I have been a Maker my entire life. I come from a long line of people who do not pay someone else to do something that they could figure out how to do themselves. In my adult life, when people see a bag or a quilt that I have made, the most common complement I receive is “you should open an Etsy shop!” Of course natural reaction was to point out mistakes and imperfections in my craft that, in my mind, make the product unsellable. Or mention that I wouldn’t be able to sell it for very much. It’s just not worth it.
I think a lot of us Makers are guilty of having that reaction to compliments. We’re the first to point out our own mistakes. We are our own worst critics. Of course we notice everything that isn’t quite perfect because we made the thing! We were literally there when those pieces of fabric, interfacing, and thread became that tote bag. But what is more important is that you’re the REASON that those materials are now a functional piece of art. Your ideas, creativity, and time are worth a lot more than money. But the right customer will pay the right price for that piece of art.
Now if someone pays me a compliment on something that I’ve made, I simply say thank you. And now if they say “you should open an Etsy shop” I get to say, “I did! You should check it out!” This past Wednesday the Cast Iron Stitches Etsy shop is officially open for business!
My initial impressions of starting an Etsy shop: it is way more involved than I thought it would be! And I started this process anticipating it to be a lot of work. Just to get started, a few decisions needed to be made:
- What can I make that people will actually want to buy?
- What should I charge?
- How can I make my products stand out?
- How do I take great pictures of my products?
- How do I make a shop logo?
- How do you use photoshop?!
- What are Shop Policies?
- How much do I charge for shipping?
And these are really just a few of the decisions that took time, research, math, and mulling over with my husband, the money man. This all had to happen in addition to actually making the products, which we all know is also very time consuming.
One thing that I’m enjoying about having an Etsy shop is having a reason to make things that I love to make. Currently I have some super-durable tote bags on the shop.
Next I plan to make some coordinating zipper pouches. I’ve been trying to alternate between making things for other people (the shop, gifts, swaps, etc) and making things for myself. I hope that helps me keep balance and harmony in my making life. So now, I’m off to make myself a cozy sweatshirt!
I look forward to the adventures of the selling world and hope that all the work will pay off. Literally.