[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Jewelry and Accessories
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/CraftFantasticDesign
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/craftfantastic
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/CraftFantastic
Website : https://www.craftfantastic.com[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]
Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I think of myself as a crafter, maker, and an artist! Creating and making drives my life work but I have a strong entrepreneurial sense as well. As far back as I can remember, I have had a deep love for all things visual and making. Long ago, thirty-plus years, in my late twenties, I made some brightly painted mantle clocks to sell at a local gallery during the holidays. To my surprise, they sold out! I dropped out of a Masters in Fine Arts program at the University of New Mexico and started my career as a designer/entrepreneur.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
ETSY has been on my radar since the early days–around 2005/2006. I sold imported Japanese paper on ETSY in 2007/2008. Recently, due to the loss of venues and income around the Covid-19 pandemic, I opened my store CRAFT FANTASTIC DESIGN on ETSY. I started my small craft supply company, CRAFT FANTASTIC, in 2009. My employees and I did retail consumer, craft supply shows in almost every state, coast to coast. This year, when everything shut-down, so did our shows and our income dried up. We have a nice website that generates about 20% of our income but I have always wanted to make the move to ETSY. So, we opened our store out of necessity more than anything else. I am certain that the ETSY platform will get our product out in front of our target audience–creative people who love to make things!
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?
In the late ’90s, I sold my Indian import paper company to one of the big Craft Supply Companies. Part of the sale included me doing design and product development in Asia giving the company the first right of refusal for any ideas and products that I developed. They passed on one of my best ideas–a comprehensive line of DIY jewelry supplies to create jewelry with glass and custom images. Fast forward to 2008. I had just closed four paper stores and needed a way to make a living! Voila! CRAFT FANTASTIC was born! We sell findings, kits, images, and more… Some of our products are imported or made in house. We are also introducing a line of paper crafting kits and products based on my designs from workshops that I have taught over the years.
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 have had the great, good fortune to grow up in a family where creativity, both visual and intellectual, was most important. It’s in my blood. I make/create to live. This compulsion was fostered and supported by my parents and siblings. As a child, my father, an architect, would take me around to look at buildings, structures, parks… That’s what we did for fun on Sunday afternoons. We spent a great amount of time in museums! I was encouraged to make things! We talked about the visual world often–in the same way that some families talk about sports. I consider myself very lucky!
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?
Selling online is a full-time job. I have long time employees. I need to pay for them! I have made the decision to not go back to doing retail, consumer craft supply shows. I think the future for CRAFT FANTASTIC is online.
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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?
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?
We have had a small number of sales.
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 own Craft Fantastic. I love my work! I work about sixty hours a week!
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?
Our products are a mix of imported items and items produced at Studio Craft Fantastic. On occasion, for larger orders, we do offer custom products.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
I don’t care to share this information.
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?
All the products that I design must meet the following criteria. 1. Would I buy it? 2. Is it well designed? 3. Would I feel good about selling it? 4. Can all levels of crafters use it and get results that they would love? 5. Can I sell it at a price that is a good value?
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?
At this time we do not ship outside the United States.
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?
ETSY is very competitive. In spite of the fact, that our products come from my original idea, we are a little late to the ETSY table. This, I believe, will be our biggest challenge to having success on ETSY.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
Too new to have to deal with this.
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?
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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 is very important. We are on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. This transition from shows to selling exclusively online is tricky. We are slowly lowering our prices as the cost of doing business online is less than doing shows. ETSY is very competitive and we are easing into working with lower margins. Social media will help educate our existing customers about the reasons for the changes in our pricing.
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?
At this point, I really don’t have enough experience to address this.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I talked to a seasoned, successful ETSY seller and took her advice. She counseled that it will take time and, if you are serious, spend money on advertising. I am in this for the long haul. It’s a tough economy right now but I am confident that I offer good products that people want. My fingers are crossed!
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 am a beginner on ETSY but I have plenty of entrepreneurial experience outside ETSY. My sense is to not worry about what other sellers are selling or how they are pricing. Offer beautiful, depictive, comprehensive visuals to entice customers. LOVE your product! Offer great, well-designed products!