Wednesday, May 28, 2014

So You Want To Open A Shop Series Post 1

I recently decided that I wanted to open up a shop featuring homemade goods this summer, since Josh and I both have a huge break off work (bonus for both working in the school system). I got in touch with some blogging friends and a friend from back home that have shops on Etsy, Store Envy and local markets to get an idea of what I wanted to do. I asked them some questions and will be featuring them throughout the coming months. If you are on the fence about opening your own store, I hope this will give you the insight you need to get the ball rolling as well!

 First up is my friend Chris, from Hippy Do Da Creations. She not only has a shop on Etsy, and is a frequent vendor at local craft fairs, she is a full time student and a wife! She is all kinds of awesome! While her Etsy shop is being revamped, be sure to check out her Instagram, for lovely new pieces that you can buy at really great prices!

 Tell us a little bit about you and your shop:

 I've always been a free spirit of sorts and wanted to have a company name that sounded fun, represented my personality and be one that people would remember. That's how I arrived at Hippy Do Da Creations!

I make and create both fashion and one of a kind jewelry pieces. I like to use a variety of materials, such as semi-precious stones, metals, and glass or ceramic beads. However, I have also developed a knack for other materials like buttons, thread and hemp. It's really whatever calls to me at the time.

How did you get into making and selling online?

I've always been a girl who enjoys having handmade, one of kind things.  So naturally, a friend of mine recommended I check out Etsy for some of my wedding accessories long before I started making jewelry.  I had never heard of the site, so when I finally logged on I was blown away! I could easily spend several hours exploring shops specializing in various crafts, which ultimately made me jump the gun and start using some of my pent up, creative energy. I often would see cool things and think, "I can make that" but then never followed through with it.  Then one day I just decided to give my creativity a real shot, so I explored Pinterest and Etsy to see what materials I'd need to get started and went shopping!

What were some hurdles that you had starting your business?

I've been in business now for a little over a year. At first I didn't really know what direction I wanted to go in with making jewelry. I did know that I wanted to stay on the earthy, hippy chic path but I didn't know if that meant working more with hemp and wire wrapping or if it meant working with metals and semi precious stones... so I worked with all of the above to see what I liked best. The truth is, I really like working with it all! After I let go of that fear of the unknown and the possibility of failure and rejection, I was able to let my creativity take over. But of course learning any skill takes time, and patience. Sometime I remind myself that Rome wasn't built in a day. Picasso wasn't an over night success. Trial and error is the only way to succeed. So, I work daily in my studio and I'm always searching the web for inspiration in the latest fashion trends and new techniques.

Why Etsy?

I will say that it did take me a while to create my Etsy shop for a couple of reasons. The biggest by far was a lack of time. It takes a tremendous amount of time taking, editing and uploading pictures that best showcase the items you want to list.  On top of that, it requires a lot of specifications such as giving detailed descriptions of each item and making them sound appealing to the shopper. 
However, with that being said, once you get all the nitty gritty work out of the way, people can start viewing your listings and hopefully start buying! One of the many perks Etsy has to offer is that it's "open" 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The website is working for you around the clock and whats even better is that your shop is view-able world wide!

One of the cons being a jewelry maker and selling on Etsy is that I'm one of a million shop owners on the site. The competition is fierce. So far, Etsy online represents a small portion of my gross sales, but I'm in the process of revamping my store with a ton of new items so I'm staying positive. It's also been several months since I listed some items and as an artist, I've grown. I've gotten better so I'm confident that my newest makings will increase my online success. 
What are some other ways you sell your jewelry?
 In recent months, I've started selling at a local artisan market held every Saturday in the city. It has been a wonderful way to get my pieces out in the public eye and been a great way to network! Like with anything, some days are better than others. I've had to learn how to set my booth up just right to best display my pieces and get people interested enough to stop and take a look. I find my success increasing at the market with each trip.

What advice would you give someone who is starting a new crafting business?

If you have a passion to make and create - then do! Just. Do. It. Give yourself time to learn and perfect your craft. Believe in yourself and try to view mistakes and bad sales days as chances to grow and learn. Network and take advantage of any and all social media to help promote your business. GET BUSINESS CARDS MADE! Never stop learning and listen to that creativity that flows within your heart and mind.

This journey has had it's ups and downs but has ultimately been the most rewarding, gratifying experience. As mentioned before, I've only been in business for a brief amount of time, I know that I've come a long way! I have repeat customers and frequent requests for custom orders. Some of my work can be seen in Loose Lucy's in 5 points!

Where do you see your business going in the next year?

Over the summer I plan on trying to get into several boutiques and galleries in the Columbia area and would even like to start selling wholesale to places around the US. I have several goals and know it's ok to dream big because I believe in myself and know that anything is possible with hard work and dedication.

I am inspired and I hope you are too! * Note these are not sponsored posts! Just shops and people that I love getting ideas from!


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