The 3 Essential Tools for Successful Etsy Shop

Personal picutre
Miroslav Novohradsky
Founder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn...Read more

Do you need any specific tools to be successful on Etsy?

For research, for graphic resources, for designing?

Hmm… let me tell you a story of mine.

My phone woke me up at the crack of dawn one morning.

I rolled over with a groan, wondering what notifications I had received so early in the morning.

I glanced at my phone to see “Congratulations! XXX just placed an order from your Etsy shop!.

Order? What order? I thought blearily.

In that moment, the fog lifted from my brain as I remembered – I had opened an Etsy shop selling t-shirt designs a few weeks ago!

I scrambled to sit up in bed, suddenly wide awake.

My little Etsy shop had its very first sale!

My crazy idea to start selling graphic designs online was actually working!

Opening an Etsy shop had been on my vision board for years.

I’d always loved making pottery and dreaming up quirky home decor items in my spare time.

One day I decided to finally go for it – I would start small selling a few things, and see if anyone liked my style.

Well, it turned out that people did like what I was making enough to pull out their wallets!

But no one prepared me for the rollercoaster ride of running an Etsy business I suddenly found myself on.

I quickly learned I needed more than just creativity and good photos.

If I really wanted to turn this passion project into real income, I was missing a few must-have tools.

The First Month: A Wild Ride Of Trial And Error

Tools for Successful Shop Etsy

That initial sale was just the beginning.

Over the next few weeks, orders trickled in consistently for my designs.

My one-man show turned into long nights of improving designs, watching orders, and being sure that all had been shipped out.

I was over the moon that people wanted what I was making, but also overwhelmed trying to juggle it all.

Most nights I collapsed into bed thinking, is this what it’s like running a real business?

Some orders got shipped a little late. Other times I missed messages from customers inquiring if I could customize a piece.

And in my race to keep creating new things, I started just making whatever caught my eye rather than focusing on consistent bestsellers.

After that adrenaline-packed first month, I knew I couldn’t sustain this pace forever.

I started asking other Etsy sellers for advice.

Many echoed similar growing pains – inventory getting disorganized, marketing efforts not yielding results, and sales starting to plateau.

I realized from these conversations that I had dove head-first into Etsy without using tools that could save me time and money.

Just making a pretty product page with nice photos wasn’t enough.

I decided then and there to step up my game. It was time to level up with the right tools if I wanted to turn this passion into profit!

Alura: Research Done Right

Tools for Successful Shop Etsy

The first problem I had to tackle was figuring out what to make that would sell.

That initial batch of ceramic coasters I threw together on a whim did well. But now I needed to be more strategic.

Rather than looking aimlessly around Etsy for inspiration, I learned about an incredible tool called Alura. This has become my go-to for intelligently deciding what products to spend my time making.

Alura is almost like a search engine just for Etsy. You can look up metrics for different product categories – how many listings there are, estimated sales volume, and even related keywords and long-tail searches buyers might use to find you.

For example, before investing days in handcrafting a new batch of ceramic wall plaques, I can run the keyword through Alura first.

This tells me that hundreds of people search for that term each month. But it also shows thousands of competitors making them already.

So I might want to niche down more or try something else.

Conversely, if I think enamel pins would be fun to design, Alura confirms only a couple of sellers focusing there. Over 3,500 buyers each month want lapel pins but don’t have enough options.

That insight gets the wheels turning – I could corner that untapped market!

Alura takes the guesswork out of deciding what to make. I now rely on it before creating any new product, saving myself time and money. I wish I had known about it on day one!

Test the Alura tool for free

Canva: Professional Listings Without Design Skills

Essential Tools for Successful Shop Etsy

Once I figured out winning products, the next puzzle was creating attractive listing images to showcase them.

As an artist, I knew how to style and photograph my work.

But turning those photos into polished graphics with text overlays felt overwhelming.

I wasn’t sure where to start – do I need to buy image editing software? Take online design courses? Outsource it?

Then a seller friend turned me onto Canva, which has been an absolute game-changer.

This free graphic design platform has thousands of easy drag-and-drop templates, fonts, icons, and design elements. You can create social media posts, product labels, banners, logos, and more.

Now when inspiration strikes for a new ceramic piece, I snap some artistic photos and then immediately open Canva.

In just minutes I build a complete Etsy listing graphic without needing to know complex design techniques.

Canva’s library even has specific dimensions for Etsy product images. I customize those templates by dropping in my photos, playing with text styles and frames, and adding my logo.

