NikkiEllaWhitlock – Nikki Ella Whitlock – Mixed Media Art and Homewares

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Personalized Design
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Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…

I am a visual artist and creative practitioner. Born in London, now living and working in Devon. From a very early age, I have always explored creative avenues passionately; through various mediums, although I have had a particular fascination with transparency. ‘I am fascinated by the transformative effects of light, internally and externally’. I’m partially self-taught and studied with the Open University in the 1990s. ‘Two of my favorites were the History of Art and the Science of color’. I have been teaching myself Mosaic and Fused glass, laser cutting, and design over the last 10 years. My style is somewhat visionary I have been developing some unusual techniques.

How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?

The online phenomenon felt like a natural progression from physical exhibitions & events. It enabled me to be more studio-based. I discovered Etsy via another artist, it enabled me to sell my work internationally.

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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?

My evolving hybrid work is based across various mediums, specializing in mixed media mosaic, laser cut art, fused glass, painting, and sculpture, harnessing natural and electric light through interactive installations and site-specific based artworks, furniture & accessories, focusing on, form, surface texture, intensity, and color. I am interested in crossing barriers between materials, concepts, and manipulating the effects of light through transparent materials. Visually I think this has made my work unique.

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’ve always experimented alone & mostly self-taught, being dyslexic has harnessed my creativity. My father’s sides were engineering & mother’s were artistic, I was lucky enough to have a combination.

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?

It has been full time as well as my website, I opened it with not much thought as it was all new to me then 3 months later I had a very large scale, good stuff! I haven’t looked back!

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?

No, not at all, as sales took off I learned as I went along. The tutorial & community were beneficial. Also, the showcases people made.

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?

3 months, see above, it takes time to get noticed, connecting with others & promoting yourself helps a lot. My sales varied greatly, as I’m only one maker.

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’m mostly Studio based, although I collaborate with other groups & artists sometimes. It depends on the commission or artwork.

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 used to take on bespoke commissions, I still do very occasionally. I now produce my visions then list them to sell, if they don’t go into another exhibition.

What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?

It’s artwork so each piece is unique, materials again vary, I do use many recycled materials. The laser cutting is the expensive part.

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 am inspired by Organic shapes, rhythm, pattern, geometry & undulating forms, resonating with creative dreams & visions that need to be expressed. All of these I use to create parallels from the spectrum of human emotions, via artistic experimental and serendipitous moments. I am continuously in awe and wonderment of the world.

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, as each piece is unique, I tailor postage & packaging to each one. Polystyrene is a godsend! The usual take 1 week in the UK & 2-3 abroad.

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?

The more complicated they are the fewer people will copy, which helps! I feel my overall vision is cohesive & unique.

How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?

I value my customer & appreciate their interest in my work. Luckily I’ve had a very positive experience, the customer & I usually build a good relationship, many ha e come back to my shop.

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?

No never stressed, although it would be useful to have another me lol. Etsy opened up my career globally, I’ve made friends & have many followers, of which I am very grateful! I’m a big fan of Etsy & have encouraged other artists/makers to join.

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?

Once I’ve finished a piece I will usually list it on Etsy then share via social media, directing people to buy through them, as it’s a safer platform.

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 haven’t found anything. Although it would be nice to have a gallery of sold works apart from feedback. This way people could have history & overall view of your work.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Photos, photos, photos are everything! I found presentation is key & to be less wordy. Also, customers want to know who the maker is, therefore having a more personalized approach I found is always best.

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What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?

Remain unique, be humble, make what you love, not what you think others want! (most important) Remember why you started in the first place, keep to your vision. People usually sense something genuine.

Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion

Keep up the good work especially now & thank you Etsy!


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