Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter,maker,artist…
Hi! Mosswerks was started by two friends who grew up together here in San Diego. We love the outdoors. A friend of ours asked us if I could create this moss piece she saw on the internet( we said yes). Between both of us, we have a very wide range of skills so it wasn’t too difficult. After doing the piece, we saw how beautiful the art could be in a home. So we started thinking we could come up with different designs and sell them. We always wanted to work for ourselves so that was a huge motivation in starting the company.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
We needed a selling platform that was going to bring customers in and also kind of align with our business, we found that Etsy market place was a good match for our hand made products. People who are shopping on Etsy understand that most of the business is people making things from their home. So the handmade expectation is there. It is also very easy to get started on Etsy. We thought that selling online is the best idea because there is no cap for growth.
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 preserved moss art, we mainly use wood and preserved moss but custom orders have had us use metal as well, We create our standard designs based on a modern feel. We want the look to be clean and elegant. I think this is what has caused us to stand out in our field.
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
With backgrounds in construction, painting, welding, woodworking we put all those skills into creating what we do. It took about 3 months before we were happy with our product. Once the sales started happening we knew we were on to something and that kept us moving forward.
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 original goal was to of course make money, we can’t work for free haha. Selling online was really the only option for us in the beginning. Vast amounts of customers, which is what we think you need when starting a company. As of right now, it is an extra full-time job if that makes sense.
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?
When starting the online store, we really didn’t concern ourselves with other competitors, we figured if people were going to buy then they would. We were concerned with profitability on our product though. Being it does take some time to make the wood part of our product and we didn’t want to lose money. We then figured out a way to improve our build process.
How long did it take for you to get your first sale? Did you ever thought you would make a lot of sales in the first year? What was a goal you were hoping for? How many sales an average you get per week?
It took about a month for our first sale, we set high goals for the first year to make sure we hustled to hit it. ( we didn’t haha) I think we said somewhere around 200,000. We did about 5 orders 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?
Yeah, we do have outside jobs. So 2 full-time jobs now.
How does your manufacturing process looks 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 tools that you are using in manufacturing process?
We have a building line for woodworking part of our product then it gets sent over to fill side where our moss is then placed and adhered to the wood and then it is sent to packaging. We try and create products ahead of orders so shipping is faster.
What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
The materials and shipping are the most expensive part of the manufacturing process. I base the pricing on those costs.
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?
Unique spaces are what gives us creativity and ideas for introducing new products. When you see a new space and realize something is missing and you could fill it with a certain shape to make it more appealing.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is 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 we ship internationally, we offer free domestic shipping, international is not. The average time I would say is between 1-2 weeks. We package our products using 200lb test cardboard boxes and they are individually wrapped with bubble wrap.
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 are not worried about competitors, We have enough to focus on and that is not one thing we would like to. I think we stand out because of our modern look.
How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We realize you can’t make everyone happy but if it is something we can do to help our customers we will. All our communication is either ran through Etsy or our email.
Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever thought you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?
Owning an Etsy shop has been pretty cool. It hasn’t really changed my life per-say. I did think that the shop would do well, How well was up to us really. Put in the hard work and it will happen. Fortunately, we haven’t had a lot of stress I think this is due to good planning. Planning will save you a lot of headaches.
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 a huge part of advertising, you need to promote and run ads. spend money to make money. Most people I think won’t do this and this is why their sales are slow.
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 customers satisfaction?
I don’t really have anything I don’t like 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?
I would say running ads and spending money. That is what generates people to your site. Most people want to save save save. but its the spending that gives you more buyers.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering to sell on Etsy? How can they avoid beginners mistakes?
What I just said above. I would say running ads and spending money. That is what generates people to your site. Most people want to save save save. but its the spending that gives you more buyers.