Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I’ve always been creative so starting The Quaint House was a natural ‘next step’ for me.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I had heard of Etsy since 2014, I used to buy quality one-off pieces on the platform but it never occurred to me I could be a seller myself. Then along came the pandemic which encouraged me to try and give never looked back. The sense of gratification when someone expresses how pleased they are with their purchase is all worth it.
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 Furniture made around the globe particularly in Europe and Asia. We also sell hand made plush home furnishings which have been made in the UK and designed by myself.
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 come from a family of seamstresses, so I have learned everything I know from my mother. When I was a child, my mother used to sew professionally for so many different people, make all our soft furnishings, make clothes, make everything! Then as I got older I started building things like my headboard, remodel my kitchen units which are all self-taught. In order to be satisfied with my creations I just kept practicing eventually, I got there.
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?
Initially, I just wanted to express my creativity and offer quality to potential customers. The pandemic made me become more decisive about what I wanted to do. I actually love honest selling, people’s happiness with a purchase makes me happy and I know exactly what I want to offer to consumers. Etsy supports my first love of Furniture/soft furnishings and allows me to be in my creative space and make extra income to keep this hobby going and offer good quality to our customers.
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?
Initially, I was not that confident in the platform, I think that was mainly ignorance as I didn’t really understand how it all worked. Then people started showing interest and started purchasing, I was blown away! I wasn’t worried about profitability or competitiveness as what we do is exclusive. My attention to detail and craftsmanship and that of the other products we sell are very high quality, I just concentrate on offering quality and being genuine.
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 posted my first product in August 2020 and had my first sale in September 2020. I never anticipated getting the level of sales that I have achieved. Again, I wasn’t expecting much as I didn’t understand the platform properly I just wanted to test the waters and see if I could actually make a sale online. On Average, we do about 2-5 sales per 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?
Yes, I have a full-time job outside Etsy I work part-time from home so I am able to dedicate the time needed to my Etsy shop. A typical day starts with me answering queries I’ve received via Etsy, the website, etc. Waiting for packages to be delivered and/or collected for our customers, speaking to suppliers, then the afternoons are dedicated to my craft, sketching designs, and designing mood boards for the next creation.
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?
I do both, some items are pre-made so that we can turn around orders quickly. Bespoke orders like curtains take longer as you need to ascertain exactly what the client wants. This is done by sending the customers a short questionnaire to create our foundation and we are able to probe further if needed. Bespoke projects normally take about 3 weeks. We have a heavy-duty sewing machine and overlocker to fulfill our orders and to ensure our goods are professionally finished.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
The biggest impact is finding high-quality materials, which is costly. This has to be factored into the overall cost as does labor, but we try to be as competitive as possible, even though our prices can be higher you cannot rival the quality. The fact that you can purchase bespoke items that will fit into your chosen space is unique.
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 love art and the individualism that art encompasses. This aspect is definitely reflected in our store, I am constantly thinking of ways to create individualism and exclusivity to our store. I am constantly looking at home related publications both here in the UK and abroad.
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?
We do ship internationally. My first customer was in the USA. International postage is charged separately as the rates vary from country to country. The average time for shipping abroad is approx 7 days. We offer free shipping for UK deliveries, that’s the least we can do for our customers, besides it makes us more competitive as well. We don’t compromise on our packaging because products need to arrive intact especially with home goods
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 we pride ourselves on unique designs, and high-quality handmade products made with TLC. Ultimately I’m confident with our products and the genuine love that we have for producing great products prevails.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
You have to manage customer expectations from the start. There are always a series of questions I ask myself, I always put myself in the position of the customer. That way you can assess things from the customer’s perspective. Something as simple as managing expectations for dispatch and delivery can make all the difference. I like to answer customers promptly, there is nothing worse than waiting on a company/individual to get back to you. I operate by my own standards of customer service, what do I expect?
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?
Etsy has certainly given me a newfound confidence. I never thought that I would have a successful shop on the Etsy platform but here we are. It has brought genuine happiness to me in ways I couldn’t imagine.
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?
I am a novice when it comes to advertising on social media. I do use Instagram and Facebook though and have linked that to my Etsy shop and our website. I need to learn about social media tactics and implement them’s just by finding the time as Etsy brings in a lot of organic traffic.
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?
Communication with Etsy is rather slow, which is frustrating when you have an urgent query. They need to be more responsive, a valid contact number that is easy to find would be amazing
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Offering exclusive products sets you apart from the rest. Terms and conditions are a must it sets the parameters for customer expectations and what is and is not acceptable. Unfortunately, if you don’t cover yourself as a seller some people will take advantage.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
There is nothing like trial and error but make sure you have terms and conditions, and /or a refund policy that protects you as the seller. But enjoy the process and embrace the opportunity you have to create a platform via Etsy.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
Great platform that offers creatives the opportunity to sell their creations.