Have you ever thought about selling the lovely things that you make at home that would make wonderful gifts this Christmas? As the festive season approaches now is the perfect time to take the plunge and it couldn’t be easier! All you have to do is sign up to become an Etsy seller and to help you get started you can begin selling on Etsy here and if you use the code ETSYHEROESAPARTMENT by November 30th you could be in with a chance of winning £1000 to spend on absolutely anything you like (terms and conditions apply**). Couldn’t ask for a better start than that, right?
I am very excited today to share Sophie’s Etsy story with you and I hope it will inspire any creatives out there to set up their own shop. Etsy is a brilliant resource to enable anyone to sell their creations, perhaps for a bit of extra money in the run up to Christmas, to help develop a hobby, or like Sophie to help launch a full-blown creative career. Sophie’s business geo-fleur is a brilliant example of what is possible so when I caught up with her last week I couldn’t wait to hear more about how she has grown her business over the last two years from the early seeds of being an Etsy seller to today with a bricks and mortar shop selling her gorgeous terrarium kits, plants, macrame hanging planters, ceramic pots; a book on the way; a plant installation at the Tate and running massively popular botanical workshops – it is truly amazing what you can achieve! She was also kind enough to teach me how to make one of her very cool macrame hanging planters that she sells in her Etsy shop as well as giving me a few tips on how to plant up a terrarium using her DIY kits.
Sophie’s mum is a florist so she was always surrounded by beautiful plants and flowers and she tells me that at a very young age she was always helping her granddad in the garden so her interest in botanicals started there. After studying fine art and starting down a more conventional job path she started geo-fleur ‘on the side’ as a hobby and decided to open an Etsy shop to help her sell her handmade plant accessories and terrarium kits, as well as running market stalls. She remembers her first order well and the excitement of receiving the notification: “I was like, YAY! Someone wants to buy something I have made. It was a wonderful feeling. Etsy is great at connecting you with people that want a custom order, or want something more specific, for example we made 200 mini concrete pots for succulents for wedding favours!”
Sophie explains that Etsy helped her get a foot in the door and, “connect with customers I wouldn’t normally be tapping into via selling at markets.” Setting up an Etsy shop was really easy in her experience and the app really helped as she could just upload everything from there – particularly helpful when you are maintaining a full time job, I would imagine (I remember trying to upload blog posts when I was still working full time as a teacher and it was a real juggling act).
A lot of hard work and very little sleep later Sophie’s business has grown from strength to strength. She has managed to build up a great network of support (especially her mum!) and a huge Instagram following where she can showcase her products and services: “Now we have a few more resources, a lovely van that we crowd funded, it enables me to go and partake in some amazing jobs around the UK and just last week I was styling up a lovely new creative space in Liverpool and we’ve currently got a plant installation at the entrance to the Turner Prize exhibition. I never believed it would be this exciting or take me this far. It’s been a very big rollercoaster and it’s still growing!”
Words of wisdom
Sophie loves the freedom of running a creative business and the fact she can connect with someone over a lovely product and make their day. Her one piece of advice to anyone who wants to follow in her path to run a creative business is not to give up. She never dreamed that her teeny tiny business on the side could grow so quickly or become so successful: “It’s crazy but I’m so thrilled. Plus we’ve got some really exciting growth plans for 2017. I’d love to have a couple of branches of our geo-fleur shops around the UK and maybe an international version. Also our geo-fleur book is out next May, which is super exciting.”
I have to admit that I am a bit blown away how far geo-fleur has come in such a short space of time; it’s enough to inspire anyone. My one piece of advice would be to take that leap to start, which can be the hardest thing to do. I remember it took me six months to press publish on my first blog post. Sophie and I both agree that you don’t need a hard and fast business plan when you begin your creative journey as growing organically and being open to possibilities and opportunities can get you so much further than a rigid plan that can lead to disappointment.
Sophie’s top tips for setting up an Etsy shop
- Make sure your product stock levels are up to date
- Dispatch orders as soon as you can!
- Use lots of keywords to optimise the search feature.
Starting your shop in the run up to Christmas is great timing, Sophie told me. The demand at this time of year is massive and apparently DIY craft kits go down very well – her terrarium kits are always best-sellers as they make such great gifts.
Set up your shop now
So, what are you waiting for? Set up your Etsy shop this month, begin selling your creations for fun, experience the same excitement Sophie did when she received her first sale notification and you never know where the journey may take you. Remember, you can begin selling on Etsy here and if you use the code ETSYHEROESAPARTMENT by November 30th you could win £1000 to help you launch your creative business (terms and conditions apply**). Good luck and fingers crossed!
Go on, take the leap…
**Terms and conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Promotion is open to legal residents of the United Kingdom, age 18 or older who open an Etsy shop via http://etsy.me/2eHlwH7 between 7 November 2016 and 30 November 2016 using the code: ETSYHEROESAPARTMENT. Entries must be received between 12:01 AM GMT on 7 November 2016 and 11:59:59 PM GMT on 30 November 2016. One prize available of £1,000. Odds depend on number of eligible entries received. Sponsor: Etsy UK Limited. See full terms and conditions here.