I’ve got to admit that owning a shop on Etsy is extremely challenging. There is so much to learn!  I’ve gained a lot of knowledge over the past 3 years after making many, many mistakes. And I hope to pass this knowledge onto you with this blog!  Here are the top 10 mistakes that Etsy sellers make and how to avoid them.


Copyright Infringement

As a seller who focuses on printed invitations for events such as birthdays, I see a lot of similar sellers selling products with images or phrases that they don’t own.  I will admit when I first started selling online I genuinely had no idea that you weren’t allowed to sell invitations with characters such as the Ninja Turtles. But, I totally get it now, and I preach this to many other sellers making this mistake.

You absolutely cannot sell items with Disney characters or other cartoon characters on them. Another example includes college logos. To put it simply, if you did not come up with the design or character that you are putting on your product, you cannot use it because it’s protected by copyright laws.  The original creators of those images could throw a lawsuit your way if you’re making money off of their works without their permission.

The same also goes for phrases and certain words. Phrases can be trademarked by the original creator.  For example, did you know that the word “onesie” is a trademarked word by Gerber? Although it is a common word, you still can’t use it to sell baby clothing.  You can check if a phrase is trademarked by searching the TESS database.

And, always remember that if you recieve multiple warnings from the Etsy Team about copyright infringement, your shop will be shut down permanently.

How Can I Avoid Copyright Infringement on Etsy?

If you’re a designer you must create unique designs, period. Don’t even try to get away with using the phrase “inspired”, such as “Disney inspired” because that will not protect you at all. Also be sure to double check the TESS database before creating anything with a certain phrase.


Bad Photography

If you take a look at some of the most successful shops on Etsy you will notice that their photography is on point.  Having excellent photography should be a top priority when listing an item. The customer needs to see a detailed example of what they’re purchasing.  Too often photos are dark, blurry, and just look plain awkward.

How can I improve the photography of my products on Etsy?

Research great photography tips. You can also invest in a lightbox or create one yourself.  Pictures can be taken with cell phones, but if you really want a crisp high resolution photo then you may want to look into a DSLR camera.  There are plenty of photography tips available online, including:


Poor SEO

Another common mistake that other Etsy sellers make is having poor SEO.  SEO (search engine optimization) is a list of different strategies that help to improve your overall ranking in search.  There are numerous ways to improve the SEO in your Etsy shop such as researching for the best keywords and using all 13 tags in your listings.  SEO is a constant evolving thing that all Etsy sellers must stay on top of in order to appear higher in search.

How can I improve the SEO for my Etsy shop?

Don’t blow off learning about SEO. Really take the time to research ways to improve the SEO for your Etsy shop.  There are tons of great articles and tutorials available online for free.  Here are a few:


Not Providing Enough Details

When selling items online it is extremely important to be extra detailed.  You just can’t list a product with 3 sentences in your description and expect people not to have questions.  And, if people have questions chances are that they won’t reach out to ask you. They will move onto someone who sells something similar that lists all important details.  Here is the structure of all of my listings:

  1. Intro – I include a quick sentence describing what the item is.
  2. Details of what’s included – The size, quantity, and quality of the item.
  3.  Shipping – how long processing takes, how the item is shipped and how long shipping takes.

And, although a return policy doesn’t apply too much to my shop, I would suggest that include that information in your listing also.


Not Being Optimistic

I often witness a lot of sellers feeling pretty down about their shop because they aren’t getting views, favorites, or sales.  You can’t just sit there and expect sales to come pouring in. The trick is to be optimistic and to really work hard on your shop.

Whatever you do, don’t close your shop!

How can I avoid feeling down about my Etsy shop?

When sales are slow and you start to get down on yourself it’s important to be optimistic. Take the time to research more Etsy shop tips or create new products to sell.


Not Having a lot of Products

Some sellers get worried about low sales when they only have 5 items in their shop.  Unfortunately you’re not going to get a lot of sales unless you have a large variety of items in your shop.  Some experienced sellers will say that sales will start to pick up when you have over 100 items in your shop. This is partially true. There is no magic number of items to keep in stock, but if you have more items available for sale then there’s a bigger chance that you’ll sell more items.

How can I add more items to my Etsy shop?

Just keep creating more products. Create, create, create. Don’t stop. If you have a true passion for what you do then ideas should be pouring out of you. Be careful not to overwhelm yourself though, take a break when needed.

There’s no limit on the amount of items that you can have in your shop. I’m almost up to 1000 products and I still have motivation to create.


Not Being Unique

A lot of Etsy shop owners are too focused on what’s selling. When selling on Etsy you have to remember that it’s important to create unique items to stand out from the crowd. Don’t just focus on what’s selling.

How can I create unique products on Etsy?

Instead of taking ideas from other sellers on Etsy, focus on what you would want to buy or ask other people for ideas of what they would like to buy.


Wrong Pricing

It’s very surprising that many sellers often neglect pricing their items correctly.  I’ve witnessed some sellers pricing their items far too low.  When you sell your items you have to remember that you have to pay yourself for your time and not just the materials used to make the product.

How can I avoid pricing my items wrong on Etsy?

While there’s no perfect formula for pricing your items, the first thing that you should do is set an hourly wage for yourself and factor that wage into your pricing.  Here are a few excellent articles and tools about pricing your handmade items on Etsy:


Not Marketing

This is the mistake that I myself am most guilty of.  Sometimes I’m so busy with orders or creating new products that I totally forget about marketing my products.  There are many ways to promote your handmade products such as being active on social media, blogging, or simply by networking!

How can I market my Etsy shop?

If you want to bring in some serious sales then you should start marketing.  Mark a specific time of day to focus on nothing but marketing.  Read up on pinning on Pinterest or posting on Instagram.  Learn everything that you can about marketing. I promise that it will pay off!


Not Doing Enough Research

Finally, one of the top mistakes that I notice is that a lot of Etsy sellers fail to do their research on owning a shop.  There’s a lot more to selling on Etsy than just listing items for sale and waiting for sales to roll in.  You have to learn about marketing, SEO, and many other things.

Where can I get information about owning a shop on Etsy?

There are so many websites that offer loads of information about owning a shop on Etsy.  My blog is one of them. Here are the top websites that I personally refer to:


Hopefully this blog has helped you pin point any mistakes that you’re making with your Etsy shop. Let me know in the comments if these tips helped to improve your shop!


10 Mistakes Etsy Sellers Make and How to Avoid Them

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