#1 unofficial etsy featured seller - NothinButWood
Date joined etsy - 6/4/08
Sales to date - 740-Tell us a bit about yourself name, location, affiliations, personal stuff.
My name is Kerry Roberts. I live in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland, Canada with my wife and two beautiful children. I was born on the south coast of Newfoundland and have lived here all my life. I just recently turned 40 which feels kinda weird. Haha.
-Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I work as a computer software programmer/analyst by day. I have been working in this field for about 20 years now and I enjoy it immensely.
-What first made you want to become an artist?
To be honest, it was boredom. A few years after my wife and I bought our first home I had a space in the home where I could dabble and I decided it was a good way to fill the time. I borrowed a neighbor's jig saw and I was hooked immediately. I still have the little wooden heart I made that first day.
-Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
This depends on what I am making. I began by creating pictures of people in wood. This was a hobby I mastered. I have a website dedicated to this where you can read more it at http://www.kerrysworld.com
I dabbled in many many forms of woodworking until I found a niche in fairy doors, gnome doors, etc. It started as a suggestion from a friend ... she asked "Can you make this?" After that I pretty much let my customers tell me what they wanted. Almost all the designs I have were born from an idea a customer gave me.
The materials I use are almost exclusively wood (as my Etsy name suggests). I have used other mediums like plexiglass, plastics, etc. but I don't enjoy those nearly as much as wood.
-What handmade possession do you most cherish?
The little wooden heart I made back in 2002 and a picture I cut of my son.
-Name your top five books, movies, songs/musical groups, and web sites besides Etsy.
I love any book by Sidney Sheldon and Dean Koontz and have read almost all of them.
I am not a huge "movie fan" per se. I find most movies are not that good. It's kind of like "It's all been done, it's all been said" and I don't find many movies keep my attention to the end nowadays. I find the movies I DO enjoy are movies based on actual events and some comedies.
I love most blues rock and soft rock music...especially Bryan Adams and that kind of genre. I played in a band when I was a teenager and this is the music that grew on me.
Lately I have been semi-addicted to Youtube. I find this a great website to learn just about anything and I often times spends hours just watching funny videos, etc.
-What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Find a niche and fill it. If this is not possible, offer something that is "different". For example, it's very hard to compete with a category like "jewelry" as there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people on Etsy selling jewelry. However, if YOUR products have something that is different from any others, you have a much better chance at success.
I would also be VERY patient. Many people take months to get their first sale. I was very lucky in this regard. I started by posting 1 fairy door and it sold in under 5 minutes. ha ha. I went back in to edit something about it and it wasn't there. I was confused until I realized that it had sold. This is unusual, however...so yeah, patience.
I also find putting customer service as my first priority pays off. This is a big one. Impeccable customer service combined with "word of mouth" is a very powerful tool.
I would also make every attempt to socialize with the people in Etsy through the forums and chat rooms. Get to know buyers and sellers alike. Don't be afraid to take advantage of the forum rooms and ask people to look at your store and offer constructive criticism to help you better your products. Don't confuse this, however, with SPAM...this is probably the worst thing a seller can do is "intrude" on others by sending uninvited emails, messages, etc.
-What are your favorite features on Etsy? What new features would you like to see?
I would have to say the forums and chat rooms. I have made many friends and acquired many customers this way. I would like to see a few new features on etsy...one being a tool that allows a seller in a glance to see what they have left to ship. I often have a lot of shipments to keep tabs on and I wish there was a tool that would show me what I have "left to ship". Ebay has a similar feature in their "You have to ship x number of items".
-How do you promote your work?
Along with socializing like I mentioned earlier, I also include business cards and a thank you note in all my orders. I also, from time to time, donate some of my work to worthy causes. Another tactic that has worked well for me (as far as Etsy goes) is to list my items with an inventory of 1. By doing this, when an item sells, I get to relist it and for a short time it is on Etsy's front page under the "recently listed" section. I have seen the "Domino effect" from this first hand and it is amazing actually.
-In ten years I'd like to be...
Alive and healthy and retired. :)
Want to be a featured seller? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thanks for reading :)