[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Home and Living
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/HaberdasheryShop
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/haberdesheryshop[/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…
My name is Marco. I live in Germany, in a small Farmhouse near the river Weser. My wife and I are passionate medieval fans. Since 2010 we make medieval, Viking, and renaissance dresses for events, weddings, and markets and sell them on markets and online worldwide. As we have a good connection to our customers we realize that there is a need for Trims and Laces because a lot of people make their own dresses. So we decided to open a shop on Etsy to offer these things worldwide.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
We have experience in selling handmade products because we make dresses and outfits for LARP and reenactment for several years. We have sold a lot of over Dawanda, a shop like Etsy. This online shop was closed and we moved over to Etsy with success.
We want to offer our products worldwide, so Etsy was the best way to do it.
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 trims, laces, and since this year Digital Embroidery Machine File. We use different materials, mostly polyester. The design is Medieval, Celtic, and Renaissance. We offer it by Meter or Yard, our costumers can choose the length. Our stand out is a good price range and a very good delivery price.
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?
We did all by ourselves, but we have a very good background. My wife is a tailor, specials in dressings for events and weddings. I have worked as a sales and service manager, so I have learned to deal with customer needs and problems. Later I was working in the purchasing department of a music company. I have learned to work with companies and manage products. We are still working on a perfect shop on Etsy, but our service is very good.
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?
First, we started the shop to get some extra income, but after a few months, we have seen that it was more work. So the goal in 2018 was changed to getting self-employed. Now it is a full-time job for both of us, by the way, we are working on reconstructing our farmhouse plus 4 dogs, chicken, and quals.
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?
A question before the start was, are their customers who need the product we offer. But as we started it as a hobby, there was no risk in starting it. And when it turned into a full-time job, it was easy to handle problems. But the situation this year is very hard. The problem is not Etsy or the customers, the problem is the post-service because they reduce a lot of delivery possibilities. At this time we have no chance to send goods to Australia and New Zealand.
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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?
The first sale was in the first week when we started on Etsy. And then we realized that it could be a very good second salary. So our first goal was achievable. 10 orders a week in the main shop and 5 in the dress shop.
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?
Since this year, selling on Etsy is our first and only job. Next year we will start to sell goods on medieval markets and festivals/events. A day starts with checking out what is going on in the shop. with theses information, we start to order the materials we need and start working. In the afternoon we do all the delivery thinks, label printing, and finally the way to the post office.
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 send our designs and ideas to our supplier and get feedback, what is possible. About the Trims and Laces, we get the finished product. About the dresses, we make examples and make a listing. The customer can order the size and color she/he wants and we make it as a unique product. We have sewing machines, plotter, cutter, and embroidery machines.
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 price depends on the materials and how long it takes to make it. Etsy always gives us a hind that our products are keen and we should higher the price. But often this will not work because then we sell less. We try this a couple of times.
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 look at the customer needs and try to fill the gap.
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 well internationally all over the world. The shipping costs are fixed and reasonable. Normally the delivery time is 2-5 days inside Germany, 1 week inside Europe, and up to 14 days for the rest of the world. For the USA we offer free delivery for orders over 35 $. The Trims and Laces will be sent in envelopes, the dresses inboxes.
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?
We have no problems with competitors because this kind of product is mostly in the same price range. Our standout ist the quality, service, and postage costs.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We are always in contact with our customers when necessary. If there are problems with our products we offer a change or refund, if something is lost in the post way, we send it again. As we send all goods with racking we have no problems with all that. In most cases, there is always a solution.
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?
The full-time job has changed a lot of things. You work from home and must stick to that rules f.e. make your own timetable and work on Sundays and holidays are rare. But this was the goal, to be your own boss. At this COVID 19 time, it is very stressful to finds ways of sending goods internationally. But in most cases, you find a solution.
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?
Our products are promoted on every social media site we use. We use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr equally to the Etsy offside ads. We spend some money on ads outside Etsy, but not much yet.
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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?
For sellers, the fees are too high. We started at about 3%, now it is 10-12%, if you sell things with an Etsy offside ad 12 or 15% will be added on. This is way too much. Etsy will gain more sellers with fewer fees and an individual marketing tool. To improve sellers’ and customers’ satisfaction Etsy need real customer service. Most problems can be solved without any closing shop by this kind of service. The case tool is working very well, but if you have a very complicated costumer, in a lot of cases it ends in closing the seller’s shop.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
If you have situations like this year 2020, you must have a reserve fund. But in the first years, it is nearly impossible to build this reserve because you must spend a lot of money on Marketing. One lesson we learned and noticed often, the customer is more important for Etsy than the seller
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Start all as a hobby! It is the only possibility to find out if your idea is the right one. Otherways the risk to lose money is very high.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
We are very satisfied with Etsy. it is a very good tool to sell things and be successful. But they can do it much better.