Date joined etsy -4/21/09
Sales to date - 321
-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.
I'm Hayley, I'm 22 years old and live in England. I'm currently running my own little handmade business in Northamptonshire called 'Ruby Wren Designs'. I live near enough to the big cities to visit, but far enough away to enjoy the countryside and all the wildlife here! I live at home with my parents, my sister and my two rescued cats. My boyfriend of four years, Nick, lives just a few streets away. Everyone is always helping out when it gets a bit busy, or when they think of new ideas I could try out. Ruby Wren Designs is on Etsy as RUBYrecycled, making greeting cards from 100% recycled paper, featuring hand cut designs! The paper I use is wonderful - it's made from 100% recycled paper and elephant poo (yes, really!), and I try to run my business as environmentally-friendly as possible!
-Describe an average day in life of "you".
Each day is different but it usually starts with coffee and kitty-hugs, followed by the checking of Emails/Etsy/Facebook/Twitter etc. I usually make cards during the morning and early afternoon, followed by wrapping (in biodegradable cellophane, of course!) and packing ready for posting. After dinner, Nick and I will usually head to the gym, taking the day's orders to the Post Office on the way. Before bed, I respond to the evening orders and make a note of what will need making tomorrow. I work part time as a freelance web editor, updating content and moderating websites for a gift company so I fit that in around card making, along with making time to update Twitter and the Ruby fan page on Facebook.
-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?
I think I was always a creative child - painting, drawing, play dough! My teen years were spent dabbling in web design and journalism, writing online articles about the gift industry (I was hired to run the websites of my current employer after the company discovered my articles online). My website discussed market trends and product design, as well as reporting on gift and greeting companies at trade fairs and events around the UK. Combining that with my creative side, Ruby Wren Designs was born shortly afterwards! The companies I was involved with as a teenager will always be a huge inspiration in what I do with my own business. I would visit the head offices of some of the companies I admired the most and see the designers at work, which had a huge impact on me growing up...I always knew I wanted to run my own gift business, designing and selling my own products!
-What made you want to start selling on etsy?
I wanted an online platform for my new business venture and Etsy seemed like the perfect place to set up an online shop without needing any e-commerce knowledge or the funds to hire an expert. The community on Etsy is brilliant and my first impression as a buyer was that it was a really friendly and fun place and that the people behind Etsy really supported the independent artist. I love what Etsy stands for and I can always find the most amazing and unique items for sale - who wouldn't want to be a part of that? :)
-How long did it take for you to get your first sale on etsy?
I was very lucky to sign up as RUBYrecycled just days before "Etsy Day" in 2009. Etsy Day was a brilliant day where everyone promoted Etsy and the handmade movement. I got pounced on as a shop "waiting for my first sale", and my lovely first customers showed their purchases in the Etsy Forums as part of an Etsy Day Pounce thread. It wasn't until a few month's later, in Autumn 2009, when my sales started becoming more regular and I decided to start a business from it, rather than just a hobby. I signed up for the Prince's Trust Business Programme in October 2009 - a programme in the UK run by Prince Charles' charity for young people, designed to help under-30 year olds with starting their own business - and have not looked back since!
-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?
I don't really watch much TV but never miss an episode of Bones or House - I would love to be a forensic anthropologist like Brennan if I didn't make greeting cards!
My favourite music to work to is my playlist of Matchbox Twenty albums and Rob Thomas' solo albums...I've warned Nick that next time they tour England, we're going to see them! I've been listening to their albums over and over for years...I remember attending my Art exams at school with Matchbox Twenty in my Discman! Muse is another old favourite, and I currently love Florence and the Machine and Bat For Lashes. Vanessa Paradis is another favourite - I saw her in Paris a few years ago which was an amazing experience and I love to listen to her music, despite not knowing a word of French!
Favourite foods include pasta, pizza and lots of cake! I also love Flumps! Flumps, for those who don't know (you're missing out!!) are lovely, soft, yummy twists of marshmallow sold here in England...My Mum, knowing how much I love them, wrapped some in giftwrap for my birthday last year - it was brilliant!
-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing? Knitting, baking, soap making, wood working, an instrument, etc.
I would love to be able to make my own clothes! There are some amazing sellers on Etsy who make handmade dresses, bags and screenprinted t-shirts and I'm so jealous of their skills!
-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?
Create a recognisable brand - there are a few sellers than spring to mind straight away who have done this really well. Every time I see something, even a tiny thumbnail in the Etsy search, I can instantly recognise it as theirs and they've become a shop that sticks in my mind - If I'm ever looking for gifts or something for myself on Etsy, it's these sellers that I check out first. They've got such a strong brand identity that they instantly pop into my head before I even begin searching and they're usually the ones that get chosen for the Etsy Front Page, Storque articles and featured in many treasuries too.
I'd also suggest taking advantage of the amazing community that we have on Etsy! When I first started Ruby Wren Designs, I attended a course about starting a business and will always remember being told what a lonely experience it is - they obviously weren't a part of the Etsy community! I've become friends with some truely brilliant artists and Etsy sellers, who have all come together on Twitter and are always available to offer opinions, retweets and news. I'd say the community of Etsians on Twitter is an invaluable thing to be a part of - everyone is willing to help each other out and I've even made it to the Front Page of Etsy as part of my Twitter-friend's treasuries!
-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?
Wall Envy Art (www.etsy.com/shop/wallenvyart) is run by my best, best, best Etsy friend, Louise. She sells gorgeous illustrations and vintage book pages framed as artwork, and we've even collaborated on some framed greeting card art too! We live in the same small town and even went to the same school (although a few years apart) but met each other through Etsy, so it's quite an amazing story of coincidences! It's lovely to have someone to talk to about new ideas, plan craft fair attendances and have tea/cake/etsy nights with! It's also brilliant to have a friend who knows exactly what 'a treasury', 'the storque' and 'the etsy labs' are without explaination! :)
-One year from now, I hope my number of sold items is ______.
I hope to have reached 500 sold items in a year from now but I'm really proud of what Ruby Wren Designs has achieved so far :)
Have an etsy shop with over 300 sales and want to be a featured seller? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, thanks for reading :)