Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter,maker,artist…
So one night when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to look up videos on crocheting tips on YouTube. Well, as we all know, one thing leads to another, and sure enough, I stumbled across a video on how to dye yarn. I thought the whole process was fascinating! I’ve always considered myself an artist (writing, sketching, photography). So I decided to go all in a purchase EVERYTHING I needed to create some of my own colorways. Plenty of trial and errors, haha, but I found it amazing how the dyes grab onto the yarns, adding speckles, and seeing the finished skein when it’s all dried.
Pinterest is surely my friend, I love going on there and looking up color palette ideas and getting inspired by visuals. Sometimes I’ll have an idea for a collection theme, like Antique or Floral. Then on other occasions, I’ll just create a huge mix of a different array of colorways to reach a larger audience of knitters and crocheters 🙂 Some love softer pastels, while others love funky bright neons! I enjoy mixing and matching so there is a little something for everyone! 🙂
When I’m not dyeing my yarns, I’m usually crocheting a cardigan, sweater or scarf watching The Office, King of Queens, or Hallmark Christmas movies with my little cat Raven or hanging out with my Fiance. I’m sure I talk way too much about yarn with him lol, but he’s a champ and supports me all the way! 🙂
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I began selling on Etsy years ago when I owned a candle company where I would stamp images onto the candles. So I was familiar with how Etsy worked, but I noticed that candle stamping wasn’t my passion so I decided to put my Etsy account on hold and continue with my full-time job at the time. I also sold my yarns on Etsy, doing “made to order” orders.
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 Indie yarns, I hand dye each skein, design the colorways and names, purchase the yarn bases, and showcase them on my Instagram @pumpkinsandwool. There are many dyers out there today, with their own creative visions and ideas. I feel that what makes my products stand out from other dyers is simply me. I try to be personable on my Instagram so my customers know me 🙂 I offer decent prices, always have sales going on, such as free shipping. I get orders out the same day. I feel like going the extra mile to provide world-class products and customer service, helps small business owners really stand out from the competition. It all comes down to you and how to love and thought you put into your business. Customers see that 😉
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
YouTube was my best friend during my learning process. I loved sitting back and watching how other dyers mixed their dyes, used new techniques, and learning their tips and tricks. I didn’t have a mentor, I was purely self-taught, learning through my own trial and errors along the way. How to control the amount of dyes go onto each skein. How to not overly speckle the yarn (adding speckles can be so much fun!)
With my OCD mindset, I felt like it didn’t take me long to learn the craft of hand dyeing yarn. I felt confident and comfortable right away because it was just another medium of art for my mind to play with.
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?
When I originally opened my store, my goal was to make some extra cash on the side, but as I got more into dyeing and trying out more yarn bases I realized how much I would love for this to be my career. When I got my last job, I put my Etsy shop on hold to focus on that, but when Covid-19 happened, I lost my job, along with so many others.
I decided to turn that negative into a positive and use my free to get back into my yarn dyeing! I noticed that a lot of the big chains were either running out of yarn quickly, upping their prices, and massively increasing their shipping costs! So when I decided to get my store back online, I wanted to make it a place where all my yarns are “ready to ship” “fast same-day shipping”. That way knitters and crocheters didn’t have to wait weeks to get their orders during these hard times.
It’s my goal now to turn Pumpkins and Wool into a full-time job for myself.
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 really didn’t have any concerns or uncertainties when opening my shop. I’m a go-getter type of person 🙂 I love new challenges and new projects. So I looked at this as something new and exciting, nothing to be scared of. In my mind, I thought “What’s the worse that’ll happen? People don’t buy my products and I have an inventory to myself… that doesn’t seem so bad” haha. or “Just keep making new colorways and eventually people will start to see and recognize my shop”.
If you are afraid of something, you will never see how far you can push yourself and you’ll never see what you are actually capable of. Sometimes being comfortable is just settling, you have to let go and have some fun 🙂 It may be the best thing you’ve ever done and you will thank yourself in the long run!
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?
