[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message bb_tab_container=””]Niche : Home and Living
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/PleaseSanitize
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/please_sanitize
Pinterest : https://www.pinterest.com/PleaseSanitize[/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…
Hi my name is Justin Kordenbrock and I live in Jacksonville, FL, born and raised. As a kid, whenever people would ask me what I wanted to do with my life I remember saying, “something with my hands”. Making things has always been a big part of who I am. Back when I was in high school I would always be so excited to get out of class and go home and create whatever called to me that day. Sometimes it was writing songs with guitar or piano. Other times it was hanging around in the giant live oak in the front yard building tree platforms so I could sleep outside. I even made birdhouses for fun, which has kind of come full circle cause what I make now involves a very similar process.
Anyways, I naturally fell into carpentry. From framing and finishing houses in St. Augustine, FL to building tiny homes on trailers in Pahoa, Hawaii, carpentry has always been a part of my life and I am beyond grateful for that.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
Its been a gradual realization but I first was exposed to the idea of selling custom woodwork from home, when I visited a very skilled, inspiring, and pretty darn attractive group of people from around the world who were doing just that. Serena, the woman who owned the five acres of land in the middle of the jungle, had started building tiny houses out of her greenhouse with the help of these attractive people and this blew me away! The work was done with joy and ease and this was accomplished with intention and good communication. The abundance Serena radiated worked its way into my mentality and I couldn’t help but see that this way of living off the land was right in line with the way I wanted to create my future financial situation. Since I’ve traveled a bit since. All the while visualizing and thinking up how I was going to create my own version of what I had seen at Serena’s place. Then it came to me… in physical form! My dad had bought a house that had the perfect sized detached garage/shop for me and my brother to start fulfilling custom carpentry orders!
Then the pandemic hit… Uh oh… No, wait… There has to be some way to profit from this crisis.. If I’m being honest this was more or less my thought process. I noticed sanitizer was selling out EVERYWHERE. There had to be something I could make, something involving sanitizer that people would actually use. So I let my mind just run…
Many terrible and ridiculous ideas later, I came up with the idea to make hand sanitizer dispenser holders that were custom made for people’s front porches. Little did I know my audience would almost entirely be businesses! Etsy was the obvious choice to reach the biggest audience with my handmade product and I am so grateful to have access to such a well designed, user-friendly resource.
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 ?
I sell sanitizer dispenser holders that can be small and mounted on the wall. I also make free-standing dispenser stands that replace the dull boring metal dispensers you see everywhere you go now. However, my dispenser stands are completely customizable with many different options to choose or base your design from such as menu holders, mail slots, magazine shelves, business or gift cardholders, and more! I use pine wood, as well as several stain options and clear coat so my product can hold up to the great outdoors. The permanent outdoor vinyl is also used for any text, graphic, or logo that you choose to customize your dispenser holder with. What makes my product special, aside from being completely custom, is the ability to buy it with an automatic or pump dispenser included! I’ve searched Amazon to find well-reviewed, high volume, and easy to use dispenser that can be included with any of the listings you see in my Etsy shop
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
I’ve learned from a variety of skilled people through the years as well as having attended a technical college for carpentry so I had a pretty good idea of how to go about building my dispenser holders. It was definitely trial and error and took a few different versions until I was satisfied enough to post it on Etsy. I’m still making designs whenever I have the time, and sometimes they just don’t work out and end up wasting wood. But that is just part of it though. I try not to expect anything and just enjoy the process cause its all for fun anyways right?
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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?
My goal when I opened my Etsy shop and even now is just to enjoy what I am doing. I’ve found that what I enjoy most is having creative control over my work and also the ability to see the fruits of my labor directly. I would like to experience online selling as a full-time job but also would be thrilled to keep it as a side-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?
I definitely had doubts and still do. There are those voices in my head that say things like “this is so ridiculous”, “there’s no way this could actually sell”, “this whole thing is just going to flop and put you in debt”. Even more so it is just a feeling that comes up. Whenever this feeling comes up though, it’s not a hard thing for me to deal with cause I know that nothing will last. Even if this idea does succeed it will not last. And if I fail miserably, the consequences I will face… won’t last. “This too shall pass” is a thought I keep in mind whenever I feel those feelings of fear. Nothing lasts forever so keep aware your attaching yourself to these ideas, goals or whatever or whomever they may be.
