Can You Sell PLR on Etsy? Ultimate Guide

This post may contain affiliate links which means we may receive a commission if you purchase through our links. Please read our disclosure for more info.

Table of Contents

Selling PLR products is becoming more popular and it is a great option for making passive income. But can you sell PLR on Etsy? And what about selling commercial use templates? 

You may have questions about whether this is a legal thing to do and what guidelines you need to follow in order to make an income with PLR products in your Etsy shops. So we are going to help you answer those questions!

First, we want to cover what PLR exactly is if you don’t already know, and what commercial use templates are as well. Then we will cover how this can affect your Etsy shop.

can you sell plr on etsy (2)

What is PLR?

To break it down for you, PLR is an abbreviation for private label rights. This allows someone to alter existing content, such as planners or videos, and use it as their own. PLR also allows and requires the buyer to take a generic piece of content and customize it, which is when the buyer will own all rights and can use it however you want to.

PLR is a type of Resell Rights, which allows a buyer to resell the product as well as give rights to a product. Basically, resell rights let the buyer resell a product without altering it. The difference between private label rights and master resell rights is simply that with MRR content, the buyer is unable to change the content and has to sell it, rather than giving it for free. 

With MRR, the buyer can also resell that template again and the chain continues on.

There are many types of PLR content, with the most common being articles, but it can also include eBooks, courses, videos, audio, etc. Basically, it is content that is right between completely custom and borrowed content; it needs the work to edit, but less work than it would to create it from scratch.

To sum it up, PLR means private label rights that you can sell and rebrand as your own but only to an end user. You cannot resell PLR or commercial use rights to another person with commercial use rights or master resell rights.

What are Commercial Use Templates?

Commercial use templates typically require you to make some changes on the digital product, rather than being able to be sold as-is. This means you take the template, add some of your branding, make some other changes that make it your own, and then you can resell it. 

It is to sell as an end product, not to sell for someone to resell as a template. But, it’s important for you to really look into each individual commercial use template that you purchase because they all have slightly different terms. 

Are Commercial Use Templates and PLR Different?

Basically, they are the same! They are both supposed to be done-for-you products for you to take and make your own. The difference typically is that PLR products can allow you to sell the products as-is, although some may want you to make edits as well. Typically commercial use templates require you to make those changes and they aren’t an option. 

They really are the same, but it’s more about the terms of how to use them. So if you’ve been wondering how these two are related and the difference between the two, then this is it! And that leads us to the next important aspect of buying these products and how they can be used on Etsy.

Look at the Terms of the PLR Products

The most important thing about these PLR products for your Etsy shop is paying attention to the terms and really making sure you understand what they are requiring of you. You need to be sure you are using the product in the right way and are not going against these specific terms. 

When you are buying PLR content or commercial use products, you need to look for the rights and read the terms of the license. Most sellers are very clear with their terms and make them easy to find, so it shouldn’t be hard to miss! But, be sure that if you do have any specific questions on the product’s terms, be sure to reach out to the seller and ask!

Sometimes sellers do not allow resale of the templates to other entrepreneurs to be used as PLR. This means you can’t sell their PLR as a product that directly competes with it, but you can create an end product for a customer. So it’s important to be sure to look into these terms and take the time to understand before simply purchasing and using the product. 

Etsy’s Handmade Policy

Another important thing to keep in mind is the handmade policy from Etsy. This is why Etsy started; to be a marketplace for handmade items. So making small changes to a PLR product like changing the fonts or colors is really not enough!

You need to be making bigger changes to these products that can actually be considered as “handmade.” Because if you aren’t following these guidelines, it is possible for Etsy to remove your shop, which you don’t want!

Here’s what Etsy says about their handmade policy, “Everything listed as handmade must be made and/or designed by you, the seller. Reselling is prohibited in the handmade category.” This reselling includes PLR content that you don’t edit or change at all and try to resell as is. This doesn’t fit the handmade policy and would be against their terms. 

Selling “as is” not only doesn’t fit the spirit of handmade, but you would also be dealing with more competition with your product. So why not keep your products unique and stick to the handmade policy that Etsy holds?

Make the Design Original

Typically, people will purchase PLR or commercial rights content because they want to save some time or because they don’t have the creative skills to create a design from scratch. Usually PLR content will include products that are fully designed for those exact people!

This is great for people selling on their own website, but not so much for Etsy. You need to be a designer to sell digital products on Etsy. Here is a quote directly from Etsy’s shop policies:

“A designer is a seller who has come up with an original design, pattern, sketch, template, prototype, or plan to be produced by in-house shop members or a production partner. Simple customization, such as selecting colors, shapes, or choosing from ready-made options is not considered design on Etsy.”

