Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
How did I start? Well, I was sitting in my job… doing boring work and was thinking about my own business.. how to start.. what to start with, etc.. I really liked photo editing and playing around with my Instagram so I decided to create some Lightroom Presets and then was looking for a platform to sell. At this time I discovered Etsy. I created a new shop still this day. I consider myself a huge fan of photos, photo editing so that’s why I decided to start with Lightroom Presets.
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 some platform where I could sell Digital items so I googled ” Sell Lightroom Presets” and I found Etsy. I saw many other sellers selling presets there so I decided to establish new shop and start selling. It was the first time for me and I did not have any previous experience with selling online or selling handmade 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 Lightroom Presets. Presets are digital files. Basically, they are filters similar to for example Instagram filters but with advanced options of editing. Adobe Lightroom is the most used application for professional photo editing so thanks to presets all people can edit their photos like professionals. The huge advantage is that there is also a free mobile version of Adobe Lightroom so people can edit their photos straight in phone
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 used my own presets for many years on Instagram and other social media feeds. So I was practicing a lot and once I was confident and happy enough with my work and results I started with creating and selling presets.
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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?
In the beginning, I did not have any vision or goal. I just wanted to try it.. maybe earn a few dollars and make some people happy with my filters. The first year on Etsy was just a part-time job. I had a lot of sales/month and I could leave my full-time job but I was afraid that Etsy can disappear from one day to another.. or for example can shutdown any shop without warning anytime so I was still in my full-time job. After 1 year I decided to leave my job and start with Etsy on full-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?
only one fear I have is that Etsy can shutdown any shop any time.. without warning. I already have seen this many times. I also can see many people complaining about this on the forum. There are also appearing new and new competitors on Etsy so prices of items getting lower and lower while Etsy ads are obviously more and more expensive because of new coming sellers. So I’m not sure about the future of selling lightroom presets 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?
I remember I got the first sale after 4 or 5 days.. one my shop was indexed, Etsy ads started working and I was really surprised. I got few more sales upcoming days and then every day more and more.. after few weeks I realized I can earn more money on Etsy than in my full-time job so I started to take it seriously. Currently, I have 700 – 1000 sales/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?
Currently, Etsy is my full-time job and I’m not looking for anything else. I always wanted to be independent and thanks to Etsy my dreams become reality. Because I sell digital items I have a lot of free time. If people buy my items they can immediately download them. There are also instructions attached so most of the time they don’t need me. However, I have an Etsy app on my phone so if there is needed some kind of support I’m online for my customers all the time except sleeping time. I wouldn’t say I have typical days as I can do anything I want so my days are quite different but I spent every morning on Etsy to helping my customers with presets if needed. I’m sending them emails with files if they are not able to download them. There are also sometimes requests if I can test presets on their photos first so I’m doing it. Sometimes I create new presets or looking for perfect images for editing. Then I go for lunch.. after lunch spending time with my family, dog and some hobbies.. and in the evening again sending emails/editing photos/helping customers if needed.
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 product is the “White Lifestyle” preset package containing 21 unique presets.. making photos bright, airy, clean, and white but still keep colors pop and nature. Sometimes customers are not fully happy with the preset package they purchased so I’m working on custom presets based on customer requirements but it’s very rare. I use Adobe Lightroom software and a few more photo editing programs
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 biggest impact is for the sure price of my items and also advertised images which I use. I mean you can create perfect, beautiful photo filters but if you advertise them on really bad or inappropriate pictures then people don’t buy your items. Regarding materials.. you can either buy some photos for advertising, you can use your own photos or download some free photos..so there are many ways.. and you don’t have to pay for any materials if you don’t want to. Prices of my products are around 4-5 $.. depends on how many presets are in the package, but because of competitors prices are getting lower and lower every day
What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?
The best inspiration for making presets are for sure bloggers and influencers on Instagram. They are creating beautiful presets and you can see what people like. So you can get inspiration there.. and create some presets working similar way. I believe you don’t need anything else.. just Instagram and you can see so many beautiful images/styles/feeds.. and you can create something similar to this.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
As I sell digital items I don’t have to take care of shipping, shipping costs, etc.. If people buy my products they receive a download link to the email and they can download and use it immediately.
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Are you worried about competitors? Does it impact your business in any way? If there are a lot of similar products, how do you make your own standout?
Yes, I’m really worried about competitors on Etsy because there are appearing new ones really fast.. and new competitors always start with really aggressive prices like for example 1$ per preset package.. but after few weeks they are gone because it’s not sustainable for them to sell an item for 1$ but pay 0.60 $ per click for ads.
If you want to be successful on Etsy with your products you have to always pick the best possible images for your products. Get many good reviews, helping customers, and be kind so they are going back to your shop, etc..
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
If I got some negative review I always contact the customer and I’m trying to resolve it. If they are not able to use presets because of anything I’m helping them to make it work. If they don’t like presets they purchased I offer them to exchange for different preset packages or even refund if there is reason to do it. I always try my best to satisfied all customers. I also offer post-purchase support if needed. I’m in touch with many customers and helping them with photo editing, Instagram feed editing, etc. If anyone contacts me and wants to try out presets before purchase I’m also here to help. I can send 1 testing preset so people can test how it all works or I also very often test particular presets on customer photos so they can see how they work before buying.
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?
Yes, Etsy changed my life a lot. As I don’t have to spend 8 hours every day in a job I have a lot of free time. I can plan all things in my life as I want to.. I have never imagined my shop could be so successful as it is and I’m really happy about that. Sometimes there are people who buy items and immediately after purchase asking for a refund because they don’t like my products etc.. I know they couldn’t even test my products as you need few minutes to install presets and test them on photos.. so they are just trying to buy stuff and not pay for them. This group of people is quite problematic on Etsy and all sellers of digital items know that.. this can be sometimes frustrating even if they are posting negative reviews in case you are not willing to refund them. However, thank god there is Etsy seller protection that can handle those cases.
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?
As I sell presets for photo editing I believe that Instagram/Facebook boom in last years is key do success in this selling category. People are buying lightroom presets because they want to have beautiful photos on Instagram.. so if you decide to sell something like this. Instagram should be your best friend. You can also advertise there. you can just post your edited images there to get more customers and people can actually see how presets work directly on Instagram.
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?
The biggest problem with Etsy is the lack of support communication. If you have any issue and you contact support you always get some auto-replies. If you send them an email you get a response after a few weeks.. again with some predefined text. The second problem is that in my point of view Etsy is getting more and more greedy while sellers suffer. For example, Etsy ADS are more and more expensive because Etsy removed CPC control from us (sellers) so if Etsy decides to set your CPC bids for 1 $ per click you can’t do anything about it.. in past you could set higher bids for items you wanted to push to front pages. now you have to rely on Etsy you can choose which items you would like to push to the front and which not.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Always use good images. Always try to make all your customers satisfied and don’t be stubborn.. you have to always adapt as you can’t change Etsy ..if you want to sell there you have to adapt yourself
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner’s mistakes?
I would advise to not stealing someone’s work.. try to create something new.. something yours and then you can succeed.
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Thanks to Etsy that they changed my life and gave me the possibility to have my own business. I learned all kinds of stuff regarding businesses, financial stuff, and tax authorities and made me independent.