Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…
We are three designers, Wolfgang, Kathrin, and Nina, we got to know each other during our studies and enjoyed working together since the beginning of our friendship. We founded Njustudio ten years ago – and started our own collection with the Hockenheimer which we developed as a statement and then sold surprisingly well! More ideas followed* Today, we are a Designstudio that develops unique and human-friendly objects for residential and commercial use. At home or in the office, Njustudio products provide a piece of comfort for everyday life situations. Thereby, our ideas are food for thought, often cannot be assigned to a clear category – and are aimed to be used individually.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
As we sold our Hockenheimer pretty well we started our own webshop in 2012. We wanted to do all by ourselves – so, every Njustudio product starts its journey from here, our studio, in Coburg, Bavaria, Germany* It was the time of DIY and Etsy was one of the upcoming platforms for small labels, so we decided to get on board.
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 ?
The reason we as designers choose not only design for large companies lies within the fact that we prefer to bring our own ideas to life, which we discuss not in business briefings, but rather over freshly-cooked lunches. When we eat together, we are able to laugh and discuss ideas, as well as deliberate current topics, headlines, findings, scandals… everything that is a part of our day-to-day life. Due to this practice, many questions and key findings regarding our daily lives have risen (and will rise for the future!) It is from these ideas which we develop our products, our materialized thoughts, which serve more than just bare functions: they allow one to contemplate on questions regarding our post-modern lifestyles. We at Njustudio often invite friends, relatives, or colleagues to take part in our informal discussions. Our lunch successes can be owed to all the delicious food. After we decide upon a thought, we begin the form-finding process. This results in the first sample, the first prototype. The furniture and objects in our shop are planned and readied with the close cooperation of craftsmen from Coburg and it’s surroundings. With this regional partnership, our esteemed European materials remain authentic and highly-valued. Responsible, regional, and as-simple-as-possible production is our pleasure! All in all, it takes a while for ideas to develop into products; but meals must be eaten every day.)
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
We have a professional background, we all studied Product design. From the very beginning of our creations, we put much effort in research, in discussion and dialogue. While trying to materialize our thoughts we never stop questioning: Does the object transport our idea? Could it be less? Who can produce the components, which material suits best to the idea? (…) In the Njustudio, it might take years until an idea comes to life.
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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?
We use Etsy as a worldwide platform, we sell our products to Japan and the US, with our own webshop, of course, we cannot cover such a range.
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, there were no fears or reservations.
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?
We`re happy to deal with whatever comes*
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?
It`s our job to sell products. Beyond that, we love to cooperate with companies and create ideas for them. We have a lot of experience in the field of product graphics, as we work for CUBE Bikes for more than ten years.
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?
Our production process is very flexible because most of our craftsmen are based in our region. You can always ask for customized products like special colors, or a logo print. We produce only small amounts so we can store our products in our office which is an old property in the heart of Coburg.
What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
As probably with all smaller labels – the margin. The implementation of our ideas is expensive, however, we want a fair price for our customers. That is not easy. Njustudio products are fairly produced, have short distances and they are special – we are the only ones who make them.
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?
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, we send our products to every country in the world. Our customers have to pay for the shipping and we are mostly able to ship within 2 or 3 working days. For special orders, it might take longer. For any request regarding shipment or specials don`t hesitate to contact us directly, we will find away.
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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?
We do not worry about that.
How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?
We have only very few returns. Most of our customers are satisfied and we ourselves have high-quality standards. Whoever decides on a Njustudio product has mostly thought it through – and keeps it.
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 always think that Social Media is very important for us and maybe it is. But unluckily, we are all not too extroverted and it`s hard for us to be present on Social Media. We give our best.
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?
We really have our struggles with the accounting system which is pretty complicated.