Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
I have always been artistic and my day job is in design/advertising. I’m inspired by the DIY crafter community and what people create from home using cutting machines. I wanted to create unique offerings and products for this community that could not be found elsewhere – most successfully my earrings templates for sale on my Etsy store.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I discovered Etsy from researching more places to sell digital products online, the broad range of categories and products Etsy offers got me thinking more about what I can offer and create. Previously I was selling designs and art on Print on Demand sites – I wasn’t having much luck so I went back to the drawing board, which led to finding Etsy.
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 SVG cut templates for Silhouette and Cricut machines as well as other cutting devices that accept SVG. Currently specializing in earring templates we have a large unique range from Faux Leather styles to modern Polymer Clay styles. I design all my products using Adobe Illustrator which I believe to be the industry standard. I use Adobe Indesign to create the listing display images – I believe these stand out as they are clean, minimal in color and details.
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 studied Graphic Design at University and have worked in the industry for 5 years, I am fortunate to have had various mentors from lecturers to design directors. I am a self-critic, but realize to get things up online and selling I have to keep moving forward and not spend too long over-analyzing.
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?
I wanted a creative side hustle that I could enjoy working on in my spare time. Starting out I honestly did not think it would have become as successful as it has. Currently, I consider it a side-job but with the increasing sales, I can definitely see it becoming full-time in the future, which I’m very excited about!
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 just went for it – for those of us selling digital products we are in a great position where there are zero upfront costs or overhead, just your own time creating. I think if you are offering a unique product then just go for it and judge by consumers’ reactions – views/sale ratio.
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 got my first sale within the first week, this motivated me to create many more products which led to increasing growth. My goal starting out was to just get enough to help pay for lifestyle expenses such as gym, eating out, etc. It is now a much larger part of my income/life. I currently get around 150 orders 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?
I work full time in Graphic Design, I think if my shop continues to grow I would love to commit full-time to online selling. A typical day for me is my full-time job, working on my Etsy store during my lunch breaks and at night.
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 digital products are crafted to work for a variety of programs/software, though occasionally I will have to tweak files to work in different programs. My customers typically own a Cricut machine and use a variety of materials to create earrings – from leather to fabric and even clay!
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
I believe the biggest impact has been putting effort into designing the clean and fresh look my listing images have. Displaying the earrings template in a clean and concise way, showing all the details the buyer needs to know.
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 Instagram and Pinterest, both have been very integral to my development of style, taste, and inspiration. I find there is an endless influx of content and ideas! Follow people/stores you enjoy and often the platforms will feed up and offer more of similar categories.
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 digital products are available worldwide and delivered via email instantly after purchase!
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?
There are definitely a lot of competitors in my space, but I just keep my head down and continue to create what interests and inspires me. I guess I know for certain my products are going to be unique as my source of inspiration comes from art, design, and nature – not from competing products.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I have been fortunate enough to not have any bad reviews or cases yet, which I’m very proud of! Usually, a customer will contact me first if they are having an issue such as downloading files or help using certain software.
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 changed my life! I’m in a far better position financially and mentally – During the pandemic I got a drastic cut to my day job income and hours. My Etsy store really saved me during this time. I like to think positive and set goals, I know I could be successful from the start it was just going to require a lot of hard work and perseverance.
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 have Pinterest which gets me a little bit of traffic but honestly, I get 90% of traffic from Etsy itself. I have experimented with Ads on Etsy and I get great results around sale/holiday periods. I have not done much yet to generate hype, this is defiantly something I need to work on going forward!
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?
For the most part, I love Etsy and its services. Though I think it’s hard to contact them with issues – particularly because I live in New Zealand I can’t phone support for help.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Just to work on products that were not available in my niche category, and that I thought looked cool! I have earlier designs that did not get traction because there were too similar to other things out there, I had to differentiate and carve out new styles/offerings.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?
Just go get after it, there will always be bumps in the road when starting but these are what you learn and grow from! Try not to overthink things, start small, and get a few products out there you can always change and develop things.