Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
Hello! My name is Julia and I am a happy business owner. I have always dreamed of becoming a blogger and have always loved editing photos. Beautiful photos fascinate me, they can penetrate the soul and can fall in love with themselves. To edit my photos, I always used different applications and programs. In one I corrected some parameters, then went to another application and adjusted other parameters.
Later I decided to try to edit the photo using the professional Lightroom program, and I did it! I was happy to see my first perfect edit. Since that time I have been improving my editing skills every day, I love playing with colors, just one division of the setting can separate you from the ideal. I love what I do and I found myself in it.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I learned about Etsy from my husband. It was he who recommended me to create a store and place my work in it. This was our first sales experience. It was also the first experience of online sales. It was exciting, I was worried that my presets would not resonate in the hearts of people from all over the world. We got to grips with the platform very quickly and posted our first products. This has become our family business.
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?
We sell presets for instant photo editing. In my work, I use the official Adobe Lightroom software, my inspiration, and the latest trends in design and social networks. The program allows me to make all the necessary settings in one place. Inspiration and the latest modern trends allow me to provide customers with a relevant product. Our customers get a modern style of photo editing that they can use in a free mobile application. They don’t need an app subscription to use our product – it’s very convenient.
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
My education – Automation of control systems. I have never been involved with the design, so I consider myself self-taught. I believe that being self-taught is equivalent to a complete education. I respect self-education and online education, I think there is a future behind it. It took me several months to develop my skill in processing, and it also took me several years to find the sight and taste. The creation of one preset can take from several days to several weeks, I carefully think over the concept of the colors, select photos that will maximally convey the mood of my product.
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?
The original goal was to help people around the world to beautifully manipulate photos and create their social networks. I understood that visual content is the main part of creating a personal brand and processing photos takes a significant part of the time. I decided to take this responsibility upon myself and allow people to spend more time creating content. Starting with creating presets for editing personal photos, I moved on to creating presets for photo editing of products that novice sellers sell.
From a small hobby, my store has turned into a full-fledged business in which I work 100% of my working time.
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?
During the opening of our Etsy-store, I was worried about only one thing that customers would not like my product. There were already good stores in our niche with presets, which initially set a high bar for us and we needed to match it. Opening a store on Etsy was very easy and free – it was great! I remember how I sat all day filling the store with goods, writing a description for each presets so that the buyer could choose exactly what he needed.
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 from the beginning of the store opening to the first sale, at that time there were 20 products in our store. So many thoughts flashed through my head that week. At that time, I became acquainted with a new state of my soul and called it “standby mode”. The first purchase took place early in the morning, we woke up from the long-awaited sound coin (this is the sound notification Etsy has). It was a girl from France, her name was Sophia, she bought a preset and a few presets more hours later. There was no limit to my happiness. In the first year, we had 23,500 sales. Today we celebrating more 65,000 sales. According to statistics, today we get about 1000 sales per week.
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?
We are completely dedicated to online sales. In addition to the Etsy store, we have also created our main website. I used to be able to do my job 24/7. It was very tiring and the efficiency dropped. I learned to manage my time. Today, from 10 am to 5 pm, my main workflow takes place. I divide my working time into three parts, the morning part I devote to the Etsy shop, the lunch part is devoted to the website and the evening part is devoted to our new projects. I don’t get tired during the day because I switch to different tasks. I usually spend the evening with my family, this allows me to relax and gain strength before a new 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?
I create a preset when inspiration strikes or if I see new trends in photography or social media. Without inspiration, there will be no creativity, which means that you will not get a quality product. First, I select high-quality photos. In my work, I only use photos with a free license or buy them on official sites. I know what intellectual property is, especially when it is in digital format. I act in good faith when choosing photos because I want everyone to treat our digital products as conscientiously. After choosing a photo, I mentally throw in the color palette that I want to get in the end and start creating. The complete process of creating a finished product can take me from several hours to several days. When I create a product, I forget about my main job, as if there are only me and my product in the world and nothing else. This is amazing.
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 store’s profit is based on visitor traffic. I have a big budget for Etsy marketing (now over $1000 per day). This allows me to keep my products in the leading position in SEO and get more traffic. Every day I control the statistics of advertising in my personal account in order to avoid drawdowns and cover the flow of the advertising budget in time. From a small store, we turned into a top store. They copy me and I think that this is a good sign of my quality.
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 social media and photography – they inspire me. I am also inspired by landscapes and travel. The idea of a new product appears in your head and you can’t run away from it. I begin to think over it, mentally select a photo and color scheme. It happens that I leave the finished work overnight to calm down my impressions of a new product a little and evaluate it with a fresh look in the morning. It seems to me that when you are doing what you love, you can draw inspiration from any little things in everyday life.
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?
My products are delivered digitally. After payment, the buyer instantly receives a download link. I pack the product along with detailed step-by-step instructions for downloading and a specially designed Help Center, which describes frequently asked questions and solutions. Also, the purchase remains in the buyer’s account on Etsy.
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?
I love my competitors. I think that we are helpers and guides for each other. Since Etsy is one of the largest platforms, the competition is very high. But don’t worry, the most important thing is to create a quality product and make customers fall in love with it using product covers.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
Sometimes it happens that clients do not like my preset or it is not suitable for their photo. In case of a bad rating or dispute, I offer a free replacement for any other preset from my store. I always go to meet my customers. I also help customers if they cannot download a preset, I accompany them when downloading online. I always reply to messages within 24 hours, usually much faster.
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?
The Etsy store has completely changed our lives! From a small hobby came a store that helped build a good business for us. I love Etsy, it is the best platform for aspiring creators. Etsy gives you a platform with buyers and completely takes over the promotion of your products, you just have to create a product. Of course, along the way, we encountered difficulties, but we were able to solve everything.
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?
We get the main traffic for our store using Etsy Ads. We set a daily budget and put our most popular products on promotion. We spend 80% of our advertising budget on Etsy Ads. Social media is an additional source of our sales. We buy ads on Pinterest and Facebook and spend 20% on it.
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 say thank you very much to him! Etsy helped me find myself and build our business. Etsy is always introducing exciting new updates to make our business easier. From personal experience, I would recommend passing moderation before publishing the store and adding new listings. Many unscrupulous sellers copy my product photos and content and create fake stores for quick money, fly-by-night stores. They entice buyers and spoil the image of good sellers.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
For 3 years of sales on Etsy, we 2 times faced a situation when competitors banned our store by sending us a DMCA complaint. This happened at the very beginning of our store’s journey, and every time this injustice brought me to tears. We had to refill our store over and over again. This was the impetus for our business. Now we have our official website and company. The main thing that we have figured out for ourselves that can never give up!
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
My main advice is not to give up! Just do what you have planned. Don’t be afraid to create new products, experiment with promotion. Develop your craft to provide customers with only the best and most relevant products. As a result, every good store will find its buyer and make him a little happier.
Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion
The most important thing in our business is the path. I believe that we are only at the beginning and that there is only more to be done. Grateful feedback from our clients inspires us to new ideas and great development.