How to Create an Etsy Product That Sells
Are you interested in starting an Etsy shop but just don’t know what to sell as your product?
Well, the items that you sell are one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make when considering setting up a shop.
I started my Etsy career selling organic skin care products, so I know a thing or two about turning your idea into a tangible product worth selling.
Today, I’m going to show you how to do just that.
How to Create an Etsy Product That Sells
Why Are You Starting an Etsy Shop?
You may be thinking this question is a little silly.
Of course, many people will answer this in a similar way – to make more money, whether it’s on the side or as a full-time gig.
And I completely understand why someone would answer in this way. With anything you do, that requires labor and work (which trust me, running an Etsy shop is a lot of work).
However, you’ll never be successful if money is your only reason you want to start an Etsy shop.
You can’t list your products to sell with the attitude of “I just want your money”.
Customers smell that ‘ish from miles away.
It’s the shops that are genuinely doing what they do it because they love it and because they care about solving their customers’ problems that actually make it out on top every single time.
Not only do their customer show up, but they are able to get through some of the toughest months without giving up because it’s their passion.
I say this because you have to have a motivator to prove to your customers that you care about them and you have to have a reason for pushing through slow months or messy situations – because they are bound to come.
Ask yourself the following questions. If you find yourself having a hard time answering them, try and find a passion in your life that you can open a shop with:
- What do you create?
- Do you create this item(s) on your down time?
- Have often have you created this item(s) before you decided to open an Etsy shop?
- Would you consider yourself an expert when it comes to making this product(s)?
- Have you gifted or sold this product(s) to someone before? If so, what were their reactions and feedback to it?
- Would you create this item(s) for free if you had to?
- Are you able to create this item(s) flawlessly and consistently every single time?
- Why do you enjoy creating this item(s)?
- How would you feel if you could never create this item(s) again?
- Do you use this item(s) in your person life on a daily basis?
Depending on this is your passion or not, these questions are probably a breeze to get through, or they make you stop and think for a moment.
At the end of the day, it’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to go into an Etsy business that you’re passionate about or not, but I hope that you can find a niche that you can see yourself pursuing for not only as a hobby but as a full-time business.
Do Some Research
After you’ve gotten your wheels turning on what you would like to create, it’s time to do some research to assure that your product will do well in Etsy’s marketplace.
One thing I will say is – don’t feel like you need a super unique item that no one else is doing.
It’s okay to have some competition!
Competition means that your product idea is actually something your target market wants to buy.
Do a quick search on Etsy and review the listing results that come up and ask yourself these questions:
- How many listing results popped up? (the more results, the more competition there is)
- Are the items that are listed similar to what how you envisioned them to be?
- If so, is there a twist that you can do to stand out? Or any additional value you can provide to get your audience to come to you instead?
- What do their photos look like? What type of features are they adding to their photos? Is there anything that you would do differently?
- Are their variations or additional features that you can add to make your product stand out?
- What keywords and tags are most frequently used throughout each listing (you can find tags at the bottom of each listing)
- What are the average prices of these products? Note which listings are drastically cheaper or more expensive and ask yourselves why they are asking for that price
If you feel like you have a pretty good shot at creating this particular product and add additional value to beat out your competition, then you’ve got yourself a product you can create!
If you feel like the market is just way to saturated (way too much competition with little you can do to stand out from the crowd), niche down and get more specific!
Instead of creating printable wall art, create printable wall art for gender-neutral nurseries.
Rather than sell organic skin care products, sell organic body butter for postpartum mothers with stretch marks.
Do you get the point?
You can niche down on just about anything, and by doing so, you’ll cut your competition in half and be able to properly serve a specific, small target market – which is going to get you more sales in the long run!
What Value Will My Customer See in This Product?
When you get your product idea in mind, next, you should think about the value it’s going to give your customers.
You won’t just be selling the physical product to your customers, you’re going to be selling how this product is going to be valuable to them.
Think about if your potential target customers will even want or need what you have to offer by asking:
- What value will they see in my product?
- How will my product stand out from others in my industry?
- Are my customers willing to pay for a product like this?
If you need a little help figuring out exactly who your target customer is, check out How to Define Your Target Audience!
Can I Make This Product Myself?
Think about the materials, tools, and time it takes to create your product.
Is this something that you can create yourself efficiently why still having enough time to run your business?
If you don’t’ know already how to create this product, are you willing to invest in classes and workshops to learn how to make it?
What Materials Will You Need to Make This Product?
If you answered yes, begin to list every single component of your product – including the materials to create the product, materials to package the product, and materials to ship your product.
You’ll want to think of any and everything that you need down to the ink to print your shipping labels.
Not only will this help you build your actual product on paper, but it will also give you a really good idea of the budget you should set for your business and your product’s pricing.
After you have a list of materials, take some time to begin finding vendors, websites, or stores to get your materials from and note the pricing + shipping times of these items.
