Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
Going from being professional adults that appreciate our home space, to having young kids at home and wanting to keep that stylish living space, creating a unique challenge. When looking to include kids’ furniture, it was hard to find stylish design pieces that were offered in high quality but at affordable prices. A lot of the rattan and bamboo – that we have a particular affinity for – are either poorly made or offered by designer stores and very high prices. After much research, we sourced excellent quality handcrafted furniture at very affordable prices. We didn’t stop there, but rather flew out to personally view the manufacturing process close up! Today at BamBees, we are proud to offer unbeatable prices and quality, as our many satisfied customers will attest to!
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
When we first launched we knew we wanted to sell online, but was mainly familiar with sites like amazon, and the importance of our own website. A close friend introduced me to ETSY, and it was love at first sight! The wealth of talent and high quality makes ETSY – in my opinion – the go-to site for great buys on the web…
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?
We sell rattan furniture in both adult and kids collections. We also stock beautiful decorative and storage pieces for bathrooms and all living spaces. Our stock is all handcrafted from natural materials such as rattan, bamboo, and banana tree rope. Their natural look makes them the ideal pieces to really enhance a room, and integrate nicely into modern and more classical living spaces.
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?
The learning curve for us was sourcing the right pieces that were affordable but did not sacrifice in quality.
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?
Although opening an ETSY shop was originally a side business, it is quickly becoming a full-time job, as the sales pick up, and customers are recommending us to their friends and family.
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?
Because we were importing from abroad, we had to layout an initial sum of money, which was really difficult to do. Starting out at the beginning is particularly hard for a new shop that has no reviews and customer feedback. We found that early sales were really important as it gets your rankings up, and also good quality pictures are vital at the beginning.
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 had our first sale within 2 days of launching! We would like to reach several sales a day by the 3-month target.
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 we are full-time on ETSY, we are both balancing other part-time jobs in administrative work. This is as well as spending time with young families. Managing time is indeed hard, but some relaxation time is really important and nights and weekends so you can recharge and work well the next day.
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 are spoilt with excellent quality manufacturers and are personally involved in designing some of the pieces.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Hand-crafted products are expensive to make because of the time that goes into making them. In addition, the UK guidelines are really strict in quality control of wood products, so we can’t and don’t want to cut costs there. But we hope when volumes increase we will be able to cut some of the other costs such as transportation and storage etc.
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?
we love searching through other ETSY designers to get inspiration for design spaces and seeing which products we can make that will complement those spaces.
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?
We do ship internationally and a lot of our trade comes from international customers. Our current average from the order until delivery is 4 working days. Secure packaging is really important with delicate pieces, so we tried different materials until we found the best and safest way.
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?
The competition s always a good thing! At BamBees we pride ourselves on the quality and craftsmanship that always makes us stand out from our competitors.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
Customer Satisfaction is vital to us, and we manage all communication personally to ensure these high standards are kept. We treat our customers as we would want to treat ourselves!
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?
We are still fairly fresh on ETSY, but can already see it changing our lives and look forward to this challenge and change in our life, and embrace it fully!
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?
We are now in the process of adding social media channels and love this other channel to communicate with our customers.
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?
We really love ETSY but would love the fees to be more affordable for new sellers, as cashflow is often very tight for a newly launched business.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
We learned very early on the importance of good quality product pictures and descriptions, and it’s really important to give your customers this information before they buy.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Make sure you check your pricing and try to sell first to build up your customer base, even if your profit margin is small.