You’ve seen those big sellers on Etsy who seem to be making sales left and right. You have to wonder how they’ve made it to where they are: can they actually be FOR REAL? What’s their recipe for success? And just how do they do it?
I’ve made it my mission to shine the Storque spotlight and bring these sellers to you. I’ll be asking them all those questions you’re just dying to know. They have been generous enough to share their secrets with us and we want to spread their personal success stories to everyone so they can learn from their business practices.
This week’s Etsy success story spotlights Suzanna Scott, the creative energy behind the intriguing world that is Sushipot.etsy.com. Suzanna lives in good ole sweet home Alabama, has been selling on Etsy just over one year, and has already made over 830 sales! She is a self proclaimed artist, mother, wife, friend, lover and scavenger and describes her inspiration as coming from all things old, chipped, cracked, worn, dusty, used, found, buried, designed, loved, pieced, intricate, aged and transfigured. After viewing and falling in love with Suzanna’s patinaed work, I wasn’t surprised to learn that she does the bulk of her shopping at junk yards, thrift stores, yard sales and Etsy.
Ok, on to the questions we’ve been wondering about but never got the chance to ask (drum roll please)…
How did you first hear about Etsy, and what made you decide to open a shop on the site?
I stumbled across Etsy one day while I was surfing the web and looking for possible sites on which to sell my artwork. I had never heard of it before but I’d like to believe that fate intervened. I joined Etsy the next day after comparing it to other possibilities and reading all the press I could find. It looked like my best option with little financial commitment as I had no “wiggle-room” in my budget at the time. I figured I didn’t have too much to lose.
What do you think your key to successful selling on Etsy has been?
My personal goal from the start was to create one new piece a day. I keep a journal/sketchbook of sorts that logs new ideas that I want to try. Some of these ideas end up in my shop as successful pieces; others never make it out my studio door. I list new items frequently and also renew items at peak traffic times during the day.
I do my best to offer excellent customer service. My husband has dubbed it ”the Sushipot experience!” I notify each customer as soon as possible that I’ve received their order and give them a ship date. Each order is packaged with great care and detail. I always include a handwritten thank-you along with a little something extra. With each package that I send out, I hope to add a bright spot in my customer’s day.
How do you promote your shop?
I currently do not promote Sushipot outside of Etsy. The customers here do more than keep me busy. As long as I stay visible by listing often, I entice new shoppers into my store. Outside of Etsy, I also exhibit and sell work in several galleries and boutiques.
How do you handle such a large volume of sales in your shop? What systems have you created to manage the orders?
Some days can be quite stressful with a sick kid, orders piling up, unanswered convos, etc. I’ve recently given up trying to mail everything out the next day. I designate 2 or 3 days a week as shipping days depending on the amount of orders. My week goes something like this: studio day, posting day, stuff sells, packing/shipping day and then back to the studio. I always enlist the help of my husband when I have piles of orders to package. It is much more fun when someone helps!
Are your orders mostly from repeat buyers or new buyers…what do you do to gain repeat buyers?
The majority of my new buyers become repeat buyers. I realize that buyers have a wide array of choices on Etsy. If they are not pleased with their choice, they will not come back. There is constant incentive to provide a better experience, not just globally on the site, but also to out perform my own standards.
How do you stay motivated? Does it come naturally?
The Etsy community motivates me in so many ways. Knowing that my customers and other Etsians view my shop regularly motivates me to give them something new to look at. I even packed up our TV and put it in the garage so I wouldn’t have the distraction. That may seem extreme but it has put more time into my day!
Do you "Etsy" full time or do you have another job too?
Other than being a full time mom, I am proud to say that Etsy is my full time job.
If you "Etsy" full time, were you able to quit your day job due to your success selling on Etsy?
I was not employed at the time I joined Etsy but I was actively looking for a job. After the 2006 holiday season I quit applying for jobs. I was convinced I could turn my Etsy shop into a reliable income.
What is your favorite current Etsy Feature?
I’ve been enjoying the new geolocator. It’s interesting to see who lives where.
What features do you use most on Etsy?
Since its recent debut, I read The Storque religiously and check the forums at least once a day. I am one of those silent forum stalkers because I don’t post much. When browsing and shopping, I love to use the Time Machine 2.
What goals do you have for your Etsy shop one year from now?
I just celebrated my first “etsyversary” on September 18th with 804 sales and 1986 hearts. So…here’s my lofty goal for September 18th, 2008: 2,500 sales and 6,000 hearts. Please don’t hate me…these are only aspirations and it does make me tired thinking of all the work that this will involve!
Anything else you want to add?
A few extra words of advice: Never stop perfecting your product and your shop. There is always something that can be improved. Be your own worst critic. When it’s slow — hit the “drawing board,” come up with new ideas or improve on old ones. Invest in a good digital camera with a macro function. It will become invaluable. You’ll never sell a thing with a dark or fuzzy photo. Be patient. It took 20 long days for my first item to sell. Lastly, there is no magic formula for becoming successful on Etsy. If there was, it would be sold in a little capsule marked “hard work,” and it would be the most coveted item on Etsy because, after all, hard work is handmade!
The above piece is the very first of hopefully many Sushipot treasures that I personally own. It was love at first sight when I saw the listing and when my very own little assemblage arrived so well packaged. I knew I’d be a Sushipot fan for life and understood the magnitude of her success.
Thanks so much, Sushipot, for sharing your Etsy success story for the rest of us to read and get inspired by! Check out the galllery below to see suzanna’s current top picks on Etsy and a little more into the mind that is Sushipot…