Lina and Vi: Running an Etsy Shop

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Running an Etsy Shop

Lina and Vi
Over the course of the last year or so, I've learned a lot about running a handmade sewing business. I'm certainly not an expert, but it's an area that I am continually interested in learning more about so I can evolve Lina and Vi.

Before I started Lina and Vi, I spent a lot of time reading blogs after work and on my weekends. Most of them at the beginning were lifestyle blogs and then I began branching out to sewing and crafting blogs where the writer was also the creator of an online business to sell their handmade goods. I loved and still love reading about how these businesses started and what they have learned along the way. I think there is something humbling when visiting blogs associated to online handmade businesses because the path where they started is typically still there for all to see. There's no hiding the bad photos, makeshift tags, typos, and mismatched color schemes. That's what I love about it - that we all start at the beginning in the same way and it's up to our determination to see it through to success or to take a pass and move on.

Running an online business was something that I never originally intended to do, but it has been a great experience. I've been able to connect with people around the country that I would have never otherwise been able to interact with or who could have seen what I have made. Before starting this business, I prepped, studied, and researched as much as I could either through reading business posts on crafting blogs as I mentioned, to listening to design related pod casts, to reading books like The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin. I knew I wanted to do something, but I was hesitant and certainly didn't think selling online was the way I wanted to go. To this day, I still research businesses selling on Etsy and see if they have tips to share along with joining Etsy teams to learn more about SEO, pricing, and more. It's a constant process, and one that doesn't have a single answer. That's what makes it so intriguing.

I recently started thinking about all of the time I put into running Lina and Vi after having an email conversation on a related small business topic with my husband a few weeks ago. Until that day when I actually considered all of the steps that I take to run my shop, I didn't honestly realize how much time and effort goes into creating and selling my products. The process typically goes something like this: think of a product, source the materials, design and manufacture the product, take product photos, write blog content, prepare product description, list on Etsy, review stats and adjust SEO as needed, sell it, package it, ship it, update the order status in Etsy. There's even more that goes unmentioned with communicating to customers, responding to inquiries and custom quotes, and following up if a product needs repair. I realized that on a typical night after coming home from work that I am doing something that contributes to Lina and Vi.

My point in saying all of this is that there is so much behind the scenes than what we all realize. There is much that goes unsaid in the stories we read about relating to small handmade businesses on blogs. It's incredibly exciting if you are up for the challenge and commitment. None of us has all of the answers, and the process can be frustrating for us. In the end, it may seem like you end up with a handmade product that you ordered but only at the surface - underneath it all is the planning, attention to detail, craftsmanship, decisions, worry, and a few mistakes along the way.

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