I’ve been often asked lately, how I made my Etsy shop so successful, while at the same time being a stay-at-home-mom. So I decided to try and write about it here. It is not an easy question with an easy answer but I will try to keep it simple. I’ll Share everything from my own experience and I hope to answer your questions, giving some helpful advises.
We should start talking about success first, because what success means for me doesn’t necessarily means the same thing for someone else. For me, as a stay-at-home-mom, of a 14 years old lady + 2 energetic Minions (8 & 6), first step of reaching success was to be a real hands-on mom. To be the person that they see the most and not the person they see the least, while at the same time, not denying my creation energy.
You see, if I were at the same ‘big title’ position now, of what I did before starting CrochetObjet, we would definitely need to hire couple of functions here. A lady to help with house holding and another lady to pick up the boys from school/kinder garden, give them lunch, helping them with homework. She would need to have a car OR we would need to hire someone else to drive them to all their afternoon activities. I spent hours on waiting on my kids afternoon activities. These are not waisted hours, I always do something related to my biz.
We would definitely need someone to help with food making. It is very important for us that our kids will eat fresh homemade food. Both E and me really love to cook for our kids + we have my mom’s help – kids love her food.
What about traveling? In my previous job, I had to travel for a week or two (when we traveled to the U.S), 4- 5 times a year. The ‘big title’ job comes with quite a nice salary. But if you take this salary minus all the expenses for all this help we would have needed. What I had left in pocket is quite the same of what I have now with the sales from my Easy shop + a couple of workshops a month. Actually might be even more now + I am here with and for my kids!!!
On the first 2 years I had almost zero sales on my Etsy shop. I made quite a journey before it came to be what it is today. BUT, From day one, I always did/ do ONLY what I love to do.
I learnt, on my ‘real jobs’ experience, that the things I’ve created with happiness and with real passion became best sellers!!! On my previous work, I had to stay late, wait till my designers go home and my boss goes to gym and than start working on the things I really wanted to design. These things weren’t on our studio’s top “to do” lists, they were always waiting at the bottom of that list and I never had the time to actually make them happen. These designs, the ones I did by “stealing” studio time – became best sellers!!! Today I have no one to hide from. This is the first and the most important advice I can give you. Do what you love. create and design things with passion, if you’re not passionate creating it will show out clearly on your items! It will never look as beautiful if you haven’t created it with passion. For me, my little CrochetObjet is where I let my passion fly. If your creation energy is burning, use it positively. Follow your heart and do what you love. It will help you stand out of the crowd. There are so many great makers out there, be yourself, follow your own passion. Create your own sound out there. People often tell me: There are millions of shops out there, so many beautiful shops… how can I make it? You know what? That is right, but I don’t care about these million shops, I don’t have the time to look at these million beautiful shops out there. I don’t know many of these so called important, trend leaders shops out there. I love to see beautiful things, yes of course I love, But I don’t have time to spend on looking at others. You know why? Because my hands are burning and I’m really passionate about the next thing I’m gonna work on + I have 3 kids to take care of and I want my time to be spent cleverly – making, creating, designing, colouring. So my next advice to you is: Be aware of your surrounding and follow people you appreciate But Hey, don’t spend too much time on following others, spend as much time as you can on following your heart. Use your “kids free” hours to create. The first two years on my Etsy shop were very slow, but on the other hand I had some good stuff on the shop shelves. I had to find the way to show out my beautiful things and make people come. I knew that if they saw my shop they might love it. My next step was to create my Facebook page. As a maker, you have to be seen on social media, though it’s not as easy as it used to be. I was lucky enough to create my FB page just a short time before FB have written their stiff algorithm and I made it to 65K followers by no time, without a penny invested on ads!!! YES this is unbelievable but true. I know so many talented designers out there, that spent so much money in order to ‘buy’ follower. I think it is clever if you know how to do it. I personally, didn’t have the money to invest on ads so I posted every single day one “at my desk” photo with everything beautiful I was busy with – and it worked! Not long after having my CrochetObjet FB page, E told me I need to have an Instagram account, which was absolutely right. Instagram is where I share my everyday things and not just things directely related to CrochetObjet. I share things from our home, garden, kitchen. I also share pretty things from my crochet workshops and one on one sessions. It’s important for a maker/ designer, to be seen on social media and I believe it is good if you do it naturally. Share variety of things and not just what is directly related to your work. You don’t need to overdo pictures you share. Don’t be super duper perfect with every pic. Be human, share real human things, not just about your work but also about your everyday life. I work on a baby bunny pattern now and as I was ready to write down the pattern I found myself crocheting some different ears from the ones I originally planed to put on the pattern. I was sitting on the sofa starring at these 2 ears options and couldn’t decide which ones to put on my pattern. I asked E: which one you like better? I asked my eldest and my 2 jumping minions and each one of them had a different choice. I have spontaneously, decided to put this ‘smart phone’ picture, with this question on my IG and you know what? I got so many reactions. I was so thrilled from the number of comments. I’m telling you this is a magic. Beeing able to communicate with people from so many different places. Ask their advice on a patten I will eventually put on my Etsy shop. I decided to include one ear option within the baby bunny pattern and the other bunny ear as a FREE tutorial on my blog. The next