Q&A: My Etsy Journey

Steps to starting and growing a successful handmade craft business - Rae Gun Ramblings
(me working at a band practice because I literally needed to make use of every spare minute available)

I hope it goes without saying but just in case you need the invitation I want you all to know that I love getting emails and questions from you guys (fun, serious, whatever).

I get tons of questions about selling on Etsy and for the longest time I’ve wanted to write something that would be helpful. For those of you who don’t know, I make and sell baby clothes on Etsy. I do well, not like crazy, but for a small self created home business it’s good. While I DO have tips to share with those of you interested, I first want to share how I got here. Don’t get me wrong I don’t think I’m all fancy smancy but it’s a welcome supplemental income for our family doing something I really enjoy and since I regularly get asked how I’ve done it I thought I’d share. Warning this is going to be a LONG post.

2006 
I was in grad school pursuing a phD in philosophy. I was newly married and living in a tiny condo. My sister told me she was pregnant with a baby girl –my first niece. I started making the baby clothes.

2007
Joined a community ed sewing class to refine my sewing skills. I had spend the last few years totally in acedamia it was nice to be back in touch with my crafty side. The baby came and I kept making her clothes. People told me they were good and I should sell them (in that non-serious way that people say that about nice things people make).

I found a craft community called craftster which introduced me to Etsy. It was so cheap to open a shop so I listed my first item. I filled out the paper work with the State and Feds to make tax stuff legit (just in case and because it was so easy, really just a phone call and a form. I’m not sure if things have changed).

I spent a lot of time in the Etsy forums, showing my face, making comments, asking questions, etc. I think this really helped me to get noticed. I personally kind of hate the forums since they are a time sucking hole of drama a lot of the time. But you can get a lot of good info and it’s a way of networking. My tip is to stay away from the promotion section. Ask questions, if you know answers give them. And use a nice clean product image for your profile picture.

I made the dresses in sizes of babies I knew took pictures of the dresses and listed them for sale as made to order. I also had pictures of the dress style and fabric swatch pictures that I could make the dress out of and sold those as made to order as well. I was not interested in making a bunch of items that would just sit around my small house and never sell.

That year I sold 100 items. I was over the moon. Most of what I sold were little dresses, coordinating bottoms and baby carriers. I set a goal to double my sales in the next year. I was blogging too.

2008
I blogged more and added my blog to the blog roll lists on the etsy forums every week. I still interacted in the forums a lot.

I added more dress options both styles and fabric options. I added bloomers and lace topped diaper covers.

Late this year I made my first ruffle diaper covers a gift for that baby that started everything. I took pictures before mailing it off and listed it. This is also the year that I made my first retro ruffler, my vintage inspired sun suit.

I took a custom order for a Fancy Nancy dress and sold a few during Halloween that year. I also took a custom order for a Pebbles costume made an extra for my eldest niece and made a french fry costume for my new baby niece and took pictures of them and added them to the shop.

I became involved with a few teams. Team treasuries have been very helpful for me. I recommend joining teams.

This  year I sold a little over 200 items.

2009
This is the first year I sold my Pebbles and Bam Bam outfits (besides the initial custom order). They were a hit and every Halloween since I’ve been swamped.

This is also the year I realized my shop goes through seasons. The on season is from mid-January to the end of October. November and December are very slow and things to start picking up in January again.

I gave up cleaning my home. I paid a gal to come on a monthly basis and clean.

I tried a few craft fairs. They were flops I was stuck with a lot of product.

This year I sold a little over 300 items.

2010
This is the year things started to feel real and with it the stress came. We moved into a bigger home and instead of having all my sewing crap in our living room I got a joint work room that I share with my hubby’s music stuff and his day job work stuff.

I was no longer teaching and I was so busy with the business I did almost nothing for school. I was supposed to be writing a dissertation. The stress of not making progress on school stuff was overwhelming. I was so busy and I didn’t want to feel like a failure for quitting. But I thought about quitting all the time. I had finished EVERYTHING (classes, tests, proposal, etc.) except the actually writing of the dissertation. Everyone kept on saying “but you’re so close”. My mind was constantly torn between wanting to quit school and wanting to finish. On one hand school was hard and discouraging and on the other hand I was seeing my business grow and feeling encouraged by customers. I gave my time to what made me feel more competent.

