This week, I’ve asked Team Leader Deborah Poyser to answer the same 10 questions that were presented to our Team Captain Louise.
[If you are on Team Etsy Cambridge and want to be part of this series, just fill out the questions – and perhaps add an image or two – and send them over to me on Etsy (Y. Bessels / 1000crows) or on Facebook (Yvette Bessels). I’ll add them to the scheduled waiting list.]
1. What’s your name?
2. What’s your shop name?
3. How did you choose your shop name?
What I most enjoy making is woven wire jewellery. When I moved to a village just outside Cambridge and saw the street name ‘Weavers Field’ , it stuck in my mind. I got a picture of a shady and mysterious lane leading to a meadow where a weaver worked in a wooden hut, very 17th century! And I thought… I’ll have that! At that time, I hadn’t even got an Etsy shop, and only the vaguest idea about selling my jewellery, but I never forgot it. It also feels like a nice word to me, very flowing and quite evocative.
4. What do you sell?
5. How did you decide to do this?
I’d been wanting to make things for years, and I’ve always really wanted a creative job. And I love jewellery. I started learning to make it as a hobby, and before long I became kind of obsessed with it. Life is short, too short not to do what you love if you can possibly make it work.
6. What do you love most about your products?
I adore the look of woven wire! I also like it when I make something really ornate and it looks spectacular. I like to think my more elaborate pieces, especially the earrings, are little works of art. That’s what I hope, anyway! Of course, I do make more classic pieces of jewellery that are similar to what you might see elsewhere, but in the case of my more individual pieces, I hope you won’t see anything quite like them anywhere else.
7. Which of your products are bestselling or most popular?
I have a couple of earring designs that seem to meet with most approval. One is a swirly, curly large earring called Mistral, because I thought it looked a bit like the wind in old illustrations. Whenever I make a pair of those for a craft show, they seem to sell, and I’ve also sold a few on Etsy. The other is an Art Deco/Egyptian stylised bell-flower earring made in wire. I make a short and a longer version, and the short one especially seems to go well.
8. What were your biggest challenges in opening / running an online shop?
When I had my full-time job, the massive challenge was to find any time to develop my skills or to make pieces! My head was full of ideas for what I wanted to make, and the frustration was immense because I didn’t have the time. Now I’m not doing a full-time job, one challenge is to make enough money. Another is to create a reasonably coherent range of products that sell, and another is to get them seen by as many people as possible. I’m trying to get my head around online marketing and I’m learning all the time.
9. What are your wishes for your shop – are there products you’d like to add or any favourite shops whose success you’d like to achieve?
Wishes for my shop: to sell enough to make a living, to refine my designs so that they all do exactly what I want them to do, to find and engage with my ideal customers, and to improve my photography. I would also like to make some more ambitious ‘art’ pieces. I have a few ideas but not enough time! I’d also like to add rings, which I’m just starting to make, and do a lot more necklaces. I understand earrings the best of all jewellery, as I’ve always been a huge earring fan and have bought bucketloads of them throughout my life. But I don’t have the same feel for necklaces yet, so I’m working on that.
10. What would be your golden tip for opening and running an Etsy Shop? And you cannot say having great pictures!
That’s a tough one! I’m not sure I have one single golden tip. I guess I might say ‘be yourself’, in what you make and in all your interactions, but with so many jewellery shops on Etsy selling almost identical items as each other and still doing well, I don’t even know if that’s a golden tip! One tip you can’t really go wrong with is ‘look after your customers’. Bend over backwards for them, firstly because you’re a great person, aren’t you? And secondly, because you are in this for the long run, and they can be your greatest help, as well as a big source of inspiration if you listen to what they say to you. Communicate, engage, and always set it right for them if anything goes wrong. Don’t be afraid to ask if they are happy with their purchase, and whether they will write a review for you. Have a decent shop banner. And take great pictures. 😉