Today we’re joined by Katie from Befitting Beads. I have to tell you, when I saw her store the first time, I was completely smitten. I’m a particular fan of the Harry Potter ties, and the bows and the… all of it.
Katie hosts her shop on Etsy, which I’m sure you’ve heard about. There are a lot of plus and minuses about Etsy, but what’s important is that she’s made a place for her and her niche. Lets go the the interview!
Hi! Who are you?
Well hi! I’m Katie, a nerdy wife and mom of two wonderful whirlwind little boys (and a spoiled cat) from Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m an introvert, a Ravenclaw, an Etsy artist, an anime enthusiast, and an insatiable DIY-er.
What is your side hustle, and where can we find it?
I make unique jewelry and Christmas ornaments that I sell on Etsy! etsy.com/shop/befittingbeads
How long have you done this side hustle?
I’ve been beading for almost 3 years and selling on Etsy for about 2.5.
What drew you to it?
I’ve been beading and crafting since I was an awkward little kiddo, and I’ve continued it into my awkward little adulthood. Specifically, I picked up bead weaving after I graduated college and was instantly intrigued by the possibilities. I have loved creating and experimenting with new techniques and patterns! As I created more pieces, friends and family encouraged me to open an Etsy shop.
How did you study/train/prepare for this business?
Herm. Not much, I guess? I knew how to bead weave and make jewelry, but I didn’t do much research on starting an Etsy shop. I didn’t even know the term SEO existed… Since opening, I’ve done much more research and improved my marketing techniques to learn how to stand out.
What is the best way for you to find clients?
I use Pinterest to get a lot of traffic to my Etsy shop! I’m part of several group boards, and have learned how to utilize keywords to get my products found by the right people. I have also been selling at local craft fairs for the past 2 years and have had great experiences. It’s been fun to see people’s reactions to my jewelry.
Tell me about the platform you use. What are some of the features that make it incredible to use? Does it have any downsides?
Etsy is super user-friendly and specializes in making handmade, unique pieces stand out. It’s also got a huge audience, and sellers have huge potential to utilize SEO! However, it’s also a pretty saturated market. Standing out can be a challenge unless you have very unique pieces and can utilize that SEO.
What would you recommend to someone just starting their business:
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, and never stop learning! Especially with online businesses, there are always changes and improvements. Find some great resources in your niche (bloggers, fellow sellers, Facebook forums) where you can ask your questions and stay informed.
How many hours a week do you think you spend on it?
I spend probably two or three hours creating products, two hours on photos and product listings, and another hour or so on marketing. When I have a craft fair coming up, I put in several more hours preparing inventory and designing my booth setup.
What are your business goals for 2017?
I would love to increase the number of craft fairs I participate in! They’re a fun opportunity to connect with buyers in a way that doesn’t happen from Etsy. I also want to increase my monthly revenue from a side hustle to a more sustainable income.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Connect with others and network with like-minded bosses! Life’s a lot easier when you’re focusing on helping each other rise instead of competing with everyone.
Tell me the greatest/favorite review/testimonial you’ve received?
I was at a craft fair a while back where a fellow vendor was admiring my jewelry. She said she had been selling at craft fairs for 20 years and had never seen something like my jewelry before! Mind = blown.
What is the best way to build a relationship with your clientele?
Selling online means that I have to be very intentional about being personal. I send handwritten notes and write in a way that is a balance of personality and professionalism. I try to incorporate my personality into everything I do, from the pieces I create to the photos I take to the listings I write.
How active are you on social media? Do you spread yourself around or stick to one or two mediums?
I have accounts on most major platforms, but I focus mostly on Pinterest and Instagram. That’s where I’ve found the most engaged followings and traffic. They work best for me because they’re image-intensive, and that’s a huge part of succeeding on Etsy.
If you could go back and make your start a little easier, what is one thing you would have changed?
I would have waited to open my Etsy shop until I had a better idea of what I was doing. I would have researched more about Etsy SEO and focused on better listings and photos. And, I probably would have also started networking before even opening my shop so I could hit the ground running.
Any other advice, or stories to share?
Just in general, I say if you find something that you love doing then you should DO it, yo. Don’t be afraid to try, to learn, and be passionate about what you do. *end cheesy motivational speech*
Thank you so much!