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5 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid When Starting An Etsy Vintage Shop

Stand Out By NOT Doing These!

vintage typewriter desk scene

If you are starting an Etsy vintage shop, be sure to avoid these five common mistakes and you will be on your way to selling vintage on Etsy like a pro!

Let’s face it, it’s hard to stand out in a sea of shops on Etsy. 

There are some things you can deliberately do, that will make you soar above the rest.  And when you do, your sales will reflect it…even when other shop owners are wondering what in the heck Etsy did to make their shop fail.

You have to STAND OUT to get those clicks + ultimately get those SALES- Cha-Ching!

Today I’m giving you the 5 biggest mistakes to avoid when starting your Etsy vintage shop!

{ONE} Selling Everything

As vintage sellers, it’s easy to collect all sorts of everything.  That’s totally fine.  Your collection doesn’t necessarily translate to having a successful business, however.

One of the biggest mistakes I see vintage Etsy sellers make is to SELL EVERYTHING.

That is, everything vintage they can find that passes the Etsy “older than 20 years” rule that they think they can make a profit on, gets plopped into their Etsy shop and then they wait for all the shoppers to come.

junk pile



What you should do instead is narrow down as much as you possibly can into a niche.

niche is a targetable, focused section of a population and the relating products or services that you provide them.

When you have a niche, you have a focus.


It’s super easy to try to sell everything to…everyone!  But, that’s really not the best business approach.

There are very specific strategies when it comes to starting an Etsy vintage shop and setting it up for success from the start.

Etsy is a unique platform where if you build it, they will come…unlike, say, a standalone website where it’s entirely up to you to get people to your site.

There will be shoppers looking for your unique items on Etsy.  The question is, is that enough?

One thing you can do to increase your sales selling vintage on Etsy by standing out is to identify your ideal customer.

Who you want to sell to + who you can source products for = your ideal customer.

Who you want to sell to + who you can source products for = your ideal customer. (1)

If you know WHO you are selling to, you will know HOW to sell to them!  And yes, it will be your job to sell to them…if you really want to be a stand out vintage business!

Once you have your focus, your niche, and your target customer, everything else becomes so much easier!


Creating a brand for your vintage business includes things like picking your colors and fonts.  But it goes beyond that.

Branding is also how you treat your customers from your policies to how you write your item descriptions.

If you think you don’t need branding because you are just starting an Etsy vintage shop, or it’s only for businesses that are more successful than you, you are absolutely wrong.

I go over how to create a brand step by step in my free 5 day email training which you can get here.

Creating a brand will not only help you stand out, but it will get you return customers and make running your business much easier…just to name a few of the benefits!


One of the easiest things you can do to stand out is to set your shop up correctly.

Yet, I often see shops that are missing even the most basic set up steps that could easily be fixed.

For example, Etsy has flat out spelled out for us that if you fill out your shop policies, you will get a boost in ranking…yet I still see shops without them filled out.  Make sure to fill out your shop policies :)!  It also helps to build trust with your customers.

Other steps you can take to set up your shop for success:

  • Use all the real estate Etsy provides for you – fill out everything
  • Fill out your about section
  • Use your listing descriptions to accurately and clearly describe and sell your items
  • Have excellent photos – this takes practice, but is extremely important to help you stand out + get sales
  • Learn & apply SEO {Search Engine Optimization} for both Etsy & external search engines like Google

I often see this mindset floating around in the Etsy forums:

“I’m a small vintage business, it’s just me…I definitely am not going to deal with returns- that would be a nightmare!”

This is the exact wrong way to think if you want to stand out and have a successful vintage business.

I promise you, if you do accept returns you will hardly ever have to deal with one if you:

  • have excellent customer service
  • have detailed descriptions and photos
  • are very careful with your shipping process

You will, however, deter customers if you do not accept them.

Still hesitant? It is standard practice for the customer to pay for shipping charges both ways when they return something unless you are at fault.

So, you are not out anything besides some time in the rare instance you do get a return!

Now What?

Avoid these 5 mistakes and you will be starting an Etsy vintage shop that stands out…which is a sure fire way to get sales!

If you are ready to avoid these mistakes, I walk you through step by step on how to accomplish that in my FREE go at your own pace email course 5 Key Steps to Having a Profitable Vintage Shop on Etsy right here!

Oh, and if you have any questions on these mistakes to avoid, comment below and I’ll be sure to answer them!

-Traci 🙂


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  1. vurtilopmer says:

    I like this blog so much, saved to bookmarks. “I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true.” by Dorothy Parker.

    1. Traci Hugelmaier says:

      Thank you! I love your quote! Thanks for taking the time to comment and welcome to the blog! -Traci 🙂

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