Choosing the Perfect Products to Sell on Etsy

Choosing the Perfect Products to Sell on Etsy

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Basics of Selling on Etsy
    • What is Etsy
    • Why Sell on Etsy
    • Setting Up Your Etsy Shop
    • Choosing Your Products
  3. Types of Products Allowed on Etsy
    • Physical Products
      • Handmade
      • Vintage
      • Print on Demand
      • Craft Supplies
    • Digital Products
      • Instant Downloads
      • Made to Order Files
  4. What is Not Allowed on Etsy
    • Reselling Mass Manufactured Items
    • Prohibited Items
    • Services on Etsy
  5. Tips for Selling on Etsy
    • Optimizing Product Listings
    • Promoting Your Shop
    • Providing Excellent Customer Service
    • Managing Inventory and Orders
  6. Scaling Your Etsy Business
    • Establishing a Brand
    • Expanding Product Range
    • Utilizing Social Media and Advertising
    • Collaborating with Others
  7. Conclusion


Are you a beginner in the world of selling online? Do you have an interest in setting up shop on Etsy but feel overwhelmed by where to start? Look no further! In this Etsy 101 Series, we will walk you through the foundations of selling on Etsy, providing you with a crash course in all things Etsy. Whether you're a complete novice or just looking to brush up on your knowledge, this article is the perfect place to begin your journey. In this first installment, we will delve into the topic of what to sell on Etsy, exploring the specific types of products allowed on the platform and helping you determine if Etsy is the right marketplace for your business. Let's jump right in!

Basics of Selling on Etsy

What is Etsy?

Before we dive into the specifics of what you can sell on Etsy, let's start with a brief introduction to the platform itself. Etsy is a global online marketplace that specializes in handmade, vintage, and unique goods. It provides a platform for independent sellers to showcase and sell their products to a worldwide audience. With millions of active buyers, Etsy offers a vibrant and supportive community for artisans, crafters, and creators of all kinds.

Why Sell on Etsy?

If you're wondering why you should choose Etsy as your selling platform, let us reassure you that it comes with several compelling reasons. Firstly, Etsy has a highly targeted audience of buyers who specifically seek out handmade and unique items. This means that you have a ready-made market of customers who value craftsmanship and individuality. Additionally, Etsy provides a user-friendly interface, robust seller tools, and built-in marketing opportunities, making it easier for sellers to set up and manage their shops. Lastly, the Etsy community is known for its supportiveness, with sellers often collaborating and sharing tips and advice to help each other succeed.

Setting Up Your Etsy Shop

Now that you understand the basics of Etsy, it's time to set up your own shop. Setting up an Etsy shop is a straightforward process that involves creating an account, choosing a shop name, and providing relevant information about your business. Take the time to carefully craft your shop name, as it will become part of your brand identity on Etsy. Once your shop is set up, you can customize it further by adding a shop banner, logo, and policies that align with your brand and products.

Choosing Your Products

One of the most crucial decisions you'll make as an Etsy seller is what products to offer in your shop. Etsy allows sellers to offer two main categories of products: physical and digital. Let's explore each category in more detail.

Types of Products Allowed on Etsy

Physical Products

Physical products are tangible items that customers can purchase and receive through shipping. Etsy permits four main subcategories for physical products: handmade, vintage, print-on-demand, and craft supplies.


Handmade products are items that you, as the seller, create or design yourself. You have two roles within the handmade category: maker and designer. If you're the maker, you physically hand-make the products yourself. If you're the designer, you design the items with your own original designs but partner with a manufacturing partner to produce them. It's crucial to disclose if you're working with a production partner in your shop. Examples of handmade products include candles, wood signs, wreaths, and baby blankets.


In the vintage category, you can sell items that are at least 20 years old or older. These are genuine vintage items, not just vintage-style products. Etsy attracts specific shoppers who are looking for unique vintage finds, making it an excellent platform for vintage sellers. Keep in mind that each listing for a vintage item must be one-of-a-kind, as you cannot resell the same item repeatedly.


Print-on-demand (POD) is a popular model where the seller designs the products, but a third-party printing company handles production, fulfillment, and shipping. As a POD seller on Etsy, you need to select a print-on-demand provider that offers the types of products you want to offer. It's essential to examine their catalog, integration with Etsy, and base price to ensure they align with your business goals. Examples of POD products include t-shirts, mugs, and art prints.

Craft Supplies

Craft supplies are tools, materials, or ingredients intended for use in creating new handmade items. Unlike reselling mass-manufactured items, Etsy allows the sale of craft supplies as long as they serve a crafting purpose. Examples of craft supplies include ribbons, paints, fabric yardage, beads, and blanks for crafting projects.

Digital Products

In addition to physical products, Etsy also allows sellers to offer digital products. Digital products are intangible files that customers can download and use. There are two subcategories of digital products on Etsy: instant downloads and made-to-order files.

Instant Downloads

Instant downloads are files that buyers can download immediately after purchasing. These files do not require any customization or editing by the seller. Examples of instant download files include digital art prints, sewing patterns, and party printables. Sellers can upload up to five files per listing, making it possible to offer bundles or collections of digital products.