Sales were steady and regular every day. Halloween was pure insanity. I couldn’t have gotten through it without the help of my family and friends.

I joined facebook. Did some giveaways on my own sites , the sites of others and did some guest posting. I started submitting things to sites like stumbleupon, craftgawker, and all the link parties on other crafty blogs.

This year I sold over 550 items.

2011
Sales were steady. I was working 14-16 hour days 7 hours a week. I took work with me everywhere. To family parties, to the bar when friends were performing music, everywhere. It was obnoxious and not healthy. I set a resolution to deal with my stress and the anxiety that ‘juggling’ school and my business had caused and another resolution to make my business more manageable.

I worked my butt off to get ahead and we went on vacation. I added to all my listings that things would take an extra week while I was gone. I was right on schedule right when I got home. And then I got really sick. Just a terrible cold that lasted 2 weeks and I got really behind. It was horrible. Once I was well enough to look at the computer I was so behind. I sent out tons of apology emails. With help from my mom I finally got caught up and I sent partial refunds and special coupons and was so grateful for many understanding customers and just had to shrug off the handful of cruel ones. But I was freaked out. I should be able to get sick without everything falling apart and I shouldn’t have to work 16 hrs a day every day of the week just to stay a float.

My mom started helping me regularly instead of just at Halloween or when I needed to be bailed out.

I made the hard decision to quit school with just a Masters. The relief of having the stress lifted was amazing. I don’t regret it. I wish I had had the guts to do it sooner.

Halloween was crazy again but this time I had regular help. I also had spent a lot of time thinking how to streamline things. I cut a lot of steps out that took up time like hand writing notes to customers,ironing at multiple steps, and more. That made a huge difference.

I also stopped making things that I didn’t like making as much and put more energy into trying to sell the items I could sew faster. After many customers requested onesies to go with my bottoms I added sets which were great because people liked them and they fell into the ‘faster to make’ category.

I pushed really hard to improve my blog and facebook presence.

I was selling regularly so I was renewing my items regularly which brought in more sales.

This year I sold over 700 items.

2012
I feel like I’m in a good place. I see sales picking up again after my normal seasonal lull. I am still a little nervous about the changes that Etsy made to their search but I think things will be good. I’m not sure if sales will be as good as last year but I’m hopeful that things will still be good and more importantly I’ll be able to handle them in a healthier way. On the other hand if things do get overwhelming I know how much I can handle and I’m prepared to say no or take less orders because I know how hard it was to be too busy.

I’m going to be honest. I know many of you already have little ones. I have no idea how things will have to change when it’s my turn. I know they will have to change and I know a lot will depend on the temperament of my future kids. I hope that I have done the hardest part of getting the business started so if I get the privilege of having my own kiddos that is one thing I have going for me. I’m at the point that I can take a normal weekend if I wanted and even though I still do work most nights I could probably cut that out (or down) too.

Okay that’s a lot and I know it’s not tips but I always find it interesting to see the path others have taken and I think you can kind of see some of the steps that helped me. I plan on doing more Etsy related posts. Very soon I’ll be sharing what a typical day for me looks like as well as my top selling on Etsy tips in more of a list form for Etsy sellers. I hope this has been helpful. If you’ve got questions you want me to touch on feel free to leave it in the comments or email me.

Also if you feel like writing anything mean please don’t. I’ve seen many times on other blogs when people share good things or their successes it really brings out some cruel people. I’ve worked really hard and I know I’ve been blessed. I am not writing this to brag. I’m writing this to try to be helpful and because people have been asking. I hope you can be happy for me the way that I am happy for you when things go well. Plus you never know the whole story, there have been plenty of hard times along the way.

UPDATE: another installment of a peek into my etsy life is up I’ll be tagging them all with my Etsy Life tag if you want to check them out.

Steps, tips, tricks and mistakes to avoid when starting and growing a handmade business - Rae Gun Ramblings

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.

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Comments

  1. 1st, the picture of you is just LOVELY! Really. :) And thank you so much for sharing! I’m currently back and forth, debating if I really want to take a plunge towards selling and promoting my products and it was great to read your story. I think your lessons learned will help me along my way. Thank you!
    -m-

  2. you’re welcome. Also keep in mind that this is how I did it and what seems to work for me. You might still want to do etsy but to a different degree and in a different way. That’s one awesome thing about etsy is you can keep it small but there’s also potential for growth. (plus it’s really cheap just to give it a go) Best wishes as you think through all of that.

