This is the second interview in the Etsy Shop Owner Series. I know Thana personally and she’s a great friend of mine. She’s just a retro girl selling homes in Washington state with her business partner, Toki the tripawd Great Dane. When she’s not searching for someone’s dream home she’s crafting one-of-a-kind vintage outfits for kids, creating big style for tiny people.
Nannette: Tell me about yourself and your shop- how long have you been in business
N: What E-commerce platform do you use?
N: What was the thing that made you decide to start your business?
N: Do you sell things in person as well? Craft fairs?
N: What was the biggest challenge you faced at the beginning?
T: My biggest challenge was probably a lack of confidence, thinking people were expecting more than I could give, so I would under price my items. I would also pander to people by taking ridiculous custom orders that should have cost hundreds of dollars, but since I was afraid of losing the sale I would give them a really low quote. During a really busy holiday season a customer asked me to make her 3 vintage nightshirts for her son out of flannel, but she wanted them lined in fleece. She also wanted pants to go with them, lined in the same way. I had to buy a lot of fabric for this order and since they were lined I was basically making 6 pairs of pajamas then sewing them together.
I also didn’t take into consideration the cost of shipping, since they were going to be rather heavy. I think I charged her $45 for each set, and in the end they cost me about $60 each to make, not including the time I spent on them. The shipping was about $30 more than I asked her for, but I was worried about upping the price and making her mad. Once the items had been delivered I sent her an email asking if she liked them, and requesting she leave me some feedback. She didn’t respond and I never got the feedback, and I think that felt worse than losing the money. If you don’t appreciate yourself and the work you do, no one else will either.
N: How did you deal with friends asking for discounts?
N: If you had to start your shop over from scratch right now, knowing all that you know, what would you do differently?
N: Lots of people think they shouldn’t sell their crafts because someone is already doing something similar- what do you have to say about that?
N: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone wanting to turn their craft or hobby into a business?
T: I think with a little planning, anyone can do it. We all have that voice in our head telling us “This will never work, you need to get a REAL job.” But honestly, how can it hurt you to try? Selling online is super affordable and you’re in charge so if you want to start with one item, you can do that.
Go at your own pace, learn from others, and never be afraid of failure because it’s simply a step towards success.
N: Where can we find your shop and do you have any cool promotions we should know about?