DaisysDriftwood – Driftwood from the West Coast of Scotland

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Home and Living
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/DaisysDriftwood
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/daisysdriftwood[/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 consider myself the most “unartistic” person there is. My stick people don’t even look like stick people! So if you were to tell me 8 years ago that I would be selling things that I have made in shops and online I would have laughed! I still to this day smile to myself if a shop describes me as a local artist to customers.
I started making pieces out of driftwood when we took holidays to Loch Awe on the West Coast of Scotland. My son was gathering wood that was washed up and I thought “I could make something with that”! We also had a Dalmatian who needed a lot of walking so we started to scour beaches together. My family then moved to the West Coast of Scotland permanently and I was in driftwood heaven!


How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?


I discovered Etsy through a friend who I was collaborating with at the time. We had sold at a few craft fairs together and wanted to sell online. We were not at all successful at first but this was because we didn’t understand how Etsy worked and we were comparing it to selling on eBay.


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?


When I first started making things to sell I solely focussed on driftwood. I loved making mirrors so I sourced these from second hand shops or friends then upcycled them. After a while I started to notice other things washed up on the beach that I could use like broken pottery and glass. I slowly started incorporating them into my work and now I sell them as a supply on Etsy for people to make their own.
I don’t have a structured design process at all. Sometimes I find a piece of wood on the beach and I know straight away what I want to do with it but usually it sits around for a while before I need it.
I really enjoy when I can “freestyle” and incorporate odd beach finds into what I am making. The saying “one mans junk is another mans treasure” is really true for me, I love nothing better than adding a unique feature into my art, old spoons and dolls heads have been hidden into my mirrors before as a little added extra!

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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 first creation was 2 pieces of wood screwed together and tied with twine! I had it hanging on my wall for quite a while as inspiration. I can’t say that I am ever satisfied with my creations, I never have confidence in what I make and never believe it when someone says I am talented. It is a constant source of surprise to me that people pay money for things I make. Saying that it is also a delight and a huge buzz to think that things I have made are hanging on people’s walls around the world.


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?


I must admit I found Etsy a lot to take in when I first started so my goal was to learn the process. 5 years on and I am still refining how I use it. I was comfortable buying and selling on eBay so was happy to give Etsy a go and see what happened.
I work full time with my husband so Etsy is not my main source of income but I don’t consider it as a hobby, more my second job.


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?


My fears were linked to my own abilities and lack of confidence. I did a little happy dance when I sold an item and still do!


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?


As it was five years ago I am not sure how long it took for my first sale to come through but it was slow. In my first few years I didn’t sell much but as I started to market myself better my sales started to pick up. The lockdown has been very good to me and this financial year is set to be my best so far.


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 have a full time job outside Etsy so my making and listing time is in the evening when my daughter is in bed. If I am too tired to make something I may use the time to list things instead.


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?


My best selling product is a supply of driftwood pieces. Some months I can sell quite a few of these especially in the period leading up to Xmas when people are making their own crafts and decorations. Each month I plan to make up some bundles to get ready to post out but my good intentions always go by the wayside!
I don’t offer customisation as such but I do take commissions. My latest commission was to make a lighthouse for a customer who gave me free reign on every aspect of it! This was a joy and it turned out to be a mixed media piece of different textures and colours.


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 am very lucky in a way in that my main material is provided to me by the ocean! My cost comes from the materials that I have to buy to put a piece together, I go through quite a few glue guns and glue along with twine, ribbon etc. I have a bit of an addiction to buying washi tape from Etsy for my packaging!
When I am pricing my products I always think about how much would I want to pay for it. Would I think it’s reasonable?
Wherever possible I buy my supplies from other small businesses on Etsy too so that we all benefit.


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?


The ocean inspires me a lot and the beautiful area I live in. Also the material I am using, I like to think how far the piece of wood has sailed across the sea to get to me or who used the piece of sea pottery before I found it and why did they throw it away.


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?


Yes I ship internationally as a lot of my customers are from the US. I always worry about charging my customers too much postage so where I can I will pay for some of the postage out of the profit I make, probably not good business! As my product is recycled I use recycled packaging wherever I can. I buy new tissue paper and as stated previously washi tape but I keep all the bubble wrap and packing from things I buy and reuse it where I can. I state this clearly on all my listings.


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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 I am not at all worried by competitors. I was once at a craft fair and there was another lady selling driftwood products a few tables away from me! We were both perfectly happy because we were selling different items and they complemented each other. I sometimes look at competitors to get ideas for staging photographing my products which can be useful.
There are a lot of similar items to what I sell on Etsy but I think there’s space for us all. For example I list my driftwood as from West Coast Scotland. If a customer has a fondness for Scotland they may buy that but then a different customer may be looking for driftwood from West Coast England. There’s enough room and hopefully customers for us all!

How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?

I always send a message to tell my customers there item is on its way. If on an odd occasion an item has got lost in the post I send another one out without question. I often get customers asking for specific things that I have not listed on Etsy and I try my best to accommodate these

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?

I always wish that I had more time to make products and list them on Etsy. I always have more ideas than time. Whenever I get a spare hour I’ll dive into my work room and try and work on a piece. I do sometimes get stressed because I am a very disorganised person so I need to organise myself to get things packaged up to post out. I’ve recently created a little packaging area where I have all my packaging in one place, this is a big step forward to organisation for me!

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?

Oh this is an area I know I really need to work on. I really don’t drive traffic to my Etsy shop at all. I really need to spend more time doing this.

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?

Etsy is great. I can’t complain at all.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

I learnt that good photos are very very important. Once I started to use better photos my sales improved.

What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?

Join Facebook groups that are about Etsy. Think of Etsy as a shop and how you are going to present your products in your shop.


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