10 Things I Learned About Etsy Part 1!


After six weeks, the team at Nunn Design managed to launch Becky Nunn Design on Etsy. It was a long haul and many hours of research to launch…but the experience was good. Do I think it was worth it? There were many times during this process that I was in awe over people who make a living doing this. It was really a ton of work! And yes, I do think it was worth it. It was worth getting to know what it is like for our customers to maintain an Etsy site and make money at it!

I also went into setting up the Etsy site hoping that it would do the following for us:

  • Give me motivation to create more jewelry (besides magazine work, tutorials and samples for tradeshows and the gallery)
  • Provide additional exposure on our social media channels
  • Provide additional content to talk about
  • I wanted to understand the process and to have the ability to think like an Etsy artist
  • To get an understanding of what sells (well, I’ve only sold one piece, so that may take some time!)

Here are the first 5 of the 10 things that I learned in the process of setting up.

1. Have a strategy, action steps and weekly goals.

Like any big project here at Nunn Design, we broke all of the action steps down into a to-do list. The to-do list gave us a clear vision of what needed to get done and helped us see our progress. When it became way too overwhelming, we would just focus on the step that needed to get done that day.

To start making a to-do list, check out the information that Etsy supplies on Setting up a Shop.

After you “open” your site, you will need to “set-up” your shop. I highly recommend making a master list of all the things that you will need to-do FIRST, then start executing your plan. For myself, I’d rather know what is all involved up front and be committed to it, rather than getting half way and thinking I was almost done.

Now that the site is launched, I have in cue additional jewelry to upload and make active. I am trying hard to set a goal of 10 pieces per week.

2. Gather together your Etsy Cheerleaders!

I am not one who is into re-inventing the wheel. If someone has something to teach me, I will reach out and ask for advice. I had one such friend who already had a successful Etsy business set-up. I leaned on her hard and she was a huge support. She shared with me how she organizes her inventory, provided me with a spreadsheet template, went to lunch with me (I was buying) and explained how to set-up the photography, how to write the descriptions, where to buy my bags for shipping and on and on. I am very grateful for her support. Let me know if you want her email. She could probably set-up a business doing this junk.

You may already have a friend that you know who can help you. Or maybe you would find it helpful to create a mentoring team for yourself. Here is the link on Etsy to setting one up.

3. Decide on Which Jewelry Pieces In Your Stash To Sell.

Okay, this was really hard for me to figure out because I had bags and bags of jewelry that I just wanted to sell. It was just sitting under my bed (for real!). So, to get organized, I went through each piece and put it into different categories. Here are the categories I used to organize my finished jewelry:

  • Pieces that had been published in magazines.
  • Pieces that were One-Of-A-Kind.
  • Pieces that used Vintage Findings.
  • Pieces that I could reproduce again.

Why this was important to me is that I wanted to have a mix of one-offs as well as production. I wanted to have content to market about that would bring people to the site, but was also aware of the time and effort it would take to photograph and list each item. In order to make money at this, I knew that I’d have to have a combination of pieces that pleased my creative/artist side and pieces that I could sell again and again if I wanted to.

4. Organizing all that jewelry for photography.

Oh man, this was really a challenge for me. Maybe because I went into the photo shoot imagining I would shoot 175 pieces of jewelry, each piece having 4-5 shots. That is 700 images to process and watermark! What was I thinking! Here is what I finally went with.

  1. I ended up shooting the jewelry in batches (of like kind) 20 pieces at a time. So 20 necklaces, 20 bracelets, 20 rings. I would lay the 20 pieces of jewelry out on the photography table in rows according to the color of the plating. I tried to have 6-7 pieces per plating of copper, gold and silver per batch.
  2. Next I set up multiple still life sets with props. All of these little sets were lined up on the floor on trays that were easy to move around.
    • One still life set allowed the jewelry to hang._DSC9712
    • One still life set had an interest prop that things would lay on.
    • One set was shot on white.
    • One set on an interesting background shooting from a different angle.
    • One set had me attempting to represent a lifestyle shot (I brought a couple shirts and jackets).
  3. Starting with the first still life I shot all 20 pieces of jewelry
  4. I then went onto the next still life and shot them all again.
  5. I started having issues with the lifestyle shots because my ears were getting sore from taking earrings in and out and so were my wrists for taking on and off bracelets. So, that part didn’t work so well.

