Tell us about your shop and the idea behind it.
The name of my shop is theStarcraft. The idea behind my work is to offer an assortment of items I’ve made with the froebel star and a little magic.
Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.
My mom and I used to run our own New Age/metaphysical gift shop, where I decorated the ceiling in stars. Our customers always had nice things to say and wanted to take the stars home. Out of that came the creation of my mobiles. In the process of taking care of the shop, I had my first son; the same week my sister told me about Etsy. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen in my life! As the Etsy business grew, my mother passed away and I had my second son. It was easier for me to run the Etsy shop with two boys on my hips than it was to run the New Age gift shop, so I sold my business and dove into the stars full time.
What is your favorite part of the process in working with paper?
The manipulation of paper is meditation. I love getting out all my colorful paper and coming up with a new design.
What are your best marketing tips?
- It’s always been about my customers. When I listen to them, my creativity grows, my inventory grows, and my sales grow. It’s like a circle of give and take that keeps spiraling up, up, and away!
- Many of my customers return again and again. I like to send a coupon out in all of my orders.
- My husband and I do a lot of local craft shows that create a local customer base.
- I recommend going above and beyond for customers — answering convos in a timely fashion, helping with any transaction issues they may have, and sending notification when an order has shipped. The little things add up.
What’s been your most popular item or line to date?
It always changes. One month it’s a rainbow star mobile, six months later it’s DIY paper. It always helps to expand and list new things so returning customers have something new to look at when they visit your shop again.
What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
I used to spend a ton of time on Treasuries — making them, commenting on them, replying to the ones I’ve posted. I was using up a lot of time that was better served making new things or tweaking my tags, titles and pictures.
What is the biggest challenge you face during your daily schedule?
Making sure I give myself enough time off. I have to balance my work with my down time and time with the boys. Thankfully I have my husband, who does most of my running around for supplies and handles the shipping.
What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
Riding the fluctuating waves of income throughout the year. I don’t get paid by the hour, I’m not on a salary, and I work long hours. It’s hard to find a balance of taking just what you can use and saving some for a rainy day.
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
When I was always creating things: drawing outfits, folding bubblegum chains, dabbling in basket weaving, experimenting with sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross stitching and weaving. I have always been drawn to crafting and it has always been on my own time. Now I don’t have to clock in — I can work in my pajamas and play with my kids. The freedom is heavenly.
What is the most exciting thing that has come out of selling your designs through Etsy?
The unexpected opening of new doors by simply doing what I love. Just when I think it might slow down, another opportunity or idea comes along.
What advice would you give someone considering a similar path?
Take chances! Do what you love, let your dreams become reality by following your heart, and be yourself.
What goals do you have in store for the future of theStarcraft?
Right now I make almost everything to order. I would like to have most of the inventory ready to ship because I don’t like making customers wait around for something they want. Also I want to work on having excellent pictures of my products.
Thanks for sharing your story, Frances. Check out her work in the Seller’s Items below.