Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
My name is Ryan I am a 36-year-old husband and father of 4. I am typically a construction/landscape worker. I first started because my Mother is a diamond painter. She asked me in late July 2020 to build her a diamond painting tray holder. She posted it on one of the Facebook groups she is a member of and overnight had a ton of comments of people asking her if I would be willing to build them one.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
My mother referred me to Etsy. No, I did not have any previous experience in selling handmade products. I started selling online due to interest from people worldwide.
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 Custom Ordered Diamond Painting Tray Organizers and Container holders. I use MDF wood, and Birch Wood, wood glue, sandpaper and paint or stain. I design my products by custom request of each customer’s measurements to fit there workspace and storage container size. My products stand out because they are custom-made to each customer’s request.
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 am self-taught. I was satisfied with my creations after my first customer received it and let me know that they loved it!
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?
To sell my organizers online. I live in a small rural town in southern Nevada. Online selling makes it easy and convenient to reach a wide range of customers both near and far. I started online selling 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 didn’t have any fears or reservations, I just had to figure it all out.
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 think it only took a few days for my first sale. No, I didn’t think I would make a lot of sales in the beginning. I didn’t really have a goal. Just took the chance. I average about 8 a sales 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?
I work part-time-full-time building houses. I go to my regular job and then work afternoons and evenings on my orders from Etsy.
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?
No, I do not make orders ahead of time. I customize each order as it is requested and paid for. I use saws, sanders, paint, stain, and custom package them.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Costs and pricing depend on the type of finish the customer wants. If they request a painted item I use MDF, if they request a stained item I use Birch hardwood. Pricing also depends on the size, detail, and time that goes into each individual product.
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?
Most of my inspiration comes from talking with the customer about what their specific needs are for there workspace and storage containers.
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?
I do ship internationally. I use ShipStation which gives me a discounted price, I then refund the discount amount back to my customers. The average time is about a week depending on the location of the customer and the size of the product. No, I do not offer free shipping. I custom package each product with bubble wrap and foam sheeting and custom cut each box to fit the product size.
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 am not worried about competitors as I have my own unique style and product.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I haven’t had any disputes or bad ratings yet. Only 5-star reviews. My customers can email or call me directly with any communication they are needing.
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?
No Etsy hasn’t really changed my life in any way. Just convenience. No, I did not think I would get this far…but it been nice. No, I haven’t been stressed about dealing with customers. Manufacturing yes a bit when it comes to finding ways to make things just how the customer wants or there technical difficulties with tools. I deal with it is asking for input from my wife or father…and buy new tools.
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 how my products have been shared from the beginning. I post pictures of my finished products or new ideas on my Facebook Page and Groups. No I don’t spend money on ads outside of Etsy.
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 would like to be able to add more options and variations to each of my products.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Keywords in my titles and Product names. Don’t spend too much on ads.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
I’m still new to Etsy so I don’t really have a lot of advice for others yet.