This means you can’t take something that someone else created and use it as your own to sell. This completely goes against what Etsy is all about and will go against their terms. So you need to be the designer as an Etsy seller! 

Don’t have artistic abilities and are unsure how to create something? You can still use the PLR content as templates, and customize it to make it your own. Remember that changing the colors or fonts does not make it your own. 

You need to be sure you are making them unique and stand out for buyers. Here are the best PLR products you can buy and customize.

Ways you can customize

Here are a few ways you can customize PLR digital products and make a new design:

  • Add some new pages! Use the other pages as templates to create new pages and make them fit what you are looking for. For example, if it is a PLR planner that you are working on, think of a checklist you can add. Or, maybe a section that someone can use to plan out their goals. One or two additions are probably not “value add” so try to keep brainstorming until you have a new product.
  • Add different wording. This all depends on the type of product it is. But if it is a journal, maybe you can give different prompts or add fun text to the pages. This is a perfect way to really customize it to fit you and your business
  • Change the layout. Maybe the planner is set up as more of a weekly/monthly planner. Maybe you want your planner to be a daily planner. Use the pages they already created to turn it into a daily layout instead!
  • Create an entirely different product. PLR can be great to save you time creating a design. You do not have to use it to sell the exact same product. In fact, using the basic design to create an entirely new product can be the best use of PLR.

These are just a few simple ideas on how you can customize it to make it your own, and then be able to sell it on Etsy.

How to Customize More Simple PLR Products

Sometimes it can be hard to know exactly how you can make changes and customize a simple planner or journal. There are a lot of simple lines and boxes. So how do you make this unique and your own when they are so simple? 

You may have to get a little creative since they are so simple! Instead of a journal being simply lines to write on, you can add prompts or add decorative elements as well to customize. For a simple planner, you can add extra pages to make it more than a simple calendar or appointment book.

But if the PLR product that you buy is more than a simple journal or planner and has more details, then you will need to get more creative to find ways to customize this and add to it. You need to be sure that if your product was compared to someone using the same template, it isn’t obvious they are from the same source. 

It should seem completely unique. It needs aspects to it that would draw a customer to your product over someone else’s! A big part of this is just ensuring that it looks mostly unrecognizable from the source that got it. That way if someone else purchased it and is using it as a template, yours stands out and looks different. 

When you’ve finished customizing it, you can always ask yourself if you can look at your product and consider yourself the designer. Because if you still see more of the original design, then it may not work as an Etsy seller. 

What can someone do to sell PLR or templates on Etsy legally?

First of all, we want to disclose that we are not lawyers. It’s important to do your research and really ensure that you are doing things legally. We want to share our findings with you on how to do things legally. But it’s still important to look into things on your own as well!

To ensure you are doing things legally, simply use the templates as a way to save time. As well as a starting point for you, rather than thinking of it as a done-for-you template. For example, sometimes a PLR product has items like checkboxes or a lot of little elements that would be very time-consuming and frustrating to create. 

So purchasing this product would help you save that time. It also gives a place to start that you can take and run with. But again, it should be looked at as a starting point. Then you can expand and add to that template. 

You also need to be sure you are buying from a reputable source and that they sourced all graphics and fonts used in the product legally. To create digital products with PLR content, it’s important to think this through!

Niche down 

A great way to ensure your PLR digital products will work to sell on Etsy is to niche down. This will help your product stand out and bring in more personalized and specific customers. And the opportunities of niches to do this with are endless!

So for example, if you purchase a basic journal template, you can take this and turn it into a journal specifically for teachers. It can include prompts to help them write about goals for their students, gratitude for what is going on in their current academic year, teaching skills they want to improve, and more. 

Customizing it to that specific niche will help your journal bring in ideal customers. It also ensures that you have a completely unique product that will fit the terms of Etsy. Using past experience or any specific skills you have to niche down your product is a great way to create a quality product. 

This approach is also key since many PLR sellers fail because they do not check the keyword search volume for their specific product before they buy. You might find high searches for one type of digital product niched down versus the original generic product you bought.

There are so many options for niches to choose from, but choose something that best fits you and your business!

Check with a professional

If you have questions about whether something about PLR products is legal or not, it’s important that you check with a professional! We aren’t lawyers so we can’t tell you for sure whether what you are doing with your digital products is legal or not. Getting a second opinion is a great way to really confirm that you are doing things how you should. 

But you may wonder why you should be so cautious about being legal. If you are doing things illegally with your Etsy shop, it could result in your shop getting removed from Etsy. Even worse, you could end up with legal issues that you don’t want! 

