Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
Hello, my name is Jasmine, and “JazzyJStickers” is my first ever shop on Etsy. I started my business during quarantine due to COVID. I absolutely love art and I liked to draw, paint, and do crafts ever since I was five. I would take various art classes through middle and high school, even joined an art club in eighth grade. In the tenth grade, one of my art pieces was sent to a high school art show and when I attended it, it was nice to see so many other creative students as well. I was scrolling through TikTok and found other small businesses selling their artwork in the form of stickers and art prints on Etsy and it made me want to do it too. I was able to purchase all the supplies I needed like, sticker paper, a laminate, shipping supplies, a good quality printer, etc. I already had an iPad and the drawing app Procreate so all I needed to do was figure out how to make stickers. I watched various videos on social media and YouTube on how to get started and the financials that came with Etsy. My motivation was that my art would be seen and liked by strangers that could give me honest feedback other than what my family and friends have told me, strangers, that could better myself and my artwork.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I knew about Etsy since 2016 but have never bought from the site, I used to just like scrolling through the various gorgeous handmade crafts and wishing I could do that. I never had previous experience selling any of my previous artworks, but have attended to buy at local craft shows. I started to sell online because I started this business during COVID and everything was either closed or canceled. I also am shy and get nervous around new people and for me, it is easier to write online, take product photos, and get my products out to the world without having to show my face. Having this business is helping my confidence in myself increase little by little and I am happy that it is doing so.
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 stickers and would like to venture out to doing art prints. I use sticker paper from Online Labels, Avery laminating sheets, a Canon printer, and a Cricut Explore Air 2. Before I got my cutting machine, I use to cut every single out by hand and my mom would help me do so. To design my products, I like digital art a little bit better than traditional art and use the app Procreate. It’s nice to know I can draw on several layers and have an undo button without ruining the art piece. I would like to expand m shop to prints, enamel pins, washi tape, and even greeting cards one day in the future.
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 always done art at a young age and would take several art classes throughout middle school and high school. I had a “mentor” which was mainly learning how to do things through various YouTube videos or online instructions. Social Media and the internet were quite helpful in learning and discovering new things for inspiration. My family helped support me throughout the years which has helped my drive and motivation. My art has been an escape route for me for years and I want the same feelings of nostalgia and happiness to be transferred towards my artwork.
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 for having my Etsy shop was to just get my art out there and see it being appreciated, and that will still remain my goal. With being shy and not having a lot of self-confidence and with COVID going on, online selling was my best option. I liked not having the pressure of being face to face with customers (buyers) until I felt I had enough confidence with myself and my products or having the pressure of them being right there when I went through the process of packaging the item, creating it, etc. I consider selling online as a part-time job, and extra income to not only pay for my hobby and the supplies but money for future endeavors.
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 the fear no one would buy anything and that a lot of money went down the drain for buying all the supplies. I had to keep looking up though and realize that by using social media to help get my products out there and not compare myself to shops that have years of experience behind them, then I would be fine.
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?
It took about a week for me to get my first sale and it was one of my fanart stickers of Criminal Minds. I didn’t think I would make over a hundred sell sin the first few months of my shop and it hasn’t even been a year yet, it just makes me wonder what’s going to happen for the rest of the year. I honestly reached my goal and if I hadn’t in the first month, it would’ve been five sales, six months would’ve been twenty ells or more, and a year it would’ve been a hundred. On average per week, I could between two to five sales. I’m not too worried about sells but more of, is my product visible to other people, are they viewing when they search for something on Etsy? Views seem to go up and down throughout the 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 have a job at a horse riding facility where I take horseback riding lessons, I help the owner with the horses and over the summer I help with summer camp and aftercare for the kids. I manage time by having set days, Sunday and Wednesday, to package any orders, throughout the week I try to immediately answer messages and emails, and after school is when I focus on my business. My typical day is waking up and going to my online classes for school, before going through all my social media to answer any comments, then going to Etsy seeing if I need to answer anything and making sure if I have stock of everything and if I have any order. If I need to make more stickers, I go ahead and do that and create a to-do list to not forget anything.
