Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter,maker,artist…
I started 5 years ago. My motivation was the ancient tradition of sandal making that we have here in our country (Greece). We are everything,crafters,makers,artists,designers. We make,design,create everything you see in our shop,from scratch.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I discovered Etsy from friendly conversations with people around me. No,sandals were my first experience that had to do with selling handmade products. I started selling online because I wanted to reach the global consumer market. I wanted my products to go everywhere around the world.
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 100% natural leather sandals. We use 100% natural,non-chemically processed leathers and rubbers coming from local makers here in Greece. We design our sandals based on the ancient Greek “aura”. Ancient statues,heroes,names,characters,anything can inspire us to create a new pair of sandals. Our inspiration and the quality of the materials really makes our sandals 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
It took me about 6 months and it was a combination of having a mentor and teaching myself a lot of things,experimenting and trying again. It took an extra year in order for me to be satisfied with what I was making.
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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?
I had no specific target. I consider online selling as a fulltime 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?
No,I had no fears or reservations. No, I was never worried about profitability and product competitiveness, as I saw what kind of sandals they were selling. I had no concerns or questions, I was going with the flow, If I didn’t know something, I searched for it.
How long did it take for you to get your first sale? Did you ever thought you would make a lot of sales in the first year? What was a goal you were hoping for? How many sales an average you get per week?
It took me 3 days for my first sale. Yes, I knew from the start that higher quality sandals, way above the competition would sell. Our goal was to have great customer support and very happy customers. On average on all seasons, it is about 45 sales per week. On the summer only,which is the very busy season,we sell about 100-110 per week.
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?
No. Yes, that is what I have been doing for the past 5 years. We are working from early in the morning and I go home late in the evening. I manage my time,trying to be good at my job and then providing for my family.
How does your manufacturing process looks 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 tools that you are using in manufacturing process?
Our best selling product is “KLEIO”. The manufacturing process of it goes something like this: First, we take to cut the soles and insoles in the requested size. Then, we cut the straps based on the color of leather that the customer has ordered. After that, we start piecing together the sandal on the shoe tree. We only create products when we receive the order. We customize our products based on anything that the customer requests. Straps, soles, insoles, everything can be customized. The tools used in production are: Leather cutter, Hammer, pincers, sandpaper, and hydraulic press. Those are some of the tools that we use on a daily basis.
What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Seasons have the biggest impact. Summer is our busiest season. They are very expensive as they of the best quality. We try to price products based on customer feedback.
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 am thinking about the sea when I am creating. I have already answered that question.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
Via Hellenic post and DHL. I pay shipping for my customers, it usually takes about a week. Yes, I do because I want my customers to be satisfied. We use our own boxes that we have.
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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?
No. I like having competition, but there are lots of people on ETSY that buy cheap OEM sandals and then they say that those sandals are “handmade” and sell them on extreme prices.
How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We try to have constant communication with the costumer. I try to answer fast and I try to make them exactly what they want.
Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever thought you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?
Yes,it did change my life for the better. Yes, I knew that hard work and love for what I do will take me where I am today. Yes, I have, it is normal. I just pushed through it.
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?
Quite imporant. Instagram,facebook,etc. Not that much. We don’t have to generate hype,they see the new product and buy it if they like it.
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 customers satisfaction?
Scammers that sell fake handmades. Resellers as we call them. I would love to see better communication from Etsy with us. Like a messenger type chat that is only for me (the seller) and etsy so we can communicate if anything goes wrong.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I tried making good and high quality products. That not every customer has to be treated the same way.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering to sell on Etsy? How can they avoid beginners mistakes?
Set a quality target. Love what you do and do not do it only for the profit.