  3. Thank you for your amazing post!! It inspires me to really try this year to get my Etsy shop actually up and running. I have been doing craft fairs & selling from my facebook page. My 2 years so far have improved slightly each year but I am not making enough to cover my expenses. I really have to have a lot of inventory on hand and I have so much just sitting around. Thanks again for your post!!

  4. This was really insightful for me. Right now, I am only doing custom orders from friends and a lot of people ask why I’m not on Etsy. Part of it is that with two little kids, I’m afraid I won’t be able to keep up with demand. You make a really good point that your business is already established, so if and when your little ones come along, you will be justified in hiring some help for the babies because you have a legitimate business going. I can’t justify the expense of childcare yet. Looking forward to seeing what your day is like!
    ~Nancy

  5. Marissa, I know you’re not bragging, but you have a lot to be proud of! God has given you a great talent and He has blessed you with a great business. It is so awesome to make money doing something you love.

    Thanks for the etsy tips. I decided that one of my goals this year is to make time to do creative things, and some of those things I *think* might be sell-able and I am going to use etsy. I’m actually hoping to list my first item this weekend if I can get it finished.

    As for working with kids, I think you have the right mindset. I think if we’re prepared to just figure it out as we go along, then that’s the best we can do. I’m sure you’ll still be able to keep sewing. You’ll just have to wait and see how much you can or want to sew, etc.

  6. Your information and story was very helpful and inspiring… :)

  7. Your post was GREAT and very informative. I really enjoyed reading it and learning from your experience. Congratulations on doing so well – you’ve earned it! :)

  8. So really what you’re saying is you owe your booming successful business to T ;) Just kidding. I’m proud of you and the hard work and dedication you’ve put into your buiness. You are a true success story.

  9. Thank you so much for posting about your experience and insight! Am hoping to open my own shop this year and the advice is invaluable!

  10. thanks everyone I really appreciate it and I’m glad I can be of some help

  11. Your story is amazing! You make it seem possible to succeed at having a store on Etsy… I’ve been very hesitant about mine and still haven’t listed a single item.

    Jeanna @ dramaqueenseams.com

  12. thanks I’m glad I can help. I hope to have a post of some tips up in
    the next few weeks. Etsy is so cheap to try but there are some things
    that I think can really help you make a better go at it

  13. Marrissa this is a lovely post. Can’t believe anyone would wont to write anything mean. You are fabulous and that is to be celebrated. You are right when you say people would be interested in your journey.

    It’s funny I am really into home and crafting but the posts I enjoy the most are these types where people have an interesting story to tell and are generous with tips on how to get results. Congratulations and well done you
    Carolyn

    PS I am going to hit follow on the way out as I am intersted to see how you go with this in 2012. Best of Luck to you !!!

  14. Hi Marissa. Visiting you from DIYHSHP. This post was so informative. Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It’s great to see someone’s hard work pay off! Take care.

  15. Congratulations on your successes. You have earned it with your hard work and dedication. I’m a new follower.

  16. Such a helpful and informative post. Thank you so much. I started selling on Etsy in November 2011, and am always looking for tips on how to be better. I love how you separated your experience by years to put things in perspective.
    It’s obvious you’ve put a lot of time into your work and I can’t imagine why any one would be mean about that…other than jealousy. I’m a new follower of your blog, and am looking forward to more great tips and ideas. Take care.

  17. Thanks so much for sharing! This was so interesting and informative!

  18. Awww…this hits so close to home! I’ve been running my Etsy stationery/invite business for over a year now & I have never worked harder in my life (I also work a FT job). Pretty much all my evenings, weekends, and holidays are consumed by finishing orders. It is so nice to hear that I am not the only one who realizes how hard it is to do it all (ahem….like clean the house!)I always tell people it’s the most fulfilling thing I have ever done for myself but it is also A LOT of sacrifice. My goal was to make this a FT thing so I could quit my soul-sucking day time job but like you have NO IDEA how sellers with little kids do it either….great post!

  19. Thanks so much for writing about this. It was very helpful for me.:) Congratulations on your success.:)

  20. Thanks for sharing! This is really encouraging! I feel that same pressure, and then this year, I threw blogging on top of it! I figure that we only live once though and if we can make some income off things we’re passionate about, then that’s a great way to live!

