Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I started tinkering with Antler and making keychains and morel mushroom carvings in the late 1990’s. Built the first lamp in 2001 along with a chandeliers as my parents wanted a log house etc. and we have been going strong ever since
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
We discovered etsy a few years ago and have had a website since 2002.
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 everything antler from jewelry, lighting and furniture along with our bullet crafts. We also sell tips, beads and buttons for other crafters to use.
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 learned through trial and error. Growing up on a farm I learned several trades, how to weld, plumbing, fixing things. I grew up using power tools so as I grew older and tools evolved as well I have been able to build some pretty cool stuff as well using antlers.
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?
To sell some of our products and the materials left over from cutting antlers for our Pet chews. Started selling online as a side job to support my outdoors addiction etc.
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?
not really. We just started adding some things and they sold so we rolled with it.
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?
It did not take long for first sale. We sell on Etsy on the side basically I would say we get 30 sales a week.
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?
We sell on Amazon, our websites, eBay and we also have a storefront. I spend most of my time in the shop building our antler lighting etc.
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 try to create a few extra products when we can however most time is spent filling orders. We use Milwaukee cordless power tools including drills and screw guns along with belt sanders and bandsaws.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Cost of antlers. The cost can be quite expensive for our antlers. We purchase by the pound on a weekly basis.
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?
Working with the raw antlers as they are each different so each piece is a one of a kind piece of art. My mind is constantly going I will wake up with an idea sometimes. I look at some other pics or products and put my own spin on it.
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. We charge actual shipping when postage is higher than listed. Order time varies by product. Our lights are custom order so they can take 6-8 weeks for a larger piece. The lamps we try to get out as soon as within a week. We do use free shipping sometimes., We package with shredded paper, foam, packing paper etc.
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 standout?
No not worried about competitors. There are some similar products, but we try to worry about our business.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We do everything we can to make it right if we have a problem with one of our products.
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?
Selling on Etsy has helped us move some of our products that we do not sell as much of on our websites. We to get stressed sometimes when we fall behind on our lighting orders but those come from our website and not Etsy.
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 to advertise our shop. We use Facebook mostly to advertise and yes we use paid ads sometimes. We get people excited by sharing photos and even videos of our products as we get them finished.
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?
I really do not have any complaints about Etsy.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Advertising on Etsy
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Good pics are key and we are trying to replace several of ours.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
We enjoy what we do here at our shop in Newton, IL and we take pride in our entire product lines from our Jewelry, Lighting and Furniture to our all natural antler dog chews.