Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I have always been a crafter. I love designing and creating with my own hands. I remember that it started as a way of killing time during the quarantine. I spent every day designing and making jewelry, drawings and paintings, knitting, and a great variety of things. I started my shop with some rings that I made with recycled materials and some bracelets. I remember seeing people hanging their masks in their ears and thinking that it was very uncomfortable. I then designed the facemask chains with a similar style to the jewelry I was making at the time.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I discovered Etsy because of my Dad who used to sell on the site. Due to the pandemic, selling online was a great option for me. It was also easier to get more people to see my products.
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 facemask chains. I use glass beads and string. My products are colorful and fun. They are eye-catching because of their bright colors. I design them taking into consideration their purpose; they have to be comfortable and light waited but they also have to be fashionable. I get inspiration from jewelry designs and styles that I find interesting. I then experiment with color combinations.
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 learned a lot from school. I was lucky to have great art classes in high school where I did a lot of design and craft. I was a little insecure at first with my products, but when I showed them to people I usually got great responses, so eventually I became confident enough to publish them online.
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?
When I opened the shop I saw it as a way of encouraging myself to create nice products to publish, as a hobby. I didn’t really think about the impact that my Etsy shop would have in my life. I was not expecting so many people to recognize and value my work.
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 didn’t have any concerns because I didn’t take it very seriously at first. Later on, when my products started to gain views, I became concerned with competitiveness. A lot of similar products started to appear on Etsy, and I was really worried about that, but I wasn’t surprised. I made my products authentic, and I think that buyers could see that. I believe that my authenticity made me different from many other shops on Etsy.
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?
My first sale took me two weeks. After that, it grew exponentially. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was really glad that my shop was starting to gain recognition. I had a goal of selling 100 products in 2020 (which I thought was almost impossible) but eventually, I sold more than 18.000.
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 don’t have another job, therefore it is easy for me to organize my day and to commit to my Online selling. In the morning I ship orders that I have made the night before, and during the day I answer messages, I make some products and organize everything to ship the next morning.
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 best selling products are my multicolor facemask chains, which I make with beads and string. I also use a bead spinner and a middle to make the process faster. I don’t customize, so I make myself a stock every week to be able to ship all orders on time.
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 most expensive thing about the product is the shipping cost. Is about 25% of the price of my product. (I offer free shipping). I price my products taking into consideration the amount of time that it took me to make them. (Design them, manage my Etsy shop, make them, and ship them)
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 search for inspo on my old designs, old trends, new trends. I try to do mood boards and to make the process as fun as possible. That is how I get the best ideas.
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. As my products are small, the prices are accessible. An order can take 3 days or 2 weeks to arrive. Sometimes they can even take more due to delays in USPS.
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 concerned with competitors because it definitely affects my business, but I think that buyers can see the authenticity of my products and the effort behind them. I try to show my business on social media and get my products out there.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
When I see bad feedback I always contact the buyer and try to figure out how to make them satisfied. If there is an issue with the product I always offer a replacement or a refund.
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 really changed my life for the better. It has taught me so much. I am grateful for having my shop and for my products to be appreciated. I have a very stressful days. Especially at the beginning when I had zero experience in selling online. I try to take some breaks when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Talking to a friend or a family member really helps.
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?
Social media doesn’t have a big impact on my shop, but I like that I have a place where I can show more of my products and my creative process. I don’t spend money on ads. I try to style them and show them in an aesthetic that I find attractive to me and to my buyers.
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 would make it more clear to buyers that shipping can be delayed and that it is not the seller’s fault. There are a lot of bad reviews in every shop about shipping when it is not the seller’s responsibility, and that is really unfair.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
The pictures are key. I try to make my pictures as clean as possible. That is also really important to buyers, the aesthetic that you give to your product. I learned that being organized is rule number one when running a business (Iearned that the hard way).
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
I would tell them to be authentic and to be patient. I think that if you make a great product, that it will eventually work for your business, Etsy is a great place to be found as a small business. You need to stay organized with everything, from the beginning, even though you think that it is not a big deal, it is.