Most of you already know that I opened an Etsy shop back at the beginning of September when I began sharing tutorials for the My Little Pony Sew-Along. I was a bit leery of starting a shop at the time, but just couldn’t resist the requests I kept receiving from non-sewers whose children desperately wanted to dress as their favorite MLP character for Halloween. I’m a sucker when it comes to kids and ponies!
I made sure to do my research before opening though, instead of just jumping in like I did when I started my blog. I read articles, bugged my friends who already had Etsy shops with a dozens of questions, and tracked down suppliers for all my necessary materials. Trust me, You don’t even want to know the number of lists I made!
Once I was sure everything was ready, I opened my shop and prepared to wait awhile for my first orders. (Everyone had already warned me that I might have to wait months for anything to sell.) Three days went by and then BAM! Halloween orders came pouring in so fast that I had to create a wait-list. I actually had to turn away more orders than I was able to accept simply because I couldn’t sew fast enough! Sleep was lost, children watched WAY too much tv, and I kept wishing that I knew someone in the area who could come over and help.
I probably would’ve just as soon growl at you as look at you. It was bad. really bad.
Ok, so what’s the point of my ramble?
Well, since it’s the beginning of a new year, some of you might be considering opening a shop of your own soon. I figured I’d try to help out a bit by sharing how my first 5 months as a seller went, and maybe pass along a few tips that might help you get started.
1. Have a designated work space if you can. I know this one isn’t always feasible, but trust me, you’ll be about a zillion times more productive if you have your own space. I was working out of our tiny dining room and had to pack away my sewing machine and serger every time I needed to use the computer or do any cutting. Talk about wasting valuable nap time!
3. Make friends with the post office workers. This may sound odd, but shipping can get complicated pretty quickly. It’s nice to have someone who knows what they’re doing to help when you’re starting out. I drive a few miles out of my way to get to a tiny post office with only three employees. They’re happy to answer all my questions and make sure that I choose the best shipping options for my money.
4.You’re creating a brand. Make it great! Your Etsy header, business cards, sewing labels, and packaging all say something about you and your business. Make sure everything is cohesive and makes an great impression. If you’ve followed me for awhile you likely already know about my signature colors (teal, pink, & green) and heart button (favicon, header tart & post signature). I made sure to carry those things over into my Etsy design so that my blog and shop would compliment each other.
5. Keep ALL your receipts! And while you’re at it, set up a spread sheet or five to help keep track of you supply purchases, profits, shipping costs, etc. They’ll be amazingly useful when tax time rolls around, and it’s always nice to see at a glance what your best selling products are or if you’re undercharging for shipping.
6. Know when it’s time to stop accepting orders. I’m absolutely terrible at saying “No”, but we all have our limits. Some people may try to make you feel guilty if you tell then you are too busy to make them a custom order or that a certain item is sold out. Always be polite when you have to refuse something, but stick to your guns. Working so hard that you turn into a walking zombie isn’t good for you or your family. (I’m speaking from experience here!)
Now if you’re ready to start setting up a shop of your own – I highly suggest starting with this awesome Beginners Guide to Selling on Etsy. It includes tons of great articles and will walk you step by step through the entire process. By the end you’ll have an amazing shop, and be ready for anything that might be thrown your way!
Even more great Etsy advice!
Liz Marie Blog: 8 Things to know before selling on Etsy
Delightfully Noted: Top Ten Things You Should Do to Get Started
The Etsy Blog: A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Shop on Etsy
Crochet Business: 10 Thing you should know before you open an Etsy shop
Good Luck with your new Etsy store and happy selling!
If you’ve already got a shop, be sure to leave the name in the
comments so I can check out your awesomeness!
(no link necessary I’ll find it)