My first year was slow, naturally, but since Covid-19 I’ve been putting a lot of my time and money into designing new products and marketing on Etsy. I have hit over 300 sales and over 100 5 star reviews. Which makes my heart so happy!
When I release a new collection (with marketing/ads in place) I usually sell out within the first week of the launch. It’s my goal to get at least 5 orders a day.
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?
When I was employed full-time I noticed that I couldn’t put all my attention into my shop. Especially when it came to taking good product photos. Natural light is your best friend and coming home when the sun is setting doesn’t give you the best photo opportunities for products. But now with Covid-19, I’m able to dedicate most of my time to designing colorways, being able to dye up larger batches of yarns for quicker releases and take better photos for my shop.
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?
Basically, I start researching colorways and themes. From there I then order all the inventory I need and once I receive that inventory I then dye up the whole lot. All of my products are Ready to Ship same day upon ordering 🙂 I do everything in small batches right here in my kitchen.
What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
I go with a few yarn wholesalers, depending on what’s in stock and what I want to try 🙂 There are always new and exciting bases to dye up. Buying wholesale surely takes the price down, but it’s still expensive since you have to buy a certain weight amount. When it came to pricing my yarns, I would research other yarn shops and compare prices. I then decided on a number that I thought was fair for my customers.
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?
Pinterest, pinterest, pinterest! haha
Photos of foods, nature, holidays, baked goods, you name it 🙂 I love designing boards of possible colorway ideas to reference back to.
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?
I have started shipping internationally at this time. Yarns have gone to Australia, Madrid, the UK, Switzerland, and others. I pay for my shipping via Etsy, as they have the best prices 🙂 I weight each package and the shipping cost generates itself. Etsy makes it very easy to ship your orders out. Plus you can schedule a pick up through Etsy so that makes it very efficient.
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’m not worried about competitors. In life, you will never be the only person making a one of a kind product. The only thing that separates you from your competition is you and how you represent your business. How much thought and effort you put into it. In the yarn dyeing business there are a lot of other fiber artists, but keep being you and people will start to see your brand name more 🙂 People know passion when they see it and if you keep promoting yourself and restocking your shop with new and exciting inventory, you’ll keep receiving business.
How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I always stay in contact with my customers, I provide updates on their orders, check in with them to make sure the order was received. I ask them, if they have time to leave a review 🙂 I’ve only had one bad experience, which was years ago, one customer, and the solution was simple. Refund.
But in a world of customer service and retail, you will get the occasional unhappy customer, and my suggestion to Etsy sellers is to try to listen, be reasonable, and accommodating. But if you have refund/cancellation policies, try to stand strong with them and don’t let customers walk all over you. You are a business after all and your time and energy is valuable. Try to find a happy medium in a tough situation.
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?
Selling on Etsy has given me the chance to work for myself and be my own boss while doing something I love in the process. The American Dream. It’s such an honor to have gotten this far and I plan to keep growing Pumpkins and Wool to become a 5 or even 6 figure company.
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?
Instagram is what I use the most! I love holding contests and giveaways. Tag a friend, follow my IG account. It’s a great way to market yourself, get people excited about your shop, and show people a behind the scenes look of you at work 🙂
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?
I wish there was a way to keep your sold out items still visible on your shop, so customers can see all the products you have in stock and had in stock. If they put a Sold Out sticker over the main photo that would be ideal. So customers can see what you have designed and what were popular selling items 🙂
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Having my store as a Made to Order store instead of Ready to Ship. Customers don’t want to wait weeks for their order to ship. They want quick and fast. So When I first started I was an M.T.O shop, now I’m an R.T.S. shop and my sales have skyrocketed that 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?
I would recommend on weekends to bite the bullet and pay a good amount for Etsy Ads 🙂 I’ve noticed a lot more traffic to my shop that way and more sales. In one weekend of having ads running, I made over $800.00 in sales.
Don’t get discouraged if it takes you a bit to make the first sale. You’re still getting established and there is a large amount of sellers on Etsy, patience is key (unfortunately, but it does pay off).