Today we are hosting our very first Q&A session with the talented Sally Lewis, you can find Sally over at her blog Sally Makes Art. She recently opened an Etsy Shop and we are going to find out from her how she did it and what she learned.
So first of all Sally why don’t you say a bit about yourself and introduce your blog to us.
I am a 23 year old tea drinking, craft enthusiast living in the midlands, UK who graduated back in 2012 from Sheffield Hallam with a Degree in Creative Art Practice. I started my blog ‘Sally Makes Art’ in May 2013 when I felt myself getting stuck in a rut. I was determined to continue to make art and not let it take a back seat to my distinctly uncreative job. My blog became my place to try out ideas, give me a purpose to make things again and be inspired by amazing bloggers around the world.
And what about your Etsy shop, when did you open it and what are you selling?
The idea to open an Etsy shop was again a way of pushing myself to do something new. I got the idea back in the summer of 2013 after making a wedding present for a friend and being told that I should start selling my work. I worked on my ideas, products and graphics for months before finally opening on 7th January 2014. One of my passions is paper and paper craft. My whole body of degree work and dissertation was centred around books and paper and my interest has since expanded into stationary, handmade books, origami….anything made from paper! So it seemed only natural that I would be selling handmade products crafted from paper.
I must say your shop looks lovely and very professional. Can you tell us a brief checklist of what you needed to do before you opened your shop?
You should always start with a list – get all of your ideas or concerns out onto paper and work through them. Mine were anything from how much I could afford to spend on materials out of my own money right through to thinking how I wanted to package and ship my items.
A mini checklist of essentials would be to ask yourself these questions:
What am I going to sell?
How am I going to make it and how much will I sell it for?
What will my shop be called?
How do I want my shop to look?
Are there any technical things I can’t do myself e.g. banners and graphics?
What am I hoping to achieve?
What about the legal stuff, did you have to think about tax, terms and conditions and the like? Or was this more or less covered in Etsy's start up guide?
Yes, this one of the things that took the most time for me. I spent a lot of time reading the Etsy start up guide which is really helpful but I also spent time reading the forums and learning from those who had successful shops. Things like tax can seem scary but you just need to do your research first. For things like terms and conditions and shop policies it is quite straight forward. Again, I looked at my favourite shops for ideas. Just be realistic and honest and you can’t really go wrong.
If you could give only one piece of advise to some one considering starting their own handmade business what would it be?
Just do it! I was scared that my products wouldn’t be good enough or I would never sell anything and have wasted money but if you start small and build up as you go along then there’s not really anything to lose. I’ve learnt a lot and I feel like I’ve really achieved something.
What have you got planned next for your blog and shop, or do we just have to wait and see?
I would love to do more collaborations and talk to more bloggers so that is my new blog goal for 2014. As for my shop, you will have to wait and see what products I am working on next!
Thanks so much Sally for sharing with us what you have learned so far and good luck with the shop! Don't forget to have a look at Sally's Blog too! Zoe