TerrapinTradingLtd – Terrapin Trading World Artisanal

Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…

We spent a number of years traveling the world and gaining inspiration from craftspeople internationally, observing their skills and innovation, which has inspired us to create unique pieces of clothing and crafts ourselves. We have extended our range into soaps, cosmetics, homeware, and accessories.

How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?

Originally we used other platforms to trade goods, but we got interested in Etsy after experimenting with our own designs and ideas

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Indian Sitar Set of 4 Machine Head Tuners (2-WAY) replaces wooden pegs

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 a range of soaps and have developed a range of Scottish tartan and lace skirts.

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?

We went on training courses on how to produce soaps and researched the legal aspects of recording batch numbers/ testing etc.

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?

We sell on a number of platforms and gave up our careers to sell full time.

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?

Yes, it is nerve-racking as you worry about turnover. It is a competitive market. You have to be constantly thinking of new products and innovations. And keeping an eye on competitors and pricing models. Costs of raw materials fluctuate, and when working with tight margins, this can make the difference between profit or loss.

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 takes time for things to pick up, patience is a virtue.

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 don’t have another job, online sales are my sole income now.

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?

We have a small batch in stock at any time so we can send out quickly.

What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?

We have to be constantly working out overheads as prices of raw materials/ postage costs/ packing materials are constantly changing.

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 use online research, Pinterest, Instagram, blogs/youtube for inspiration as well as traveling overseas.

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?

International post can take 7-10 days and the price and delivery times can change wildly -so we have to be careful.

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 to constantly be on the ball regarding competitors and try to make our items unique and fresh.

How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?

Communication is the key, and accuracy of descriptions and photographs.

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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?

It is good to work for myself, freedom of hours and time off, and freedom to explore new ideas.

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 has helped a little, but it is no comparison to the advertisement for large platforms.

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?

We are unable to sell all our products on Etsy sadly.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Good adverts and clear pictures.

What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?

Make sure you do your costings correctly, including, labor costs, tax, shipping, packaging, etc. Production costs are always higher than you think.

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