How to market your sewing skills on Etsy and make a profit

Tips and tricks.

How to market your sewing skills on Etsy and make a profit

Etsy is an online marketplace that specializes in connecting artisans, crafters, and independent creators with buyers who are seeking unique and handmade goods. Founded in 2005, Etsy has grown into a widely recognized platform where individuals and small businesses can sell a wide variety of products, including handmade crafts, vintage items, and crafting supplies.


The platform

The platform provides a space for artists and makers to set up their own virtual shops to showcase their creations. Sellers can list items such as jewelry, clothing, home decor, artwork, accessories, and more. This allows buyers to discover one-of-a-kind items that often cannot be found in traditional retail stores.

Etsy emphasizes a sense of community and promotes the idea of supporting independent sellers. Many users appreciate the platform for its focus on handmade and unique items, as well as its potential to foster direct connections between buyers and sellers. In addition to individual shops, Etsy also offers features such as search filters, reviews, and a robust recommendation system to help users discover products that align with their interests.

Over the years, Etsy has expanded its offerings and services. In addition to handmade and vintage items, the platform also allows sellers to offer digital products, craft supplies, and even personalized items. While it started as a niche marketplace, Etsy has gained significant popularity and has become a go-to destination for individuals seeking distinct and creative products.

Turn a profit by turning your hobby into a profitable business selling on Etsy

Sewn Items:

  • Clothing: Dresses, skirts, tops, pants, jackets, etc.
  • Accessories: Bags, wallets, hats, scarves, gloves, headbands, etc.
  • Home Decor: Cushion covers, table runners, curtains, quilts, blankets, pillowcases, etc.
  • Baby and Kids' Items: Onesies, bibs, blankets, plush toys, etc.
  • Pet Accessories: Pet clothing, beds, bandanas, etc.
  • Embroidered Items: Embroidery hoops, custom embroidered pieces, patches, etc.
  • Sewing Patterns: Physical or digital sewing patterns for different clothing items or accessories.

Digital Products:

  • Sewing Patterns: Digital sewing patterns that buyers can download and use to create garments and accessories.
  • Embroidery Designs: Digital designs for machine or hand embroidery.
  • Sewing Tutorials: Step-by-step guides, e-books, videos, or courses that teach sewing techniques.
  • Printables: Printable sewing planners, organization tools, measurement charts, and more.
  • Fabric Design Templates: Digital templates for designing fabrics or prints.
Best Performing Sewing-Related Products on Etsy:

The performance of products on Etsy can vary based on trends, seasons, and buyer preferences. However, some sewing-related products that tend to perform well include:

  • Sewing Patterns: Digital sewing patterns are popular as they allow buyers to create their own unique pieces. Patterns for garments like dresses, tops, and accessories like bags can attract buyers.
  • Embroidery Designs: Unique and creative embroidery designs can attract crafters looking to personalize their projects.
  • Custom Sewn Items: Custom-made clothing, accessories, and home decor items can resonate with buyers looking for personalized and unique items.
  • Sewing Tutorials: High-quality tutorials or courses that teach specific sewing techniques or projects can attract both beginners and experienced sewists.
  • Fabric and Supplies: While not handmade, fabric, sewing notions, and crafting supplies are also commonly sold on Etsy to cater to crafters' needs.
  • Vintage Sewing Supplies: Vintage sewing patterns, buttons, fabric, and notions can appeal to collectors and enthusiasts.

It's important to research and stay updated on current trends in the sewing and crafting industry to ensure you're offering products that are in demand. Additionally, high-quality product photos, detailed descriptions, and excellent customer service can contribute to the success of your Etsy shop. Keep in mind that Etsy's policies and trends may change, so it's a good idea to check the official Etsy website for the most up-to-date information.