    –Katie
    @ Creatively Living

  21. wow!! i really needed to read this today!!! Thanks so much for posting! I am getting ready to open an Etsy shop, and I find stories like this very helpful! congrats on your success!!!

  22. Congratulations on your success on etsy! It’s always inspiring to read about people making money with a handmade business.

  23. Love this post! I’m having a linky party again, and would love for you to join! Here is the link http://www.thesouthernproductqueen.com/one-stop-shoppe-linky-party-3 Thanks for sharing!!!

  24. So sweet of you to write this post…I’m a mommy to a 2 year old and my sewing/crafting journey began right after she was born…as of now, I mostly sew softies, quiet books and other such fabric toys for kids as gifts, every parent who’s received them say I should sell them in a ‘non-serious’ way… keep going back and forth between wanting to sell and being intimidated by the amount of time and resources I will have to invest (plus I’m embarassed to admit I’m totally scared that I’ll hear lots of ” you’ve done an Msc in Biotech and you’re doing this??? ” Thanks for this post, it was really encouraging.

  25. Nabina, It’s funny that even though we may be perfectly fine with where we’re at just the thought of someone questioning our decisions brings back all those insecurities! I’m glad we can encourage each other

  26. Thanks for sharing your story. I am currently working full time and completing courses towards my masters degree, but I hope that once I graduate in May I can invest more of my time and energy into sewing and crafting…and possibly start selling some of my handiwork. Hearing stories like yours inspires me to keep that dream alive! Thanks again!

  27. What a great post. It has inspired me to try harder on my Etsy shop. I am a new follower.

  28. This just proves that hard work, determination, and HARD WORK {did I say that already?} really pays off. Congratulations on all your success and it sounds like you’re in for another amazing year.

    Thanks for posting such an honest post. It’s refreshing.

  29. Very helpful – and inspiring! You are so very talented. I’m a new follower – and I’ll be checking out the shop asap :)

  30. Your post has been very helpful
    to me.. I’m thinking of starting a shop of my own and thinking it might be a bit over my head right now,, if you can do it with all you had to do then I sure can!
    Thank you for sharing your story
    Sandy

  31. Hi Marissa! Thanks so much for sharing your story!! It really does help to listen to someone who is doing so good and what got them there! Preservance is what I was thinking of when I was reading! I love Etsy and it makes me feel so good that people really do like my items! I am new from last year and I know I need to keep filling my shop up!! I know only I can do it!! Looking forward to more posts. XO Fran.

  32. Was so nice to read this post. I’ve had a similar experience with my Etsy shop. Last year I reached the point where it was overwhelming me and had to take a break and am now scaling back so it’s not taking over life.

    Etsy really pushes the “you too can quit your day job” thing, but glosses over how much time, effort and the toll it takes on you. And that’s if you’re lucky enough to have things go well. And you are right that with kids (I have 3), it adds a whole other level of stress and guilt to the work-at-home business. It’s so easy to think having a shop is a dream job and always fun!

    It’s great to see you sharing this. And for people to see that having a lot of sales or growth isn’t as glamorous and easy as it seems.

  33. Thank you for sharing your story! I have been wanting to open an Etsy shop, but I had no idea if it was worth trying… I have been wondering if it is required to be a legal business (with tax id and all) or if you just post things you make as an individual with no business affiliation. Since you made the getting a tax id and starting it up sound easy I think I will do it that way…it’s better safe than sorry.

    I sure hope it works well for me. I think the way I will do it is when I make something for the fun of it I will list it for sale. I hate deadlines and would rather just sell something I make. Hopefully people see it, like it, and want to buy it. Hopefully I don’t get stuck with a bunch of product on my hands that won’t sell.

  34. Thank you so much for generously sharing your journey at the Kiss & Tell party over at I Gotta Create!

  35. Jessica, yes you are supposed to have all the tax stuff in place when you sell anything. Nowadays paypal asks for tax info when you use it to collect money. It’s not hard especially at first when it’s way more like a hob by than real business.

  36. Love your story to pieces!! Thanks so much for linking up to Overflowing with Creativity!! Have you entered my giveaway yet?

    XO, Aimee

    Customizable Frames, Signs, Wall Decor

  37. Wow! This is an amazing story! Very inspiring. I can’t believe that you work such long hours! I hope that 2012 is an amazing year for you. Good luck with everything!
    Camille
    SixSistersStuff

  38. Thank you for sharing your story! I am deciding if I want to dive into Etsy or not. If I do, know for sure I will be keeping you in mind. It is so helpful to hear of some of the trials before us newbies begin! Thank you again!!

