10 Top Etsy Parents Reveal Their Secrets to Standing Out in a Competitive Market


You’ve come up with the next big thing. This thing blows all other things out of the water — it’s beautiful, it’s functional, it’s delicious and nutritious. Above all, it’s what everyone needs right now. But no one is buying it.

So many brilliant ideas and products fall through the gaps, unnoticed, while others are selling like hot cakes. The difference between a successful product and a dud is often very small — a personal touch or slightly better branding — which distinguishes it from the competition. So what is the best way to stand out in a competitive market? Our top 50 Etsy parents know, and 10 of them have told us their secrets to rising above the competition. Take notes! — Max Minckler

  • Use High Quality Photos 1 of 10

    In an online market where people cannot pick up and touch your product, it is absolutely paramount that your pictures stand out among your competitors'. That will give you the edge you need to attract new customers quickly.

    —Jo, 42 Things

  • Cover Every Base 2 of 10

    Try to be the best at every aspect of your business. Learn to take great photos, answer customer inquiries as quickly as possible, and be thorough with your descriptions and policies. Just generally try to offer your customers the best experience you can, as every aspect of that experience reflects on you.

    —Jennifer, A Merry Mishap 

  • Emphasize Your Uniqueness 3 of 10

    The handmade market is saturated in almost every medium, so you have to find a way to put your own twist on a product that's in high demand. Because greeting cards are everywhere online, I've hand-painted most of them on Kraft paper. I think this gives them an uncommon look that reflects my unique perspective.

    — Ashley, Ashley Pahl

  • The Power of Branding 4 of 10

    Branding your shop is a very important element to being noticed. Think about your shop, your signature item, and how you want to appear to your customers. Think about what draws you into a shop and makes you want to spend time browsing. There are plenty of affordable shops on Etsy that will design a banner and an avatar for you to get your brand up and running. These are the first impressions you will give a potential customer — and the most important. Never be afraid to send shop owners private messages asking who designed their banners and logos. Most shop owners are glad to help someone who is new to the wonderful world of Etsy!

    —Rebecca, Hopewell Creek

  • Strong Writing for a Strong Sell 5 of 10

    I believe the two most important ideas to keep in mind when selling online are featuring fantastic pictures and including a detailed description. Because customers cannot touch your products before purchasing them, it's important that pictures and words are able to sell your items. Quality craftsmanship is also incredibly important, but if you cannot captivate your customers and get them to hit "submit" on their orders, they will never get to experience your craftsmanship.

    — Erin and Nick, Imagination Kids Toys

  • Do Not Oversell Your Product 6 of 10

    I try very hard not to follow trends despite the fact that this may hurt me if the audience is looking for what is "in." I have done very well staying more classically in style while maintaining a modern edge. I also go out on a limb to make a striking, detail-oriented trade show booth at the National Stationery Show. I never settle for makeshift materials at shows and am never overbearing in salesmanship. If the work is good and you believe in it, and you have great customer service and stay on top of promotion, you will be fine. It is hard work, but you can always tell when something is overworked or copied.

    —Tara, INK + WIT

  • Be True to Your Own Style 7 of 10

    I've tried to make my brand memorable by maintaining consistent packaging and labeling that's eye-catching in shop photographs. Staying true to yourself and your brand is very important, too — especially as you curate your product assortment. Be you, and chances are the products you create will fit right in.

    —Erin, Knot and Bow


  • Take Your Time with Designs 8 of 10

    Our designs and our craftsmanship set us apart. As designers, we have our own voices and we trust our instincts, but it's important to maintain a critical eye when we design a new toy.

    —David and Adrienne, Manzanita Kids

  • Stay Authentic and Personal 9 of 10

    We pride ourselves on our "Minnesota Nice" feel and try to make all of our customers as pleased as possible with their purchases. We put great personal care not only into our products but also into our marketing, packaging, and communication efforts. Despite the influx of competitors in our market, our brand has remained resilient — and we've been able to stand behind it — because it's 110 percent authentic.

    —Katie and William, Oh Dier

  • Reward Your Loyal Customers 10 of 10

    I was lucky to get into blogging just as it was becoming popular — at a point when not many of us were around. This allowed me to create a strong online presence and to build a loyal group of readers, who quickly became a loyal customer base. I have continued to stand out by maintaining a strong aesthetic and a high standard of work.

    —Manda, Treefall Design

Want more from Babble’s Work/Shop series? Check out our past features below:

14 crafting tools Etsy parents can’t live without

15 resources that will set your business up for success

17 tips on starting your own business

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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