5. Processing all those images!

Like I said, I’m not sure why I needed to do this on such a mass scale. I know that my thinking at the time was, “I have time to prep this now. In two months I will be so busy, I won’t be able to. So do this part now.” So, the good thing is that I have all of the jewelry ready to post; I just need to find time to post it!!! Anyway, the next step was organizing all of those raw images. I ended up setting up 4 folders. I used the same categories that we sorted the jewelry into in step 3.

  • Pieces that had been published in magazines.
  • Pieces that were One-Of-A-Kind.
  • Pieces that used Vintage Findings.
  • Pieces that I could reproduce again.

I then started to create individual folders for each piece of jewelry in each of the categories. For the jewelry folder names, I tried to use the SEO name that I would be listing the jewelry under on Etsy. That way, if I needed to find something, I would be able to search for it with the same Etsy name. Once all of the images were placed in their folder, it was time to start watermarking all of the photos, sizing, and color correcting. When the images were complete, they would go in another folder titled “ready for upload”.

For many of you, the systems that I came up with and the things that I learned along the way may seem like craziness. I just didn’t know what the heck I was doing. In the moment I was trying to come up with the best system as possible.

Did you find this post helpful? Do you have a better way to do it?

Continued in Part 2.

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15 thoughts on “10 Things I Learned About Etsy Part 1!

  1. Karen warren says:

    I can’t say thank you enough for your realistic etsy shop advice! This is why my shop is empty at the moment. People say, “sell your stuff on etsy!” As if that were as easy as deciding to do it. I have had several false starts on etsy. I would get all the way to the photography stage and get overwhelmed. After all, I really just want to make jewelry! And my team consists of me. I am a big fan of your line of findings, and your gorgeous jewelry. Now I am also a fan of YOU! I’m checking out your easy site right now! I hope you sell like crazy!!

    • beckynunn says:

      I’m telling you! It is a long haul. Do you have a clear outline of what all needs to get done? That will be a great help.

  2. Ellen vanHully-Bronson says:

    YES! Etsy is an incredible amount of work! If you are use to doing art fairs and doing well at them and then think ‘Oh, I can do this on etsy’….just know that it is a entirely different ballgame! Lots of learning to do just about selling online not to mention all the stuff mentioned above by Becky. I am in the process of refocusing and streamlining my shop in an effort to build sales and cut down on production time. Even so, I do love my etsy shop and I love connecting with wonderful customers from my shop. Becky – you will most likely do well on etsy as you are lucky to already have a customer base and a following. For the rest of building a strong online customer base is a topic unto itself. Best wishes to you!

    • beckynunn says:

      Thank you. I think that both types of promotions, art fairs and Etsy, work hand in hand. But there is an art to streamlining the process to make is easier. I know that it can be done.

  3. Pamela Olson says:

    I wish I had found a article like this before I set up a Etsy store. It is way more work then I ever thought it would be and of course a never ending job! How I wish I would of had that right hand friend you had for all the help. ( She can email me anytime with advice 🙂 I will keep looking for your new posts for any help in this Etsy shop journey. I still do enjoy art fairs the best but that may be because my Etsy shop still is a work in progress.
    Best of luck with your Etsy shop not that I think you will need it, beautiful items you have and great findings!!

    • beckynunn says:

      Do you capture leads at your art fairs? Encourage people to like you on Facebook or sign-up for a notification of when you post new pieces on your Etsy site? Hmm… is that another post I should do?

  4. diane says:

    I LOVED this piece !! It was so very helpful, as well as inspiring…..it’s something that I plan to do in the future, and your assistance here will be my “go to” reference sheet(s) ……I’m finding it somewhat difficult to find a way to organize my custom-made lampwork beads for my pieces, to set up some kind of system for storage that’s visual (I have to “see” what I have to begin creating) , while still knowing who made the pieces and what the costs were, etc. I’m thinking of doing a “code system” and then maintaining an expandable file with the actual data in it, etc. I think what you talked about regarding etsy will also help me in just arranging my “stash”, so that I know what I have and its details. Many thanks again for all the inspiration and guidance to artisans everywhere…..~peace

    • beckynunn says:

      Oh, that is a great topic to talk about. I’m adding it to my list. Quick comment though, I ALWAYS keep one of everything I own in a bag with the code, manufacture and cost on the outside of the bag. I also have a spreadsheet where we list all of the costs when we use it in a design. Would that be something interesting to learn about?