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 most of my items at home and have to go through the process with my Cricut of drawing in Procreate, uploading a PNG to Canva to edit the photo, print test prints out on plain paper to make sure the colors turned out all right, and adjust anything as needed. I upload the image to the Cricut software before formatting my stickers to fit the required registration lines before printing them out, laminating them, and having my Cricut cut them out. I occasionally outsource my designs to have them professionally printed and made, but by doing it at home I am able to control the speed and the quality of the item and have ready within a couple of hours.
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 pricing is hard to make an average on the products especially stickers. The time and labor it took to create, buying all the supplies, packaging supplies, shipping, Etsy fees all take a toll on the price. The materials I choose to use I buy in bulk and I try to look at different websites and prices to see what I want for my shop. I have general ideas but also look into other hop prices to see what is fair and what isn’t going overboard.
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?
My family and the many books, movies, and tv shows inspire me. a lot of books I have read and the many movies and TV shows inspire everyday of how they could create a world, another dimension for kids and adults to escape and delve into without any worries, and that’s what I want for my art. My favorite things are fanart and flowers, so most of my products tend to surround those two subject matters. I look on the internet or Pinterest to get creative and gain some inspirations, mostly mood boards or aesthetically pleasing pictures.
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 internationally. Since I can’t include the pricing for shipping an item in the listing, I add it separately. Domestically, it costs fifty-five cents to ship a letter but internationally it costs a lot more than and it is why shipping costs a bit more. I don’t do free shipping but there is a guarantee of it if one person spends thirty-five dollars or more. I package my products with an envelope and use eco-friendly packaging. I use chipboard to make sure nothing bends and put the products in glassine bags, before wrapping it in tissue paper that is cut to size for my products and using washi tape to close it so it’s like a small present being sent to the buyer.
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 competitors and it doesn’t seem to impact my business in any way. In fact, it inspires me to do better and focus on what is selling in my shop. If I look at others and compare myself it will reflect in my artwork and only drive potential buyers away. There are a few similar products and I tend to have a range and decent set price for my items, I try to be as descriptive as possible with my items and take good product photos to display them.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I reach out to the buyer and have them explain it to me and try to come to an agreement to see how I can improve my products and make them even better than before. I manage it by always answering within twelve to twenty-four hours of them messaging me. Having things handmade and including sample items or freebie and personalized notes also help give the buyer a good experience.
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 has improved my confidence with my artwork and that it is actually liked by random people and I can actually get feedback that will help me considering family and friends will tell you it’s good no matter what. I didn’t think in the three months I had an Etsy store that I would have close to two hundred sales and I am grateful for every one. I tend not to stress since I have pretty good time management and if there is a customer that isn’t receiving their item on time or when expected I try to offer a deal of waiting for a week before giving them options of what I can do to help assess and fix the situation. I now spend most of the day online trying to come up with new ideas and getting orders out in a good streamlined fashion.
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 is vital to my show to show what products I am selling and getting my audience a look into my life. I use ads that come with social media so it will promote it. I do spend money on ads outside of Etsy for the reason that those ads don’t need specific keywords to find my product like Etsy needs. I think for my shop if it wasn’t for my social media accounts like Instagram and TikTok, most of my items would probably stay hidden.
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 the many fees that come with it, but it is a good platform to build your audience. Also, the ups and downs of views are kind of strange about how the shop is lively one week and dead the next week. I do wish Etsy would allow you to put as many tags as you want and not have a character limit on anything to make items as discoverable as possible.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
I used many social media websites and promoted my business through the ads within those sites. I learned that product photos matter and the accuracy of them. making your product photos look pretty and appealing is hard for me to do because it’s not my type of style or personality. Trying to get new products out there is hard and is disheartening when you haven’t gotten a sale on a new item that you worked quite hard on.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Don’t compare your business to others that are getting tons of sales and don’t try using all the same materials or machines for your business. Do plenty of research and when it comes to getting my orders, use almost every social media platform possible and if they have ads, use them. Your time will come when it gets to having hundreds of sales a week or month. Show your process, successes, and failures to your audience, make them feel like they’re a part of the journey.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
I love how Etsy has helped me build confidence within myself and my art. I would like to grow and continue to learn and will continue to appreciate everything Etsy has given to me and the many people that have bought and helped support my shop.