Will I have to hire someone to make this product for me?
If you realize you aren’t able to physically create this product yourself, then you can turn to purchase your items wholesale or having the product made through a manufacturer.
If you go this route, you 100% need to be transparent with your customers that you are purchasing these items from someplace else to sell them.
When going with a wholesaler, you will most likely be purchasing a product sold under retail price but with a certain minimum.
For example, a company may be selling a printed t-shirt for $5 each, but in order to get it at that price, you have to buy a minimum of 25 shirts in bulk.
Therefore, you would purchase 25 five dollar shirts, then mark up the price to $15 per shirt on your Etsy shop, which gives you a $10 profit (before shipping and packaging).
This sounds like a dream to most people – buying something for cheap and then upping the price to make a profit.
A few things to know about purchasing wholesale:
- Many wholesalers are not located in the U.S., so you have to be aware of their shipping times. If you order a shipment from a wholesaler in China, it can take weeks to even months before it arrives in the U.S. If you run out of inventory but are still getting orders, you may find yourself in a sticky situation with your customers who aren’t going to want to wait 2 months before you get your shipment. If you purchase from wholesale in another country, place your orders a few months in advance of when you think you’re inventory will run out.
- Before you invest a lot of money on buying items in bulk, review the companies return policies. Some wholesalers will not allow cash returns! If you purchase these items, only to get it and hate the quality (some wholesale products are not good quality because they are made cheaply) or the color is not what you were expecting, you’ll be wasting a whole lot of money
- This is a given, but research the company before you purchase from them. Find out if they are a legit company and look for reviews. If you find that other people have had bad experiences with them, don’t risk going with them. If you can’t find reviews at all, don’t take that risk either!
- I have found that reliable and trustworthy companies won’t mind sending a sample if you ask. Before you invest, ask the wholesaler for a sample so you can review the quality, colors, and see if it’s something you are willing to put your name on and sell to people. In my opinion, if a wholesaler doesn’t want to send a sample, I would move on. Keep in mind that you will most likely have to pay for a sample or at least for the shipping.
Going Through a Manufacture
If you don’t want to deal with wholesalers, you may want to work with a manufacturer, which means you’ll be designing a product with a company and they will bring your idea to life.
This is definitely going to be the pricier option, but you’ll be able to get exactly what you want in a product without having to get your hands dirty.
An example of this is using Printful.
On Printful, you design your own t-shirt with your design and list it on Etsy.
Once someone purchasing your item, Printful will print your design on a t-shirt themselves and send it to your customers from their factory.
Essentially, the only thing you have to stay on top of business-wise is designing products and customer service.
I recommend finding manufacturers through legit directories – such as Maker’s Row, Alibaba, Bambify or asking other business owners in your industry.
A few things to know about manufacturing your products:
- You should always request a sample so you can see the quality
- Don’t go with the first manufacturer you find. Get quotes from multiple companies before you settle on one to get the best price and quality
- Check each companies references before you start working with them! You want to make sure you’re going to have a positive experience before you invest money
- Most manufacturers will want you to pay your balance in full before beginning production
Critique Your Prototype
Once you have a product sample, ask yourself these questions:
- What would I change or make anything better?
- If anything, what would I add to it?
- If I had to, would I be okay with selling this today as is with my name on it?
Don’t worry if you have to make some tweaks to your original design.
Creating an Etsy product takes a lot of trial & error before getting it right!
The last thing you want to do is throw just anything in front of your customers.
Order or Create Small Quantities
Now that you have a final product design that you’re happy with, create or order your product in bulk to set up your inventory.
You don’t want to order or make thousands of pieces to sell in the beginning because you don’t know if the item will sell or not.
If no one likes what you’re selling, you wouldn’t have invested a ton of money up front to make the product and you can move on to the next product.
If you’re creating the product, depending on the cost to create it, stick with creating 15-25 units.
If you’re buying wholesale or going with a manufacturer, order the absolute minimum quantity they will allow.
Not every product will be a success, sadly. If you find that a product isn’t selling (and you’ve tried absolutely everything to get it to sell) and you still have a few in your inventory, take it off your Etsy listings and put it in your customers packaging as a freebie instead until you run out. It won’t necessarily be a waste of money because you’ll be providing your customer with a nice surprise in their packaging!
Price Your Products
To effectively price your products and make sure you’re covering costs & making a profit, just follow this simple equation:
Cost of Materials + Your Hourly Rate = Original Amount
Original Amount x 2 = Wholesale Price (if you decide to sell your products at wholesale for others to purchase and sell as their own)
Original Amount x 3 = Retail Price (What you will list your product as on Etsy)
Product Creation Process for Etsy Sellers
And just like that, you’re done!
Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to having your own Etsy shop filled with amazing products!
- What products are you currently selling or wanting to sell?
- Are you planning on creating your products, buying wholesale, or going with a manufacturer?