I recently celebrated 10,000 Etsy sales on Christy Wright’s Business Boutique and many members had a few questions or requested that I share a few tips. I figured that it would be easiest to condense everything in one post instead of posting comment by comment.
MY ONLY REGRET:
Not committing to my shop sooner. While I reserved my name on Etsy on June 1st, 2012, I didn't set up my shop until May 21st of 2014. This was a mistake. I should have dived right in.
However, In 2012 I did not understand Etsy’s potential. No one would share real numbers on revenue, income or profits, it was frustrating. I had no idea that you could make over $10,000 a month. I took Etsy for granted and still thought of my business as a “hobby”. In 2014 I got real about my business. I read every article I could find. I devoured Etsy's Seller Handbook.
In a previous blog post titled “Who or What is Successful on Etsy?” I published in March of 2016, I estimated that my shop would clear $120,000 in revenue in 2016. My actual revenue from my main Etsy shop was $139,437 for 2016. Looks like I underestimated myself!
Total 2016 revenue for Etsy + Amazon Handmade + standalone site (Shopify, $30 a month to run) = $211,776
Total cost of supplies + electricity + water + shipping + other miscellaneous = $45,200 ($16,007 in just shipping!)
Total profit = $166,576
I work Monday - Thursday 8am-4pm EST. I do not work federal holidays or weekends. We took the entire month of July 2016 off. I did NOT put my shop into vacation mode, this will kill your search ranking. I simply extended my processing times out to 4 weeks.
The only promotion that I use is Etsy's promoted listings. Using 2016's numbers: I spent $921.10 for a revenue of $21,971.31 from 14,013 clicks. 484 orders were received from Etsy's promoted listings.
I keep my bid at .09 and only market 1/3 of my products. My daily spend is set at $10, but it hardly ever hits $5.
I wish that I were more present on social media. It is definitely something that I need to work on. I have 12K followers on Instagram but I never use it and when I do, it is a photo of my family. This is a problem area for me and a huge reason why I joined Business Boutique.
I run my business with "no fat". I have no waste. I make products out of my scrap and they sell for as much as $8.75 each: https://www.etsy.com/listing/188675426/tech-accessory-leather-travel-cord
No more product hoarding. I make everything out of only two different weights of leather. I dye everything the same way using only one type of dye and one type of finish. I do offer some black items but I've worked it out with my supplier that these hides arrive pre dyed.
I obtained an EIN: https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online
I keep wholesale accounts in good standing with all of my suppliers.
I buy in bulk only two times a year. Spending $7500 in January and $7500 in October.
I haggle with my suppliers and keep a list of who will give me the best price for each item.
I sell my supplies. My supply customers pretty much pay for the supplies that I use in my shop. I get insanely good prices by purchasing everything hundreds-thousands units at a time. I turn around and sell the excess supplies at a huge profit.
PACKAGING AND SHIPPING SUPPLIES:
Ive found that Amazon Prime has the best prices on shipping supplies, tape and bubble mailers. Amazon Prime even beats out Uline.
I purchase all product packaging from http://www.nashvillewraps.com/. They have the best pricing on tissue paper, specifically this item: http://www.nashvillewraps.com/tissue-paper/kraft-tissue-paper/sku-kt15b.html
My wrapping shows the Nashville wraps paper: https://www.etsy.com/listing/256425919/add-gift-wrapping-to-your-purchase
On time shipping is a must. If you are late, TELL YOUR CUSTOMER. And don’t lie. Ive found that the customer dosent care as long as they are kept in the loop. If I screw up and the item ships late, I will typically upgrade them to 2-3 day priority shipping for free or I will refund their shipping charges.
I use Dymo label printers. I print all labels on Mondays in huge batches. I purchase my labels from https://www.houselabels.com/ fantastic quality labels at 1/8 the price.
I average $2 profit off of each package I ship. I shipped 4,888 packages in 2016, it pretty much pays for the Etsy fees and credit card processing fees.
I have my Amazon Handmade payments sent directly to a high yield savings account with Synchrony Bank. I ONLY use these funds to pay our quarterly estimated taxes. Last year the account had $5400 left over after all tax payments. I put that $5400 into my SEP IRA as "employer contribution" in addition to my individual contribution of $5500.
I set up a SEP IRA with Vanguard: https://investor.vanguard.com/what-we-offer/small-business/sep-ira?lang=en
Remember: you are self employed NO ONE WILL DO THIS FOR YOU. It is your responsibility to fund your own retirement and pick your funds. My husband also helps with the company, I make sure to max his IRA out every year. I like this because he is not interested in investing and investing is my NEW HOBBY since the business stole my leather hobby ;)
This is just a bunch of random tips that I wish I would have known when I started. If ya'll have other questions about more specific topics, Id be happy to take a shot at them in the comments.
Last years stats for income verification: