Life of a Jewelry Designer: Everything Etsy

By Michelle Ecker on October 5th, 2015

Serena Van Rensselaer was originally a student of Art History and Cultural Anthropology, but while studying abroad in San Miguel D’Allende, she discovered her untapped passion and aptitude for jewelry design. She is now an inspired creator, perceptive businesswomen and shrewd gallery manager in Manhattan’s picturesque Soho neighborhood. We recently visited Serena’s gallery and spent the afternoon speaking with her about the industry.

Here is part thirteen of our series, “Life of a Jewelry Designer.”

Life of a Jewelry Designer: Everything Etsy

Etsy is an innovative online hub where people come together to make, buy and sell unique goods. As aspiring jewelry designers, a familiarity with this platform can be extremely helpful in establishing a recognized collection and faithful following. “Etsy was one of the first selling methods I used getting started,” Serena shares, “and I was really happy with the results- plus it’s relatively cheap to join.”

If you’re new to this massive marketplace, it might seem daunting to dive right in. So here are some important things to consider when you’re getting started:

  1. Carefully reference Etsy’s quick start checklist.
    • a. That’ll provide you with a simple, user-friendly list of things you’ll need to organize before you get started (things such as photos, a routing number for your bank, etc).
    • b. You can find that list here.
  2. Pick a name.
    • a. But be warned- there are thousands of people selling jewelry on Etsy, and the name you want to use might not be available.
    • b. Be prepared with a few back-up names that you’re equally happy with.
      • i. Make sure they closely resemble a label you’d be happy committing to in the long run. If your Etsy shop gains tons of popularity, people will develop brand recognition to that shop name. It would behoove you as a businessperson to maintain that recognition by using the popular name in all proceeding transactions.
    • c. You should also create a list of keyword names that accurately describe your collections- like “statement necklaces” or “geometric rings.” These will come in handy in helping customers with specific shopping interests.
  3. Make sure your product photography is perfect.
    • a. This can make or break your success. When people are shopping online, photos are their only means of judging the quality of your work. Shoddy pictures of stunning jewelry won’t land you the success you deserve.
    • b. Check out our photography guide for some inspiration.
  4. Determine your goals.
    • a. Be practical and realistic. You’ll need to consider the amount of time you can commit to site maintenance and product supply. Consider browsing some Etsy shops of similar designers. Check out the number of sales they’ve made, and shoot for something similar to get started.
  5. Have fun with it!
    • a. It’s important to consistently update your website in order to give clients an impression of consistency and legitimacy on your end. Keep practicing your photography skills, switching up creative keywords and making your site look fresh and exciting.
    • b. You should also try promoting your Etsy store via social media as a fun, interactive way to lead people to your site. You can reference our social media marketing guide for some tips on getting started.

Want to learn more? The New York Institute of Art and Design offers an online jewelry design course that can teach you how to create and sell your own unique line of jewelry. Request your free course catalog today!


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