen to this Episode

You can also subscribe to the podcast and listen to this episode on iTunes + Stitcher

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