Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
BELOVED is a brand cherished in Latvia, which started as a hobby and a small dream about my own company. Each book is handmade and is not produced in huge editions. The idea for personalized books came about in 2018 – at the time came when a child was born to my best friend. I was invited to a baby shower, and I realized that I wanted a special present. At that time there were not a lot of options for baby books. So, I decided to design something special.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
My mother has made her own shop on Etsy a long time ago, where she sold some of her artworks. I live in a small country, where people can’t really afford to buy art, so I decided to try to sell my work 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?
My products stand out with light and cute colors, creative design. And people love that they can personalize the book. It makes it more special. I use a computer to design my products, then print them on high-quality paper.
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 graduated from Art school, my mother is my biggest critic in the best way of course. But what refers to graphic design – that is self-taught (have been designing for 10 years). The idea of baby books was born a long time ago (2015), but really happened in 2018.
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?
This is my part job/ hobby that I intend to make a full-time job. For now, it is not making me money, but I hope people will start to love my work and I can call it an extra income.
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?
At the start, I was afraid that there are so many options to choose from and I don’t want my products to be too expensive. But then I took a risk and made a shop. And after 2 months of paying for adverts, I made my first sale. Of course, it wasn’t profitable, but I was happy that someone has chosen my work. It helped to make a shop more attractive and continue to wait for more sales.
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?
And after 2 months of paying for adverts, I made my first sale. I was hoping to make more sales in the first year, but I understand that it takes time and work to grow your followers. I get 1-2 sales in a month.
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?
Yes, I am a full-time graphic designer at my own company. My day is creative. I spend a lot of time working with computers and talking to clients.
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 make a new design of baby books each year. Now I am working on 3rd design. I use inspirational photos, Pinterest, friendly advice to make new designs. I try to follow new trends.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
For now – I will have a profit when I make more than 5 sales in a month because I use high-quality materials that are pretty expensive. But at the same time, I don’t want my products are more expensive.
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 use inspirational photos, Pinterest, friendly advice to make new designs. I try to follow new trends.
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 ship internationally. I pay for shipping expenses, so the shipping is free for clients. The average time is 1 to 4 weeks (5 weeks to Australia). I try to pack my products as a gift, to make clients happy.
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 try not to look at competitors. I have my own style and I think that people appreciate that.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
one time I had to send a book for the second time because the package was lost. In the end, the client received two packages.. but didn’t left any feedback.
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?
I think that I am only at the beginning of the journey. I hope that it will become my full-time job.
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 don’t spend money outside Etsy, because for now, I invest my money to make new products.
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 don’t like that Etsy has made accounting so hard to manage. The receipt that I get at the end of the month is so complicated.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I understand that I need to advertise my shop in more places.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Make your shop unique, with the same style, and take your time to make good descriptions of your products.