Setting Up Your Etsy Shop:

Setting up a shop on involves several steps, and making your shop stand out requires careful planning and attention to detail. Here's a general guide on how to set up a shop on Etsy and tips to make it stand out:

  • 1. Sign Up: If you don't already have an Etsy account, sign up on the Etsy website.
  • 2. Choose Your Shop Name: Your shop name should be unique and reflect your brand or the products you're selling. Keep it concise and memorable.
  • 3. Add Shop Details: Fill in your shop's title, announcement, and policies. The announcement is a brief message that appears at the top of your shop's page, and the policies section outlines your shop's terms, such as shipping, returns, and payment methods.
  • 4. Upload a Profile Picture and Banner: Use a clear and appealing profile picture that represents your brand. Create a banner that complements your shop's style and showcases your products.
  • 5. List Your First Item: Create a listing for your first product. Include high-quality photos, a detailed description, pricing, and shipping information.
  • 6. Set Up Payment and Shipping: Choose how you'll accept payments and set up your shipping preferences, including shipping methods, costs, and processing times.
  • 7. Choose Shop Sections: Organize your products into sections to make it easier for buyers to navigate your shop.
  • 8. Shop Policies: Set up your shop policies, including return and exchange policies, shipping times, and any custom order information.
Making Your Shop Stand Out:
  1. High-Quality Photos: Use clear, well-lit photos that showcase your products from different angles. High-quality images can significantly impact a buyer's decision.
  2. Detailed Descriptions: Write thorough and accurate product descriptions. Include information about materials, dimensions, colors, care instructions, and any customization options.
  3. Unique Branding: Develop a unique brand identity through your shop name, logo, banner, and product packaging. Consistent branding helps buyers remember your shop.
  4. SEO Optimization: Use relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and tags. This improves your shop's visibility in Etsy's search results and on external search engines.
  5. Offer Variety: Offer a variety of products that cater to different tastes and needs. This can attract a broader audience and encourage repeat buyers.
  6. Exceptional Customer Service: Provide excellent customer service. Respond promptly to inquiries, address customer concerns, and maintain a friendly and professional tone.
  7. Engaging Policies: Clearly communicate your shop's policies, including shipping times, returns, and custom orders. Transparent policies help build trust with buyers.
  8. Regular Updates: Regularly add new products, update your listings, and refresh your shop's banner and profile picture. This keeps your shop relevant and engaging.
  9. Showcase Process: Share behind-the-scenes photos or videos of your creative process. This personal touch can connect you with buyers on a more personal level.
  10. Collect Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. Positive reviews build credibility and trust with potential buyers.

Remember that building a successful Etsy shop takes time and effort. Be patient, continuously learn from your experiences, and adapt your strategies based on feedback and market trends. Regularly monitor your shop's performance through Etsy's shop analytics to gain insights into what's working and what needs improvement.

  1. Listing Fee: When you create a listing for a product in your Etsy shop, there is a listing fee. This fee covers the cost of listing the item on the platform and making it visible to potential buyers. Listings are typically active for four months or until the item sells, whichever comes first.
  2. Transaction Fee: This fee is a percentage of the item's sale price, including the item's shipping cost (if applicable). It covers the cost of processing the transaction and providing payment processing services.
  3. Payment Processing Fee: Etsy allows buyers to make payments through various methods, including credit cards, PayPal, and more. For each payment, Etsy charges a payment processing fee.

It's important to note that fees can vary depending on factors like your location, the currency in which you list your items, and any promotions or discounts that Etsy may offer.

Etsy also offers optional paid services, such as promoting your listings through advertising or using Etsy's shipping labels for convenience. These services may come with additional costs.

Before you start selling on Etsy, I recommend visiting Etsy's official seller fees page or reviewing their seller policies to get the most up-to-date and accurate information about fees. Keep in mind that fee structures and policies can change, so it's a good practice to stay informed about any updates directly from Etsy.

