RedVesselDesigns – Unique handcrafted tattoo gifts inspired by tattoo art

Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…

I would describe myself as an illustrator, crafter and small business owner.

How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?

I found out about Etsy via social media and was initially a customer only as I LOVE supporting small businesses. I have now been selling on the platform since late 2017.

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 create unique handcrafted gifts, accessories and home decor – inspired by tattoo art and alternative themes. I am hugely passionate about handcrafted items so all of my items are designed and made by hand!
I am primarily an illustrator, however I also use mediums such as polymer clay, card-stock and glass engraving.

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 have been interested in crafted items since my high-school days – I now run a business selling them!
I’m self taught and always ongoing I am constantly pushing myself to design new products.

alienheadbeaniehat
grimreaperbaghandmade
pizzamughomemade

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 am currently running my business part time however I would LOVE to make it my full-time income and have a big studio to create my products.

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?

I did not have any fears but did have reservations on the costs, however I have learnt that it is great to have a range of revenue streams so also have my own website as well as selling through a local stop and at events.

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 created my shop but did not start losing my products straight away. Once I started listing items I sold within the first 2-3 weeks.

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?

I work part time however I would LOVE to quit my job and work on this full-time.
My usual day consists of creating stock, packing orders and running my social media accounts. I do also work part time so it is a balancing act to get everything done! I keep myself on track with a weekly plan that includes daily to-do lists.

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 design all the illustrations myself, these are then used on a variety of products. Creating the products vary depending on the item!

What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?

My shop is profitable however I would love to sell a wider range of items through my Etsy shop ( I have very clear best-sellers through Etsy and would love this to be more balanced!)

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 am inspired by tattoo art and alternative themes such as UFOs and skulls. I find inspiration for my designs in lots of places however my inspiration to push forward with my business usually comes from Instagram – I follow lots of other small businesses that inspire me to keep going!

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?

Yes I ship worldwide! Customer always pays for the shipping which I calculate through royal mail.
I do not include shipping in the cost of my items, instead it is calculated at the checkout. I send all items through Royal Mail and have had a great experience with them.

skullnotebookpersonalized
coinandstoragepursehandmade
customgreetingcards

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?

When planning an item I do have a quick look at similar products sold by competitors. However I do believe that this varies depending on the type of customer you are targeting.

How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?

I work hard to create high quality products that are packed well – so I have not had any bad feedback. However I think customer service is very important so always try to be friendly, approachable and professional.

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 is helping me to work towards my goal of running my business as a full time job.

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?

Changes such as the free-shipping placement is unfair on UK sellers. I also do not like the high cost of the new Offsite advertising (15% is WAY too high!!!) and do not think that it should be mandatory.
Etsy has helped my business and I am grateful for that however it is supposed to be a platform for supporting new, small and independent artists and crafters. However it seems to be loosing its way… fees are getting more and more expensive, sellers are allowed to sell copyrighted, illegal items and I am seeing more and more factory made/pre-made items being sold though Etsy which is unfair.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Work on your SEO, this is something that is always ongoing and is very tricks as there are so many sellers on Etsy now! its like a dark art! Advertising costs are high.

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