Tips on Running an Etsy Store, #1

As a fulltime artist and sole proprietor of Butterfly Bunny Studio my goal is to paint and / or work on shop administration on a daily basis.

While the painting part is fun, the administration part is not but it is necessary and most be done.

Working on admin daily helps to reduce stress because paintings can stack up quickly and then it is very difficult to catch up!

For me, I have found that as far as listing my paintings, it is best to: paint, photograph, list, package, label, Repeat.

Following this routine is very important. It saves me a lot of heart ache over having to catch up but I do not always follow it because I am caught up in my artwork and do not want to stop painting. However, I am always sorry that I did not follow this rule! Even now I am looking at a small stack of paintings and pins that I need to catch up on.

Art and pins waiting to be listed and/or labeled

Labeling the packages immediately after they are listed and packaged is an important and highly helpful part of this routine.

As a rule of thumb, I always apply my labels after my items are listed. This lets me know that the item is indeed listed and not just packaged for protection.

To do the labeling I use a Brother P-touch Label Maker that I have had for years. I feel that using a printed label gives the packages a more professional look but also, they are concise, easy to read, easy to adhere and coordinated.

Brother P-touch Label Maker with authentic brother label cassettes

The Brother P-touch Label Maker also makes it easy to color code, if I would like to, because they sell a wide range of colors. I do use the authentic brother label cassettes because the less expensive off-brands make my machine labor harder. I do not know if this is due to the age of my machine or the way the off-brand cassettes are made but I’m not ready to replace my machine so I do not want to take a chance.

Initially, the machine was a pricey investment for me but it was well worth it, as I am still using it approximately 10 years later. That’s not to say that I would not love to upgrade to a pink machine or a silk ribbon printer, but I just can not justify that expense when this machine is still in good working order, despite being used nearly every day!

Another important investment was a light box for photography. Using the light box makes for much better photography than I could get otherwise. I saw an advertisement for one on Instagram, did some research and bought one on Amazon. I have been very happy with this purchase and would love to get a larger one eventually. I keep it set up directly behind my desk to help me keep to my routine/rule of “paint, photograph, list, package, label, Repeat”. All I have to do is spin my desk chair around and I am at my photography station which helps to reduce my procrastination when it comes to photographing my work!

My photo box. It is meant to be easily portable but I keep it set up at all times.
The inside top of the light box. There are 2 strips of lights and a hole in the center. You position your camera over the hole and get excellent photos of your items.
Photo of artwork using my light box. This gives a nice, plain white background, which is what most customers seem to prefer

If you are considering opening an Etsy shop or are struggling with a new Etsy shop, I hope these ideas help! If you have questions, please post them here or contact me.


Published by sharietomlinson

I’m Sharie. Owner of Butterfly Bunny Studio and The Urban Duck. Mixed Media Watercolor Artist, Bunny & Disney Lover, Avid Gardener, Proud Mother to Josh, Bunny Momma to Princess Buttercup Bunny and Wifey to Jason. I am located in Columbia, Md but I’m a Harford County girl at heart! You can find me on Etsy at and on Instagram at @notjoshsmom Email me at

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