Etsy. I was a fresh college drop out looking for a job - any job - and my family suggested I sell the DIY projects I made on this here blog. I laughed...said something along the lines of "I will never have an Etsy shop" and low and behold desperation can take you places you never thought possible. Like opening an Etsy shop a week later ;)
I started out with selling anything and everything I could on Etsy and in a month I realized I could stop my job search and focus on this. A few months later I narrowed my shop down to just passport covers and it's been non-stop since. This was supposed to be temporary, but it has stuck and grown over the past three years and I couldn't be more grateful. I've had incredible opportunities over these years and worked with some amazing customers to provide them with wedding day presents, graduation gifts and a reminder from home as they travel the world.
I've made countless mistakes along the way and learned so much about running a small business. It has been very hard at times, rewarding, and a constant reminder I'm in desperate need of God's grace - daily. God has blessed Shop Always Rooney in ways I would have laughed at three years ago and He has used this job to grow my relationship with Him. I think that's the best part of it all.
Thank you for following along the way, buying a passport cover, and cheering me on. These have been some of the best years of my life. I'm sure things will shift and change in the years to come but these past three have been so special. So thanks!
If you are even thinking about opening an Etsy shop, I really encourage you to dive in! You never know where it will lead. I share a lot of tips about stating and growing your shop here on my blog and weekly in my Etsy Tips Newsletter.
As a small "thank you," I would love to give you 20% off your next Shop Always Rooney purchase. Use the code "THANKS3YEARS" at check out until September 1, 2016.
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Entryway inspiration via Annabode + Co//Mail organizer - source unknown
I feel like the mirror made the space seem bigger and the whole room looks more balanced and styled. I'm so glad an entryway is possible in small spaces! Now I just need to add built-ins on the opposite side of the room and this room will be complete.
1. Define your goal for the space.
Do you want it purely decorative or functional? Maybe a little bit of both? I wanted our space to be welcoming, hold our coats, function as a mail drop and still be something nice to look at.
2. Take stock of what you have
I scored this mirror at Target for $12 and have had it in the box for months since I didn't know where to put it yet. I also repurposed the hooks from our previous coat rack to save money. You may just have what you need around your home! Shop your house before going out and buying new. Spaces like this are small and don't need much anyways.
3. Look for inspiration
I searched Pinterest for entryway inspiration but all these large spaces kept coming up. When you search, look at small spaces home tours and see how they decorated near the front door. Most of the time you have to dig deeper to find a unique space.
4. Keep it simple & styled
I was nervous the space may end up cramped or look cluttered. It definitely was simple before but not styled well. Now, with a few tweaks it is still simple but now it is styled and looks intentional with the space.
5. Create Function
If one of your goals from #1 was to create function, think of how you can use decor to double the function. I created the coat rack to also be a mail organizer and hold coats and bags we like to keep out. This way, one piece goes a long way!
I love a good before & after, even with slight changes!
Annabode + Co for the inspiration. I'll be back later this week with a tutorial on how to make the mail organizer coat rack (hint: it is sooo simple).
The bold is the questions sent by Etsy and below in italics I answered away! For the article featured in the Seller Handbook, check it out here.
What advice would you give a friend or family member if they were starting an Etsy shop and looking to drive new traffic to their shop?
The advice I give to friends and family is to create an ideal customer for your Etsy shop and make all decisions around this customer. This will make marketing, branding, and collaboration decisions easier when they can flow through the filter of “does this fit my ideal customer?” After you have your customer established,make sure your listings are set up to be found on Etsy search. Take full advantage of every character space in your title and tags. Focus on photos, because this is how you’ll get customers to click over to your shop. Make sure your photos and listings are filtered through your ideal customer checklist. Next, start an Instagram for your business and focus on growing an engaged audience, not just a large following.
In what ways does running a blog help you drive traffic to your shops?
Running my blog, Always Rooney, helps people see the behind the scenes of running my shop. This gives potential buyers a peek inside of my world and why I even run an Etsy shop. I think this organically drives traffic to my shop because people are interested to learn more and connect with my overall brand.
Can you share an example of how you’ve combatted a slowdown in traffic to your shop(s) in the past? Perhaps during the summer months or other seasonal periods?
There will always be seasons that are slower than others. I have learned to use this time to reevaluate my shop listings, take new product photos and create stock for the busier months. These are all things that fall to the side when the shop is busy but is so vital for keeping a healthy shop. I will also host giveaways and have a promotion during these times to keep sales moving as much as I can.
Do you ever partner with other sellers/brands for cross promotion? If so, any tips about the process?
In the past, I have worked with instagrammers to create a passport cover with a quote that they live by. This has been a great way to promote them as well as reach a new audience. I recommend partnering with someone that fits your brand, takes great photos, and someone who is willing to bounce ideas back and forth until you reach a product that fits both of you. I look for brands and other sellers that embody my “ideal customer”. If the brand or person I am cross promoting with fits the ideal customer, even if they have a smaller following, it is still beneficial because most likely, their following is in line with my ideal customer.
Any marketing mistakes/lessons learned you can share that might be relevant for a newbie?
I can always trace back marketing mistakes to not being true to myself and the Always Rooney brand. It’s so important to take my shop and my customers seriously on all fronts. I’ve had to learn that the hard way. I’m also still learning to take a deep breath when things seem overwhelming as well as keep a good perspective when my shop isn't growing on my timeline.
If you are looking for weekly insights to growing your Etsy shop, sign up for my Etsy Tips Newsletter!