Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
Many years ago I used to be a seller of handmade jewelry, I had my own physical location in Glyfada, Greece. In order to source the jewels I would travel to many different countries(Italy etc.) so I could find the best quality handmade pieces. After a couple of years I decided to move on to another business which I am still in, I sell handmade home decor, key chains, etc. which I personally craft, in Greece (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TrendyHandicraft?ref=shop_sugg). In 2017 I discovered Etsy and I opened a store for my home decor store and this year I decided to open a shop with handmade vintage pieces that I still had in stock. I would consider my self a crafter and admirer of the handmade craft, I was always passionate about creating beautiful handmade products, at the beginning for personal use which then developed to become a business idea.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I was looking for ways to expand my business beyond Greece and share my passion for handmade crafts with people all around the world, then I found Etsy which I think is a perfect fit for a person like me and I decided to open a store with the handmade home decor back in 2017. I also had over thirty years of experience in selling handmade products, which made me want to discover the market even further, that’s why I started selling online.
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?
The jewelry pieces that I have in my shop are made from solid silver 925 and genuine gemstones. I always searched for the best quality jewelry because I view it not only as a piece of jewelry but as a piece of art. I believe that my products stand out due to the fact that I am passionate about providing the best there is which is valued by the customers.
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 completely self-taught since I can remember my self I was passionate about making handmade crafts, my mentor was my father who also loved to craft with his hands. It didn’t take long for me to see that it could become something more than a hobby, that’s due to the fact that I always was looking for ways to make my crafts better every time and search for perfection.
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?
My original goal when opening an Etsy shop was to share my passion with people around the world, then I saw that my customers were really happy with my services which helped me push through many hard times and provide the best experience I can. At this point, I see Etsy as a full-time job which is an extremely special emotion and experience.
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 had many doubts because I was not familiar with the online market, it was something totally new for me. I was worried about profitability or product competitiveness due to the fact I didn’t have many expectations to start with. I had an infinite amount of questions because it was a completely different space for me, but Etsy and Etsy sellers helped overcome and solve my problems through its forum.
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?
For me to make my first sale to happen it took me around 2 and a half weeks, which was really fast I thought that I would take more time especially in a time like this, but I was fortunate enough to make my first sale in mid-September. My average sales number is 5 a week but the number steadily increases.
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 do not have a job outside Etsy, managing three different Etsy stores is for sure a full-time job especially when I do most of the production, packaging, etc. by myself. I start my day by seeing the orders that I got during the night, read any new emails, take a look at my statistics, and then move on to the completion of my orders. This job takes up the biggest part of my day.
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 jewelry is already made that’s why I have small processing times, on the home decor shop I create the products after a sale because the demand and the number of pieces vary. The tools I have are really common, they are the basic tools for a person that is really into handmade crafts.
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 products I have in my store are made with high-quality materials which makes them a bit more expensive, but the customers have a better experience which is worth the increase in costs. I price my products based on the time that they take to be created and the complexity of each piece.
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 arts and crafts and the support I get from my customers inspires me, even more, to keep going. To create new products I usually spend many hours to find an idea then improve it and make it as beautiful and special as I can.
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 don’t ship internationally because for some countries the packages get lost all the time, which would have a result in a bad customer experience. The postage price is shared between me and the customers to take the price lower. For a product to be delivered it can take from 1-60 days depending on the destination and the shipping method due to the coronavirus. That’s why I advise customers to upgrade their shipping method to DHL Express which usually takes 1-5 days for a product to be delivered.
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?
I am not worried about competition because there is enough room for everyone to share their passion.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I look forward to giving the best experience I can to every single customer so I always try to meet the customer’s expectations at any cost.
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?
Selling on Etsy has given me a new look at the handmade craft because now I communicate with people all around the world, which an extremely rare and special experience. I never thought I could get this far and I am truly thankful to the community. I usually have no problems with any customers and when I face a bad case I try to satisfy the customer.
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 use social media to connect with more people and share my passion. I have only tried ads outside of Etsy one time and did not get the results I wanted. I create special pieces which is appreciated by the customers.
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?
I can’t think of anything that does not satisfy me on Etsy except for some bugs that the platform has.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I tried to make the best quality products I could at an affordable price for the customers. It has been a big journey and I have learned many new things that have changed me as a person and have given me a new perspective.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
New sellers must make use of the information that is provided to them by Etsy and its community because better research will set up their shop for success. I also believe that new sellers should not be worried about beginner mistakes because they are lessons that will help them improve their service and make the customer happier, which is what matters the most.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
I would like to add that Etsy has helped many small businesses for many years expand and become bigger and has given a way to make handmade crafts become a bigger industry that was in danger of extinction. Especially during these hard times, Etsy is a necessity for small businesses.