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Is Etsy a Good Place for Artists and Illustrators?

I have been doing a deep dive into Etsy this year and wanted to share some of my findings with you all.  Spoiler: I am having so much fun sending my art to buyers around the world and getting to see what designs speak to them!

More of a Reading Person?

One of the most common questions in my inbox is: Is Etsy a good place for illustrators and artists to be?

I started my Etsy shop with just a few greeting cards and was so surprised to see that they started selling immediately.  You might, like I did, believe that Etsy is saturated, but when you’re coming from the print-on-demand world like me you know the REAL meaning of over-saturated.

I’ve found it so much easier to get found on Etsy by using great tags. titles, and descriptions and making sure my artwork is different from anything else available on Etsy

The Etsy market is not nearly as over-saturated as some platforms like Society6 and Redbubble have become, and you can use ads to get higher up in search, so even if you feel like a total newbie who will never get found, there is hope for you!  The other plus side of Etsy is that you can use a fulfillment partner like Printful to have your orders automatically processed and shipped without you doing anything at all!

Of course the downside of using print-on-demand services is you don’t get to put your eyes on it, so if orders are damaged or missing pieces, you may not know until you get a bad review.  I have struggled a bit with the shipping process quality for my cards through Printful, so as of now I’m shipping all my cards myself, and letting Printful ship my stickers for me since those are unlikely to be damaged in shipping.

It’s also nice to be able to put a personal touch on Etsy packages because that is one of the things that buyers expect when they buy on Etsy — a connection to a creative, not just a purchase from a company.

Overall, whether you ship your own products or use a print-on-demand service, I think Etsy is still a great place for artists and designers to sell their work.  The key is to think about SEO as you create your designs.  SEO means Search Engine Optimization which sounds very fancy but it just means using words in your listings that your customers will type in search to find you.

So if I sell a North Carolina sticker I will make a list of tags and keywords that I want to include in my titles, tags, and descriptions as I create my listing.  The words might look like this:

  • North Carolina
  • Carolina Mountains
  • NC Flower
  • Charlotte NC
  • Raleigh NC
  • Carolina Girl

The more you can come up with, the better, and the more places you write them, the better!  If you can’t come up with any words for your art, it may mean that the art you are making isn’t ideal for products, so it may be time to start creating with finished products in mind.

Interested in learning more about Etsy and creating artwork for products?  I share my whole process for designing artwork and selling it online in my classes!

Design a Greeting Card Collection Class

See my whole process for designing a greeting card collection from idea to ready-to-sell product.

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