Made-to-Order Files

Made-to-order files are digital products that require customization or personalization by the seller. When a customer purchases a made-to-order file, they provide the necessary information or details for the seller to create the final customized file. Once the seller completes the customization, they upload the final file to the order, and the customer can then download it. Examples of made-to-order files include personalized party invitations and custom business logos.

What is Not Allowed on Etsy

While Etsy provides a great platform for selling unique and handmade products, there are certain things that are not allowed on the platform. These include:

Reselling Mass Manufactured Items

Etsy strictly prohibits the reselling of mass-manufactured items. As a seller, you cannot buy bulk items from suppliers and sell them as your own without any modifications. To sell manufactured items on Etsy, you need to add value or uniqueness to the product through personalization or customization. For example, you can sell plain tumblers but add personalized designs or engravings to make them unique.

Prohibited Items

Etsy has a list of prohibited items that sellers are not allowed to sell on the platform. These include weapons, hazardous materials, counterfeit items, and illegal products. It is essential to familiarize yourself with this list to ensure you are not unknowingly offering any prohibited items. Selling prohibited items can result in the closure of your Etsy shop.

Services on Etsy

In general, Etsy does not allow the sale of services on the platform. However, there is an exception for services that result in a new tangible item being delivered to the buyer. For instance, if you offer custom writing and design services, you can sell them on Etsy as long as they are accompanied by a final file or tangible product. Examples of such services include personalized writing and design services, such as custom business logos or shop reviews.

Tips for Selling on Etsy

Now that you have a better understanding of what you can sell on Etsy, let's explore some tips to help you succeed as an Etsy seller. These tips will help you optimize your product listings, promote your shop, provide excellent customer service, and manage your inventory and orders effectively.

Optimizing Product Listings

When creating your product listings, it's crucial to optimize them for visibility and searchability. This includes using relevant keywords in your titles, descriptions, and tags. High-quality product photos and clear, concise descriptions are also essential for attracting potential buyers. Additionally, you can consider using Etsy's promoted listings feature to increase your product's visibility in search results.

Promoting Your Shop

Promoting your Etsy shop is essential for attracting a steady stream of buyers. Utilize social media platforms and email marketing to showcase your products and engage with your target audience. Collaborating with influencers or joining Etsy seller communities can also help increase your shop's visibility. Regularly updating your shop with new products and promotions will keep customers coming back for more.

Providing Excellent Customer Service

Customer service plays a significant role in the success of your Etsy shop. Respond promptly to inquiries, and provide accurate and helpful information to potential buyers. Shipping orders promptly and ensuring they are well-packaged will leave a positive impression on your customers. Offering exceptional service and addressing any issues or concerns promptly will increase customer satisfaction and encourage repeat business.

Managing Inventory and Orders

As your Etsy business grows, it's essential to stay organized and manage inventory effectively. Keep track of your stock levels and replenish popular items to avoid running out of supplies. Utilize Etsy's order management tools to track orders, print shipping labels, and streamline your fulfillment process. Promptly mark orders as shipped to keep your customers informed and maintain a professional image.

Scaling Your Etsy Business

Once you have established your Etsy shop and found success in selling, you may want to explore ways to scale your business further. Here are some strategies to consider:

Establishing a Brand

Building a strong brand will help differentiate your shop from competitors and create a memorable impression on customers. Develop a unique brand identity, including a consistent logo, color scheme, and tone of voice. Utilize packaging and branding materials that reflect your brand's aesthetic. Consistency across all touchpoints will help build trust and loyalty among your customer base.

Expanding Product Range

As you gain traction on Etsy, consider expanding your product range to cater to different customer needs and preferences. Conduct market research to identify new product ideas or variations of existing products that have the potential for success. Seek customer feedback and analyze sales data to understand which products are popular and in demand. By diversifying your product offerings, you can attract a broader customer base and maximize your sales potential.

Utilizing Social Media and Advertising

Social media platforms can be powerful tools for promoting your Etsy shop and driving traffic to your listings. Create engaging content that showcases your products, offers valuable insights, and appeals to your target audience. Share behind-the-scenes glimpses into your creative process and leverage influencers or brand ambassadors to increase your reach. Consider running targeted ads on platforms like Instagram or Facebook to reach a wider audience and drive sales.

Collaborating with Others

Collaborating with other Etsy sellers or complementary businesses can open up new opportunities for growth. Consider partnering with influencers for product promotions or joining forces with other sellers for cross-promotions. Collaborative events or online pop-up shops can also attract attention and generate buzz for your products. By leveraging the collective power of a network, you can expand your reach and tap into new customer segments.


Congratulations! You have now gained a comprehensive understanding of what you can sell on Etsy. From handmade and vintage items to digital downloads and craft supplies, Etsy offers a diverse range of product categories to suit various sellers' needs. Remember to always abide by Etsy's policies and guidelines to ensure a successful and thriving business. Implement the tips provided to optimize your listings, promote your shop effectively, offer excellent customer service, and scale your Etsy business. The world of Etsy selling is at your fingertips – embrace the creativity, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit that comes with being an Etsy seller. Good luck on your Etsy journey!

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