  39. Thanks so much for sharing this. I found you through a link party (can’t remember which one…I have too many up right now). I’ve been thinking about selling on etsy, but haven’t gotten the guts to list anything yet b/c the commitment (with 3 little kids) scares me. I will get there, I hope, when I have enough things ready to list. I’ve made my goal 20 things to list to start: is that a good thing to do? I’m so intrigued by etsy: the mailing/knowing what to charge seems a bit daunting to me as well. How do you figure that?
    Thanks so much for your time!! You sound BUSY!! :)
    (I have kids and have worked from home the whole time; I had to cut back and get help from family when they were really little/demanding, but a fenced play area inside the house as well as outside really gave me freedom. (I have small nursery/plant sale business in the spring and do a local Bed and Breakfast open house craft sale at Christmas). It works with kids, just have to drop your expectations and goals to about half for a while. :)

  40. Wow. I really enjoyed reading this story and getting to know you better! Thanks for sharing it. It has been a journey for you and I wish you great things for this year :) I would love it if you would link this or any other projects up to the Tuesday Talent Show this Tuesday at Chef in Training! You have a great blog and such wonderful posts :) I know my readers would enjoy your blog too! I hope to see you next Tuesday!
    -Nikki
    Chef in Training
    http://www.chef-in-training.com

  41. Thank you for sharing. I’m glad you’re successful. Ignore the mean people.

  42. You know, I had NO IDEA that people could be cruel and mean on a blog!! Our blogs are supposed to be a direct reflection of us and our thoughts! You can either follow or not BUT you dont have to be UGLY!! It is just uncalled for!! CONGRATS on your success!! ;)

  43. What a wonderful story. I wish I had learned about your esty store when my daughter was a bit younger. Oh, well. I’m going to check it out now. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

  44. Thank you so much for sharing this!!! It was very helpful to read about your journey – great job!! I would love to start making and selling something on Etsy too…I just need to figure out if there is anything I want to spend my time making. Thanks for this “food for thought”!

  45. Thanks for sharing. I just opened a shop but haven’t actually put anything up for sale cuz I want to learn more about it first! I look forward to reading your next post (in about 1 minute…) and any future ones if you write them :)

  46. Thank you so much for sharing this last week! I LOVE to read the good and the bad that other Etsy sellers have experienced over the past couple of years. I too have been selling for several years and like to compare my own story to others. Congratulations on the success of your business! Wishing you the best in 2012!

    Alida

  47. Marissa, I just wanted to let you know that I stumbled upon this post, and couldn’t stop reading. You have dedicated the past few years of your life to something that you actually LOVE doing. You even quit school to do this. That’s incredible. I wish I had an ounce of your determination, as well as the guts to do something like this. You are a total inspiration. Best wishes to you and your Etsy career. I know you will make it big; you already HAVE!

  48. What a great, honest post. Etsy, although a great place to start a home business, can be a vortex that sucks up your time and self esteem. When my items ended up 10 pages in 24 hours after posting them,it was such a bummer. I’m so glad you’ve found success after all your hard work! I decided to go back to school amidst trying to get my jewelry store on Etsy up and running and had to prioritize. School won out.

    I’ve just discovered your blog and am enjoying it immensely.

    Happy Blogging,

    Sarah

  49. MrsDestroyer07 says:

    Thank you somuch for posting this! I am in the process of starting up an etsy shop and it helped to see how it can grow.

  50. I’m a little late to the party, but I’m happy to have found this post. I’ve previously seen your shop on Etsy (I think I linked to it from a forum post, actually!) and your stuff is adorable! It’s really nice to read success stories of someone who’s in the same boat, just trying to sell your craft. I’ve opened my shop, but have yet to list anything as I’m in the process of “making”. I’ve read elsewhere that it’s a good idea to have 100 listings to even get noticed. I’m not there yet… but after reading your post, I may put up what I have and just keep making. Thanks for posting and now I’m off to read your other tips and such. Congrats on your success!!

