Etsy seller Emily (Threads by Emily) talks work-life balance, SEO and developing your brand. Want to open shop? Read on…
Please tell us about your business and how it all started?
Threads by Emily sells custom-made skirts in a variety of styles and colours. I love skirts and dresses! When I was in college I was inspired by the trend of upcycling old or out-of-style clothes into new, pretty pieces. I began with turning men’s old dress shirts into button down skirts and loved making them so much that I decided to open shop and start selling! While my shop has several basic styles available, I especially enjoy creating personalised designs. Since I make most of my skirts to order it’s easy for me to accommodate custom sizes and special requests.
Which blog or book would you say was your most useful resource when starting your business?
The Etsy forums is a great resource for me to learn about running a business on Etsy. Especially when I was first getting started, I got so many tips and ideas from experienced Etsy sellers. I still use the forums to find out how other people have handled a particular situation when I encounter something new in my business.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
The hardest thing for me has been getting a healthy work-life balance. I love the flexibility of working from home and running my own business, but there are also times when I have to limit orders to get that balance right.
Any advice for start-ups?
Whether you create jewellery, candles or stationery, find what makes it unique and use that to get people interested. Develop your brand – whether it’s a certain colour, logo, or font – find a theme that fits your unique brand and use it in your shop banner, business cards, and packaging. With an online shop, all people know is what they see, so put the time into designing a well laid out shop with high quality, bright, and accurate photos of your items. This is definitely an on-going process, as there are always ways to improve the appearance of your shop.
It takes time to build a successful shop. You may not see a lot of sales right away (it took me about two years to really get my shop going with steady orders) but be consistent and keep learning and developing your business. Keep adding new items regularly and provide a variety of price points for different customers. When you do make your first sale, make sure you pay attention to the details. Use pretty packaging or include a handwritten thank-you note. Personalisation and going above and beyond a typical online purchase is what makes Etsy such a fun marketplace.
What’s the most effective way to get your shop noticed?
Learn about search engine optimisation (SEO)! There are a lot of people selling on Etsy, and if you want your items to be found it’s important to research what search terms people are using to find items similar to yours and then include those key words in your item title, description, and tags. The Etsy forums are a great place to start learning about SEO for your shop.
Also grow your inventory! The more items you have, the more likely you are to get noticed.
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Emily has kindly offered our readers 10% off all Threads by Emily products until 30 June 2015. Use the code MOLLIE10 to get your twirl tastic skirts at Threads by Emily.
Make Thread by Emily’s button down skirt 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.