Lifestyle: How did I start my Etsy Art Shop with less than $20

Flashback to a year ago today when I talked to the first person I met in my share house in Tokyo. He was a business owner back in France. I told him I want to make money being an artist, as I was all excited pulling up my Instagram page to show him my art, he told me “I don’t know how you could make money from that”. I know that’s the response from lots of people and he was just one of the few people who said directly to my face lol.

If you are an artist, you might face the same situations, maybe multiple times, maybe from family, friends, strangers, co-workers… First, understand they’re being honest about their opinions, don’t take anything personally, they didn’t try to discourage you to satisfy their ego or anything. But then ask yourself will you 50 years from now looking back and thank that person for talking you out of doing something you really wanted to do. if the answer is no, let’s move on and get it started.

For those who visited my blog before on how I self-taught to be an artist, and read about the blog posts of my art and what inspired me. For those who left nice comments and telling me I should sell my art and seriously consider making it my career. Thank you so much, it really motivated me to have people I never met believing in me. Fashionomadic is officially an Etsy store owner now. This is what it looks like.

Fashionomadic Esty Store.png

It is very simple how to get here. didn’t take a month even. I’ve learned everything from watching youtube free tutorials. I can break it into a few steps to show how easy it is.

Etsy is a marketplace for hand made and unique items, so it already has traffic. I thought about Amazon handmade and Shopify, seems Etsy is where people go to the most for original art pieces. Most shoppers at Etsy also wants to support artists and small businesses. Some platform I have to pay a monthly fee to register, like Shopify, although I could customize the theme more. even get 7-day free trial to learn, I feel like, For a start, Esty is the best choice.

Step 1: Register Esty Account, fill in all the information.

Make sure your public profile is complete and look professional.

Etsy seller infromation .png

Make sure you fill in Finances—–Payment Setting so when you get paid it would go directly to your account.

Etsy Payment Settings.png

Step 2: Upload your product to your listing

Esty charge $0.20 for each item listed, it’s good for 6 months period, you could choose to renew automatically and manually. You can also inactive the item once you listed, you don’t have to pay again within the 4 months period or run out of stock.

Etsy Listing .png

I uploaded the digital products first, just to learn how everything works. And because I don’t have the money to make physical products, digital files I can upload them and once customer make purchases, they can download them immediately and print on their own. This is a very popular way of selling art on Esty.

digital etsy product

To have a digital file, make sure you address on the description it’s “for PERSONAL USE ONLY. Artwork may not be reproduced or resold without the permission of the artist* because it’s not the same price for commercial use. You don’t want people to take advantage of that.

It is good to have more than one files, like PDF, JPG, PNG so the buyer could choose base on their needs. You could also make a zip file if you have several digital files in one listing. On Mac, you can just right-click on a folder or files you want to zip and select “compress items”. it will show as .zip file.

Even if it’s digital, I found it helpful to show the actual product being displayed in the listing pictures. For example, my poster listing looks much better when it’s hanging on the wall.

Step 3: Find Print on Demand services that work with Esty

Again since I don’t have money to pay upfront to make manufacture products, print on demand is a great way for me to sell product without actually handling the product myself. Once customer make purchase, my design will be sending over to the print service immediately. They will handle the printing, quality check and shopping. Cost of production is bit high, but for unique pieces, people usually don’t just come to Esty for the cheapest product. You can charge the fairly and still make profit.

I used Printify, there’re a wild range of products, nice display photos and it’s free to join, free to add design and easily publish to Esty after the product is designed. So you only have to pay $0.02 to Esty for the listing. It’s mostly printed in the US or UK.


Another one works with Etsy I’ve heard a lot of nice things about is Printful, you might want to check that out too.

Step 4: Design your product on Print on Demand Services

After browsing through the products, you can put a heart on the product you like, so it saves to you “Favorite” folder. It saves a lot of time when you design a lot of products. Printify marks the bestsellers to help you, but I think it’s better to play around see which product work with your art better.

product page on printfy .png

I scan my artwork, saved in one folder. makes sure it’s under 20MB, high resolution. it will tell you if the resolution is too low might affect the product quality.

Once you upload, you could scale, rotate, you could have more than one layers of artwork.

printify design page.png

You can review Design once artwork is uploaded, pick the best key photo for the product.

printify product design.png

After that, you have the choice to edit descriptions, prices and shipping methods… Take your time on this part and recommend you to write description more personal than commercial, because people are looking for handmade unique pieces on Etsy.

This is what’s already come with the product description on Printify, it is great with production details, but I always add more of the stories on how I created my art, why it is important to me and what I want to share with the potential customers.

Printify description page.png

You can save your design to your Printify Store before Publishing the product, and publish whenever you want.

Printify publish on etsy page.png

Step 5: Publish to Etsy

Make sure the shipping information is correct. It will set automatic shipping to mostly the print service charging you, but to compete with other sellers, it may not be the best. Sometimes Esty would tell you it’s too hight the average price people pay for shipping is how much.

You have the options to Edit from here, and editing doesn’t cost money. You will also add more information about the product, add hashtags so it’s easier for buyers to find. Once you click the Edit button on the top left it goes to the same listing page on Etsy.

product pubished on Etsy .png

Step 6: Go to Etsy on your listing, fill in the rest categories, hashtags, as much info as possible on Esty.

You will also add more information about the product, add hashtags so it’s easier for potential customers to find.

When you edit shipping, you could go back to Pritify product page to “Shipping and more details” under the product picture and “print providers”  find out the shipping information, how much Printify charge you to ship and the average production time, to decide how much you want to charge customers.

Step 7: Pin your main image to Pinterest

This drove me a lot of traffic, and it’s so easy to do, just have to click on the Pinterest button on Etsy listing, and it directs you to Pinterest boards.

pin Etsy product to pinterest.png

Step 8: Advertise on Facebook, Instagram fields, stories… any type of social media.

Step 9: Get samples from the Print on Demand service, share your experience.

I don’t like to do it every day, but when I first started, I post a few items just to let my followers know what’ve been up to. I got some traffic from my social media too.

Step 10: keep posting every day, it will more likely to show up on top search results if you have enough items (at least 10 to even be getting any traffic)

So this is how I started, it’s really new but it’s a big step just to get it started. I read about the 80/20 rule, Sometimes you do 80% of the work, you may only get 20% result, I think that’s where I am now. Some point I will be doing 20% of the work and get 80% the result, follow me through my journey, I will write more about my work and results on my online shop. I believe I will get there.

I hope you start today and never look back. It is great fun just designing and learning about the business. I am happy and I want you to feel that too.

Love, Julia




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