"keys to success"

"fashion", "keys to success", "success on etsy"

Keys to Success || The Story of Broken Ghost Clothing

brown backless top

1. When and why did you choose to open an online shop on Etsy?

I used to run a consignment shop and it was then that I began 'revamping' some of the items that I had in my store. A customer of mine told me about Etsy and about her shop that she had and it peaked my interest. When I sold my store in 2009 and was jobless, that's when I began at Etsy.

metallic silver vest

2. What got you started in your craft?

I am a self taught sewer/designer and have been creating art in many different forms since I could hold a crayon. I am an oil/acrylic painter, sketcher, mural artist and florist. My love for fashion has brought me to where I am now.

boho sweater

3. Who or what influences your style the most?

I love anything retro, especially 1970's pieces. I love mixing unexpected colors together and creating clothing that has interesting details.

orange tie dye and plaid top

4. How do you stay focused and motivated?

I love what I do so much that I joke Monday is my favorite day of the week, so I can be alone and create after the hustle and bustle of the weekend. I am amazed on a daily basis that I am doing something that I love and making a living at it. How lucky am I?

navy blue bohemian top

5. What would be your insight on "Keys to Success on Etsy"?

Tips for success, in particular in an online setting would be:
a. Embrace the english language and incorporate it into your shop. Words
are really the main way we are discovered and without that expertise, we will struggle.
b. Work to improve on a daily basis. It's easy to get complacent and think we are doing everything the best we can. But there are always new things to learn and try.
c. Stay on top of retail trends. You must sell what people want.

Find more about Jana's shop Broken Ghost Clothing:

Jana is the owner, maker, designer and curator.
Founded January 19, 2009.

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"home decor", "keys to success", "pillows", "success on etsy"

Keys to Success || The Story of Giardino

Pat and some fresh lilacs

Shop || Giardino
Owner || Pat
Founded 2009

1) When and why did you choose to open an online shop on Etsy?

Like many, I was looking for a new source of income.
In 2008 I was doing illustration and design work for companies like american greetings. In May that year my main customer told me they wouldn't have any more work for me that year as they were cutting back so I started looking around to see what different types of things I would like to pursue to fill the hole. That led me to raiding my stash of fabrics from years of art directing photo shoots for wallpaper and fabric companies (my last corporate gig in 1994 and what I did until 2005 as an freelance art director). I made some tote bags and had a party at a friends to sell them plus some cards I whipped up. Then I started looking around on the internet for places to sell them and eventually found Etsy. The tote bags didn't sell and I started making my real love - home decor and paper items. I found I like the whole process of concept to finished product, even wrapping for shipping!

old industrial sewing machine and her sewing room in one of her guest rooms

2) What got you started in your craft?
I've always drawn and painted - my mother taught art in the public school system so the supplies were always around. My mom and her sisters were amazing seamstresses and I still use my grandmother's singer to make my own pieces. I'm interested in all kinds of art but love textiles and printmaking best.

raspberries from her backyard

3) Who or what influences your style the most?
The History of Ornament and all the other wonderful books on the history of design, magazines like World of Interiors, natural forms, history of botany and science. Right now I'm particularly enamored with Medieval art. I also love scientific art like botanical illustration.

fabric storage room and some of her designs

4) How do you stay focused and motivated?
I think about paying the bills:) Seriously, I love what I do and nothing motivates me like a deadline. If I feel stale I stop working and go out in the garden and do some weeding or go read a book for a while. I've been self employed a long time so they aren't as much of a problem for me anymore, also I live pretty frugally so I can do more of what I love.

tommy tuna guarding fabric bolts

5) What would be your insight on "Keys to Success on Etsy"?
Really hard work, good photos and enough cats around to give you encouragement and hold the fabric down.
Don't give up - if sales are slow list something new and make a bunch of treasuries, re-photograph your listings and believe in yourself (not always easy but you must).
Oh, and white wine and chocolate help too!

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"fashion accessories", "keys to success", "success on etsy"

The Keys to Success || The Story of Bayan Hippo

Vildan in front of some of her fabrics she uses for her shop

      Shop: Bayan Hippo
      Owner: Vildan
      Founded: 2008
When and why did you choose to open an online shop Etsy?

I opened my shop on Etsy 5 years ago. I have always sewn anything and tried including clothes, bags, kids clothes, etc. After I had my twins, I looked for a job where I could practice at home.  Therefore, Etsy was ideal for me, since I liked Etsy.

