A beginner's guide to Etsy

Taking the craft fair tradition into the 21st century, Etsy is a global marketplace for unique, handmade and vintage goods. After reaching 30 million users last year, the site has fast become a one stop shop for discerning customers worldwide.

Whether you want to buy or sell; before you immerse yourself in the Etsy environment, remember to sign up for Money Dashboard. Our free money management software can help you keep tabs on your incomings and outgoings in one single place. Once you're ready to explore, read on.

Discovering and sharing

Etsy is an exciting space to discover and share new ideas. Like any good craft market, you can find hidden gems if you take the time to explore properly. Visitors can do this using:

  • Teams: like Facebook Groups, Etsy Teams enable like-minded style-hunters and crafters to band together to inspire one another
  • Events: another social media style element, Etsy events allow local arts and crafts fans to meet, share and learn new experiences
  • Forums: every sprawling online universe needs a forum to help navigate it, and the Etsy one has everything from chats about storefront issues to advice on the best nail polish
  • Etsy Blog: highlighting new and exciting sellers, sharing craft ideas and examining fashion trends are all part and parcel of the blog experience
  • Etsy tastemakers: bloggers, experts and Pinterest aficionados all populate this list, which is a great way to explore what's catching the eye of those busy souls with their finger on the pulse


Once you're done browsing and you're considering making a purchase, Etsy is exceptionally easy to use. In fact, it can be used just like a conventional online store if you're looking for something specific. To help you find what you're looking for, you can use:

  • Search function: like all good online stores, in addition to browsing, Etsy enables you to do a quick keyword search to find exactly what you're after 
  • Shops: individual storefronts are great for browsing an individual's products. You can also favourite stores, see who has done the same, view admirers and even contact the owner
  • Reviews: like sellers on eBay and Amazon, Etsy stores receive user reviews to help you make your decision
  • Payments: paying for items can be done with credit/debit card, cheque, money order or PayPal for added security, though it's worth noting that Etsy does have a dedicated 'Trust & Safety Team'


Because Etsy is a marketplace, you can also get involved in the profit-making part of the craft world. However, unlike auction sites like eBay and peer-to-peer marketing sites like Gumtree, the road to becoming a seller on Etsy is a bit more complicated. You need to think about:

  • Shops: to open a shop on Etsy, you must meet their guidelines, but, broadly speaking, you just have to be selling craft supplies, vintage items over 20 years old, or handmade, unique items
  • Costs: Etsy's charges are simple - it costs $0.20 for a listing lasting for four months (or until a sale), with a 3.5% commission fee applied to sales. If you make a sale, you will also be charged a $0.20 auto-renewal few for the remaining unsold items
  • Etsy affiliate: if you consider yourself more of an opinion-former, Etsy offers you the chance to become an Etsy Affiliate, and earn commission for sharing your discoveries

As you can see, it's easy to avoid eBay, and Etsy is a great alternative. Let us know about your experiences in the comments below!

Posted by Money Dashboard


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