No matter what else is going on in my life, my Etsy shop is open for business and humming along in the background, taking online orders from people all over the world. I opened Earthshards in 2012. Actually, it was the my second shop – anybody remember those kindle covers that I used to make? Boy, were those suckers labor-intensive.
There’s always stock on hand for the Earthshards shop, small earthenware faces that I make in the evenings when I’m not busy. I usually make about 80 each time, which takes two hours or so. They take a day to dry. After they are fired, they are sorted by clay type.
White and terra cotta unfinished clay faces
When I get an order, I select the faces according to the quantity and finish requested. Buyers can order three different finishes, Rune and Relic (walnut ink), Celtic Forge (metallic layers), or Mesa Verde (faux turquoise). I can’t do the finishes in advance because I never know who will want what, so they are finished at the time the orders are received.
From top left clockwise: Celtic Forge, Mesa Verde, and Rune and Relic finishes
Yesterday’s orders set a record – ten! Three were from other countries – Canada, the Netherlands, and Australia.
Etsy orders printed and in progress
After the orders are sorted and laid out, each face is finished with walnut ink, wiped with a studio cloth, and signed on the back.
Then other finishes are applied.Here are some faces getting the Celtic Forge treatment. This takes about four separate layers of various metallics.
The Mesa Verde finish is done with hand-applied acrylics. It’s much like the faux-turquoise finish I wrote about in a recent post.
Once all of the faces are completed, each one is individually wrapped in bubble wrap.
The orders are then wrapped in tissue with ribbon with a packing slip, a skeleton leaf for decoration, one of my business cards, and, of course, a thank-you note..
The wrapped package goes into a padded envelope and weighed for postage. Most postage is $3-$4, but it cost about $24 to send that little package to the Netherlands!
Etsy makes it easy to calculate postage and print labels. You can print them out on your own printer and stick them on. I use spray adhesive. Here are the packages waiting for their labels – then off they will go to the Post Office this morning!
It’s fun to have an Etsy shop. The best part is knowing that your work is going out all over the world to inspire other artists. The extra income is nice, too, but rarely do you get rich with your shop! And it’s definitely a bit of work, as you can see, but you can usually pace yourself.
If you’re thinking about opening your own Etsy shop, here’s a good article on what sells best on Etsy – the trick is to have a niche, I think.
And here’s an example of a creative idea that makes a ton of money on Etsy:
Confetti Momma is a popular party supply shop with more than 75,000 sales, thanks to vibrant colors, unicorn cake toppers, and endless boutique confetti. Confetti Momma found an engaged demographic on Etsy by offering trendy, handmade party supplies at an affordable price.
“My advice is to just get started,” Orillion said. “Let your customers tell you what they like or don’t like and then adjust. Today’s social selling platforms, such as Etsy, make it easy for your products to go viral, especially if you focus on delivering great customer service and a quality product.”
So there you have it – what goes on inside an Etsy shop! If you need advice, just send me an email. And if you know how to take digital photos of your work, you can be in business!