  5. Larissa Heskett says:

    Amazing piece as usual Becky and I CAN’T WAIT to shop your Store!! Thanks so much for sharing and for being so real about the process!! I agree I don’t think people fully understand not only the details involved, but the work that goes into running and maintaining a successful Etsy Shop!! CONGRATS and BEST Wishes!! 😉

  6. Kathleen Gallant says:

    Did you not consider that you are now in direct competition with the people who buy your product to produce their own line of jewelry? Not only that, but it is rather unfair because you are obtaining the components at significantly lower prices than what you are selling them to your regular clients making it impossible to really be competitive with you since your costs will be so much lower. I have been buying your products for several years and have always enjoyed working WITH you and your team, but now I have to COMPETE with you for those very few retail dollars. Not happy.

    • becky@nunndesign.com says:

      Thank you for your comment on the blog in regards to my selling on Etsy. I appreciate you coming forth and telling me that you weren’t happy with my choice to do so. I do hear you. I can only hope that you will be open to my reply and open to hearing my thinking.

      When I first started this process, I did so for several reasons (take a look at this post in which I address some of the reasons:
      I did not go into this choice lightly and to answer your question, I did think about competing with my customers. I thought about it for 6 months before I made the decision to move forward on Etsy.

      Here are some of my thoughts that moved me to doing it:
      1. I wasn’t knowledgable on what it was like for our customers to make and sell finished jewelry. I was inspiring people, but since I had no experience with direct to consumer, I wasn’t experiencing fully the process.

      2. As a result of this, I was designing products and building samples for the gallery that may have not been good choices for our customers. I was working and providing techniques that I had no idea if consumers would buy.

      3. Nunn Design can only be as successful as our customers. In order to move forward, I wanted to have the full experience first hand. I am not one to tell people what to do without knowing myself. For example, I wouldn’t be qualified to write an article on publishing in a magazine if I hadn’t been published. I wanted to teach people how to have a successful Etsy shop, and reading about it is just reading. DOING was another. I learned so much in this process that I am blown away at how hard it is! I am so very humbled by this process. I am in the process of part 2 of the blog posts that you commented about. In it, I go into greater detail on my learnings and share how I have learned to be the best Etsy shop I can be. All in hope that people will see. Will follow me. Will watch what is selling. Will learn from me. That we will collaborate together.

      4. I was starting to not be able to create samples to inspire with. In order to really push myself and try new things, it might take me 10 pieces to get to something new. I was getting really bogged down with creating waste, something that was so very harmful for my own creativity. Knowing that I had an outlet to try and move the pieces, really freed me up.

      5. Yes, I could of just taken those pieces and sold them out of a retail store in my own town (something I’m doing as well)…but I wanted to have more content to share on Pinterest and soon to come Instagram. These channels would help drive a desire for people go buy more goods like what I was creating. For example, Sundance Jewelry has really done a lot to help move that whole boho look to it’s popularity. My attempt is to do that too.

      I don’t expect you to agree with me and to support my choice. I’m just wanting you to know that I feel I am still working WITH you, not AGAINST you. I have 7 sales on Etsy. I’m not doing this to compete. I’m doing this to support our mission; through collaborative relationships, Nunn Design inspires and nurtures creativity. In this, I hope to create a win-win for all of us. Not a win for myself and a loose for you.

      I thank you for reading my response. I thank you for supporting Nunn Design by buying our findings. I hope that you will continue to do so in the future.

      A fellow artisan-

      • Lisa Andreen says:

        Not all of us think of you as a competitor. Let your light shine as brightly as you can, we’re following the light.
        A grateful artisan

    • Lisa Andreen says:

      I feel you’re being unfair in your coments. Every Etsy customer has a choice, every piece we create is his/her own design. You are not competing with Becky Nunn, you are competing with all of Etsy.
      Becky is not obtaining her components, she CREATED them, they are her design and we choose to purchase them and create with them. The wholesale price at which we purchase for the quality we receive is an incredible value. Making it POSSIBLE to compete with the world of Jewelry Design.
      I am proud to ride on the coattails of the Nunn Design name. it elevates my products, making it more POSSIBLE to sell them.
      I urge you to rethink your position.
      A fellow Etsy competitor.

  7. Pingback: New Etsy Listings! - Nunn Design

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