  51. I have been following you for quite a while on Instagram, and I’ve just now explored your blog a little more and discovered this post. I can’t tell you how helpful, inspiring, and honest I found it! I’ve been playing with the idea of attempting to make my hobby turn a profit, but the magnitude of it is very intimidating. One of my biggest fears in trying (beyond failing) is that I will end up disliking what at this point is favorite thing to do (well, tied with reading. but that’s a given).

    Speaking of reading, have you read The Witch’s Daughter, by Paula Brackston? I’m reading it right now — its fantastic. :)

    • I’m so glad you found this helpful. I know lots of people burn out but I figure if you’re flexible and allow it to be be a journey and not something set in stone it’s definitely worth trying. And I haven’t read the Witch’s Daughter I’ll have to go check that out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  52. Hello! Thank you so much for your post. Really encouraging. I used to sell on Etsy in 2010 to 2012. I tried promoting my things and working really hard for during that time. After awhile of trying to compete against 14,000 different hair accessories I grew weary and felt like a failure with so little sales. Especially with not compromising on prices because of the competition selling things for say .50 cents to a dollar etc. 2013, I took a break from sewing, got married, and moved to TX. About three or four months ago I started to sew again mostly just selling to ladies at church, work, etc and made a ton more sales than I ever did on Etsy. There are a tooooon of little of girls at my church. I started changing my photography and trying to grow a customer base. My photos look a billion times better with using a homemade light box. I still have my Etsy shop but have not listed anything since 2012. I have been thinking about trying again. I finally bought my own sewing machine and plan on trying to sew different kinds of projects. Accessories only make so much profit. There’s not as much of a demand for accessories. I’m a little nervous about trying to sew clothes, purses, etc since I’m mostly a novice. Most of my accessories have been hand sewn besides Hair Bow Clips. Is there any advice you have to give to someone who needs encouragement? Etc.. Advice in general would be great! My old Etsy shop is http://www.ArtsyFlair.Etsy.com and blog: http://www.ArtsyFlair.tumblr.com

  53. Stephanie Scellato says:

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR STORY. I AM LOOKING FOR A WAY TO DEVELOPE A BUISNESS SO I CAN QUIT MY JOB AND STAY HOME. I HAVE BEEN RESEARCHING SOME IDEAS. THANK YOU FOR INSPIRING ME THAT THIS CAN BE POSSIBLE :)

  54. Love this! I’m not even starting an Etsy store (yet. maybe) but I am trying to blog, and I plan to blog a lot about floristry, so I guess an Etsy store would be a good companion business to my blog! Maybe you could share some of your blogging tips and production tips!;)

  55. Congratulations on doing what makes YOU Happy! Continue doing what you love to do.

  56. Marissa,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I wish you the best in the future. As a fellow sewist , I understand the long hours that you can put in. Keep it up, your enthusiasm is beautiful.
    Happy holidays and hope you continue in your success in the new year.
    Tammy T

  57. Nice blog, progressive business and truly inspirational. All the best! Keep it going..

  58. Hi. Thanks so much for that article. I feel like I am on the exact same road…minus the roaring success! But maybe I will get there. I have been burning myself out a bit so I need to find the balance. But I love what I do and will find the time to keep going. Thanks for sharing x

  59. Thank you so much for your insights and story. You are an inspiration! Your story is so helpful and I feel as though I am on the right path. I have a blog, recent facebook and have joined a few teams. I will check out the blog roll lists on etsy and some of the crafty blogs you spoke of. Thank you again as your advise and your own time involved helps me. Maybe one day I can help others on the same path! That would be great!

  60. Florencia says:

    Thank you for sharing this. Congratulations on your success!

  61. You are a blessing! I have been working on a small business for a few years and have made cuts and have all but quit a few times but I read this today and wow it’s a actual answer. I’ll say I have been kicking around hiring someone to clean felt guilty for even considering it. I share a work room with hubby but hopefully this summer I get the whole thing. Thank you for being so candid. I have my answer

    • oh do it I know lots of creative business folk and paying for a cleaner is one of the first things people do when they need more time! I haven’t heard any regrets yet

  62. Thank you for sharing how you got started. I learned a lot from reading this. I have been doing research on what I need to do to make my Etsy shop legit. You mentioned that you filled out two forms (state and federal), can you tell me what those forms were? I’m thinking it will give me a place to start looking. There is so much information out there that it becomes overwhelming at times. Thanks for the article and the help!

