After 20 years working intensely as an environmental engineer, Etsy seller Ayda of deconoHut has slowed down to indulge in her passion for sewing and crochet. Find out how Ayda runs her business and why she says ‘Etsy is not magic!’
Please tell us about your business and how it all started.
Hello! My Name is Ayda Algın. I live with my sister in a beautiful, exotic city of Istanbul, Turkey. I have been working full-time as an environmental engineer for 20 years, but recently work has become less intense and I’ve found some time to discover and delve into other passions.
In 2011 I started my blog called Cafenohut (nohut means chickpea which is also my nickname) where I share my inspirations, makes, memories, baking adventures and interior ideas and designs. I always wanted to have my own little café, but this has not happened as yet. I figured if I cannot have a real café, I could have a virtual one.
I really enjoy playing with yarns, papers or fabrics to make something interesting, joyful and colourful! A few years ago my younger sister gave me a sewing machine for my birthday and this gift has changed my life. But I also love to crochet and can’t imagine life without it – especially during the long winter evenings.
I opened my Etsy shop deconoHut in 2013 and since then people from all over the world have bought something. It’s a great feeling and exciting to make someone happy somewhere else in the world.
Which blog or book would you say was your most useful resource when starting your business?
We are so lucky that nowadays it’s very easy to find many sources about everything online. There are many useful blogs and websites on growing a business and I’m continuously learning about sewing, crochet and creativity. The most useful website for me is goinghometoroost.com by Bonnie.
I’ve also signed up to creative business owner, marketing consultant, and designer, Stephanie Levy‘s e-courses a few times – I found them very helpful.
Besides blogs, I have two guide books at my bedside on this subject: Mollie Makes Making it!, a simple guide that covers effective ways of setting up and running a craft business, and Craft, Show & Sell by Torie Jayne, a must-read for anyone wanting to turn their hobby, craft or art skills into a successful business. Covering everything you ever wanted to know, they give clear, simple advice on the importance of identifying markets, making sure the price is right and setting goals.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Actually, cafenoHut and deconoHut I do in my spare time. The hardest part is finding the time to get everything done!
Any advice for start-ups?
I love Etsy. It’s so easy to set up shop; you can start a business practically overnight. If you are considering it or on the fence about it, just go for it. Ask other Etsy sellers for advice (I’m always happy to answer questions, as others were really helpful to me when I started my shop) and get yourself out there! But remember that Etsy is not magic. If you don’t have a plan, it will not bring you the success.
What’s the most effective way to get your shop noticed?
Decide what you want from your creative business and then plan the steps to achieve it. One key to success on Etsy is to offer a variety of products – change them up often and make sure your pictures are good, too – but it’s even more important to drive business to your shop through business cards, mailing lists, social media and word of mouth.
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Ayda has kindly offered our readers 20% off all deconoHut products until 30 June 2015. Use the code MOLLIEMAKES for crochet goodies and bits for babies, too.
Make cafenoHut’s crochet mandala in Mollie Makes 54, out now. Available from all good newsagents, supermarkets and our official online store. Sold out? Download it from Zinio, Google Play or Apple Newsstand.