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In Blog, DIY, Mama on
February 25, 2019

Should you open an Etsy shop//and the story of mine: Dearest Delight

A little over five years ago I was coming to the end of my engagement and was about to become a bride. For nine months I planned my DIY wedding from the homemade wedding cake, hundreds of wine and kombucha bottles that were consumed by friends and family to be used as centerpiece vases, to the trail mix bar and hand sewn banners, bulk flowers that we arranged ourselves and the boutonnieres and flower crowns I made. I had so much fun planning my wedding and the closer my wedding got, I was pumped to marry my husband but I was sad to be done with all of the wedding crafting. Most brides talk about how stressful wedding planning is but I thought it was so much fun.

One of my college roommates said one day “why don’t you just open an Etsy shop?” I had thought about this before but didn’t know what I would sell or if it would be worth the effort because I was afraid of failure. Well it turns out all I needed was a friend to validate this thought I had for me to actually open an Etsy shop. Literally the next day I spent hours and hours making various boutonnières out of dried flowers I had but didn’t need for the wedding. I snapped some very poor quality photos of my boutonnières, picked out a name: Dearest Delight, figured out how to open my shop, listed my products on Etsy, and then I waited. I figured I would not get an order for a while but the next day I got my very first order! Being the type B, not really thinking about the details until I’m knee deep in it, person that I am I had not considered how I would ship fragile dried flower items to customers who were expecting intact products. So there I was pumped about my first order and then I thought to myself “well crap..how will I get this dainty little boutonnière safely in one piece to someone across the country..!?” Thankfully I figured out the details rather quickly but let’s say I should have taken a little more time to put some thought into the logistics of my Etsy shop.

Since that first order I have somehow managed to have almost 700 orders with little to no advertising. It has been a fun journey and thankfully there has been minimal drama. In five years I have only had two orders arrive damaged through the shipping process and only had two orders lost in the mail. Oh and only one nasty review. And yes, I still remember exactly what that review said because it made me sick to my stomach and almost throw in the towel. It’s sad how much we can let one mean comment from a total stranger rip apart our confidence. Managing my Etsy shop and making orders for people the last five years has been so much fun and has been very therapeutic for me. The highlight was when I received my biggest order which was 55 boutonnières for a special graduation ceremony for honor students. Thank you to whichever roommate it was (I don’t remember J) that told me I should start an Etsy shop because it has been one of my best decisions yet! It doesn’t make a ton of money and I limit the amount of orders I get because there is only one of me making tedious orders and now with a toddler running around but like I said, it has been so fun!

I am often asked advice about having an Etsy shop from people considering it, so here are eight questions to ask yourself if you think you want to open one.

  1. Is there actually a market for what you are selling?

Do your research. Ask around. Search on Etsy and other handmade marketplaces to see if anyone is making/buying what you want to sell. Is it something so unique and specific that there wouldn’t be many people interested? If so, sadly it might not be a great investment for you to open a shop as you wouldn’t have many people interested in buying. Do you really believe in your art or your product despite this fact? Then go ahead, it isn’t a big investment to at least try.

2. Is the market oversaturated for the product you want to sell?

Maybe you want to open an Etsy shop selling a super popular product like bows or printables or painted canvases. That is awesome and I am sure you do an amazing job with your work but you need to consider the fact that there are certain products on Etsy with a ridiculously saturated market already. For instance, I searched “printable wall art” and received 496,071 search results. Woah. That is stiff competition for all the people trying to sell printable wall art. Not saying you shouldn’t go for it but you just need to consider this fact. Maybe try selling at local craft fairs first to see if people are interested.

3. Are you able to easily acquire all the materials you need for your product?

This was something I did not consider before I opened my shop. I started getting orders in and I was still scrambling to source my materials. Some things I could get at Hobby Lobby, other things I ordered from various places online, some I could just get from my local grocery store. Again, I should have sorted this all out before I started selling and that would have eased a lot of stress.

4. Are you willing to offer competitive pricing?

I think this has been one of the biggest reasons why I have been successful. When I did my research to see who else was selling dried flower crowns and dried flower boutonnières I saw a few others were but their prices were outrageous. I did the math and saw that I could still make a great profit margin if I offered similar products for almost half the price. This is especially important when you are just starting out. I have been able to raise my prices a little bit over time with no repercussions now that I have built up years of great reviews.

5.Do you have a game plan for packaging and shipping?

I shared in my personal Etsy shop story above that I did not have a game plan for this. If you are selling something like t-shirts then you have it easy-fold them nicely and put them in a bubble mailer. If you are selling delicate dried flowers like me it’s just not that simple. Thankfully I was able to come up with a method that works great. Your packaging is so important too. I used to include a hand written note in each package, now I have printed thank you cards that are placed nicely atop the white tissue paper in each of my orders. I once ordered headbands on Etsy and when I opened the package they were stuffed in a small Ziploc bag. No business card, nothing. I was disappointed and it made the seller look kind of lazy. When you spend money on a special product it is always fun to receive it and see that there was thought and care put into the packaging.

6. Are you capable of managing the financial aspect of running a small business?

You need to be able to keep track of your expenses and to figure out your taxes each year. Numbers are totally not my thing so I hired a guy for that..my husband J. My part though is to keep all of my receipts or jot down each and every purchase for my shop. We have quarterly meetings to check how things are going and to make sure it is still a profitable endeavor.

