Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I’m a designer and maker and I offer a range of different handmade gifts perfect for any occasion. Including Passport covers, T-Shirts, Make-up bags and more.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I first discovered Etsy in June 2019 after hearing about it from a couple of friends who bought cute handmade gifts off there.
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 personalized gifts such as Makeup Bags, Passport Covers, Gift boxes, T-Shirts, Storage Boxes and more! I use heat transfer vinyl which I then use a hot press to print onto the item and sublimation printing too which is more for full color designs.
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?
Learning a new skill is fun and interesting but there is still so much to learn, I’m about to explore creating personalized mugs and I can’t wait!
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 was just as a side income but it’s now my full-time job and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
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 when I first started as it was only a side income so it was just a ‘see how it goes’ type thing and it’s going pretty well so far.
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?
There was definitely a gap of about a couple of weeks, it really started to pick up around Christmas time which was 3 months after I first opened my shop.
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?
No I don’t, I recently got made redundant due to Corona virus which has made me really focus on my Etsy store and I’m now going to continue this as my full-time job.
I always start with looking at what’s sold the previous day and make notes of any stock I need to get in. Then I look at the orders I have and start creating the artwork for them, I do this in bulk to save time. I then prepare / print onto the products, once that’s done I package them up and post the orders out. After I have completed the orders I use Buffer to schedule social media posts which saves time in the long run. And also if I have time I’ll look at creating new products for my page.
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?
The first thing I do is create a design on Photoshop then transfer this across to the software I use for cutting the vinyl. Once the vinyl has been cut I then use a heat press to print onto the products.
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 look at competitors of mine but I also have a mark-up percentage that I like to use on my products.
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 looking for inspiration on Pinterest it really helps me to get creative! I can easily spend hours on there!
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 do, I ship to any country! I have a set amount for the postage pricing which works well.
I have used free shipping in the past but have decided it doesn’t work too well for me as customers tend to order a few different items therefore I could lose out due to the cost of postage. Charging a set price works for my store as it means I don’t lose out and covers people if they order a few things off my store.
International shipping costs!
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?
Yes I am, I think it’s important to review at least once a week to check out what their doing. I probably only spend around half an hour a week doing this.
How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I haven’t had any bad feedback yet but I think communication is key to managing the customers expectations. If there is going to be a delay with an order customers are usually more than happy if you tell them as soon as you know.
Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever thought you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?
It has as it’s now my full-time job and I’m very lucky to be able to do that and be my own boss!
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Product photos and descriptions, these are both so important as it really helps the customers when they’re making a decision on whether to buy or not.