Vildan and her twins

What got you started in your craft?

After my twins, I was at home, and couldn't work anymore.  Since my twins were 4 years old, I knew it was time to try see what I could make at home.  I knew Etsy and thought it had interesting items and people. Working on Etsy was ideal for me as I could only work at home. After I sold my first item on Etsy, it motivated me to keep selling and developing my shop.

Vildan in her studio, flamenco bag in aqua blue, nagy bag in teal blue

Who or what influences your style the most?

I've always think about what I would buy if I were looking for a bag and that's how I decide what type of designs to make for my shop. All the bags that I have made and developed up to now are just as easy to use, but they are also sporty and fashionable.

How do you stay focused and motivated?

I live in Bursa, were you can see traces of several cultures, ancient building complexes with very large outdoor spaces. There is no traffic, no bustle, so I can just sit for hours and drink my Café, and think about new designs for my shop. This part of the design process is very important so that I can clearly think about new designs to sew. 

Vildan at her sewing machine, sailor tote

What would be your insight on “Keys to Success on Etsy"?

Etsy is a very big place of very creative and talented people with excellent and interesting things.
You should have high quality images of your products, because the buyer wants to buy what they see, and the colors should be consistent with the product.  
The description of your products should be simple, detailed, and provide clear information about the product, but the description should be to the point and not over exaggerated.
You should make sure everything is accurate so you do not have a disappointed customer.
You have to carefully package your items to make sure everything is correct before you ship it out.
You should ask yourself if you would be happy receiving this item for yourself.
Always try something new with your products, not following others.

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"Mother's Day", "accessories", "home decor", "keys to success", "success on etsy"

The Keys to Success || The Story of Mmim

Brooke and a selection of frames from her shop

1. When and why did you choose to open an online shop on Etsy?

 I opened my shop 3 years ago. I first opened a shop with my 2 sisters and Mom (Mom's idea) to sell our mix of handmade items. We all did our own thing and thought it would be nice to combine them all and open a shop. As time went on it was difficult to juggle family, work and other parts of life. In the end, I opened my own shop and named it MMIM. Etsy opened up a whole new world for me! I was a single Mom working 2 other jobs at the time and working so hard to find my niche in the ever growing world of Etsy! It has truly been a blessing for me and my family. I now work on my Etsy shop as a full time job!

Brooke in the process of creating a wood bank

2. What got you started in your craft?

 I tried many different little things in my Etsy shop. It did take some time to find my niche and set my craft apart from so many awesome Etsy artists!     
I wanted to create something that was unique, fun, HANDMADE, and affordable. In my shop you will find a little something for everyone. From a small pill box for everyday use to wedding ring boxes and wool felt baskets. My frames seem to be my customers favorite though. With SO many different styles to choose from, it is not hard to find the perfect one for a baby shower gift or a cute Halloween frame to decorate your home.

bright + colorful frames available at Mmim

3. Who or what influences your style the most?

My kids...... I wish I had these fun prints and designs to decorate their rooms with when they were little! I remember when my boys were smaller how hard it was to find something that suited their different personalities and was still cute! I think that is why I have so many little boy things like space ships, robots and baseballs. The girls inspire my colorful side! I love bright colors and bold prints. Something that will put a smile on your face and brighten your day!
I am inspired by other artists!! That goes without saying. :) 
I am so amazed by all of the wonderful artists and crafters here on Etsy. They inspire me to keep creating new things. To stay up on the trends and to be a part of this creative community gives me such an accomplished feeling. I could keep going but I won't.....

a necklace, bank and designs

4. How do you stay focused and motivated?

New style, trends, designs, seasons. Other artists, my family, my love for the craft and definitely the customers. The world of Etsy is always changing. I swear just when I start getting "bored" of one thing there is a new "HOT THING" happening and I have to stay on board. The competitiveness keeps me motivated. I enjoy it......

Brooke- owner of Mmim

5. What would be your insight on "Keys to Success on Etsy"?

Hmmm.....my insight on "keys to success"...
Love what you are doing!!!! If you love what you are doing and you are excited about your product I think that shows through to your work. 
I have tried many different things. Many things that I thought would be "the next big thing" and then they would flop. :( 
I'd get frustrated and think maybe I should just get a desk job....
So I would say DON'T GIVE UP!!! Always keep trying at times you will fail but then you may just come up with something that nobody else has done or your own way of doing it that will make your product unique! 

