[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Home and Living
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/woodeyeswoodworks
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/woodeyeswoodworks
Website : https://www.woodeyeswoodworks.com[/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…
After college, I took a job as an estimator in a cabinet shop specializing in custom woodworking. I’d always enjoyed working with my hands, but being surrounded by like-minded individuals and seeing the engineering and production inspired me to try my own hand at woodworking. I started small by making bottle openers and other small tchotchkes before graduating to larger furniture pieces.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I’d heard of Etsy through the grapevine. I believe I had purchased a few smaller items from it in the past and felt it was a good outlet to begin my own storefront.
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 handcrafted, heirloom-quality furniture that is built using locally sourced lumber. Outside of my larger pieces, I sell smaller gifts and baubles like bottle openers and beer flights that are customized per the client’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. It took me about a year to get comfortable selling smaller pieces, and another two to three years before I felt comfortable selling furniture. I wanted to ensure I was using techniques that would guarantee my pieces withstood the test of time.
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?
I’ve always treated Etsy as a way to pay for my hobby. Now, six-year in, I’ve been able to furnish myself with a shop that I’ve always dreamt of. Etsy is now a legitimate side-business for me to supplement my full-time income.
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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?
Not particularly. I always approached it with a mentality that if my stuff was worth buying, someone would buy it. If no one seemed interested I would have just continued building things for myself and my family.
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?
Around a week. I maybe average 1-2 sales a week. Being focused more on selling bigger-ticket items it’s tough to really have a steady flow of sales. I try to fill up my ledger based on the seasons/quarters (five big pieces per quarter) so that I don’t get inundated with work that I can’t finish.
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 typically work on my Etsy stuff sporadically after work during the week and a handful of hours on the weekend.
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 build everything to order. If customization is required I’ll usually design those elements ahead of time, get the client to sign off, and move forward from there.
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 shipping. The expense of materials can vary. Epoxy is fairly expensive, but the lumber can range from inexpensive fir to high-end walnut. I price my products using a formula that accounts for materials, overhead, profit, and labor.
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 a lot of inspiration from fellow woodworkers. I’m currently building a prototype table using the show-sugi ban method where you burn the wood with a propane torch to achieve a gator-skin effect.
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 ship smaller items internationally. I use free shipping for all pieces going to the lower-48. Customers overseas must pay a small premium considering the higher cost of customs and international shipping.
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?
Not really. With a 2.5-year-old and a full-time job, I try to keep perspective. I’ve had local competitors actually reach out to ask me some questions and I’m always happy to answer them. I’m a firm believer that customers will gravitate towards your business regardless of competition if you have stellar customer service and a dedication to quality.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I do the best I can to remedy any issue (even if it means taking a hit). I try to work with the customer the best I can to help them fix any problems that may occur.
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 helped me build my dream shop, and for that, I’m extremely grateful to Etsy. I’ve been stressed dealing with customers, but it’s few and far between. Most customers on Etsy are sympathetic to the fact that we sellers usually have a day job and are doing this in our spare time.
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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 suck at social media. I’ve tried Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Twitter and I’ve gotten mixed results.
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?
From a global standpoint, I’m not a huge fan of the recent influx of drop shippers that purchase something from Alibaba and re-sell at a markup. That’s not what, in my opinion, Etsy is about. As a woodworker, I don’t see a lot of that first-hand, but I can sympathize with my jewelry- making brethren on Etsy.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I just really tried to make a great product. Everything else has kind of fallen into place. The only thing I wish I’d done at the outset is to have a stronger pricing formula. I was under-pricing my work for a while.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Don’t forget to pay yourself for your time. It’s easy to just look at material costs and add a slight markup, but you need to account for overhead/labor. A lot of sellers undercut themselves and wind up upside down because of this.