Monday, May 7, 2012

WOL Career - Do You Etsy?

It seems like such a natural progression to move from crafting for our home, our friends, and our family to creating projects to sell to others.  Many crafters have developed a place for this in the form of an etsy shop.  Many other crafters are interested in an etsy shop, but are not sure this is the right step for them.

For this reason, I wanted to talk to someone who had experienced a certain level of etsy success and longevity.  Traci Nelson stood out to me as being accomplished in both ways, and she was excited to share her knowledge with us.

In August of 2008, Traci created Blue Toad where she showcases her handmade journals which she says she literally starts from a blank canvas and reams of paper.

Tremundo - Traci's blog site

Traci is an artisan who lives in Philadelphia, is a member of Handmade Philly (a group which "fosters a growing network of professional and amateur artists"*1), and a published author.  She has the vision "dare to be yourself and set yourself apart from the rest".*2 (Love that sentiment)

Traci's work has been featured on:
Better Homes and Gardens 2011 Holiday Gift Guide
ABC's Mary Talks Money on LiveWell HD
HGTV's "That's Clever" (featured artisan)
Cosmopolitan (Deutsch) May Issue
Martha Stewart Etsy Audience Show

Traci at the Martha Stewart show (April 25, 2012) *3

I noticed that you started your Blue Toad etsy shop in August of 2008.  Why did you decide to start your shop at this time?

I opened my original etsy shop in May of 2008 to sell handmade wares focusing on handbags.  I wanted to start a second shop that focused on my art, journals and vintage items and created BlueToad.  I decided I wouldn’t know if I didn’t try and fortunately I did open the shop as within three weeks I was laid off from my full-time job.  I didn’t realize at the time the purpose of the two shops would change focus and BlueToad would grow.

How much of an inventory did you have at the time of starting up?

I only had a few journals at the time of starting BlueToad.  I added some vintage fabrics and items to the shop and found that the journals were selling more than I planned with the shop.    

Had you sold your journals in other places prior to this?

Prior to the etsy shop, I didn’t sell a journal.  The journals I made were given as gifts or donated.

Is there any information about getting starting with your etsy shop that you now know, but wish you had known at the time?

If I would have known the journals would grow to become my niche I would have focused more on the journals.  One of the assets of etsy is you can take the chance with minimal investment to try products and find what does and doesn’t work for you as the artisan and for customers.  Since I didn’t originally include journals on the Tremundo etsy site, I try to market the journals as BlueToad Journals of Tremundo so the journals are still marketed under the Tremundo business name.

How did you choose the names 'Blue Toad' and 'tremundo'? 

Tremundo is my business name and I wanted to have a name that had a meaning.  My close friends call me “Tre” and “Mundo” is Spanish for world, together it’s Traci’s World aka Tremundo.  As for BlueToad, I had been brainstorming for a while for the second etsy shop for a name that was whimsical.  One afternoon a friend was encouraging me to sell my journals while discussing open up a new etsy shop and somehow between the fact he had on a royal blue shirt and was acting like a toad, I came up with the name BlueToad.  The name was whimsical enough and still represents the little push that I was given to take the leap of faith in selling my journals.

Do you have any tips that you would share with others who are thinking about starting an etsy shop or who have just recently dove in?

If you’re thinking of opening a shop, take that leap of faith in yourself and your work and do it!  Research to see if there are similar items and find your own niche, ask yourself what makes your work different from everyone.  If you’re not sure what product will work, experiment with items, see who views items, purchases items and then you can start to grow from what has the greatest visits and sales.  Experiment with photographs and item descriptions to find what draws customers in to your product. 

Even though etsy is online, a business plan is still important, to outline a plan no matter how big or small helps an etsy seller to develop a starting point and goals that you can focus on while growing the business.  Business plans can be adapted along the way to meet your own business needs. 

Peaceful Moments, Wandering Thoughts
Tree of Free Spirit

A big thank-you to Traci for sharing her wisdom with us today.  Be sure to pop on over to her Etsy shop to see her handmade journals.  I know you'll find them as beautiful as I do.

*1 Handmade Philly - About Page
*2 Tremundo
*3 Martha Stewart Etsy Show


Pam @Threading My Way said...

You are so right, Terry. Lots of us dream of selling our things, so this was great to read. Love the journals!!!

Tina Bradley said...

Traci's journals are gorgeous! Very inspiring!!! T.

Danni@SiloHillFarm said...

Great interview and gorgeous journals! Love the part about the name Tremundo too! I've never thought about an etsy shop. I don't think I could be that organized!

Unknown said...

Great interview!! So much information. I love how she came up with her shop names, and the part about having enough faith in your self to start a shop. Her journals are beautiful! Thanks for this.:)

Lesley said...

What a fantastic interview! And what a lovely person to be able to ask questions of.
I have my hand in too many little things to focus energy into just one thing. That's pretty much why I took a break from selling jewelry on Etsy. I started putting up purses and paintings and all kinds of things until it felt like it wasn't driven in any direction. If I ever open it up again it will be with more focus and geared towards something I absolutely love to make!

Adrianne Surian said...

Oh, great interview! This is so inspiring - especially today when I have just had my first Etsy sale! I was worried about being *too* focused, and not having enough variety, but this actually makes me feel more confident. Thanks, Terry and Traci!

Cranberry Morning said...

Interesting interview, Terry. And aren't her journals beautiful!

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

Thank you for this. As a struggling Etsy shop owner I wonder every day if I'm doing it right. I didn't have a business plan and still don't. Hopefully that will change soon. I know I need a clear direction but finding it is hard. I'll just keep plugging away and hope for the best!

If you enjoyed this read,...

Consider joining me over at my active blog: Write Create Connect
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...