Here you will find some of the most inspirational Etsy success stories ever. You shouldn’t take the following stories as a measuring stick. Instead, take it for what it is – the story of how people choose to build a business selling a product. These are the great examples of what you can achieve and what can you build on Etsy. Also, the heroes of these stories were generous enough to share their knowledge in the form of tips and advice, so you can follow their footsteps.
Etsy success stories – the highest revenue
At first, we will take a look at one of the most famous Etsy success stories – ThreeBirdNest and it’s founder and owner Alicia Shaffer. You may be familiar with this name, she is called the Etsy’s richest seller. The financial results of this store are incredible, even among other Etsy success stories. Just imagine over 2300 orders per month with an average price point of $23. Combine these two numbers and you will get an estimated revenue of $80,000 per month or an annual revenue of $960,000. For comparison, the president of the USA earns $400,000 per year. Quite impressive, isn’t it?
These numbers are astonishing, they make you want to talk to them to find out their story. We bring the creator of ThreeBirdNest to you. Let’s find out what is her story, and how did she find her market.
How did ThreeBirdNest start?
Sheffer’s answer is: “I’m working my butt off for it. I’m not just sitting here pointing my finger at people and telling them to get to work. I get home, put my kids to bed, and keep working. It’s a 24/7 operation.” Alicia Shaffer has been a restless businesswoman starting from the high school. At that point, she was a door-to-door seller of license plates and engraved nameplates with funny and curious slogans written on them. Her mother helped her a lot with good advice and using her own nameplate-engraving machine.
Alicia had launched her own store, called ThreeBirdNest in December 2011. The curious name came from her bird’s nest tattoo, honoring her three kids. At that time, she was working on headbands for a small women’s cloth boutique in Livermore, California. They were a great hit, so eventually, she decided to sell them online. This was the start of one of the Etsy success stories. The intention was to earn enough money to help to pay for the kids. Actually, that wasn’t her first try at starting up business, Shaffer had a few fails trying to build a baby products store, but it is important to never give up. This could be your first tip, on how to become the hero of one of the Etsy success stories.
After it’s initial launch in December ThreeBirdNest have made 90 sales in just a few weeks. For comparison, most of the Etsy store owners feel lucky to sell 10 items per month!
Shaffer, couldn’t believe in her success at the start, she thought that it will stop after the holidays. But, in the February the demand was still huge, and Alicia had to hire a friend to help her with shipping.
What happened to this Etsy success story?
Currently, ThreeBirdNest includes 15 full-time sewers. “All moms”, as Alicia Shaffer says. Also, she hired a professional photographer, and her sister, photo model. The success of her online store has allowed Shaffer’s husband to retire from his job as a fire chief. It is important to notice, that not all products are handmade by the ThreeBirdNest team. Many of items are outsourced to India. But, to be honest, they add a final touch by themselves, by sewing on lace trimming and buttons, in the result, the profit margin for these items is about 65%.
However, in 2015 Alicia had left Etsy and moved her store to her own website. That change was made to better focus on customers through their own wholesale channels and website. Despite this fact, this is one of the most noticeable Etsy success stories out there.
But ThreeBirdNest has succeeded not because of an immense desire of Alicia Shaffer. Also, because of great attentional to detail, helpful customer service, and a sense of how e-commerce works on Etsy. But, can you become a hero of one the Etsy success stories, just like that? You can! If you follow the advice that Alicia was kind enough to share. You can read them in the next chapters of this article.
Etsy success stories – the highest sales volume
Another gem among Etsy success stories is the Bohemian findings. This store collects the absolute largest amount of orders on the whole Etsy marketplace, just imagine they have sold nearly half a million items. And they ship everywhere from the US all the way to Russia and anywhere in between. Let this information sink in, they fulfill from 300 to 500 orders daily. Just to remind you, most of Etsy sellers are happy when they sell over 10 items in a month!
Bohemian Findings is a store of charms and other small items. This success story shows the level of popularity of stores like this. Also, you must take into consideration that the prices on Bohemian findings are significantly lower than in the similar mall stores.
So, let’s find out, who stands behind this store and how did it all begin.
How did Bohemian findings start?
There is no surprise that this successful entrepreneur is a woman too. Her name is Hope Milner. To be exact, she is a co-owner with her husband, but you know who calls the shots in this business.
As she has stated in the interview, the Bohemian Findings got started as a “little bit of accident”. It’s hard to believe that any of the Etsy success stories started as an accident but here it is! Hope and her husband have decided to move for retirement, she decided to sell some charms that she had from a previous business. So, naturally, she decided to find a place to sell them online. Surprisingly to her, the demand was growing without a stop. Few month later, Hope had to hire some help. Afterward, they have hired some more people and moved all their business to the st. Peter school.
