The Great Etsy Thread

I started an Etsy store 2 years ago. I only have about 6-7 items on it, and keep meaning to put more. But it’s almost paid off my GF. You can see it at:

My sales this year tripled from last year. I have one item which I added (the land station) which is very popular.

I really like selling designs on it rather than the physical items. That means I don’t have to ship anything. It’s great. They account for about 1/4 of my sales.

I need to find the time to put more designs on it.

I would love to see your stores as well, just to see what kind of items people make.


Sometimes I think about selling items, but I always talk myself out of it. “Making this was easy, therefore who would want it?” That probably isn’t fair, but it’s always my gut reaction!

(Edit to add: A lot of the things that might be fun to make and popular to sell are out of bounds because of art clearance issues.)


as someone who consistently knows nothing, what art clearance issues?

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I am USA Based, Arizona to be specific. My shop on Etsy has been open since 2012 but only started listing items in 2016. I do really well with sales, especially during the holiday season. I just got my GF Dec 12th, so still figuring out the kinks and what not. (My husband is a graphic designer and I work daily in Adobe Illustrator so there wasn’t much of a learning curve for the designs and what not. More of making the laser “print” exactly where we want it. ) I have previously purchased from a friend laser cut wood items for my items in my shop. Main reason for the GF purchase was to be able to cut my own items.

Something I tried different this year with Etsy was Google Analytics as well as really paying attention to the Etsy stats page. I found out that most of my sales comes from people searching for my item in the actual Etsy site verses social media and Google. So I focused my advertising on that. I do have Instagram as well as business Facebook page. I tried advertising through Etsy as well as google this year as well. I like it because you can set your “per click” max for your monthly budget. It brought in some orders. I might stop the google ad since the holidays are over.

I’m hoping to add more GF items to my shop, like puzzles, holiday signs or even digital files.

Great Thread!



In short if you recognize a piece of artwork from somewhere else, like a logo from a game… you probably should not sell an item featuring that artwork unless you have a business arrangement with the owner of the artwork.


Are you in any other way affiliated with Etsy? Specifically, are you either directly or indirectly employed by Etsy?

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Unfortunately, copyright and trademark law completely upends any attempt to be short about it. Your hardline take is probably simplest and will probably keep you out of trouble, but there is definitely room for transformative works. I’m no lawyer, but I am all about fair use provisions, because without them corporations get yet another free pass to quash competition/derivative works, and that’s no good for innovation.

Click for a semirelated anti-Disney rant if you like.

Just look at how Disney has totally destroyed copyright law to maintain an iron grip on Mickey Mouse, a character that was originally stolen from other sources. See also: remaking movies in their catalog mostly to renew copyright claims. Were people really clamoring for that dead-eyes Lion King remake?

On the other hand, The Mandalorian was pretty good. :wink:


You are technically correct, the best kind of correct! I was definitely trying to keep it short and conservative. I DO support pushing back via fair use & transformative works.


(Editing this a bit:)

I’ve had an Etsy shop for 12 years or so, and fortunately for me each year my business increases–growing “organically” as I don’t use advertising or even social media much. I do a lot of in-person sales too.

But as far as a specific Etsy thread here–I don’t recommend it as Etsy has an extensive forum and user guides already that is better way to address Etsy specific issues than here (besides, the forum here is not really set up for a multi-issue topics within a never ending thread…).

A couple years ago for about a year I was scanning the Etsy forum daily–sometimes learned things, or able to help others, as my experience here. But Etsy’s own forum is the best place to go to for information about selling on Etsy and the changes on Etsy.

The Glowforge forum is refreshing because it’s focus is sharing the Glowforge technical issues/resolutions, how to improve your own skills and great ideas and examples of others creation. And not about how-tos for using a marketplace to sell your goods.


I like to learn about many things and if it’s helpful, why not have a post about Etsy? There is a lot to learn.

I have two Etsy stores (for separate things, things I’m currently reevaluating after getting the Glowforge). My stores were intentionally small due to time constraints, but I had some unique items that took a unique spin on something for a specific audience that went over well.

My random thoughts about Etsy about things I’ve learned:

  • It’s crucial to take time with creating your listing and using the right wording.
  • offering something unique or a unique take on a common item has been most successful for me
  • I stay away from trademarked designs and copyrights. It’s not worth it. (I’ve heard horror stories.) In my opinion, there are so many other ways to make your own designs, or you can purchase designs that have a commercial license that you can use to make a physical item that you sell. (Like a design from DesignBundles and then make something on the GF with that design and sell it.) Or maybe something can be inspired by something else without violating a trademark or copyright.
    *I use Pirateship for shipping to save money. It’s the cheapest and it integrates with Etsy. As far as the Etsy free shipping thing that’s been discussed like here, it does take some work to figure out what works best with pricing and all that.
  • selling digital downloads is appealing because you expend effort once to make something well, and high quality, and then you can sell it an infinite number of times! :tada: With that said, I haven’t sold designs yet because I’m still tossing around some decisions I need to make. (If I do sell the designs, that may help me from people who stole a couple of my designs from seeing them on Facebook, ugh!)
  • I had a website and an Etsy store that I started about the same time, and Etsy was much more successful with getting new customers.