Mmim Important Information:
Brooke is the owner, maker, designer, curator and photographer for Mmim
Founded: January 24th, 2010
Her other Etsy Shop: Mmim Designs
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"fashion accessories", "gifts for her", "keys to success", "kitchen", "success on etsy"

The Keys to Success || The Story of Oktak

apron and coin purse available at Oktak

1. When and why did you choose to open an online shop on Etsy?

The first time I heard about Etsy was from a friend, Yukiko of Seabreeze Studio (www.seabreezestudio.etsy.com ), who opened her shop in 2005.

At the time, I had my own website with a shopping cart, but was struggling to expand my customer base. Most of the visitors to my site were following the link from my Japanese blog (oktak.exblog.jp), and probably about 80% of sales were to Japanese customers.

I checked out Etsy with great excitement, as I don't think there was a site that specialized in selling and buying handmade goods before Etsy. When I did, I was taken back by the low prices, and had doubts that it was the right venue for me. 

It took me about a year to finally open a shop in September 2006. I thought I'd test the waters by listing things that didn't sell on my own site.
Despite my naïve expectation that sales would be rolling in as soon as I opened my shop, nothing sold for the first two months! My main focus remained on my own site, and I didn't pay much attention to my Etsy shop until 2007, when suddenly, my items started popping up on the front page. This of course led to more sales, and I began to see the immense potential that Etsy had. 

embroidery floss 

2. What got you started in your craft?

My baby.
I worked for the Japanese Foreign Ministry before I had my son. It was a very demanding job, both physically and mentally. I hardly saw my husband during the week because I worked so late every night. It was fulfilling in a way of course, but very tiring and stressful.

When I found out I was pregnant, I decided I didn't want to continue that life style, and started thinking about a different career that was more compatible with family life. After my son was born, I dabbled in translation, and translated books from English to Japanese while caring for him at home.

One day, when my family and I were walking around East Village, I peered into one of my favorite shops that sold handmade bags. As I was admiring the bags, my husband said, "If you love it so much, why don't you do it yourself?" - this was an eye-opening moment.  I'd always loved designing and crafting, but never thought I could pursue it as a career. It suddenly dawned on me that there wasn't any reason why I couldn't.
Soon after that, I enrolled in a course in handbag design and construction at the Fashion Institute of Technology.

just a sampling of current coin purse designs

3. Who or what influences your style the most?

I'm not sure, but I love the bold colors and motifs of the 60s / early 70s, and the clean, simple aesthetics of Japanese and Scandinavian designs.  I also love the unusual and striking color combinations in traditional kimonos, and the happiness and freedom that I see in my kids' art work.
There are so many things that I find fascinating, that I really don't know what influences me the most.  

Aki's Muji notebook filled with her sketches and designs

4. How do you stay focused and motivated?

I try to think ahead and scribble new ideas in my 200 page MUJI notebook whenever something pops up in my head.  When I'm not focused or motivated, I look at that notebook and remember all the ideas I wanted to work on. 

the workspace

5. What would be your insight on " Keys to Success on Etsy"?

I think of my Etsy shop as a garden. If you don't tend to it every day, weeds will grow all over it, bugs will eat up the leaves, and the flowers will wilt due to lack of water. Even if it's just switching your 'featured items' or relisting expired items, you need to do some work on it each day to keep it from getting buried, both on Etsy and on major search engines.

Because Etsy is a huge site now, success relies heavily on how much exposure you can get.
Here are some ways I try to maximize exposure:
1. Add new listings as often as possible.
2. Try to make well-curated treasuries, supporting other shops and showcasing my style to the best extent possible.
3. Improve photography. ( I am constantly thinking about new angles/ backgrounds I can experiment with.)
4. Think one season ahead, and try to introduce new products on a timely basis. ( eg. listing items related to a specific holiday at 4 to 8 weeks in advance.)
5. Never say no to requests for interviews.

Having said that, the greatest key to success is your product. Before everything else, you must have an attractive product. I constantly ask myself why certain products sell more than others, what I should make more of and what I should discontinue, how I can be more unique and produce higher quality products. It's always important to look at your shop with the most critical eyes.

Oktak important information:
Owner : Aki
Founded: September 21, 2006

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