Just like that, I have a shop-worthy creation ready to upload and sell!

The designs I can make for free with Canva rival the ones I used to pay a graphic artist for.

It has become my secret weapon for crafting professional listings and marketing graphics quickly.

Creative Fabrica: Levels Up My Visuals

File Formats on Creative Fabrica

Between Alura and Canva, I felt like I conquered my early problems by figuring out what to make and designing nice listings for them.

My revamped Etsy shop was operating much more smoothly. Sales grew steadily as I focused efforts on proven best-sellers.

But after about six months, progress plateaued yet again. I had repeat customers who still loved my work.

Yet it seemed harder to organically attract new eyes.

Scouring other successful Etsy shops, I noticed a common theme — truly next-level product listings popped with dazzling fonts, graphics, mockups, and more.

These visual elements made their work stand out while mine now felt just alright.

I didn’t know the first place to source special design assets though. A fellow seller told me about Creative Fabrica, which has become my secret resource for dazzling up my shop!

This digital marketplace contains hundreds of thousands of design elements from independent creators. We’re talking fonts, patterns, icons, scenes, textures — an absolute goldmine of creative resources.

Everything on Creative Fabrica also comes with licensing terms, so I know quickly if assets will be commercially usable for Etsy. This gives me a treasure trove of eye-catching visuals perfectly suited for leveling up my listings.

Now when designing new products in Canva, I take an extra minute to peruse Creative Fabrica too.

Adding a splash of gorgeous unique graphics or stylish fonts makes my work feel luxurious and special. It catches the buyer’s attention right away compared to my previous simpler listings.

I only wish I had unlocked this secret to stand-out visuals earlier!

Paired with Canva for easy designing, Creative Fabrica helps my work feel elevated and irresistible to buyers. My sales growth in the months after reflects this visual glow-up for sure.

Try Creative Fabrica for free

The Bottom Line

Reflecting on my first whirlwind year selling online, it’s been quite the adventure getting my Etsy shop off the ground!

And while creative endeavors will always have their ups and downs, having the right tools in my back pocket makes everything smoother.

It can feel intimidating to open yourself up to strangers on the internet to buy what you make. But don’t worry about tackling it all alone without a plan.

Arm yourself with resources like Alura for effortless product research, Canva for design made simple, and Creative Fabrica for compelling visual elements.

These have helped steer my hobby business towards steadier success while still leaving room for sparkling moments of inspiration.

Of course, the journey will still have twists I can’t predict.

Yet I feel more confident riding each wave knowing I have my trusty co-pilots keeping me on course!

So if you feel that entrepreneurial itch like I did to share your passions online, I say go for it!

Opening my Etsy shop has been infinitely rewarding despite the inevitable challenges.

But do yourself a favor by utilizing tools upfront that enable your vision while saving time, money, and stress.

This rollercoaster ride will certainly have peaks and valleys, but you can still enjoy the thrill of it all!

BONUS FOR YOU: Unleash your potential as a print-on-demand entrepreneur with this free guide – download now!


Special Etsy Bonus (for new shops only): Use this link to Get 40 Free Etsy Listings.


Alura – The all-in-one platform for selling on Etsy. Start with a free account and explore all the features you need to start, run, and grow your Etsy shop. Try the free plan.

EverBee – Similar to Alura, but with a focus on new sellers who need simple researching too. Try the free account.

Sale Samurai – Another research tool, but with one of the cheapest subscriptions on the market. See more.

Graphic Designs:

Kittl – A fantastic place with highly professional templates, that can be edited and used for print-on-demand. In my opinion, it is a go-to place for any person, who wants to make money with print-on-demand on Etsy. Try Kittl for free.

Another of my favorites is Creative Fabrica. They have millions of cheap graphics that can elevate your t-shirt design.

When I sell my designs on t-shirts or other POD products, I always vectorize them. This makes them scalable without losing the quality. For that process, I use Vectorizer which is powered by the latest AI technology.


If you are serious about selling your designs on t-shirts, mugs, and other products, you must list them on the biggest marketplaces, such as Etsy. To do so, you must connect your store with a fulfillment company, two of the best being Printful and Printify.

Disclosure: Some of the links above may contain affiliate partnerships, meaning, at no additional cost to you, NechEmpire may earn a commission if you click through to make a purchase.

Personal picutre
Miroslav NovohradskyFounder of NechEmpire

I'm Miroslav, a passionate graphic designer, Etsy seller and AI enthusiast. At NechEmpire, I'm here to share my knowledge and skills. I want to turn your design passion into a successful online business.

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