As part of an ongoing series, we will ask all of our team members to answer 10 questions about themselves and their shops. This way, we’ll get to know one another a little bit better and perhaps pick up a great tip or two! I will personally aim to post these out every Wednesday around noon, so look out for some questions in your inbox and the posts to appear here. For those amongst you who are shy – don’t worry. It’s not compulsory to take part, nor do you have to send in any pictures if you don’t want to.
[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?
Claireabelle was a nickname my Dad gave me as a child and I make things!
4. What do you sell?
I sell handmade items inspired by Cambridge! Bicycle accessories, Scrabble jewellery and homewares and floral fabric rings.
5. How did you decide to do this?
I started by writing a creative blog and immersing myself in the crafting community. It seemed like a natural progression to open an Etsy store to share my creations and see if they would make money. Turns out people like them!
6. What do you love most about your products?
I love that each one is inspired by Cambridge. I have a small (giant) obsession with bicycles and only travel by bike, so I love creating things that reflect that. I love looking round antique book stores in Cambridge and the Scrabble creations are a nod to the bookish/word geek nature of our city. Lastly, I am hugely inspired by the floral landscape of the city (I’ve never lived in a city so green) and creating items out of fabric that reflect this is really satisfying. I feel like I am sharing a piece of the city with my customers.
7. Which of your products are bestselling or most popular?
The macrame bicycle bracelets are definitely my best seller. They launched a year ago and I have sold over 300 now both in my Etsy store and to wholesale customers! The Tour De France coming to Cambridge was a great celebration for our city and it helped my sales tremendously. It was great to share the cycling excitement!
8. What were your biggest challenges in opening / running an online shop?
The hardest thing for me is balancing a shop with working full-time and running a blog which I update with new content 4 times a week. I work for the university and I adore my job, but it means I have to ensure I am super organised to balance a business too. I’ve recently taken on some craft writing work for publishers and I run craft parties too, so I guess the main challenge is ensuring my shop isn’t neglected for other exciting projects!
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?
I would like to reshoot everything in my shop to show that my photography skills have improved and to give it more personality and style. One shop I love for great styling and photography is Oh No Rachio.
10. What would be your golden tip for opening and running an Etsy Shop? And you cannot say having great pictures 😉
Number one is having a product which makes you stand out! Etsy is such a saturated marketplace, so find what makes your product unique and work hard on your branding to communicate this. I have found my blog is a fantastic marketing tool for making my shop a success and it’s great fun too!