There are so many beautiful and exciting shops on Etsy and sometimes, whilst nosing about in the forums, you get to meet really talented, interesting people so I decided that, once a month, I would feature one of these people to make a change from talking about myself, ranting about life in general or worrying about my cockerel’s legs (you’ll have to read the relevant post for that one!)
For this first ‘little chat’, I would like to introduce you to Lola from the United Kingdom. Lola makes beautiful jewllery which looks very special but is still affordable. Lovely to buy as a gift – remember that Easter and Mothers’ Day approach! – or for yourself. Some of the pieces would make beautiful bridal jewellery.
I asked Lola about her work, her shop and what inspires her.
What is your shop’s name and what do you sell there?
My shop is Wee Sparrow http://www.etsy.com/shop/WeeSparrow. I sell handmade earrings and necklaces. I use vintage beads, Czech glass, and/or semiprecious gemstones. Most of my designs are one-of-a-kind, though I’ll occasionally do a very limited run of 5 if a piece is particularly popular. I do quite a bit of custom work as well, mostly for bridal parties.
Where does the name ‘Wee Sparrow’ come from?
My husband and I moved house this past summer and our new house has huge windows. I was sitting by one and watching about a dozen little birds take turns at our bird-feeder when “wee sparrow” popped into my head. I thought it was such a cheerful name and captures the light-hearted approach I try to take toward my designs, so I thought it was a perfect fit.
What inspired you to create what you make?
Honestly, I just flat-out love buying beads, so it feeds that habit! I also love the idea of creating something that’s going to be worn by a woman I’ve never met. I think it’s so mind-blowing to think that there are all of these lovely girls and women around the world wearing a pair of earrings or a necklace I’ve made! I love wrapping up new orders because it truly feels like I’m sending a little gift to a new friend.
How many hours do you put into your shop?
I’m probably logged into Etsy two hours a day – mostly renewing listings, replying to convos, or peeking around in the forums. In terms of actually creating new things, that probably takes about one full day each week and then photographing and listing takes another half day or so. I tend to create in batches, so I always have 5-10 new things to list each week. Unfortunately I’m too impatient to list them one-at-a-time, so they all go up on the same day – usually a Saturday.
What do you find most challenging about selling?
Photographing!!! I’ll never be 100% happy with my photos, so I’m constantly reshooting my jewellery. I keep a running list of the items that I need to photograph (again). Still, it’s helped me learn to use my new camera, so I suppose that’s a positive side-effect! 🙂
How do you promote your shop? Do you promote off the internet too, such as craft fairs, etc.?
Promotion is mainly by word-of-mouth for me. My mom has a stack of my business cards and gives them out whenever she can. She also wears my jewellery, as do I. My friends also wear my designs and talk up Wee Sparrow whenever possible, which is fantastic!
What is the most helpful piece of advice/tool/tip that you have discovered while selling on Etsy?
I think that switching up the photos on a listing does wonders. It keeps the shop looking fresh even when I haven’t had time to list new items for a few days. It also keeps buyers from skipping over your listings because they’re already seen that particular shot before. (I hadn’t thought of that Lola, thanks for passing on that tip! L)
If you could give any advice to newbie sellers, what would it be?
Be prepared to work for your success. Promote your shop. Work hard on your pictures – make sure they’re bright and sharp before worrying about props or funky angles. Don’t expect sales to come flooding in immediately, especially if you haven’t done any promotion. Perhaps most importantly – tend to your own shop! Resist the temptation to compare your shops with your competitors’ as that will do nothing other than stress you out.
What shop goals do you wish to accomplish this year?
At the beginning of the year, I set my goal for 200 sales by the end of 2010. I’m well on my way, so I hope to maintain that momentum.
Can we follow your blog, are you on Twitter, Facebook?
Yes – I try to update my blog regularly (www.weesparrow.blogspot.com) and I try to Twitter daily (www.twitter.com/weesparrow). I have a Facebook page as well, but it’s woefully neglected!
What else do you do for fun?
Well, I genuinely enjoy my day job, which is nice! I also love going to the cinema with my husband and I love to cook (though I HATE washing dishes). We’re still settling into our house, so weekends are usually spent shopping for vintage furniture or reupholstering something! I also adore spending time with Millie, our two-year-old lurcher.
Thanks so much Lola. Good luck with achieving your aim to reach 200 sales by the end of 2010, although with such lovely pieces I don’t think you will have any problem at all!