Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I started studying pattern design and clothing design about a year ago because I wanted a home-based business to help support myself. I consider myself a pattern designer And a crafter that helps people with sewing projects.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I learned about Etsy from another family member that had a Store. I had experience with online sales before, and My goal was to have my store and home base business totally online.
What products do you sell, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?
I sell sewing patterns that I design at my home on my laptop with fashion design programs. I think by designing original closing patterns on fashion design programs my products really stand out.
How was your experience in learning to craft, are you self-taught or did you have a mentor, how long did it take for you to be satisfied with your creations?
I learned pattern design from books I bought at Barnes & Noble and by taking their tutorials with fashion design programs. I also study how to start a clothing line at digitalfashionpro.com. I think I’m still trying to make my designs better, and make more popular designs from my store.
What was your original goal when you opened up an Etsy shop? What impacted your decision to start selling online? Do you consider online selling as a side-job, full-time job, or extra income to pay for your hobby?
My original goal and opening my Etsy shop was to create a home base business. I think the affordability of an Etsy store impacted my decision to sell online. I consider pattern design to be my part-time job.
Did you have any fears or reservations before opening up your Etsy shop? Were you worried about profitability or product competitiveness? What are some concerns and questions you had before you got started? How did you overcome them?
I think Etsy is an excellent online model that really made me feel comfortable about opening my Etsy store. I do research on other patterns like McCalls and simplicity to see what they sell for to make sure I’m staying competitive with my prices. I think one of my concerns before I got started was using a clothing design program to make the patterns as perfect I could. By spending extra time with the fashion design programs again the confidence to use the programs and sell my patterns.
How long did it take for you to get your first sale? Did you ever think you would make a lot of sales in the first year? What was the goal you were hoping for? How many sales an average you get per week?
It took a couple of months to get my first sales. I didn’t think I would get a huge number of sales in my first year because I knew I needed to build the business with marketing. My sales are still low but I’m hoping to build on my progress with marketing through Etsy ads.
Do you have a job outside Etsy? If not, are you able to commit full-time to online selling? How does your typical day look like? How do you manage time?
I’m actually retired on disability. I am able to spend as much time as I want developing my store. Currently, I spend my day evaluating new fashion design programs and I believe I found one that I want to purchase next year for my store so that I can expand my clothing line and into jackets and other types of clothing and accessories. I manage my time by setting short term attainable goals for my business.
How does your manufacturing process look like for e.g. your best selling product? Do you create products ahead of the orders? Do you customize your products, if so how? What are the tools that you are using in the manufacturing process?
I create digital pattern downloads with my fashion design program where I take my time designing every aspect of the pattern. The fashion design programs allow me to customize every aspect of the pattern I literally design just about anything I’d like to.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
The biggest impact on the profitability of my shop is how much money I spend on marketing through Etsy yards to get my shop noticed. Right now I’m using a fashion design program where I pay a monthly fee to have access to the fashion design program online the fashion design program I’m considering buying for next year would be a much bigger program and it cost $950. In pricing my products are reviewing McCalls patterns and simplicity patterns and try and make my price is competitive with them.
What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?
I think the biggest thing that inspires me when I’m creating my patterns are fashion magazines like Vogue and InStyle that’s why I get my ideas for what type of patterns to design. I think the biggest thing that inspires me to get creative is Vogue and style magazine
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
I do so digital patterns around the world but I don’t have postage fees are because it’s a digital download.
Are you worried about competitors? Does it impact your business in any way? If there are a lot of similar products, how do you make your own stand out?
I think the best way to make my pattern design stand out is to offer them in a wide range of sizes to be created.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I’m very specific on the pattern download before they purchase the item and I make it very clear in my listings that they are digital downloads to avoid misunderstandings.
Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever think you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed about dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?
Selling on Etsy has changed my life for the better by allowing me to have a home base business. I’m currently working with that’s the university workshop providers to better my business and take it to the next level and I do hope to increase my sales by a lot in my next year.No I really don’t get stressed out about handling customers because I think most customers are very understanding. I think being honest with the customers and upfront with the customers is the best way to handle things.
How important is social media for your shop? What are some common tactics you use to promote your products? Do you spend money on ads outside of Etsy? How do you generate excitement/hype around your products?
Social media can be a very effective marketing tool but I primarily use it as it adds to promote my business and bring traffic to my store.
What are some things you don’t like about Etsy? If you could talk to the CEO of Etsy what recommendations would you tell him to improve sellers and customer satisfaction?
I love the Etsy platform and I think they do a great job and providing tools for us to take our stores to the next level.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Some of the things I did to help make my shop succeed were attended the Etsy University workshops and get experience sellers to explain the best way to do things to me and the use of Etsy adds to promote my business.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
I think the best advice I can give new entrepreneurs on Etsy is to attend the Etsy university workshops and work with the really well-established entrepreneurs on Etsy to grow your business.
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Thank you for taking the time to interview my store.