Welcome to the Seller spotlight – a chance to take a peek into the lives of our makers and collectors and find out what motivates them. We asked our featured sellers about their inspiration, their product ranges and their amazing craft rooms so we could share with you what it’s like to be an Etsy seller.
We are going to start off this new feature with Penny Jane Designs. Penny is a community artist and felt-maker from Birmingham. She sells a beautiful range of handmade felt homewares and accessories. Her products include brooches, cards, scarves and trinket bowls.
What do you remember about your first sale?
It was back in 2012 and I remember being incredibly excited. It was for some handmade felt pieces and went to Cyprus so it was all very exciting. I remember also thinking was it my mum who had ordered just to give me some support!
What inspires you creatively?
I subscribe to journals and research a lot on the internet but I am always open to new ideas. Just the other day I was walking the dog and we saw an beautiful dragonfly. I couldn’t help thinking how lovely it would look translated into felt.
What is your favourite product and why?
I think it has to be my nuno felted scarves. It gives me the opportunity to ‘go large’ and really create a piece on a grand scale. They are wearable pieces of art and I love the fact that it gives women pleasure to wear them.
What are your essential tools when selling at craft fairs?
- Trolleys and bags on wheels. Why make life difficult?
- Cardboard or carpet to stand on at an outdoor event.
- Layers of clothing because you never know if you will be right next to the doorway.
- Tons of change and also a card machine. People often make several purchases if they are using their card. Hurrah!
- A flask of coffee and sandwiches cut into bite size pieces.
- An apron for cash because loads of change in a shoulder bag hurts!
- A smile 🙂 No one wants to approach someone who looks miserable.
What advice would you give to someone starting an Etsy shop?
I can’t emphasise enough the need for good photos. The internet is so competitive and a poor picture will put people off. Camera phones are fine but play around with taking shots outside and getting some nice lighting. Find some shops you like and notice what it is that makes it look so attractive. Also read everything from the Etsy newsletters and sellers tips. It is so worthwhile.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement so far?
I feel as though I have identified my target market now and try not to waste time on sites and with areas that really won’t support sales. In the beginning I think I was trying to be all things to all people and now I understand that my products suit a certain person so I am happy to explore this now.
Where do you see the future of your shop?
The products and pricing have changed dramatically from when I first began and will continue to evolve. Of course a shop is essentially about sales so I really hope these continue, but I like to give it a fresh new look every so often. I hope it carries on running alongside my face to face selling and I keep enjoying it!
You can check out Penny’s Etsy shop and social media links here:
Would you like to be featured in our Seller Spotlight?
You need to be an Etsy seller from Birmingham and the surrounding areas and a member of IDEAS Birmingham to be featured in our Seller Spotlight. If you’re already a member you can find information on how to apply in this forum thread.