Being a business woman is not something new to Hope Milner, she has been an entrepreneur her entire life. She believes, that’s the key to success is to never chase the money, simply do what you love and what makes you happy. Money tends to follow anybody who is passionate about their work and put their heart and soul into it. Hope and her husband are really happy to provide jobs to the community. They tend to push themselves hard to take every order seriously and to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy. We believe that’s the reason why the customer have come to the Bohemian findings and have keep coming back, in addition to finding stuff that cannot be found anywhere else.
Hope was also so kind to share some additional tips and advice, so you can start your own Etsy success story.
Tips from ThreeBirdNest and Bohemian findings:
Follow Etsy’s guides
This is one of the most obvious advice to make, but it is effective nevertheless. Etsy has a very useful online paperwork. So, you will be better off if you complete everything that is possible there. Have you completed all of the tags? Do you have a full description of the shop, items? Also, don’t forget to tell your story in the “About us” section and to write down your contacts, so your customers can ask you a question if they need to. All these little tweaks are helping your shop to become a success story on its own.
Put yourself in the shopper’s shoes
It is a good mental and business practice to put yourself in the shopper’s shoes. This way you will be able to look at your store from the another perspective. You have to ask yourself a question “Would you click on your item in the search results list?”. If the answer is no, then you have to change some things around your shop. To help you with this task Etsy has provided a lot of articles and videos about secrets how to succeed with your own shop. Don’t shy away to read every one of them through and through.
Take amazing photos
A great picture of your product could be a game changer. Both heroes of our success stories have amazing photos on their Etsy stores. This is no coincidence. They realize that customers are visual by nature. This means, that when they are browsing through products chances are, that they will pick the one with the best picture. So be sure to provide them something “drool-worthy”. For example, Shaffer has a professional-looking model (her younger sister) to advertise her products.
Name your product
Etsy is a collaboration of very creative people, but sometimes they can be too creative. Yes, that’s a thing. There are a lot of items that are named in a very unique and creative way. But, unfortunately, the average customer cannot understand what the items are. Thus, they will not click on it in the search results. We already have talked about, that making sure items show up in the Etsy’s searches is very important, but we cannot stress this enough. Shaffer says: “A huge mistake I see is lots of shop owners list products by the name they’ve given it, like ‘Juicy Frutti Tutti Garland.’ So, yeah, be smart when you name your products.
You don’t need a huge advertising budget to promote your store. In fact, ThreeBirdNest doesn’t have one, but it is still one of the most famous Etsy success stories. Alicia Shaffer doesn’t do anything out of the ordinary, so you can easily follow her footsteps. She promotes her store through the social media and relying on word-to-mouth.
Always, ask for a customer’s response, ask them what they want. A good practice is to add coupon codes to every order, give some discounts. This way your customers will be returning to you shortly. Bringing in their friends too. This way, without any additional expenses you can potentially multiply the number of orders you get.
Be loyal to one social media platform
Social media is truly a great tool for marketing and advertising. But it’s not a great idea to use them all at once. This may be a little odd, but spamming over all accessible social media is not the one and only best way to promote your store and your products. The founder of ThreeBirdNest and Bohemian Findings advise you to select one or a couple of platforms and commit to it. Rather than tweeting and pinning to death. This way, you can show your customers that you are working on that platform and don’t forget to respond to every comment.
Another interesting way to interact with your customers is to show the production process, so they can see how did their favorite products are made. Eventually, your people will become invested in your process and become your best customers. Because they will get to know you on a new level, like a real person. They will feel your passion for creating.
Set specific goals
As Hope Milner said, “Money tends to follow anybody who is passionate about their work and put their heart and soul into it”. So, if your only goal at Etsy is to “make money”, chances are that you won’t be very successful at it. On another hand, being passionate is not the only thing you need to be. We believe that the best way to manage is to set a weekly financial goal and then check your sales frequently. If you are not achieving the planned goals, make a boosting sales plan.
Be open to suggestions and proposals
The heroes of our success stories suggest that you do what you love, but at the same time, you must keep your ear to the ground. In other words, you must hear what your customers tell you and listen. Don’t be afraid to experiment, feel free to take any suggestion from your customer.
The road to success is always done through trial and error. So, don’t blind yourself with your pride.
Use your time wisely
Sheffer says that her shop is a 24/7 job, but as you can notice she is a mother of three kids. And she takes the time to be with her family. That is her inspiration. Unfortunately, there is no golden rule of the time management that can be applied to everybody. But it is important to take your head out of your work. Not just for your social life, for your business to. This way you will be always full of energy and new ideas. Maybe you will find a coworker with the same passion as you, or a new way to sell your product, you never know.