Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I would describe myself as a 1. A doting mother, and 2. Passionate crafter that loves to create and make new products to satisfy the changing fashions of my customers
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I discovered Etsy in 2017 shortly after having my 2nd child. While at home caring for my baby and 2 year old, my husband challenged me to use my “creative talents” to start a business. That’s when I read reviews about and researched Etsy and saw how much of a wonderful platform it would be to start my home business from and share my creations.
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 a range of products from custom tiaras to custom cosplay style collars / jewelry. The niche I try to fill is to give my customers the opportunity to customize the words / symbols they would like on their special gift, or send me their very custom ideas to challenge me to make products I had not previously considered or made. Some of my most creative and crafty moments come when customers ask for something very specific that really gets me being creative!
I use vegan leather for my collars and harnesses, titanium for some of my bracelets and crystal tiaras.
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?
Crafting has been a fantastic learning curve, the best learning opportunities are in creating new things. My craft is ever evolving and I am always open to and thinking of new ways of creating.
Growing up I spent a lot of time crafting with family, my mom especially, we would spend hours on the weekends making wire wrapped jewelry together. Since then most of it is self taught, using continuous improvement principles (my husband works in manufacturing) to continuously improve the quality and process that keeps my customers happy.
I grew up surrounded by “crafters” from my great grandmother who made pottery and was an art teacher, my grandmother who was a gothic writer/crafter and run an art gallery , my grandfather who built boats, carved wood bowls for a living and sailed around the world, and my mom who is a super creative seamstress and currently runs her own beauty salon.
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 was to use some of my “free” time during my maternity leave, to create products that hopefully my customers would like to earn a little extra to afford to move to a larger house to accommodate my growing family.
I currently spend between 4-6 hours a day on my business. This includes making orders, answering questions, negotiating supply orders and creating new products.
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?
Absolutely, the idea of customers not liking my products terrified me at the beginning. I overcame this fear by trying to give fantastic customer service and creating the absolute best products for my customers.
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?
My first sale was pretty quick. Within a day I had an order from a family member…… In all seriousness I had my first order within 2 weeks, then averaged 1-2 per week for the first 2 months. It quickly rose and last week I just reached 7000.
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?
Outside of Etsy I am a Flight Attendant. I absolutely love my Flight Attendant job as it affords me the flexibility to work both jobs and be the best mom I can be. I hope to be able to work all three jobs for the foreseeable future.
Days where I am not flying, I wake up around 5.30am, have my morning coffee and protein shake then get crafting. As my boys are currently out of school due to the pandemic, this gives me 1-2 hours of quiet time before they wake up. Once the boys are awake I make them food continuously, while answering questions on Etsy and cleaning up after my husband. When my husband comes home from work and eats the dinner I made him, he takes over and plays with the kids while I carry on making orders I received throughout the day. Around 9pm I finally get to go to bed, to have some rest to be ready to go again in the morning.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
My husband thinks pricing of my products is an exact science……but I apply a more liberal based method. I do some research on products and ask myself what I would pay, then price accordingly. Ah yes….then I check to make sure I can make a profit
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?
Yes I actually ship to all corners of the world. Well where Etsy is operated anyway. I ship using the USPS and print the shipping labels via Etsy. Unless the customer pays for expedited shipping, then I may use FedEx or UPS.
Free shipping is great, as a customer I look for products that I don’t have to pay to ship. However there is an economic aspect as the shipping cost can be a high % of the item. I think Etsy’s encouragement of free shipping on orders over $35 is perfect, and I happily ship my products for free when my customers order over that mark.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
Mistakes happen, I am human. If and when I have a customer complaint I take action right away to make things right. Some of my best reviews have come from customers who initially were unhappy.
Double checking the shipping labels and to ensuring the right product gets to the right customer. As my products are so custom, sending the wrong product to a customer will not work. There has been an occasion or two when this has happened and it can lessen the customers experience.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
To be successful I think you need to be passionate about your product and give customers amazing customer service. I pride myself on replying quickly to customers and pouring my heart into my products. Other items that are important are the photographs that need to be eye catching and the key tag words that prospective customers would use to find your products. Lastly advertising is vital, both on Etsy and anywhere else where you may have a target market.
I honestly under utilize social media, I think that would be my next stage to take my business but at the moment I hardly use it. In terms of promoting my products I do advertise on an external website that attracts customers specially for my products.