#224 unofficial etsy featured seller - epheriell
Date joined etsy- 10/18/08
Sales to date - 353-Give us some basic info about you: name, where you live, kids/pets, favorite ice cream flavor, etc.
My name is Jess, and I hail from the quiet countryside on the outskirts of the sunny Australian city of Brisbane. I mostly grew up here, and after 10 years moving around the state for various reasons, my husband and I are back, currently living with my parents as we plan to build our own home here. My husband Nick is English, and always wanted to settle down in the country, so it's a win for all of us! We share our lives with our squeaky little black-and-white cat, named Gobbolino, who has a stub tail that whirls around like a helicopter blade when he's excited.
-Describe an average day in life of "you".
I generally wake up around 9 (I've always been a night owl) to a cup of tea that Nick has brought me. I'll hop on the laptop right away and deal with any overnight sales or urgent e-mails, and check my blog, a few forums and twitter. I am a bit of a twitter addict, I love chatting to people on there! (I'm @jessvanden - tweet me!).
My days are fuelled by many cups of honey-sweetened tea, and I'll often not eat until around 1 - I'm the sort of person who hates the thought of food first thing in the morning!
I'll sit down in the workshop at around 10:30 and start work on my orders - depending on how many I have I'll work through to about 3pm, when I'll pack up the orders I've finished, and head out to the post office. I try to only go to the PO three days a week, as it's quite a drive for me! On days I don't have to go, I'll keep working till around 5ish. However, the Christmas rush is starting as I write this, so chances are I'll start getting up and into the studio much earlier to get all my orders done on time!
After dinner with the family, I'll hop back on the computer, and keep working on my blogs (EpheriellDesigns.com and JessicaVanDen.com), websites (the many venues I sell my work on!), my handmade/craft/vintage indie zine *bespoke* (bespokezine.com - Issue 1 was released on October 18th this year) or whatever else needs doing. Sometimes I'll take a bit of time out to watch a TV show, or do something else with Nick, but mostly I'll keep working till around midnight and beyond.
I usually try to take at least part of a day off once a week, and I usually take Sunday off from making jewellery, as that tends to be my quietest time of the week, orders-wise.
It's a busy life, but I love it, and I feel so incredibly lucky to be working for myself, doing something I'm passionate about.
-Were you creative growing up/what did you enjoy doing?
I wasn't really creative at all as a kid! I loved, loved, loved reading, and always had my nose stuck in a book. I was also fascinated by the world - I can never remember wanting to be anything other than a scientist, and indeed I grew up to study a Bachelor of Science at university (I also have a Bachelor of Arts and of Education - yes, I am madly overeducated and have the government loan to prove it!). I always loved learning. My mother went to art college, so I must have inherited the creative gene from her, though I didn't discover that till much later in life.
-What made you want to start selling on etsy?
Well, in 2007, I went to Fiji. My boyfriend (now husband) Nick and I met a lovely fellow Aussie family. We became friends, and the day we left, the mother of the family gave me a novel to read – she’d read it, and decided to pass it on. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was a story about a woman who owned a yarn store in New York. When I finished that book, I decided to try knitting… and that’s where it all began!
I discovered that I LOVED creating, making, working with my hands. I went from knitting to resin to beads to silver - and that was that! Like many people, I started selling on Etsy simply to get rid of all the jewellery I was making, and to fuel my hobby! But as it went on, I started taking it more seriously, and my style evolved to what it is today.
-How long did it take for you to get your first sale on etsy?
Oh, about a month, I think! And it was to an old high-school friend - I'd posted some of my stuff on my personal facebook page. I was so excited! Sales were very few and far between in the early months, but I wasn't doing it as a business, so it didn't worry me back then. Now, if I go a day without a sale somewhere online, I start to worry!
-Top 5 favorite foods, tv shows, and bands?
Tea (does that count as a food?)
Lasagna, especially when Nick makes one
Cheese of any type
Chocolate, of course
Anti-pasto - like olives, sundried tomatoes etc
Wow, I don't watch much TV these days, so this was tough!
Arrested Development (Only discovered this recently, and have watched the first 2 series)
X-Files (I was OBSESSED as a teenager, I so wanted to be Scully and date Mulder)
Good Game (a fun game-review show on here each week, I'm not much of a gamer but Nick is, and I always watch it with him, and enjoy it!)
I love Aussie music... these are long-time music loves...
The John Butler Trio
-Is there anything you'd like to try your hand at doing? Knitting, baking, soap making, wood working, an instrument, etc.
Oh gosh, yes! I'd love to try so much, if only I had the time/money. I'd love to learn ceramics, and soap-making. I am determined to not spend another year being afraid of sewing, so I've just ordered an Amy Butler pattern and some fabric to give it a shot! I also want to get back to playing the Cello, it has been sadly neglected this year.
-What would you suggest to new etsy sellers to promote their shops?
Many things! Photos photos photos!!! They truly are key! Don't use a flash. Do use a consistent background/style. Learn how to take enticing product shots, not just boring straight on here-it-is shots.
Also, don't be shy, get out there and network - I have made an insanely awesome amount of crafty friends over the last two years, and my life is so much richer for it. I adore twitter, it is a massively successful marketing tool for me - but, whatever you do, don't be that person who just tweets out links to new products. Make friends, engage, talk to people! That's what it's really all about. The sales will happen naturally because people become interested in you and what you do.
And renew. This doesn't work for everyone - but it does for me. Renewing is advertising - and I choose to spend my advertising dollars right where my customers already are - they're there, searching for something to buy - and I want them to find me!
I actually interviewed 7 Etsy top sellers earlier in the year to learn what set them apart, and the results were very interesting! I put it together into an e-book called Etsy Success Stories.
-3 etsy shops you just LOVE?
Inner Earth Soaps - an Aussie soap-maker, her soap is divine!
Yellena - I love her art so much
Rainbow Revolution - I have two of her gorgeous scarves
-One year from now, I hope...
That we've started building our dream house! And that my business has grown and I'm still doing this awesome work. I'd also love to see *bespoke* in stockists all across Australia, and hopefully overseas, too.
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 :)