Can I Have a Re-do?

I cringe when I read my interview from my Etsy feature last fall. I was still such a fledgeling little shop owner and crafter back then, I wish I had had more time to grow as an artist and crafter before I was chosen to be featured. Since that time I've grown and developed so much and it hasn't even been a year. I still don't concider myself an expert or seasoned shop owner, more of a crafter in her teenage state, but still so much has changed and I wish I could re-do my interview. Had I the opportunity, I would most like to change my answers for Advice to other Etsy shop owners:

1. Turn the flash off your cameras. You may have to best item, but if you have that flash turned on, it makes it look plain homemade and cheap.

2. Don't be afraid to be original and take risks! Discover who you are, and BE yourself, confidently. That's what makes Etsy shops successful.

3. Don't imitate other shops. If there's something you like, use it as inspiration and make it your own, rather than copying it. When you are a copier, you'll always be at least one step behind someone else. And you just won't flourish.

4. In my particular area of crafting, expect to spend a minimum of $10K before making a profit. I'm still not making a profit from my shop. Everything I make, I put back into my shop to improve my products and packaging. I'm not willing to make that type of investment, so I'm happy with my shop in it's current state, but I can only go so far until I make that investment. Mothering my children is far more important in my life than expanding my business right now. Making that type of investment, for me, would mean being less of a Mother.

5. Unless you make that $10K investment, don't expect to make a living off Etsy.

6. Find your marketing niche. What's comfortable for you? What's easy for you? I have two areas of comfort that have added great richness to my life, and in turn have helped me grow as a shop owner. First, I LOVE giving things away! And I don't just give things away in hopes that it will bring a sale. I just really love giving things away! Even to people I know will never buy my products. There's just something so rewarding with being generous with the small luxuries I create. And it may eventually bring business my way, which is always nice, but I cerainly don't expect it. If you give things away with the expectation of making money, it isn't sincere and just won't be received the same way. Sort of like a cheesy cars salesman trying to push something on you. Secondly, developing friendships online has added greatly to the quality of my life. It's been a wonderful thing for me to find kindred spirits online, and develop friendships with other artists and crafters via Etsy, Flickr, Big Cartel, etc. Pen-pals have been awesome! My friends support my work, and I support their work. And we all recommend and refer each other, it's a great circle of friendship that we all benefit from.

7. Start a blog. This has been (and still is) an area where I need development. I'm not confident in my writing skills, which keeps me from blogging more often. But the longer and more often I blog, the more confident I feel. It's also much easier for me to open up online. In person, I tend to be quiet and shy. A lot of people I know in person still have no idea that I run a successful Etsy shop.

Really, out of all of these words of advie, finding and being myself has been the most rewarding and beneficial aspects of my life, and in turn my shop. I'm still discovering who I am, and I hope I never stop finding out what my potential is.

Long live creativity!


Anonymous said...

so well put, Amber !!
I couldn't agree more with you on each point !
yes to everything, and yes, long live creativity !

Margie Oomen said...

you are actually an excellent writer amber, so wise and so wonderfully generous and creative
that is what sets you apart

Owlie said...

what wonderful advice! and i love that you have chosen to be a mother over a business, it is so important!!! your blog is wonderful, your writing is wonderful and i think we all can see that!

have a great night!

Pauper said...

Lovely post and great advice! I am very much like you in regard to #7 - can very much relate to that. You are a wonderful writer and I enjoy your blog greatly. I agree that it takes a large investment to really profit from your Etsy shop - I'm not there yet either, devoting much more time to being a mother as well, which is so incredibly important. Best wishes to you! x

SaylorMade said...

Valuable advice, thank you. Wouldn't it be good if Etsy would check back in with the shops in their featured articles and do a follow-up? 'What I've learned since then' and 'How far have I come' would be great comparisons.

I also think you write well. I get a great sense of your gentle spirit.

Anonymous said...

this is beautiful advice, applicable to much outside of etsy, even. I love your approach to creating and nurturing a shop such as yours. +Chelsea

pencilfox said...

i can say "i knew you when...." AND i remain a faithful oakmoss patron.
i loved you then, i love you now.

Brooke said...

kudos to the new answers! :)

I too have found a deep satisfaction from etsy and from other bloggers, and having my online life.

nicole said...

No need to cringe! I enjoyed reading your interview, and it's nice to follow your evolution, now that you have gained experience. It's normal to grow and have new insights as time goes on.

Your blog and shop are beautiful!

Stephanie said...

I just read the feature. when you said:
"My creative side has really started to blossom since being with my husband. He offers me a sense of unconditional security to fully be myself that I haven't always had. I've really come into my own skin since being with him."

i was thinking yes! that's me. you really collected my thoughts and put them into words. i also really relate to what you said here about creating friendships online and that it's added to your quality of life by meeting kindred spirits. i feel that way too. :)

natalie said...

this is so good. love this, amber. oh & thanks for the giveaway. i have yet to burn the little votive candle... it just smells too good! i am waiting for the perfect occasion :)