  63. Jessica Gray says:

    Hi, thanks for a good read! I have had a shop on Etsy for quite some time but have not really had much luck. I will be looking into it again after reading your tips! One questions, did you find having a blog helpful to getting more customers? I’m undecided whether I should start one or not – I’m afraid it will take too much time away from sewing :) Any suggestions would be great! Thanks, Jess

    • Glad you found this helpful. Honestly I don’t think my blog contributed much to the shop. It’s kind of developed into it’s own thing although that was part of why I started it. Unless you think you’d love blogging it is not the first place I’d recommend putting energy in for growing a shop.

  64. Thank you so much for sharing!! I’ve had my Etsy shop for a couple of years now and although I’ve seen consistent growth I’m also one of those with two kids and another on the way so things have been slow moving. I’m now starting a second shop and finally ready to get my butt in gear and am hopeful that a year or two of craziness will get things in place for my business and hopefully things can level out. This was very inspirational! Good luck this year!

  65. Michelle says:

    I really enjoyed reading this and I am truly grateful for all the useful info. I think your success is awesome. And you’re adorable :) thanks for sharing your journey and helping the rest of us!

  66. Really interesting and helpful to see how you got to where you are now. You’ve worked so hard, you deserve to be doing well. I never realised you could actually pay the bills with this type of business… I need to do some serious thinking…

    • YOu are so nice. ANd yes you can totally pay the bills with it but it will look more like a real job (hours and such). I think sometimes people hope to keep the hobby hours you know.

  67. Lindsay says:

    I have been seriously considering selling on Etsy, and this blog was exactly what I needed to read! An actual inside look from someone already doing it. Thanks for sharing!

  68. Hello, I read your blog and it was so inspiring. I am a crafter and would like to take the plunge to sell on etsy. Could I ask what would you suggest my first step be? Would love to converse with you to see what steps to take.

    • I think I’d say start with figuring out your product. What makes it stand out, is it something you’re happy to remake over and over and over, what’s the competition, what’s reasonable pricing, is that pricing worth it to you once you take into account your supplies and resources and of course time. But start off by brainstorming what you want to sell. ANd keep in mind this might change over time. It’s totally fine to try a few things out and see what sticks

  69. Hi Marissa, It’s wonderful of you to share this with everybody!! Thank you! Good luck for the future, wishing you all the best!! Alex.

  70. Thanks. I’ve been struggling with getting this business started. I’m glad to know others have felt the same. My goal is to get a few things more organize here in my office/work space and then get serious about the business. I love helping to educate people about alternatives ways to deal with health, personal care and cleaning products.

  71. What a Fabulous story! I’m so chuffed for you and it makes me full of happiness inside to see others achieve great things! I debate back and forth with myself when’s the right time to take the plunge…but I don’t think it’s ever the right time u just have to go for it! If you get nasty comments or customers it’s because of the green eyed monster and they don’t have anything about theirselves to start and maintain a successful small business like yourself! You just have to accept not everyone is as comfortable in their life as you are in yours! Damn girl you should be so pleased with yourself this is amazing! It doesn’t take a whole deal of knowledge or expense, just someone with a skill and a lot of passion!!! Fantastic keep going!!

  72. Congrats on your success! Do you think you could write an update to this post to bring it up to 2016? I’m curious what changed in the last 4 years.

  73. Meredith says:

    So helpful! Love your tone of voice in your writing too. It is helpful to see your process and know you didn’t have it all figured out at start-up. After years and years of nagging from family and friends, I have finally taken the entrepreneurial plunge – my natural comfort zone is make and give away or use for charitable purposes. Landing on this page has removed some of the pressure of starting with it perfect or complete.

    ps – I had to stop mid-thesis for our first child who was three years – yes years – premature. Didn’t have a choice, but I’ve never regretted it.

  74. Awesome! Thanks for sharing and I’m very happy for your successful! You’re an inspiration to your fellow crafters!!! Anyone who makes negative comments is only a reflection of themselves, NOT you!!!

  75. thea moonen says:

    i think you did great. and you don.t have to give up even wgen you have kiddo.s.
    you should do this in less hours .
    first you look what you can automise like cutting things faster and secobd you should find lady.s which would like to earn some money and you calculate that in the price . you give them $10.00 dollars an hour ( fir example) and you still have some left for doing almost nothing.
    even if you do half of it by yourself . you don.t have to diisapoint customers then.
    be smart. cause you are.

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