Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter,maker,artist…
Trading pokemon cards in grade 3 turned into trading Roblox items from grade 5-9. Started trading csgo skins from grade 9-11 but ended up cashing out when the market crashed and invested all of my money into trading/selling streetwear clothes. During this time I fell in love with embroidery, tried to start my clothing brand but didn’t have nearly enough experience. Now that I’m in 3rd year uni, I feel like all of the pieces to the puzzle are coming together, started my streetwear label Susblob Customs (with a focus on sustainability and customizability). Realized that I was actually decent at making embroideries and wanted to make some extra money selling iron-on patches. So here I am:)
How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?
Etsy was somewhere I’d source supplies from and get budget jewelry from before I started selling. My original plan was to only sell on my own website, but Etsy has such a well developed community already with a very powerful search engine. Hard to pass up on it. eBay and Amazon has too much junk to compete on.
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 take designs from Google images and submissions from users. I use illustrator for design and Photoshop for any initial editing, then I use Sewart/Sew What Pro to digitize the image into a pes. file that the embroidery machine can read. Afterwards I stitch out the design using reflective polyester thread onto 2 layers of cut-away cotton stabilizers. Then Photoshop is used again for thumbnail creation.
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
Youtube and trial/error. Didn’t read instruction booklet or use premade designs once.
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’ve only been on Etsy for a week and it’s honestly exceeded my expectations, might stay for the long run. Would honestly prefer running 4 Etsy shops than having a 9-5 job after I graduate.
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?
Product competition is good, it means that the market already exists, and drives overall industry sales up. I try to be unique and provide excellent customer service to win a higher % of market share.
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?
Had my first sale on the first day, and I have generated ~$100 CAD revenue in my first and only 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’m a full time student studying at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Currently it’s the summer break, so I am focusing on my brand full time, but I do love playing basketball and skateboarding during my free time.
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 make all of my products start to finish, so they are fully customizable from design to color options. I make one sample product for photos but generally, just give them away in orders. I like giving away free stuff in my orders.
What is the biggest impact on profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?
Material costs are crazy expensive. Machine, thread, stabilizer, and temporary adhesives are not cheap:(
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 only make stuff that I would buy myself. I’d say I’m quite picky with what I wear, so it’s only natural I pay extreme attention to detail when making new products.
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?
My items are sent through letter mail and that’s how I keep my postage prices down. International shipping is kind of expensive, but that’s why I charge a shipping fee. However, for in Canada orders and orders above $35, I do offer free shipping.
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?
Competitors drives the overall quality and the number of customers up in the industry. I try to make unique products with unique colors to stand out.
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 avoid sending bad products in the first place, but if customers have any issues with their products, they can send them back for a refund or an exchange.
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?
Too early to tell but I do hope it will change my life for the better.
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?
Instagram accounts for 70% of my page visits. Not the biggest fan of IG ads but I sometimes run it when I release new products.
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?
Get rid of listing fees and revamp off site ads, why are sellers punished for uploading more products??
What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?
My priority is making customers, not making cash.
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?
Can’t say much, I’m as beginner as you can be lol. Just stay committed and competitive I guess.