It’s better to be safe than sorry, so making sure you are following the correct guidelines is very important!

And sometimes the PLR sellers themselves may not understand marketplace rules fully or they may take chances that you wouldn’t otherwise take.

Always do your own research before selling a PLR product as your own. Here is more information on getting started with PLR to help you.

Mistakes new sellers make with PLR

We actually sell dozens of PLR templates for commercial use in our Shopify store.

But we think you shouldn’t sell PLR on Etsy if you are brand new.

This position is because we see the same mistakes over and over again from new sellers.

We’re sharing this important public service announcement today to help you avoid the same traps with PLR.

Here are the top 5 mistakes we see:

  1. Skipping keyword research on the product

Just because someone is selling a certain kind of product as PLR doesn’t mean that the product is ‘in demand’ on Etsy.

Or that the seller has niched the product down enough to be competitive.

Always do your own keyword research to turn PLR into a hit.

It’s not the seller’s job to niche down the PLR to be clear – it’s on the buyer.

  1. Not tweaking the product enough

Yes, many PLR sellers allow you to just make simple tweaks to the products.

..but often simple tweaks are just not enough to be competitive on Etsy.

The best Etsy sellers apply some creativity and imagination to turn a PLR product into something unique that doesn’t look like all the other ones out there.

Yes, sometimes you have to make just small tweaks to get something done and listed but if you have been trying on Etsy for a while, it’s time to really niche a product down versus keeping templates general.

  1. Not tweaking the product enough for Etsy

Did you know that Etsy has a handmade policy that requires that you do more than customize just colors and fonts on templates?

Many sellers skip this important policy.

It’s likely Etsy wrote the policy with handmade sellers in mind so that Etsy doesn’t become a site like Aliexpress or Amazon with generic stuff.

..but the same rules apply to digital product sellers too.

So even if the PLR seller gives you complete freedom to resell the product “as is”

..make sure you are altering it more significantly than just simple tweaks before selling on Etsy.

  1.  The aesthetic just isn’t right for the product

Many PLR products are made in a bit of a gaudy fashion with fonts, colors, and clip-arts that just aren’t in style.

And that’s totally fine because you’ll be changing the fonts, colors, and style as well as the layout before selling on Etsy.

The problem is that many new sellers don’t research what “vibe” or aesthetic the bestselling products have and instead keep the same vibes with their PLR.

Then they list them on Etsy and wonder why buyers aren’t jumping.

You can’t skip researching the aesthetic and making sure you understand what customers want for that specific product.

It’s not on the PLR seller to do that research for you (and you wouldn’t want them to since you need to change the look anyway before listing).

  1.  Using PLR to save time in the wrong ways

You may think by the above points that we are very against selling products created by PLR ourselves and that is just not true.

In fact, we sell tons of products that started as PLR or commercial use templates.

It is one of our favorite time-saving strategies.

But we know how to take a product, use the template to save us hours of “prep time” in Canva,

..and how to turn a template into something completely different to sell.

We don’t use PLR so we can skip keyword and competitor research.

This is a skill that we teach in our courses and programs.

In fact, we give our members 5 free commercial use templates per month, and Sasha, who manages our templates program, includes a video with keyword research strategies and tips on how to turn this product into something else.

We want our students to use PLR in the right way and to use it to actually make sales.

So if you are selling PLR or buying PLR and not getting any traction.

Let us help you.

When we open up the E-Printables course next we would love to see you there.

Final thoughts

So, can you sell PLR on Etsy? To summarize everything for you, yes you can sell PLR products in your Etsy shop as well as commercial use templates! The most important thing to keep in mind is ensuring you are selling completely unique and customized items that you can consider as being designed by yourself. These products should look different from others out there and bring in those perfect buyers! This will ensure your Etsy business can stay intact!

Remember to always check the terms and conditions of the product that you are purchasing, that way you can ensure you are following those specific policies. And again, if you ever feel unsure of whether you are doing everything correctly, you can either speak with the seller of the product or with a professional. 

Think of PLR digital products as a starting point, rather than an end product, and you will ensure much more success with your Etsy shop!

share this:

Learn how to start a business selling printables on Etsy!

Meet Julie & Cody

Julie Berninger and Cody Berman of Gold City Ventures™ have made thousands selling printables and digital downloads in their Etsy shops and on Shopify. They help others start printable businesses with their programs and templates.

Learn how to start a business selling printables on Etsy!

Must Reads

thanks forjoining us!

Please check your email for a link to access the free workshop instantly.