Etsy Ads, allows sellers to promote their products and increase their visibility within Etsy's search results and on other parts of the platform. Here's how it works:

  1. Promoted Listings: With Promoted Listings, you can choose specific products from your shop that you want to promote. These listings will appear in prominent positions within Etsy's search results and relevant browsing pages. You can set a budget for how much you're willing to spend on advertising, and you'll be charged when a shopper clicks on your promoted listing.
  2. Offsite Ads: Etsy also offers Offsite Ads, which promote your products not only within Etsy but also on external platforms like Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. With Offsite Ads, you only pay a fee when a shopper makes a purchase within 30 days after clicking on your ad from an external platform.

Both Promoted Listings and Offsite Ads are designed to help sellers reach a larger audience and potentially increase sales. However, it's important to note that advertising on Etsy does come with additional costs. Sellers are charged for the clicks or purchases that result from their advertising efforts.

Etsy provides tools to help you track the performance of your promoted listings and offsite ads, including insights into how many clicks and sales you're getting as a result of your advertising efforts.

Keep in mind that advertising strategies can vary depending on your products, target audience, and budget. Before diving into advertising, it's a good idea to research and plan your strategy to get the most value from your investment.

General success stories These stories can serve as inspiration and provide you with some guidelines on how to approach selling on the platform:

  1. The Black Apple (Emily Martin):
    Emily Martin, known as "The Black Apple," is an artist who opened her Etsy shop in 2006. She gained popularity for her whimsical and nostalgic artwork, including prints, paper dolls, and illustrations. Emily's shop quickly gained attention due to her unique style and attention to detail. She later expanded her business beyond Etsy, but her start on the platform played a crucial role in building her brand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Develop a unique and distinctive style that sets your products apart.
  • High-quality and attention to detail can attract buyers and foster loyalty.

  1. The Daily Prophet (Molly George):
    Molly George started her Etsy shop, "The Daily Prophet," in 2010, selling custom-designed and hand-stamped metal jewelry. Her passion for Harry Potter inspired her designs, and her pieces became a hit among fans of the series. Molly's shop gained a dedicated following and allowed her to turn her hobby into a full-time business.

Key Takeaways:

  • Capitalize on your passions and interests to create unique products.
  • Connecting with a specific niche audience can lead to a dedicated customer base.

  1. The Dainty Squid (Kaylah Oskirko):
    Kaylah Oskirko started her Etsy shop, "The Dainty Squid," in 2010, where she initially sold handmade jewelry and accessories. Over time, she expanded her product range to include items like terrariums and vintage clothing. Kaylah's success came from her consistent and authentic branding, along with her engaging blog and social media presence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Consistent branding and a clear identity help build a strong customer base.
  • Utilize blogging and social media to engage with customers and showcase your products.

  1. Urban Wood Goods (Jason and Erin True):
    Jason and Erin True co-founded Urban Wood Goods in 2010, specializing in handmade furniture crafted from reclaimed wood. Their shop gained popularity due to its focus on sustainability and custom-made pieces. Their commitment to eco-friendly practices and high-quality craftsmanship attracted buyers looking for unique and ethical furniture options.

Key Takeaways:

  • Highlight your commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.
  • Offering customizable and unique products can attract buyers seeking personalized items.

  1. Fleur de Leather (Carley Barley):
    Carley Barley, a leatherworker, started her Etsy shop, "Fleur de Leather," in 2012, selling handcrafted leather accessories and bags. Her focus on quality materials, intricate designs, and attention to detail helped her shop gain recognition and a loyal customer base.

Key Takeaways:

  • Quality materials and craftsmanship can drive customer loyalty.
  • Unique and detailed designs can make your products stand out.

These success stories demonstrate that a combination of passion, unique products, quality, branding, and engagement with customers can lead to success on Etsy. Keep in mind that every seller's journey is unique, so while these guidelines can inspire you, your own path may differ based on your strengths and market trends.

