How to Create a Successful Brand: Tips from a Canadian Etsy Seller

A mom and Etsy success story shares her tips for shop success.

thief and bandit

Etsy seller Amie Cunningham has been selling her hand screen printed products since 2009. She runs two Etsy shops, one for women: Thief&Bandit and one for her children’s line: Thief&Bandit Kids. Amie lives in Halifax with her husband and two young sons.

How important do you think branding has been in the success of your Etsy shop?

I think branding has been very important in the success of my shops. Our logo is my writing done with ink pen and I include it as much as possible on all of our press, stationary, etc. All of Thief&Bandit’s prints are drawn by me in the same manner, ink pen on heavy watercolour paper. It’s a signature look and I feel like it sets my company apart from others.

What process did you follow to develop your shop’s branding?

I didn’t follow a process, really it came naturally. I feel like when you try too hard to come up with a ‘look’ for your brand it might not be as genuine or have staying power, so I would just suggest to be as true to yourself as possible.

thief & bandit logo

What are your ‘Top Tips’ for creating an Etsy shop with strong and cohesive branding?

1. To start, you need to define the general ‘look’ for your brand. Stay true to yourself. Spend some time just sketching, fill an entire sketchbook with ideas and narrow them down to your favorites. Then bring in a friend or two for some constructive criticism. Make sure to tell them to be honest so you can really hone in on the most successful image(s) that represent your product/shop.

2. Your products should all follow a consistent theme, especially from season to season. Obviously your products should be different from one another in some way but as a group they should have some consistency, like a curated art show. The products should work together well so when the products are listed in your shop next to one another everything flows nicely.

3. Quality is of the utmost importance and in the 4+ years of running my women’s shop I have always worked towards making my products better. Feeling great about your product when it heads out the door is the best feeling ever.

4. Packaging is also incredibly important and again it’s something I work on continually. We are ordering ‘kiss cut’ stickers this year to throw in with our orders so people can share our brand in a fun way. To see the Thief&Bandit logo or one of my drawings on a bumper or a bike is a really cool thing. So, spending some extra time jazzing up someone’s order is a really great way to keep your customer coming back.


Do you have any advice on creating stand-out branding on a limited budget?

Keep it simple, you really don’t need a ton of money to develop your branding. Do it yourself whenever possible but if working on branding isn’t your thing, invest in someone who can help you. Maybe you can trade your products or services with someone who does graphic design. I’ve been super lucky to have creative friends and I’ve done a ton of trading…amazing photography, web work and even hairstyling and styling for some Thief&Bandit merchandise.

Any more advice for Canadian moms starting an Etsy shop?

Well, I won’t say it’s easy but if you are willing to work hard it’s totally possible to have a business and children. I’m super lucky to have help from my Mom who looks after my one year old Monday through Friday in the afternoon while my 3 year old is in preschool. I bust my butt during these hours and then after the kids are asleep I’m on my laptop answering emails, convos, and designing. Start small, you don’t have to post a hundred items and have them all sell at once. Keep realistic goals and don’t be too hard on yourself. My main piece of advice is to be prepared to work incredibly hard. It’s difficult but worth it to be able to make something beautiful and support your family doing so.


Many Etsy sellers are moms who run their business online from home, full-time.
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1 Comment

  1. Athlene on August 30, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Hi Amie: This is Athlene, just wrote you and the screen disappeared before I put my email address in.

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