thing I did was to build up my own website. This is something I should have done much earlier but I knew I have to invest some money here and I had to save for it. So, within my advices to you, I would like you to know that having your own website, where all your activities are located under one roof is very important. Your website is your face out there. Your Etsy shop will be very affected if you have your own website where people can clearly see everything you do. Not like on FB or IG, on your own website you are the boss. One of the most important things on your web site will be the about page. This is a separate post that I should put together in some other time. Shortly – the about page on your website is where people can know you better, where you can tell people where you came from. What have you done before, what are the things affected your creation. In the about page you have to make it easier for people to know you better and trust you because when they buy from you, it will make them much more comfortable if they know the person behind the shop. It is just a basic human behaviour not more than that. Put a nice picture of your face on both your Etsy shop and on your website – so your followers can see you are real 🙂 You are not a logo. You are a real person. Your followers hope you’re a nice person, so put some nice and happy picture of you! Blogging was THE thing that made it for my Etsy shop. I knew very very long ago that I have to start up my own blog. You don’t even imagine how afraid I was of start blogging, WHY? …Because….!!!! Because of million reasons. BECAUSE I’m not very good at writing. BECAUSE I only write to my own sketchbooks. BECAUSE my English is not good enough. BECAUSE I didn’t know what I will be blogging about. BECAUSE why people would care about what I do and create and love and enjoy. BECAUSE I don’t have time. BECAUSE I was afraid of so many things. I really don’t know how to explain it but, the minute I started to work on my own website, I knew I want to blog, I knew I’m ready. This website is my own little special corner, my own little virtual space, where I can share whatever I like and I just LOVE it. I love this virtual space and I can spend hours here, writing and sharing things and I love to have you here. I have this amazing google analytics tool, and I can’t tell you how excited I am every time I enter and see that I have visitors form Qatar, from Stockholm, from California, from the UK, from Dubai, from Spain, form Norway, from Iceland, from Honolulu, from Turkey, from Berlin, from NYC, from Tokyo, from Italy, from so many places I want to visit …… from all over. They visit my site, could you believe it? This is a magic, this is the power of blogging guys and I’ve just discovered it WITH my very poor English but also with my passion for creativity and colours and gardening and mothering, and crocheting and…. with sharing whatever inspires me. So yes, blogging can take your Etsy shop far away. As an E shop owner, and of course as a blogger, you got to have a good camera and learn how to operate it. One of the things that helped my Etsy shop pop up out there, was the fact that I was teaching myself to take nice pictures. I have this amazing Nikon, which became one of my best friends. Taking good pictures of your items is SO important. You need to learn how to use your camera. There’s a lot about it on Youtube but the most important things I learnt on the job. The first photos I put on my Etsy shop were crap. I made a lot of mistakes when I just started my Etsy shop and I made a huge progress on the picture making. Each picture you put on your Etsy shop needs to be great. Make every picture so that when people see it they want to eat it. The pictures on your Etsy shop will make your shop pop up. One more little but very big thing, on the humanity aspect of this Etsy thing. Answer nicely when a customer ask you something. People don’t always understand what they see, they want to be sure about what they buy. Be patient, answer politely. Keep in mind that they don’t know the items as good as you know them. Make sure your item description is written as detailed as possible. Because of different time zones you can get a lot of Etsy conversations while sleeping. Make sure you answer them as soon as you can. Be nice, it might come back to you as a 5 stars shop feedback, with few nice words about you and your shop. Positive shop feedback will rate your shop high at the Etsy crowded market place. When you send a package to your customer, make sure to make them happy when they get it. Have it packed nicely and well organised. People love to get a lovely package. Be the one they wait to get their packages from. Having a successful Etsy shop and being a working at home mom, is an intensive everyday work. You have to have your time very well organized. You are very lucky to be a maker. Making things = happiness. Appreciate it and spread your appreciation. People will want to see more of what you do if they feel the happiness through your posts. I know there are also a lot of internet tricks important to learn when you have an E shop but I’m not that good at this stuff, so I can’t teach you anything here. E makes all the internet stuff for me, not enough but he does whatever he can. I also have my beloved father-in-low, he makes these tiny pretty fabric buttons, one by one. He is always happy to help me with anything I need and I love to keep him busy and make him feel part of my little home biz. Luckily, I also have some help from my mom. She makes few sewing works for me. She sew all these CrochetObjet totes for the beginners kits. AND my loved loved precious friend Shirley, who is the owner and founder of studio Nylon and a talented graphic designer – helping me with all graphics I need. Teaching me some graphic important rules for my PDF pattern making. She created my logo and the Granny Kit cotton label. She designed my website and my Etsy shop. If you pay for professionals, make sure you trust their eye. Surround yourself with people you love and people who love you, this is always important, not just for Etsy successes. That’s all I made to make my Etsy shop successful. I know the ‘use your guts’ thing is also important and I know you can learn how to use your guts, while experiencing your own journey. I use my guts, I listen to my own inner voice – I’m getting better in it everyday!
I am really happy with what I achieved by now and I know this is only the begining. Hope I answered your questions and that my advices here can help you make some progress. Please feel free to ask questions or to leave me a comment. Thank you for staying till now. I have so much more to share with you. xoxMo
P.S last pic is from here