1. Tell us your Etsy story.. how you got started in your craft and how you started selling on Etsy.
I’m mostly self taught with a LOT of trial and error! I have to give credit to a great friend who told me where to buy a wax kit to start carving models for casting and how to turn on and use an acetylene torch without blowing up the house! I spent more time than I care to admit watching an endless array of you tube videos to learn how to set stones and solder more successfully. I get a lot of crazy ideas in my head and then get stubborn about trying to figure out ways to make them work. Most of my designs were random bursts of creativity that happened in the wee hours of the night/morning.
I live in the caribbean, and am lucky enough to work sea turtle conservation here with several local groups. Spending nights out on the beach with these fascinating, magical beings is what inspired my very first designs. I wanted to create a piece which encompassed not only the mystical, ancient aura of the sea turtle, but also the swirl, which symbolizes the endless cycle of life and the Universe. Both symbols found throughout history, having been recorded very early on by ancient civilizations in the forms of petroglyphs and rock drawings. That is how my very first design was born: The swirl turtle. This is now my trademark logo and I am officially known as “the turtle girl” here on island.
That very same friend who showed me how to solder was the one who suggested I come to Etsy to try to market my product to the rest of the world. I opened my first shop several years ago and much to my surprise, made several sales! Turns out island folks were not the only ones with a love for sea turtles! Since then my collection has grown considerably, featuring more mystical sea creatures, as well as some other. more organic pieces. Mother Nature, to this day, is by far my greatest inspiration, and you will find swirl motifs throughout all of my designs.
2. What have you learned about business since you launched your Etsy shop?
First and foremost, I learned that “if you build it, they will come” attitude will NOT get you very far! And here, I would like to admit that I am still learning about business on Etsy, and am a work in progress and will be for a long time! But, I reached out to a wonderful seller here, and she took the time out of her busy days to walk me through all of the things I needed to start doing to make my shop successful. I owe her a lot, because it’s already making a huge difference and I’ve gotten not only more views and been “favorited” and put into treasuries, but also have gotten sales!
For the first couple of years here, my Etsy shop had a total of maybe 4 – 5 listings and not very many visitors. My photography was quite possibly the worst I have seen on here! That leads me to my next point. Good photography is key! Buyers have millions of listings to sort through and you have about 1 second to impress them enough so that they click on your listing. Also, good, descriptive titles that are telling of what you’re selling are key.
Networking is playing a huge part in the growth I’ve seen in my shop over the last few days. I joined some wonderful teams and got proactive! Updated my Facebook Jewelry page as well, and am crosspromoting not only my shop, but others’ as well. Putting myself out there seems to be helping me make tremendous strides forward. Being able to design something beautiful is great, but that’s only just the beginning.
I truly believe that great customer service is one of the most important things for a successful business to grow. I sell my work locally here, and most of my business has been repeat, satisfied customers and their friends, family and coworkers. Word of mouth, so-to-speak. If you treat one person well and they are happy, it will get around and not only will they be back, but so will people they know. It grows exponentially! So much so that I have been able to quit my day job. And that’s no small feat!
I hope to have that same experience right here, on Etsy. Infact, I won’t give up until I do! Positive thinking is pretty important too
3. Tell us one piece of advice for new sellers.
I think a lot of what I wrote in the answer to the previous question applies here as well. Put yourself out there, your best foot forward. Start with the visual stuff (your work, great photography and listings), then get out there and get involved. Be great to your customers and they will be great to you.
Okay, so that was three pieces of advice. But I believe they are all worthy of a mention.
Thanks for the opportunity to tell my story!