I’d love to hear others tidbits and tips. That’s where I’ve learned the most - from others in discussions like these!


These are all good tips–but why recreate the wheel when the best source is just another site a couple clicks away–Etsy’s own pages for all the guides and extensive forums (15+ years worth) that already exist with everything you’ve already noted and much, much, MUCH more about creating listings, optimizing a shop, payment processing, sales tax, fulfilling orders and handling your own licensing and tax situations when having a shop on Etsy. (There are hundreds, if not thousands of threads on each of those).
(editing out a bit).

There are many issues that need to be considered for any seller–and all of that information does exist in the forums and guides for those marketplaces.

I’m not against the occasional tip or reference here , but it’s so much more effective to go to the source site for information regarding that service/product–I used to spend a lot of time on the Etsy forum, so I know all of these issues noted here already–and more–have been exhaustively addressed there…

And if one really wants a forum to discuss selling GF creations on Etsy–I think it would be more effective to create a TEAM on Etsy that sellers can join for faster/easier access to all information related to Etsy itself for laser specific product issues…

I guess I don’t understand why it’s a problem. :thinking:When it comes to any type of forum, if I don’t want to participate, I don’t. It doesn’t mean other people can’t talk about something. (And I scroll past if I don’t want to read.) Seems like there is room for everyone here to talk freely! :heart_eyes:


Not sure why I feel so bothered about the idea of Etsy topic here on this forum :thinking:–it is nice the forum is so open & free!
But has been nice so far because there’s not much specific about any specific sales avenue, that it’s been refreshing that way. (Not to say there aren’t occasional questions about photos for listings, or ideas for booths at shows for items or taking the actual unit, but a specific/dedicated thread tweaked a nerve… and I wish I hit cancel :zipper_mouth_face:, not reply :frowning_face:).

I’m located in the UK and find 90% of my sales go to the USA.

I was just imagining the shipping costs from UK to USA. It seems like it would be crazy!

I also used Instagram to advertise my stuff but I’m not sure how many of my sales are as a result of Instagram.

There may be a way to track parts of that. There are so many free apps that track a lot of IG stuff. If you really felt it was important and helpful, that is.

Thanks all for getting the ball rolling!

Yeah this happens to me a lot. sometimes it also seem to get me sales on other items.

I found this was Ok for me and didn’t effect me to much but I think that’s because most my items are below the minimum price requirement.

If you don’t mind me asking what is your side hustle? It like to find a way to get a few more bespoke projects from other places than Etsy. But seems word of mouth is mostly needed for this.

Very nice store! I have a few 3D printer files on mine but I don’t sell many of them. But I agree those are good sales to have as require no extra work.

I have not got any Laserable files on my store. Do you find they sell quite well?

Just give it a try ! Worst case you are maybe down a few Pounds/ Dollars to list the items and can then stop after a few months if you get no sales but on the other hand you could find you get a few sales and you at least pay for more laser materials.

I found it a lot more seasonal this year than I did in my first year. However last January it was dead for me all month but I am currently doing Ok this January so hopefully thats signs of the year ahead.

I am definitely not in anyway affiliated with Etsy apart from having my own shop. why ? Did I come across as maybe being some Etsy spy?

I hear what you are saying but I respectful disagree. I think there is extra merit that can be gained from the users of this forum. I think engaging in a conversation is always a useful thing. I also think this community will be better to chat with as we will have very similar experiences. I’m sure I could find Glowforge owners on the Etsy forum but I also know I can find them here.

It has an “everything else” section that are for threads like this

I do thank you for pointing out Etsy’s own forum as a resource for people who might not be aware it of but I really don’t think there is a problem with talking about Etsy here. If this thread dies out in a few months or even days then that’s fine but it maybe at least beneficial to most people chatting and sharing there experiences.

But as Truallu says

If it really bothers you, you don’t have to read this thread

Its not to bad for most my items its about £6. I did ship something to Singapore

the other day that was £11 that hit me a bit hard but now i know for the next time.

Thanks ill check them out!

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I need to read up on which apps do what because I also would like track traffic from IG. I know you do it from IG to a website, but not sure about Etsy. (But maybe you could at least track who/count of clicks of links you share on IG that go to Etsy?)

I haven’t researched this yet (have a lot on my plate), but this article looks like it might be helpful.

You wouldn’t if you were any good at it Mr. Bond.

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I suppose I said exactly what a spy would say in this situation. I guess my true intentions will remain unknown.


I’m noticing a lot more views this January compared to last. Anyone else seeing this?

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