[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message bb_tab_container=””]Niche : Home and Living
Shop link : https://www.etsy.com/shop/yanyula
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/yanyula_[/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…
I always liked crafts – in my school, we did a lot of different workshops like painting, woodworking, crocheting. Art and expression trough manual work were important in every subject that we learned. The other side of my childhood story is my home – my mom and my grandma always did some crafts – handmade dolls for me, crochet table cover, winter sweaters, and more. My dad was a master of the woodwork – he did so many toys and furniture for our home. Back then I didn’t see anything special in making things by yourself but now I know handmade products are so special! I started making crochet baskets just because I like how they look, I wanted one and I knew I can. Then I discover macrame and also liked it and want one for myself.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
It was just an idea that maybe if I like those things someone else would also and I could make them for them. I have never sell crafts before, I did not sell anything ever! I didn’t know Etsy before I started to look for some way to sell my crafts. I liked the look of the platform, how easy it was to set up shop and the products of other sellers looked very nice. In the first few months, I didn’t have much luck with sells but it didn’t cost much so kept trying and adding listings to my shop.
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?
My main product right now is macrame plant hanger, I also sell some macrame wall decor and crochet accessories. I would love to have more time to experiment with other materials and different crafts. I use cotton, wood, and metal. Those are materials that I feel good about using, I’m very conscious seller (also buyer), I don’t want to make or sell things that won’t last long, cannot be reuse or recycle and have a big ecological footprint. Being vegan made me mindful about our planet and I don’t want to promote fast shopping, single-use things so I’m sticking with natural materials and designs that will last longer and are versatile.
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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’m completely self-taught so in the beginning, I needed a lot of attempts to make my design look nice. But more you try it becomes easier and because I enjoy what I do I never felt frustrated with it. Sometimes is just not the right day and it’s better to leave it and come back in some time and somehow it goes so much better.
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 was hoping to sell few things, maybe have it as side-job more for fun than for the income. I never thought I could make a living of my crafts. I’m in similar point now because I put my shop on vacation mode for almost 2 years which I spent in Australia and New Zeland traveling.
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?
When I opened my Etsy shop for the first time I didn’t have many expectations, I didn’t invest much (except my time and energy) so the risk was low. At that time there were a fraction of macrame makers of what is now on Etsy. I guess it was my luck that I started at this exact right time when something is becoming a popular trend but there are still not many makers and shop offering it. Now, when I reopen my shop after 2 years break I face much more competition and because I know what it was before and I wish it was the same this time it is so much harder for me. I take everything more personal and stress a whole lot more. I know you need to be persistent and keep up your game if you want to be successful (on Etsy or anywhere else in life) and that’s my plan. I also have lovely family and friends support who always encourage me not to give up and cheering for mu success.
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?
In first few months the sales were very very slow, maybe one or two for a month, but even that was unexpected for me and I treated it like a success so I made more products, better pictures, learn about marketing and slowly sales started to pop up ones a week, than ones a day. I could have 20 or 30 sales per week but I would have to work very hard for it and creating products was just a small portion what I did.
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?
When I started my Etsy shop I had a part-time job which was great because I had a reliable income and quite a lot of time for macrame. Now, when I just sell crafts on Etsy my typical day will start from checking orders and getting them ready. Depending on how much more time I have I will make something new, take some pictures or spend an hour or two on social media trying to promote my shop. When you run craft business you need to adapt and sometimes I spend 10 hours working and sometimes just 2.
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?
My goal is to always have some products ready to ship in case I have a lot of orders I don’t feel stress and can just pack and send. I have around 40 different designs of macrame plant hanger so it’s impossible to have all of them ready – especially that often I’m asked to customize it, for example, change length or space for pot.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
I’m very lucky because my main material is a cotton cord that I can buy in my city directly from the producer and I pay for a kilogram- if I would have to order cotton cord from shops selling it in meters I would have to make my prices so much higher that probably no one would buy. Most of my customers are from the other side of the world so I have to keep my prices on a competitive level because I don’t have the advantage to express shipping to them. When pricing I always add the cost of materials, taxes and my time to the equations.
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 most creative after being in some inspiring places – it can be an art gallery and forest, most of the time I don’t have time to try all of my ideas so I don’t complain about lack of creativity. I try to live my life to the fullest, do different things, surround myself with inspiring people, and say yes more than say no. That’s enough to keep ideas flowing.
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?
Most of my customers are overseas so shipping is a big thing. I ship using Polish Post – it’s efficient and luckily not overpriced like couriers. Delivery will take from one to two weeks. Missing packages are always a headache but I never leave my customers without solving shipping problems, even if it’s 100% post fail or someone didn’t pick up the parcel in time I’m trying to find package, re-ship or find other solution. Customer service is one of my top priorities. I don’t want anyone to feel disappointed after buying my product.
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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 standout?
I’m facing a lot of competition right now, I just reopen my shop 1st of August and I see how much more macrame sellers is now on Etsy.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
Customer is always right – you can like it or not but it’s true. There is no point with arguing with anyone, I didn’t have much issue with unhappy customers but if I do I try to make them happy.
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?
After being able to support myself and my family from selling crafts online I believed that everything is possible and that you can have a job that you love.
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 wish it was more important and made a lot of difference in my sales but for it doesn’t, no matter what I do. I have my Instagram for fun.
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?
The mystery algorithm that runs everything… I wish I new more how to describe and tag my listings better but there is to much information and it’s not very clear for me. I don’t want to be SEO expert – I just want to sell my crafts!
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I pay attention to the details – consistent style of logo, banner, photos of products in similar style. I want shoppers to have a nice experience visiting my page.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Start small but have in mind bigger picture. For example – it’s better to set up shop with only a few items now than wait months until you have the whole collection ready but still think that you will have 5 or 10 times more items later on and prepare for it. Make pictures that you can recreate with different products, make one well prepared and considered a pattern for item description – it will make your shop better to go through and also so much easier for you to add more products.