Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
Mercer Leathers was created out of a passion for luxury goods. When the opportunity to purchase a large inventory of beautiful Italian leathers came to light I immediately jumped at the chance to get in the business. I have always been involved in Home Design and leather is one of the upholsteries I have used in my homes over the years. I believe your home should be your sanctuary. A beautiful space that is welcoming and comfortable while reflecting on who lives in them. I am a great admirer of the many fabulous Interior Designers around the world and have hired several over the years to help create my sanctuaries. I have learned from them and now I am lucky to work with them. I am hoping to connect with new creative talent that uses leather for their beautiful creations, learn from them, and enjoy supplying them with the resources they need to grow their businesses.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I was turned on to Etsy and its ability to sell craft made goods and resources during a dinner with a business associate. We were discussing avenues to sell off small cuttings of leather and hair in hiding. Etsy was immediately mentioned and the rest is history.
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 genuine Italian leathers and hair-on-hides in sheets, quarter skins, half skins, and full skins.
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?
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?
Our Etsy shop is a new division of our business where we can sell smaller cuttings of leather and hair-on-hide to designers and craft makers.
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?
No fears. I figured you have to try before you can disqualify it as a viable selling avenue. So far we have been pleased with our performance.
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 a few days of launching our shop. It is still too soon to say, but we hope to grow quickly.
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 another business outside of Etsy that is a related business. However, my team and I are committed to making Etsy a viable business. I am still trying to figure out how best to manage my time, but I try to get an early start on emails, sales and inquires during coffee hour.
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 can customize colors and stencil/laser cut patterns of hair-on-hides. However, our main focus on Etsy has been selling our existing inventory.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Our leathers and hair-on-hides are of the highest quality in the industry. Most of our cowhides are full hides and measure between 50 and 60 square feet. They are high-quality cows and naturally raised in a free roaming field. The hair of these cows is very special and has a unique sheen and softness. They do not present any defects such as small and uneven shapes, inconsistent hair length, or scars. Additionally, they are available in three different lengths, from short to long, and over 30 standard colors.
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?
Adding new laser and stencil designs are often inspired by some beautiful fabrics. I also am often inspired by water. All my greatest designs have come to me when on the water.
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 offer free shipping throughout the USA on all items in our shop. As a big online consumer, I know how important free shipping is to a consumer. It’s just another way we like to connect with clients.
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?
As with any business, there are competitors. Competition is good. It is important to learn about your competitors and how you can stand out. One advantage we have is our unique stencil, embossed and laser-cut leathers, and hair-on-hides. We have not anything like ours on Etsy.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We have not had any bad reviews yet, but if we do we will always empathize with the customer and do our very best to make them happy and repeat customers.
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?
Our shop is still very new. However, I find it is very gratifying when you have a new sale.
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 just launched our Instagram shop MercerLeathers to build brand awareness. We plan to sell via Instagram and drive traffic to our Etsy shop.
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 think it is important to bring awareness to people outside of the Etsy world that Etsy is more than just a platform for crafters. It has become so much more of the last few years. The stock alone shows how successful Etsy has been recent. I hope they continue on this upward path.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Initially, I consulted with a successful shop owner. He gave me some sound advice on how to start selling on Etsy. What to avoid and where to put my energy and money. I then hired a professional to help me with the backend of the Etsy shop (SEO, checkout, etc). These things can get tricky.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
Nothing for the moment.