Fashion design and sewing success stories

  1. SewOverIt:
    SewOverIt is a well-known Etsy shop that specializes in vintage-inspired sewing patterns and kits. The shop was founded by Lisa Comfort, who turned her passion for sewing and vintage fashion into a successful business. Her patterns, often accompanied by easy-to-follow video tutorials, gained a loyal following. SewOverIt's success can be attributed to Lisa's expertise, quality patterns, and engaging tutorials.

Key Takeaways:

  • Offer high-quality products that cater to a specific niche (e.g., vintage sewing patterns).
  • Provide additional value through tutorials or guides related to your products.

  1. Closet Case Patterns:
    Closet Case Patterns is another Etsy success story that focuses on modern, stylish sewing patterns for clothing. Founded by Heather Lou, the shop has gained popularity for its contemporary designs and inclusive size range. Heather's dedication to diversity, body positivity, and offering patterns suitable for all levels of sewists contributed to her shop's success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Embrace inclusivity and diversity in your designs and offerings.
  • Cater to different skill levels to attract both beginners and experienced sewists.

  1. Named Clothing:
    Named Clothing, founded by sisters Saara and Laura Huhta, is an Etsy shop that offers stylish and fashion-forward sewing patterns. Their unique and trendy designs gained international recognition, turning their shop into a globally recognized brand. The sisters' emphasis on fashion-forward designs and clear instructions played a significant role in their success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Keep an eye on current fashion trends and offer modern designs.
  • Provide clear and detailed instructions to make your patterns accessible to a wide range of sewists.

  1. Ohhh Lulu Sews:
    Ohhh Lulu Sews is a shop known for its delicate and intricate lingerie sewing patterns. Sarah Norwood, the founder, combined her passion for sewing and lingerie design to create a successful shop. Her attention to detail and commitment to providing unique and customizable patterns contributed to her shop's popularity.

Key Takeaways:

  • Find a specific niche within the sewing field (e.g., lingerie) and excel in it.
  • Offer customization options to attract buyers seeking personalized items.

  1. Tilly and the Buttons:
    Tilly and the Buttons, created by Tilly Walnes, offers sewing patterns designed with a fun and approachable style. Tilly's emphasis on simplicity, comfort, and beginner-friendliness resonated with sewists of all levels. Her engaging tutorials, blog, and book publications helped her build a strong brand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Create patterns with a user-friendly approach, especially for beginners.
  • Consider complementary content like tutorials and blog posts to engage with your audience.

These success stories highlight the importance of finding your unique selling proposition, creating high-quality products, engaging with your target audience, and offering additional value through tutorials or resources. Tailor these strategies to your own style and strengths, and stay adaptable to changes in the sewing and crafting.

Selling success strategies

Selling Clothes:

  1. Quality and Style: Ensure your clothing items are well-made with attention to detail and quality materials. Develop a unique style that sets your products apart from mass-produced clothing.
  2. Variety: Offer a variety of sizes, colors, and styles to cater to a broad range of customers. Including customizable options can also attract buyers.
  3. Clear Sizing Information: Provide accurate sizing charts and clear descriptions to help customers choose the right size.
  4. Model and Lifestyle Photos: Use high-quality photos of your clothing items being worn by models or in lifestyle settings. This helps customers visualize how the items will look in real life.

Sewn Items (Toys, Home Decor, etc.):

  1. Unique Designs: Create distinctive and original designs that capture the essence of your brand. Uniqueness can attract buyers looking for something special.
  2. Safety: If selling toys or items for children, ensure they meet safety regulations and standards.
  3. Detailed Descriptions: Clearly describe materials used, dimensions, and any customization options. Provide care instructions if applicable.
  4. Storytelling: Share the inspiration behind your creations or the process of making them. Buyers appreciate the personal touch.

