Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I’ve always loved to sew. It was my hobby, a great passion. After the birth of two children, I decided it is the best time for a change. In the beginning, I sewed everything, but with time I realized that I should specialize. I was looking for interesting decorations for my daughter’s room, a bed for my son, and decided that the best idea would be to design it myself. This is how my story began.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I was selling on Dawanda, but they closed up and that’s how I started up on ETSY.
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 make all accessories for children’s rooms. We sew pillows, bed sheets, bedspreads, teepee tents, and much more. We have a carpentry shop and we make beds for children there. We sew for the client. He decides from what fabric we will make wall panels or sew cushions. Many things can also be changed in our beds to fit, for example, to the angle of the roof at home.
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 whole story started when my doll had no clothes. Grandma had a sewing machine and lots of colorful fabrics. She showed me how to hold the needle and taught me to sew by hand. Learning to sew is a process that takes many years. I completed tailoring courses which helped me to sew now better.
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?
Nowadays, sales without being online do not exist. If you want to open up to the world and sell abroad, you must have an online store. For me, this is a full-time job. I’m sorry 🙂 I don’t go to work 🙂 work is my passion 🙂 so I don’t work.
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?
I didn’t know how it would all turn out, whether we would find clients, how ETSY works. Everything turned out fine, but it was a stressful time.
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?
I never chase numbers. The beginning of our cooperation was a mystery to me and I did not want to assume specific amounts. Now we have about 40-50 orders per 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?
Happy people don’t measure the time 🙂 I work task-oriented, I set goals that I implement as best I can, without looking at my watch.
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?
Talking with the client is essential. I spend a lot of time answering questions and choosing fabrics with my clients. It is important to me that the client is satisfied. A satisfied client is for me a big success because it is for me a signal that my job is good.
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 materials we use to make beds are of high quality and therefore their price is not low. There is a lot of competition on the market and I know we cannot afford low quality. Clients want a good product and are able to pay more for it. It is not big mass production like in China. This is what makes us different.
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?
Everything revolves around our bed. I’m trying to invent new things that are part of this bed. Pockets for books or wall panels are a good example of this. Textil covers for beds in which children have their hiding place are a great example of this.
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?
Most of our production is shipped abroad. Our products go to France, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and Italy. The cost of transporting large packages of 40 kg is very high. We cannot make free shipping.
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 a carpentry shop and a tailor shop and this is what makes us different. Nobody has it. We are able to implement individual projects. Customers appreciate it very much. I am not afraid, I am looking for new solutions, I am clearly looking into the future.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I always try to understand and explain everything. I am in favor of an amicable settlement of disputes. The bad opinion is a signal to me that we can do something better.
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 slowed me to expand our operations to other countries in Europa. It is an international portal with a huge reach. Thanks to this, I got to know the culture of consumers from other countries. I am constantly learning how to talk to the client, understand what he expects from us. We don’t see each other and that’s why it’s so important.
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?
Due to the fact that I know just a little about these processes, I use the help of companies specializing in this field. I think Instagram is very important because people buy beautiful photos. I often have clients who write that they want what is in the picture.
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?
No tutor for key sellers on ETSY. If I need help it is very hard to get in touch with someone suitable. I miss a person who would help, suggest what can be done better on Etsy so sell more.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Take care of the customer as if you would like to be well-groomed as a customer. I am also a customer and I know how I would like to be served in the store. Think like a customer, not like a 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?
Think like a customer, not like a seller.
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