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 a couple of weeks to get my first sale and as soon as that happened I knew that this vision that I had for Please Sanitize could actually be a possibility. Even now I only get a couple of sales a week but that number is growing and now that I am focusing on marketing, I feel confident that I have a good chance of hitting the 6+ sales per week goal that I had when I started.
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 manage my time with a daily routine. I am just entering the world of real estate with my brother, who I also play weekend gigs with on occasion. In addition to that, I create music daily, workout, and also take on the occasional carpentry project for friends and acquaintances. It’s a lot to keep track of and keep myself accountable and can really take a toll on my brain sometimes. I remedy this with a daily routine. I highly recommend getting a whiteboard and start fine-tuning a daily/weekly routine that works for you. It has cleaned up my scattered mind and made me a way more efficient person overall.
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?
I’ve only just started to discover what my best-selling products are so I am starting to create the empty canvas ahead of the orders. Once I have an order, I then stain and customize it based on the buyer’s personalizations. This is done with a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine that cuts out the custom text or graphic into permanent vinyl that I then apply to the dispenser holder and then add additional clear coats to be sure the vinyl will last through all kinds of conditions.
What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
I set my price based on the materials involved ($15-$50), shipping costs, and any fees. Then I give myself an hourly wage and set my price based on all of that plus however long it takes me to create.
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?
I get inspired by other products on Etsy like Family name or address signs. But most recently I have been doing research when I go out to restaurants or any other place of business. I find the sanitizer stations and I look to see what other items people are using that are nearby. I then see how I can combine concepts. My menu holders, for example, came to me when I realized restaurants and bars are using disposable menus but are probably not going to want to use disposable menus forever and will eventually want a way to go back to laminated, reusable menus without the worry of spreading germs or giving their business a bad reputation in these times when germs are such a big concern for patrons.
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?
I do provide international shipping but I haven’t had any international orders yet. It takes me about a week to complete an order and ship it out and I can say that one lesson I have learned, is that nobody wants to pay shipping these days and you are way more likely to land an order when you can provide free shipping. Free shipping is just way too prevalent nowadays and it can be a huge turnoff to potential buyers.
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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 stand out?
I don’t actually have many competitors which really gave me the confidence I needed to create my shop and do my best to create a one-stop shop for custom dispenser holders. I do my best to make my products stand out from the typical dispenser stands by providing a custom, wooden, handcrafted look.
How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I do my best to handle any customer communication as quickly as possible and always leaving them with a good experience to remember me by.
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?
Having my own Etsy shop has shown me how much energy it takes to run your own business, no matter the size. Being the only person doing every aspect of Please Sanitize has been incredibly rewarding but can also be incredibly frustrating. This frustration arises when I notice I am rushing myself and just trying to get to the end goal, whatever that may be. I have to regularly re-frame my thinking and focus more on the process rather than any particular end goal.
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 very important to a successful marketing campaign. Using the resources that are actually driving sales is important. Approaching social media methodically rather than randomly is highly recommended. Observe the stats on your Etsy shop manager and take note of where most of your traffic is coming from. This may be the social media promotion you want to put a little more money into.
For me starting out, it seems Pinterest is my main traffic source since my other social media is still in its early stages and doesn’t have many followers. Therefore I put a lot of my focus into creating well-made pins that I can put money into promoting and feel good about it.
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 can think of any way Etsy could improve. It has been a great experience so far.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
The main experience I learned from was that it is better to wait till you are satisfied with your product before you post it for the world to see. A lot of potential buyers may visit your shop only to go on to the next and never look back. Get your shop and products looking professional so you don’t lose buyers that just needed a clearer picture of what you were selling.
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?
Get your pictures looking pro, descriptions easy to understand, your title full of searchable keywords, and your buying process and options easy to understand… then market away!