Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
Hello, my name is Sara! I am an Art historian and traveler lover. I am a treasure hunter I would like to say. I’ve always been very restless and traveling. I had many wonderful pieces that I had been accumulating throughout my travels. Soulless objects purchased in markets, craft shops, ateliers, and native villages from remote locations. Now many of them can’t visit When I searched the internet, I realized that there were few websites on which to view, enjoy, or buy amazing pieces from other cultures. That’s how Simply Rickshaw came up. Create a space in which each object moves you with its history to authentic and remote places. For that reason in 2014 I opened my store on Etsy.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I discovered Etsy by chance, looking for ethnic pieces on the internet. I saw that there could be a niche on Etsy and I opened the store with a few products. All my pieces are vintage and antique handmade from many places in the world. Selling online is selling to the world.
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?
Simply Rickshaw products are antique or vintage. They’ve had a use in an earlier era. That’s why materials are natural, there’s no plastic.
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?
As I comment before our pieces are handmade vintage or antique.
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?
It all started on a beach in the South of Spain seven years ago. After several years of traveling around the world, combing cities and discovering incredible places, we came up with the idea of creating a website for curious people who, like us, appreciate artisan work and look for genuine and unique objects in the lands they visit. We wanted to send all these beauties all over the world! So we create our website and at the same time open the Etsy shop. At this moment my Etsy store is a part-time 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?
In fact, I do not have any reservations before I open the shop. It is true that I had to learn and study many Etsy tools, like Etsyrank or Marmalead. I was very worried about the number of visits. I also visit some seminars as well to know how to use the Etsy platform. Regarding competitiveness, my pieces are unique and there is only one of a kind. My goal is to get more and more visitors every day.
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?
It took me several months to sell my first piece. I am happy to see how year after year my sales increase more and more.
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?
Yes, I have a Simply Rickshaw fisical store in the center of Madrid. I spend several hours a day in the store and at the same time I work on the internet, and of course, cataloging pieces and serving customers.
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?
Each piece is unique there are no two equals. I can say for example that Berber pieces are selling very well.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
All the pieces I look for and select during my travels are very rare and special. The price varies depending on the quality and authenticity of each piece.
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?
All the inspiration I have been acquiring visiting museums, markets, shops, and cities all over the world. Inspiration is everywhere!
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’m so glad I can say I’m sending anywhere in the world. I currently have customers who choose our pieces in America, Australia, Europe, and even Asia.
Regarding prices, I decided not to use free shipping. Each of our pieces has a different size and weight, costs can vary greatly depending on the destination. Our shipping prices are really fair. I lost time and money so many times, I must say. On the other hand, all my pieces being delicate go very well wrapped. I also usually wrap them as a gift all the time. surprise is important
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 think competition is positive. It creates a position and makes you better. However, I think if it affects the excessive growth of Etsy’s platform. In my opinion, It’s full of shops that don’t sell handmade or vintage goods. This causes a lot of noise in the buyer who has to search and search among many products.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
At the moment I should say that I did not have any problems with a customer. So happy about this.
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?
There’s a lot to do and learn in my Etsy shop. By now we have to keep working to make it grow more. I love what I do and I love speaking with customers, sometimes we also share travel experiences. That is so special.
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! Honestly, Instagram and Pinterest are the tools I use most. They help me show my pieces in the best way. And of course, some time you need to spend money to promote your project.
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?
As I said before, I would suggest that many stores that do not sell handmade or vintage pieces be removed from Etsy. It would raise the category of the platform. Make it better.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I try to work hard with my pictures I try to do my best. I love to show my pieces in a special environment. In this way, I can show the customer what this piece might look like in their home.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Keep working. Do it with passion and be creative. Pictures are very important.
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Love what you do, your products, your esthetic… and be constant.