Tuesday, February 16, 2010

#33 unofficial etsy featured seller - lilafrances

#33 unofficial etsy featured seller - lilafrances
Date joined etsy - 3/5/08
Sales to date - 1499

-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.

Hello! My name is Anna Hartshorn and I live with my husband and 2-year-old son in Nashville, TN. We have three (slightly annoying) cats and our favorite past time seems to be relocating. We've lived in 8 different states (collectively) in the past 12 years (three of them just since our son was born). But we are all loving Tennessee, and my husband and I are both, finally, in career paths we enjoy. So hopefully we'll stick it out here, at least long enough for the kid to grow up! (oh, and cookies 'n' cream, the best!) : )

-Describe an average day in life of "you".

My days are hectic and long, but I love them. They usually start around 9am, when my boy gets up. I make him breakfast and then check emails, overnight sales, etc. while he eats. Then we goof around for a little bit. Go to the park or the library. Play some games, run some errands, drop packages off at the post office, and clean up the house a little bit (a very little bit). Around 2pm, I put him down for a nap, and provided I don’t also fall asleep, this is when my work day really begins. I go into my studio (what, in most people's homes would be the dining room) and just make and package up hangers. For hours. Often my husband will make and bring meals, right to my work table so I can just keep going. I'm usually twisting wire until about 2am. Then I sit down at the computer again and answer as many emails as I'm physically able. Bedtime is usually 3 or 4am. This a typical day, seven days a week. It's exhausting, but it beats having a real job.

-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?

I've always been artistic. My mother was a working artist as well so my whole life has been enriched with support and encouragement in this direction. As a child I loved to draw and build and sew. I recently found some old paperwork from art/drawing lessons I'd started when I was three! I didn't remember that I'd had official lessons that young, until I found those old sketches! I've been making clothes (not all of them very good) since I was about 14 yrs old.

-What made you want to start selling on etsy?

I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. That's always been very important to me, but I never really knew how to make it possible. When my son was born, I still didn't have a plan but was like, f*@k it, I'll figure something out, and I quit my job. After that it all happened very organically. It was like the universe was just waiting for me to take that first leap of faith. Suddenly I started hearing "Etsy, Etsy, Etsy" all over the place. I'd never heard of it and about three friends in one week approached me and ask if I'd ever looked into it. So I did…

-How long did it take for you to get your first sale on etsy?

I think about two months, which is a very long time when you're waiting for something you're so excited for, but have no idea if it's ever actually coming. I had all these delusions of grandeur. When I first started, my shop was originally filled with handmade children's shirts, and I remember thinking, "okay, how fast can I sew, so that when I sell out in 2 weeks, I can be ready with new items…" And then I post my shirts and no sales, no sales, no sales. It was a very humbling experience. But I had to look at it objectively. I was up against, literally, every other person and company selling kids clothes on the internet. When I finally got my first sale, I was so excited I couldn't believe it, but it wasn't until I started making my hangers that things really took off.

-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?
1.Anything Indian!
2.Lasagna, specifically my mom's recipe
3.Carrot cake
4.Pot pie
5.Brownies, lemon bars, any baked good really!

Tv shows:
Sadly, many of them are cancelled now
1. The Office (American and British versions)
2. Gilmore Girls
3. Pushing Daises
4. Sex and the City
5. Seinfeld
(okay, for some reason, rereading that list slightly embarrasses me, but I have to stand by it. At least I resisted adding Three's Company, the Chrissy years, because I really, really wanted too.)

1. Coconut Records
2. Modest Mouse
3. White Stripes
4. Johnny Cash
5. Fiona Apple

-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing? Knitting, baking, soap making, wood working, etc.

I've already been relatively lucky enough to try my hand at most endeavors I've had even the slightest inkling toward. I have always wanted to learn welding though. And I've done some basic carpentry and blacksmithing (is that the correct term?) but would love to get more experience in either/both of those.

-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?

Since I had zero dollars to spend on promoting myself, I took the easiest, cheapest route. Renew!! That was my number one tool when I began. I would renew an item at least once a day to keep my page at the top of Etsy's searches, and I'd keep track of what times of the day and days of the week a new item seemed to bring in the most traffic. I'd also spend a lot of time on Etsy, "heart"ing my favorites and visiting other people's favorites. I'd write to people if they had items or shops I really loved just to tell them I was out there and I thought they were cool. Many times they'd return the favor by visiting my shop and hearting me. The more people out there who heart you, the more access random people have to stumble upon you. Also, keep your items stocked, if you're able to, so that if someone buys it, the listing won't appear as "sold." This way if someone blogs about you and an interested person clicks the link they won't see "sold out," just because the person who got there right before them already made a purchase. I lost a lot of business this way in the beginning. People unfamiliar with Etsy don't always know that sold out items can often still be made or custom ordered. So to sum up, stay stocked and renew daily!

-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?

~she's on winter vacation now, but still go there and check out her sold items. I honestly called people up to tell them about her when I first found this shop. I LOVE it!

-By New Years Eve 2011 I'd like to have _____ amount of sales.

I've honestly stopped counting specific sales, and this little business has already taken me places I never even dreamed of going, so I'd like that to just keep happening. My hope is that by New Years Eve 2011, I'll be enjoying amounts of success, I never even would have imagined!

Have a successful etsy shop and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at phletcher@gmail.com
As always, thanks for reading :)