Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

Seller How-To: Finding Your Etsy Niche

by tortillagirl

Oct 12, 2007

So you’re a seller on Etsy. You're trying to get your name out there and be noticed. However, standing out in the crowd of enormously talented sellers and the wide variety of high-quality items is no easy feat.  In fact, it can be daunting. How do you make your work seem different than everything else that's already out there?

Let's talk about finding your "niche" at Etsy and running a shop that has your distinct stamp of individuality.

Developing a unique style and approach with your shop is the best way to successfully carve out a niche for yourself. You know the items that are immediately recognizable as a certain seller's handiwork? That’s what I’m talking about. These sellers have found their niche by cultivating a style that is immediately recognizable.

Finding your Etsy niche implies not replicating what the shop next door is doing just so you can sell. It means you have to be creative, experiment with the craft you know how to do well, and define your own personal universe so that it shows in your shop and items.

Elsita is an ideal example of someone who has quickly and successfully found her niche at Etsy. Her shop has a variety of different items: dolls, jewelry, illustrations, sculptures — yet all are marked with her individual Elsita-style brand and blend harmoniously in her shop. Result? A neatly carved Elsita niche! “Success should never be a goal,” Elsita says. “Success is always the result of something else, which in my opinion is:

1. Do what you know how to do and try to do it the best you can.

2. Be yourself, use your own unique universe as a source of inspiration.

3. Don’t get used to the same thing; have fun, explore and try something different.”

Elsita’s way of exploring and defining her personal universe is through her sketchbooks and notebooks.

“My favorite one is called ‘Elsa against Asle.’ (Elsa is my name and Asle is my name spelled backwards.) This book is all about exploring ‘Asle,’ which is the part of me that I never get to know enough. Anytime I try something new in my art I get to know a part of me that it is less obvious.”  

Another successful seller with a unique sense of style is Kreativlink, who is based in Austria. Kreativlink’s handmade journals and sketchbooks have a distinctive and inimitable quality, and are easily recognizable on Etsy as...well, Kreativlink! She says, “Finding a free niche at Etsy? Almost impossible. But finding your style, that’s the thing! Don’t think whether something will sell or not. Don’t look at what others do or what others sell. Just concentrate on your thing. Experiment. Make it over. Try different materials or techniques. Go bold and crazy! Don’t think about customers, make it just for YOU. Exactly the way YOU like it. You will come up with something you truly love and it will reflect your personality and your ideas. And that’s what people like to buy here on Etsy. They do not only buy a notebook, for example. That’s available at each supermarket, and probably less expensive than what I make. What they buy is my personality, my ideas, my dreams and yeah — my journals!”

Other sellers successfully find their niche by focusing on something that is close to them, so that creating is an enjoyment. Heli of helis is a talented artist based in Turkey, and despite her many skills in various mediums (painting, drawing, ceramics, knitting, crochet, papier-mâché…you name it!), she has found her Etsy niche by dedicating her shop items to an endearing “superhero” character and the character’s friends. Helis says, “This character (and her friends) are close to my heart, and I enjoy thinking about what she will do next. This character is easy to add to different kinds of items (T-shirts, dolls, paintings, prints...maybe later small bags or pouches). There are so many possibilities with her and her friends. The 'family' is growing and can grow to eternity.”  

“For me, the important things [to cultivate] in my products are distinctiveness, good quality materials and good customer service. I sketch a lot and let my imagination fly free. I don't try to [make an] item that would sell a lot or is trendy. I make what gives me joy and will hopefully put a smile on my customers' face.”

Let your imagination fly free. Discover your personal universe. Experiment in the craft that you do well, or learn a new one and add your own individual flavor. Try to think outside the box and not do exactly what you were taught or what you see others do. Put your stamp on your items, photographs and product descriptions, and keep it consistent. Before you know it, your item listings will be easily recognizable as "yours" and you will have successfully found your own Etsy niche!