Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter,maker,artist…
I started my Etsy business after receiving a sewing machine one Christmas. I spent a few months perfecting my first item which was a child’s book cushion, which was also my first sale! One of my bestselling products to this day is a sewing machine cover that doubles up as a sewing mat. I have delivered these Worldwide! I was motivated by discovering the talented crafters and makers on Etsy and I knew I could do the same. I see myself as a crafter, I love sewing and making beautiful things from raw materials.
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
I started selling online as I thought it was the most effective platform to showcase my products. I had heard of Etsy and spent a bit of time looking at Etsy Shops selling similar products. Etsy is my first experience of selling online, I put off opening my Etsy shop for a while as I thought it would be hard work to set up, but it was so easy. I have tried other platforms since, but Etsy still wins my vote every time.
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 handmade craft items and handmade clothing across two stores. I try to support other small businesses when sourcing the materials. I take inspiration from Pinterest and social media for new ideas. I design a new product and usually make a few practice pieces before I am happy with my creation before it is listed in my shop.
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
When I received my sewing machine as a gift about 3 years ago , I had never seen before! I am totally self taught and practice makes perfect. I just kept practising and trying new techniques until I was happy with the outcome. With that comes the confidence to push yourself.
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 work full time in the retail industry, so I run my Etsy businesses part time. I wanted to start sewing as a hobby but to create items for other people to buy and enjoy. It makes me proud every time a make a sale!
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?
It took ages for me to pluck up the courage to open my Etsy shop. Would people want to buy the items that I had made? I was scared to put my creativity out there and for people to not enjoy what I had created. I was so nervous when my shop went live, but it was all worth it when that first sale came through a few weeks later.
How long did it take for you to get your first sale? Did you ever thought you would make a lot of sales in the first year? What was a goal you were hoping for? How many sales an average you get per week?
My first sale took 5 weeks to come through. This was in the April, it took a few months for there to be any momentum but by Christmas of that year I was so busy! I haven’t been clear of orders this year! I’m averaging five or six a 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 as a retail sales manager. I arrive home and work on any orders and also some time’s working my days off too. If I’m not working on orders, then it’s sourcing new materials or thinking of new products.
How does your manufacturing process looks 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 tools that you are using in manufacturing process?
I quote a week for an order to be dispatched as I receive the order before ordering the materials to make it as I have found that is more cost-effective for me. My best selling product is a sewing machine cover, so sometimes in my busy periods which is usually Christmas, I order more than I need as I know I will be selling a lot of that product.
What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
I always make sure I shop around for the best price on materials, to keep cost down whilst maintaining a good profit. It is also a good idea to make sure you are up to date with postage increases too.
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 use Pinterest and social media a lot to gauge if the product will sell. I also check other sellers and if the have had success with this product too. I use social media for inspiration.
Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?
Shipping internationally is a must for me. I wanted to sell my product far and wide. I charge for shipping as I don’t want to add this into my product price to be able to offer free shipping at this time. I wrap each product in brown paper and tie it with string. I then use a recyclable plastic polythene bag to post.
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?
I think there is room for everyone. I have never seen anyone directly copy my products. I think Etsy sellers are a cut above, and I have never had a problem with my competitors.
How do you deal with disputes or bad rating/feedback? How do you manage presale and post sale communication and customer satisfaction?
I try to answer any message as soon as possible. I inform a customer of any problems in supply or posting. I have never directly had bad feedback for a product but once or twice for delivery due to postage due to pandemic.
Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever thought you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?
I love love love being pet of Etsy! It is so well run and such a great platform to sell on. I have tried other platforms but Etsy wins hands down. I only get stressed at Christmas Time when there are loads of orders to deal with but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
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 promote on Instagram but to be honest the majority of my sales come through search engines.
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 customers satisfaction?
I don’t always understand the way the fees are worked out so I would recommend clarity on that.
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
Don’t over promise! I extended my delivery times to offer a perfect product. That might cost my sales but I want to send out perfection.
What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering to sell on Etsy? How can they avoid beginners mistakes?
Have a clear picture of what you want to sell. Offer core products and concentrate your energy and time on these so that you create a product you a know for.