Opening an Etsy Shop, Part Four: Your Questions Answered

( hang on to your hinies-- this is a long post. )

I know, I know. It's been so long since I posted in this series that you've completely forgotten that I even started it in the first place! But I'm back. And I'm back to answer a couple of questions that readers and friends have recently asked. I'll be finishing up this "Opening an Etsy Shop" series over the next couple of weeks. If you need a refresher on past posts in this series, you can find part one here, part two here, and part three here. Next Friday, I will be posting on the topic of "Trials and Errors" and during the following week, I will be posting about "Product Photography". I hope you'll find these posts helpful and informative.


Question One >
Does keeping up an Esty shop ever feel like a hindrance to the creative side of your projects? Yes and no. At times, it does feel like a hindrance because I love change, but don't necessarily have time to add new products to the shop. Ideally, I would love to add a few new items with each changing season. I've been selling the same items for nearly two years now and I am rather tired of them, but I am still receiving orders, which means that I do not have a lot of time to crank out new products. This is what I call a good problem. 
( smile ) 

I will also say that sometimes custom orders can be a real downer for me. Custom orders are when a client spies something in my shop that they love, but they want to tweak it to their liking a little bit more. For instance, they want a yarn letter and they would like to order it in neon pink with a purple posie. Really not my style. Do I enjoy working on it? No. Am I happy with the end result? No. Do I like the money in my Paypal account for completing their 1980's hot mess of a yarn letter? Definitely yes, ha! Please know that I am being fictitious in my description here. Thankfully, I have never received that particular request and I rather enjoy many, many custom orders that I receive. But every once in a while I get a doozy and cannot wait to move on to the next project. The "eat cake" glittered letters, pictured below, were custom ordered and I thoroughly enjoyed making them and was even more elated to receive these beautiful pictures in my Etsy inbox from the bride. You can view the original post that they appeared in here.

photo credit: One Love Photography

Question Two >
What is your best kept secret? I really had to think about this one but here is what I came up with. It's a trifecta of sorts. Kindness, Beauty, and Honesty. Kill them with kindness, make their buying handmade experience beautiful from beginning to end, and be honest. Here's the breakdown. Be nice. Yes, even to those cranky spanky clients. And convo-ers. Be as kind as you can with your feedback. Go above and beyond. Make buying handmade a beautiful thing. Your item needs to communicate time and love and it needs to reiterate the worthwhile extra costs of buying handmade. I know that I already talked about packaging, but I feel that it's needful to bring it up again here. Your packaging needs to be the final statement to your client-- make it beautiful. And finally, be real and honest. If you are a few weeks behind, communicate that to your clients. (I just had to do this recently myself!) Most people will not mind the wait as long as they know what to expect. And if you are delayed, little perks are always nice: free shipping, a partial refund, or a discount code for later use. Also, be upfront about your timing from the very beginning. For instance, on every product in my shop, the following line appears: please allow two weeks for production time. By giving this information in the product description, the buyer should ( if they read! ) know the time-span before they even buy from my shop.


Question Three >
How do you balance your time with responsibilities at home, Cranny, and your blog? This is a difficult one to answer. But, since Jobie has arrived, my "Crannying" as I call it, takes place only after the boys are in bed, aside from packaging up a few stray orders here and there. I noticed right away that if I tried to work on an order while the boys were present, things got hairy really quickly. I found myself short on patience with my boys and being careless in my work and it wasn't worth it. And that is why I have a two week lead time on all orders. When it comes down to it, I really only have an hour each night that I can dedicate to a project because there is laundry to be done, dishes yelling to me from the sink, phone calls to make, chat time with my husband, and, hello! blog posts to write, ha!

I've had to really cut back lately on phone calls during the day and I've also had to take some drastic measures concerning social media-- I hope to share more about that soon in my next Fauxtography Project post. My boys are excellent nappers, and so I fill that time with home responsibilities, reading, emails/blog keep-up, etc. I still waste far too much time on my computer and that is one area that I am desperately asking for God's help. As far as my personal blog-writing goes, I usually save that for Thursday and Sunday evenings and am able to hit the "publish" button whenever I'm ready for a post to go live. I've kind of fallen into a pattern of posting on Mondays and Fridays with a few posts thrown in every-so-often. I'm working towards a goal of quality not quantity.


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Thank you so much for your questions. Please feel free to email me or comment below with any other questions you might have.
happy weekending!

5 comments:

  1. Wow, Sarah. This was excellent! Thank you for taking the time to answer (my) these questions and for your real factor! :) I liked reading through this and picking up on your life patterns...even though I know they can change from one week to another! Breaking it down into steps is a huge factor (struggle) for me and I soon throw everything into one huge ugly pile and want to just give up. But I really appreciate your no nonsense but "I understand life" understanding as you have allowed your life room to grow and have squeezed etsy into a new shape, rather than the other way around. (I hope that makes sense). The message is that it can work for anyone----you just have to know it's priority in your life and keep things in proper standing. And that, I believe is across the board for most things! And I must say that you are a shining example of your trifecta! (and that word is going in my word-log. I love it!) Thanks again! I saved each post into a file and I'm going to print them all out when you're through with the series and keep reading it until I'm reading to take the etsy leap! xo

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  2. Erin,
    I just want to tell you how much I wish we lived closer to each other. I'm pretty sure a coffee date would be on the calendar frequently! I am so thankful we were able to meet in person and that God has allowed us to be friends! Thank you for your encouragement. I must admit, your question was the most difficult to think through and answer, but it was good to have to think through all of that :) I canNOT wait to see an Etsy shop from you-- it will be so amazing!

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Thank you so much for reading here and sharing life with me!