7. Do you have time for it?

The goal with selling is to have orders and when you have orders you actually have to spend the time making these things for your customers. That might seem like a major duh. As I stated earlier though I had to start limiting the amount of things I list in my shop because I was initially working a full time hospital job as a recreation therapist and then we had a baby so I had to be realistic. If you don’t have time to put your heart and detail into your work you need to consider if you should open a shop at all or just how much you are willing to list in your shop.

8. Would you genuinely enjoy it?

This is the most important thing to ask yourself. In my opinion having an Etsy shop should be fun way to make an income or some extra money because you get to make something you are passionate about. Don’t just teach yourself how to sew bibs because you need some extra cash but dread each order because you don’t really like what you have gotten yourself into. There are other ways to make cash if that is your only reason for doing it. For me having an Etsy shop is a creative outlet that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It is a way to connect with brides, expectant moms, grooms, seniors taking their senior photographs, and people who just want to look pretty in a flower crown. It is a nice excuse to sit down and turn on Netflix as I work with my hands. It has been so much fun and I am so thankful for the opportunities and extra income it has provided.

So what do you think? Is that little idea you had for an Etsy shop worth it? I hope the answer is yes! If you’ve gone through these questions and maybe reconsidered then I hope it was helpful at least to think about it some more. Don’t give up though; maybe you will have another great idea soon! Or maybe it just isn’t the time yet. Happy dreaming, my people!

 

In DIY, Mama, Mi Familia on
December 5, 2017

Evy’s First Birthday

I’ve been waiting to do this post until after the adoption was final so that I could show our sweet girl’s face. So here it is! Evy’s first birthday party! It was such a lovely day. This is the kind of day I dreamed about for so long- planning my baby’s first birthday party. When you go through infertility you wonder if you will ever get the chance to put all of your dreams and cute little ideas for milestones together one day or if it will only be something you have to file away in your head as something you won’t ever get to do. God’s goodness to us in giving us our daughter still blows me away daily. What did I do to deserve this gift? Well, I didn’t do anything, it is all God’s grace in my life that I would get to be this girl’s mama.

If you know me at all, you know that I love flowers and nothing too over the top so I wanted that to come through in how I planned Evy’s party. My absolute favorite was making her flower crown. She looked like such a little angel.

We had cheese and crackers, mini spinach and veggie quiches, bruschetta, rice crispy treats, and of course, cake.

My mom and I made the big cake for everyone- it was a spice cake with cinnamon buttercream frosting and I made Evy’s smash cake. In an effort to keep her away from refined sugar as much as possible I made a cake that was sweetened with apple sauce and banana. For her frosting I made whipped coconut milk.

I think we can all agree that the best part of a one year old’s birthday party is watching them tear into the cake and oh did she do just that! This girl loved the cake and as you can see she just ended up picking up the whole thing and going to town.

I made these little rice crispy treats with This cookie cutter from Amazon and coated the bottoms with soft pink dyed white chocolate.

I had so much fun planning this sweet day and I know our girl felt loved! Thank you to everyone who came and made Evy feel special. It’s fun (and sassy) to be one!

In Blog, DIY, Home projects on
October 25, 2017

Fixer Upper Play Kitchen

Fixer Upper Play Kitchen

Is your kitchen a fixer upper? Are you like me and can’t afford to redo your actual kitchen? WELL- did you know you can make your dream kitchen on a very small budget when it is in a mini size? And better yet, if you have a child they will enjoy it almost as much as you! Having this minimalist modern white play kitchen (that I hope Joanna Gaines would be proud of) in my actual kitchen really enhances the atmosphere.  Can we be real? This was almost as much for me as it was for baby girl. BUT mostly for baby girl (wink).. No, but really- I felt like this would be a great gift that will last through many years and stages. Right now she just likes to look at all of the things in her kitchen, she opens and shuts the doors, but it will soon become a station for lots of imaginative play and creativity. I can’t wait to see what she cooks up over the years!

I originally was going to follow this tutorial however after looking all over town in various thrift stores we couldn’t find an old entertainment center that would work. I ended up finding a play kitchen on a garage sale app that was still in the box for $40 and I decided to use that as the structure. This made the project require minimal work but it was still fun to fix it up!

This is the play kitchen I purchased on the garage sale app.

Here is what you need for the project:

Instructions:

1.       If your kitchen is disassembled paint all pieces in your paint/primer combo first and let dry for a full 24 hours. I did two coats of paint. If your base/kitchen is already assembled then just paint it as is.

2.       Add bronze embellishments. I decided to paint the little oven knobs, refrigerator handle, and the utensil rack knobs.

3.       Next assemble the kitchen according to the instructions.

4.       Measure and cut foam board to fit in the back for the stick and peel subway tile.

5.       Once board is cut, carefully apply stick and peel subway tile to the board.

6.       Staple your board to the back of the kitchen.

7.       Color over any screws with your white paint pen.

8.       A key aesthetic feature I wanted to add was a succulent in a geometric pot. I painted the top rim of the pot with a thin bronze line. If your pot is breakable like mine, hot glue it down to the shelf.

9.       Are you ready to see your fixer upper?! Sit back and ooo and ahh at your (ahem your child’s) beautiful new modern play kitchen! Good times and good eats will be had for years to come!

         Extra goodies