Published on Apr 12, 2011 in Seller Handbook
Photo by Roslyn’s Closet
Describe your Etsy Shops and the inspiration behind them.
Roslyn’s Closet was my very first Etsy shop, which I started in October of 2006. I began by using my own illustrations as designs for bodysuits and toddler tees. My shop has changed a lot over the years as I've tried out different products and designs. Now I just keep my bestsellers in this shop, as I've turned most of my focus to my other Etsy shop, I SPOT YOU.
Bunkleberry Studios began in 2007 because I wanted a different outlet for my creativity. It started out as a inspirational card shop, but then I began incorporating custom metal stamped necklaces, earrings, and canvas totes as well.
After several years with Roslyn’s Closet, I began to notice an interest in personalized clothing for children, and I wanted to give my customers more options. I SPOT YOU allows my customers to create their very own tee or bodysuit. Out of my three shops, I SPOT YOU has grown the fastest and requires most of my time and energy.
Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.
I began teaching elementary school right out of college. I absolutely loved it. After five years of teaching, my hubby and I found out we were preggers with our first baby, while simultaneously moving across the country. When we settled in, I just loved being home with my baby girl, Roslyn. I realized right then and there that I needed to do something from home; "Roslyn’s Closet" was born shortly thereafter.
I started small, creating designs from my drawings. I was making a little money, but mostly I was just covering my costs (not to mention all the debt I accrued from my start-up costs). I was so excited to find Etsy. I immediately opened a shop for Roslyn’s Closet and listed my first 10 items that very night. Sales started coming in every so often, and then they started happening daily.
How did you prepare to transition into full-time Etsy selling?
I did a whole lot of research before I even started my business. There is so much information out there, and I am thankful for of all the resources I found online to help me start up my business. I tested out different suppliers of clothing and materials before I began. I also did several craft fairs and shows, which helped me see that other people were truly excited and interested in my products. All of those experiences helped me move forward.
What are your best marketing tips?
I am actually trying to learn more about marketing. I have business Facebook pages and blogs for Roslyn’s Closet and I SPOT YOU, and I started tweeting as well. Thankfully, I have some of the best customers, and they tell their friends, and their friends tell their friends — you get the picture.
Have any of your shoppers contacted you with photos of your designs on their little ones?
Yes! It truly makes my day when I see a photo of a child wearing one of my products. Many customers will email me directly with a picture and a sweet little thank you. I love that my clothing can be a part of special occasions in other people’s lives.
What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
I think any kind of promotion is helpful. I am frequently contacted by bloggers to do giveaways or a write up review about my products. I’ve become choosy as to what blogs I would like to use for promotion, since I want it to be successful for both the blog and myself.
Do you have any business regrets?
I have learned so much over the past five years, and I've definitely made some business mistakes that I regret. I spent way too much money on shipping supplies and services for the first two years. I now have a much more cost-effective way to ship my clothing. I also struggle with the amount of inventory to keep on hand. Although I am getting better at keeping up with it, I sometimes fall short and it can be so frustrating. Last, but not least, I have trouble saying yes when I should have said no — I'm always taking on too much.
What is the biggest challenge you face during your daily schedule?
I am a wife and mother first, so that requires a lot of flexibility. There are times when I am ready to be super productive and get a ton of orders printed and shipped off, and then something changes in an instant and I have to put it on hold until that evening or the next day. I am a bit of a perfectionist, so I sometimes struggle with what I think I should be able to accomplish vs. what I actually can accomplish.
What's the hardest part about running your own business?
Time! I wish I could learn to manage my time more effectively. Since I work from home, it's very easy to feel distracted. Now that my children are in school I am able to really dedicate time to my work during the day.
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss?
I absolutely love being my own boss. I love the flexibility and the comfort of working in my own home. I love that I am able to take and pick up my children from school. However, I do miss the daily adult interaction you find in a workplace. I loved my teacher friends and just being able to talk to another peer. I also miss the amazing children I got to teach each year. Teaching truly was a rewarding job, and I got to experience some amazing moments that I will never forget.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself or someone considering a similar path knowing what you know now?
- Try to keep paperwork and receipts organized, especially when it comes time for quarterly taxes.
- Make your workspace a place you love. My office is in our downstairs basement and we are working on decorating it and making it a more comfortable atmosphere for me.
- Research and learn as much about your products as you can.
- Understand that having your own business is not easy, but it is all worth it because it belongs to you!
- Thank your customers after every order and treat them the way you would like to be treated. Customer service is so important!
Thanks for sharing your story, Jodi. Check out her pieces in the Seller's Items below.
Previous Quit Your Day Job posts