Digital Products (PDF Sewing Patterns):

  1. Clear Instructions: Create well-designed, easy-to-follow PDF sewing patterns. Clear instructions and diagrams are essential for customer satisfaction.
  2. Variety: Offer a range of patterns for different skill levels and various types of clothing or accessories.
  3. Sample Photos: Include images of the finished item made from your pattern. This helps customers visualize the end result.
  4. Customer Support: Provide responsive customer support for any questions buyers may have about using your patterns.

General Success Strategies:

  1. High-Quality Photos: Clear, well-lit photos are crucial for any product category. Show your products from multiple angles and in different settings.
  2. SEO Optimization: Use relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and tags to improve your visibility in Etsy's search results.
  3. Pricing: Research similar products to determine competitive pricing. Factor in materials, time, and effort when setting your prices.
  4. Engage with Customers: Respond promptly to customer inquiries and reviews. Positive interactions can lead to repeat business.
  5. Consistent Branding: Maintain a consistent visual identity through your shop's name, logo, banner, and product photos.
  6. Market Research: Stay updated on industry trends, customer preferences, and competition to adapt your offerings.

Remember that building a successful Etsy shop takes time and effort. Continuously refine your products and strategies based on customer feedback and market trends. Additionally, regularly review Etsy's policies and seller resources for any updates or changes.

Insider tips

  1. Start with a Strong Foundation:
    • Choose a Unique Shop Name: Select a shop name that's memorable, relevant to your products, and reflects your brand.
    • Define Your Niche: Identify a specific niche or category within your field (e.g., handmade clothing, sewing patterns for soft toys) to stand out in a crowded market.

  2. High-Quality Photos:
    • Invest in Good Photography: Use clear, well-lit photos that accurately showcase your products. High-quality images can significantly impact a potential buyer's decision.

  3. Clear and Detailed Listings:
    • Descriptive Titles: Craft informative and relevant titles that include keywords potential buyers might use when searching for products like yours.
    • Thorough Descriptions: Provide detailed descriptions that highlight materials, dimensions, colors, and customization options. Be transparent about any potential variations.

  4. Engage with Your Target Audience:
    • Use Social Media: Establish a presence on social media platforms that cater to your target audience. Share behind-the-scenes content, tutorials, and images of your products.
    • Respond to Customer Inquiries: Timely and friendly responses to questions can build trust and customer satisfaction.

  5. Effective Tags and Keywords:
    • Utilize Keywords: Research and use relevant keywords in your product titles, descriptions, and tags to improve visibility in Etsy's search results.

  6. SEO and Shop Optimization:
    • Understand Etsy SEO: Learn how Etsy's search algorithm works and optimize your listings accordingly. Experiment with different keywords and monitor their performance.

  7. Consistent Branding:
    • Develop a Brand Identity: Use consistent branding elements such as your logo, shop banner, and product styling to create a cohesive look and feel.

  8. Customer Service and Reviews:
    • Excellent Customer Service: Provide friendly and helpful customer service, addressing inquiries and concerns promptly.
    • Encourage Reviews: Encourage satisfied customers to leave reviews. Positive feedback can boost your shop's credibility.

  9. Continuous Learning:
    • Stay Updated: Keep yourself informed about Etsy's policies, changes, and trends in your industry. Continuous learning is essential for adapting and growing.

  10. Pricing and Profitability:
    • Calculate Costs: Determine the cost of materials, labor, overhead, and fees when setting your prices. Ensure your prices are competitive while allowing for a reasonable profit margin.

  11. Test and Iterate:
    • Experiment and Learn: Don't be afraid to experiment with different strategies, products, and pricing. Pay attention to what works and adapt your approach based on results.

  12. Patience and Persistence:
    • Be Patient: Building a successful shop takes time. Rome wasn't built in a day, and consistent effort over time will yield better results.

Remember that every Etsy journey is unique, so take the time to learn and adapt based on your experiences. Continuously seek feedback, refine your approach, and stay true to your brand's identity. With dedication and determination, you can turn your Etsy shop into a thriving business.