Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I consider myself an artist I can make anything I see, I have been doing things with my hands since I was a little girl of 11 or 12 years old. I started by making my doll clothes. Then I started knitting and crocheting from the age of 13 to 16, then I tried painting I love doing that. Then one day while in my 50’s I started making jewelry, I sold several pieces to friends, co-workers, and family. I found that all I had to do is think of it visualize it in my mind and I could do it no matter what it was. I will admit, I have made some mess lol. Someone told me to try Etsy, and here we are so far I have not sold a thing but I feel it could happen I just need to find what people are looking for.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
My daughter told me about Etsy, she said that one of her friends uses Etsy and has had some sales and I should try. So I decided to give it a try, I have never used any form of Online sells before now, and I feel that it can’t hurt to try, I might sale something. I do have a little skepticism about it all but it can’t hurt to try it once. I have so much jewelry now I could dress a double pain storefront window and still have quite a bit leftover.
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 product now is jewelry things like necklaces, earrings, bracelets, rings, anklets. I use beading wire, jump rings, spring rings, lobster claws, toggles. Beads of glass, genuine gemstones, crystals, freshwater pearls, genuine Swarovski crystals, wood, horn, and bone. Silver, silver plated, gold plated, sterling silver, gunmetal black lacquer coated wire, and more to make my jewelry pieces.
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
It was something that came naturally, I could look at something in a store, or something someone had on and go home and make just like what I saw. Then make it again with some improvements to make it my own style.
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 really just wanted to know if could sell my products to others that I didn’t know someone other then a friend, a family member, or a co-worker. and I wanted extra income for my hobby
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, I did, and I still do. There are times I think I am just wasting my time and money, and that I should just close down. So I have given myself a time limit and when I reach that limit I will close the shop.
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 have not made a sale yet, but I have not given up.
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 am 70 years young and retired.
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?
Yes, all of my products are pre-made right now, but I can make things to order if you can give me a clear enough picture of what you want. I use Tool Magic so as not to damage the product.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Some of my materials are expensive, like the genuine Swarovski crystals, the Fresh Water Pearls, some of the genuine Gem Stone can be expensive too, I try to buy in bulk it does cut cost. I also buy the wires and chains in bulk when possible or larger quantities. When it comes to pricing I find out how many beads, stones come in the package divide the price by the quantity, finding out how much each bead cost, then I pay myself a salary per hour that how I come up with my price for the item. If I have to ship the Item I find that price I also and in taxes, I will have to pay them with all that in mind that is how I come up with the pricing.
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 see something in my mind and wonder if I can make it, talking to people, looking through books and magazines.
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 have not tried that yet as I said before I have only sold things to family, friends, and co-workers. I have a postal scale and an account with the Post Office and can make my own postage stamps and labels when needed. I am hoping that I will be able to have the product to the customer within 3 to 5 days. I have boxes and corrugated envelopes. I did his right after I opened my account with Etsy.
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?
Yes, but that is something I would have to deal with either way. It would but I am hoping I can make it though. There are a lot of similar products, all I can do is hope that mine is chosen. Lighting
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
Disputes, all I can do is try to solve them, rating and feedback, try to sell the best product I have, I have not had to deal with presale and post-sale communication, but I have had customer satisfaction, and I do take back and repair if needed.
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?
Not yet, but I do spend a lot of time on Etsy or reading the information they send to help my sell ability along.
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 would think that it would be a good experience for me. Oossibly selling on social media. My daughter thought it would be good for me to use the media as a selling platform. It has the audience.
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?
Right now there is nothing I don’t like about Etsy, this is my first experience with then on this level. I have bought things form them as a buyer and received a good product and am still using it. So all is good.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
The lesson I learned is not to have that instant reward idea in mind it just doesn’t happen like that.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Have patience, lots and lots of patience.