Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
After studying mats and science I decided to study something creative. Having a love for fabrics and history I emersed myself in Fashion, Styling, and Couture and added lingerie, corsets, and leatherwork to the list. I am a designer and maker.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I started selling at an alternative market in London and learned about this online market which is open 24/7 rather than just once a month.
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 make latex clothing. They shine up nicely and theIr stretchy nature makes them ever so comfortable to wear. I make patterns from scratch so I can play with lines and construction.
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?
My mind is like a sponge and soaks in everything I come across. Having worked in a variety of industry’s, I like to weave them together. I wanted to be able to create inflatables and worked for a large manufacturer in London, improving my technique and speed. To keep my creative side flowing I worked for myself on the side and went to events with my wares.
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?
This is now my full-time job, so being seen is important. Etsy has a worldwide audience.
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?
The main concern was the charges, trying to figure out how they work and what I am left with at the end.
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?
No idea, as I use different avenues for sales. I think it is best to be realistic and just go for it. No point in having tons of sales if it will take forever for the customer to have their new garment. I like my clothing lines to be small so they stay unique.
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?
Until covid arrived no 2 days would be the same, some days are dedicated to pattern cutting, others to construction. I drive to my studio in the morning and get on with orders at my lovely large workbench. After a day’s work, I turn on the laptop to deal with inquiries until it is time for diner, stroking the cats and relax.
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?
We always make samples and can make clothes in a range of colors and sizes. All the tools at my studio have designated places so try are easily accessible. We can make pretty much anything that one comes up with.
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 fabric is expensive and I try to be competitive in the market.
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?
Anything, just going to work and looking out of the window. I like doing research in the library and try integrating different materials.
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 use royal mail for postage worldwide for small parcels and generally, they are delivered within a week. As a small business, I can not cover the cost, so I charge the customer. Larger items go out with ups which is a great and fast courier. Parcels go in pip boxes or bubble wrap and a card with a flyer on how to look after their clothing.
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 competition is healthy and our creations are unique. We don’t really look at others.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We have only ever had happy customers and we strive to please. We try to be polite and helpful.
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?
No Etsy is only a small part of our operation.
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?
I am old fashioned and prefer to interact with my customers in real life. I have set up social media accounts but not active on them.
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?
Make it more transparent and don’t charge vat to people who aren’t vat registered.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Just take the plunge.