If you are reading this article, then you may have dreamed of ditching your 9-5 work, warms up your hands, and opening a money making Etsy shop.
Well, Alicia Shaffer from Three Bird Nest, is living that dream.
Etsy may seem a bit too mainstream for handmade sellers, but with 30 million registered users, one million sellers and over one billion in total annual transactions, this is notyour neighborhood craft fair. This is big e-commerce.
Alicia opened her Etsy shop in 2011. She first started with handmade weaves and lace, headbands in knits, before branching out into a full line of knitwear and eventually, accessories and home goods.
Alicia’s winning creative and business skills are apparent. She is a sharp business woman, a mother of three kids (ages 4, 5 and 10), and a wife. Her husband Demetrious retired early from his post as a fire chief to run their home, mastering the cooking and kid organization so that she can continue to grow her empire.
Alicia is one of the richest handmade sellers on Etsy, with more than, gulp, an estimated $65,000 a month in sales. But she says that it didn’t all happen, overnight, though.Where most shops would love to sell 300 items a day, Three Bird Nest, her store is selling over 3,000. (If those numbers don’t make you wanting to quit your day job, then you must really love what you do .)
What’s Special About Her Creations?
Her creations have its own distinctive feeling, but it’s not breaking the mold with exclusive, rarefied creations. Items similar to her lovely handmade, knitted scarves, wraps, headbands, beanies, boot socks and calf cozies (adorably irresistible) can be bought elsewhere. So why is she cleaning up when others are coasting?
Her Advice To Handmade Sellers
One thing that stands out is her passion for her work. “I love textiles, fabric, fashion, designs, and seeing how different colors and fabrics pair together,” she says on her site. When the seller’s passion comes through, the shopper connects with craftsperson. From conception, to production, to getting it in front of people to delivery is a high for her. To have a successful business on Etsy (or anywhere), she advises: you need to eat, sleep and breathe your brand.
Also, she wants new Etsysellers to know – to be prepared for many failures, and to learn from them. One of her early missteps was “letting customers down,” she admits. She also says she erred early on by selling some products that “didn’t feel authentic to the brand.” Her takeaway is to find out who you are as a brand and grow your company from there.
With all her success and determination, it might seem like she would be ready to move on from Etsy and make a website. But she loves where her business is and she believes growth will come from adding more and more to the line, continuing to make customers happy, and continuing to evoke the mom and pop feel.
So aspiring Etsy superstars, learn from both Shaffer’s creativity and also her keen business sense. Before you hang up your day job, roll up your sleeves and hop into your Hedley and Bennet apron, there is a ton of brand and marketing research to be done about what it takes to make it big.