As some of you might know - I do run an Etsy shop too. So I would like to share my thoughts and advice for those who are thinking of opening one too.
First of all, if you thinking about it - it's the right time to do it like RIGHT THIS SECOND. The Christmas gift hunting season already started and the traffic Etsy receives is huge. So it's the best time to set it up and test the market.
What I like the most about Etsy is that if you do it right (SEO, good photos, informative description, etc), you don't really have to worry about marketing. There's a link to quite in-depth stats: https://www.similarweb.com/website/etsy.com
Check it out and see for yourself that in the last 6 months Etsy had 190m visitors. For a starting business (myself including) it is more than I could ever handle myself (nor have a budget that big). Of course, do not dream that you will get all those visitors to your shop only. That would nice, though :)
I am not the first and not the last one to say that photos IS EVERYTHING! In online world - people buy with their eyes. Therefore you must catch them visually. No blurry photos, no weirdly cropped ones, too dark, too light. NOPE. That won't work and I learned it big time.
I opened my shop in 2012 summer and left it alone imagining that people who love my work - WILL FIND ME anyway. No no and one more time - NO. The market is big, the photos were bad, no keywords, no way for customers to find me. And of course I did not get my first sale till... well 2014. But that happened only when I made my store alive. I updated information on products, added new ones, had photoshoot and got nice pictures. I started renewing listing almost every day (did you know that renewing gets your item on Category page? Even if it's for a few seconds it can bring you lots of visitors), checking stats, joining Etsy teams, reading their forums. Etsy became part of my day.
Of course, in a long run I would prefer to sell most of my work through my own website - where I am the owner, designer and it's my rules. On Etsy, on the other hand, your shop can be suspended/deleted/removed if you do something wrong. But it's all right - it's their rules. I am grateful for the opportunity to be seen. I love the community and ability to connect with customers and fellow sellers.
Another thing to consider is pricing. Do not underprice yourself. It is difficult as usually beginners think that their target audience are 'them'. Sometimes it might be, but sometimes it might be not. Test and grow with your audience.
Etsy allows people to ask for custom orders and that is great for me. I can get ideas directly from my buyers, add 'wanted' items to my shop.
Etsy app 'Sell on Etsy' is god sent. It allows me to check the stats, renew or add new listings on the go. And the best is the 'cha-ching' sound that comes with a new order! :)
And if you want to check my Etsy shop, you can do it here: www.artsyclothing.etsy.com
Let me know if you have any questions! Always glad to help!