I’ve been working part-time for the last few months (though you wouldn’t be able to tell by my poor blog updating skills ;)) As I seek to fill in the gaps and pursue my interests with dreams of turning them into a career/vocation/livelihood, I have delved more into my own interest of making eco-friendly jewelry.
Etsy is a wonderful social commerce website where creators and collectors of all kind sell their handmade or vintage items. It’s a wonderful community full of some really amazing, unique things.
Things have been progressing more lately than I could have imagined! In June, when I opened my shop, I only had about 6 items listed, all earrings made from natural materials like wood, turquoise, and amber. I didn’t try very hard to promote it, and I’m pretty sure my husband and a couple friends were the only people to know that I was doing this.
When my first sale came suddenly, unexpectedly a few months later in October, I was thrilled, shocked, and I’m pretty sure some tearing up was involved. I rushed to get packaging ready and throw together more of a brand for myself. I got some cute, nature-inspired stamps from a local art supply shop, some Kraft jewelry boxes, and off went my first order.
It was two months before a second order came, but when that did, I sold another two items to someone! This jumpstarted me into inspiration/creation mode. I began looking into creative businesses on Etsy that were really making it big. Folks like whichgoose and Kylie Parry – people whose styles and creativity I admire, who do a wonderful job with branding and photos, and the whole picture. Sure, they had to work there way into truly being able to make a living off Etsy, but now, after a few years (or more) of hard-workin’ Etsy-ness, these two ladies have quit their day jobs and now do Etsy full-time.
I was/am inspired by shops like these. And my dream of living a homestead life of growing food, creating, and inspiring as a way of living and making a living … lives on.
Since my second order that didn’t come until mid-December, I have had 5 more orders – that’s 6 orders in the span of 3 1/2 weeks! What’s even more exciting is that one of those orders was 7 items – 7 pairs of earrings! – for just one person! And it turns out that most of my sales tend to be more than 1 item. Sure, this isn’t quite the big bucks yet, but for me, this was a huge , exponential increase in sales, and most importantly, my own creativity and confidence as an artist/designer. I have made nearly $300 in sales on Etsy in one month, and this, for me, has been an incredible shift.
With each sale, I am more motivated to create, and have gradually become more serious and simply better at taking attractive photos that draw people in, packaging/shipping, and simply getting the word out. As I realized that people actually wanted to buy my stuff and that I could really do something with this, I felt proud enough to share with others. I finally made a Facebook page for my Etsy shop last week, and have since gotten likes even from people I don’t know! I have even invested in some ads on Etsy to get the word out and have found success in this economical way of marketing. I went from 0 sales and 0 views of my shop, to hundreds of views, several sales, and folks who’ve favorited my items and shared with others.
So, here’s to you, homesteading, working-from-home, creative, business-minded hopefuls out there . . . Turning your creative business dream into a reality really is possible; it definitely takes hard work and certainly has to be something people like, but I am seeing more and more now that it is attainable. I may not quite get there with my Etsy business, but many people have done so, and that’s enough inspiration to keep me afloat for a while.