How ArmoredWithTruth got started
Introduce your Etsy shop and tell us your story. How did you begin and decide on what to sell on Etsy, and how do you create your products?
Hi! We are Josh and Sarah Chadd, the husband and wife team behind Armored with Truth. We sell engraved leather goods, including keychains, bracelets, bookmarks, journals, and earrings. Each piece features a design that is hand-drawn by me (Sarah) and burned into real leather using a laser engraver by my husband. Our mission is to use leather as a canvas to glorify God and encourage others through the trials of life.
When I (Sarah) first opened my Etsy shop, my products were all over the place. I didn’t have a clear direction, but I knew I loved crafting and entrepreneurship. So I started selling something I was currently making for myself and others: hand-stitched, embroidered pouches. I didn’t get much traction and quickly found out the pouches weren’t worth the amount of time I had to put into them. After some brainstorming, I decided to overhaul my shop and focus it on leather since I had grown to love working with it. My first leather product was bracelets, and I eventually added keychains, earrings, and bookmarks. When I first started, I burned the designs freehand into the leather with a woodburner, but as my shop grew, my husband and I had dreams of working towards getting a laser engraver. This way, I could draw the designs digitally, and the laser could engrave them for me, saving me a lot of time and effort. Once we got to this point, about 4 years after starting, it greatly expanded our ability to produce, and now I can spend more of my time creating new designs rather than fulfilling orders.
We are blessed to be connected to an awesome family-owned leather shop where we get all of our leather.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
My husband and I both love reading (Josh is also a self-published author), so books hold a very special place in our hearts. As such, our bookmarks are not only our favourite items but our best sellers as well. Specifically, our favourite bookmarks are the bookish-inspired ones with quotes from The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. We think these sell well, specifically the LOTR ones, because we have found our niche, where there isn’t a lot of competition on Etsy but there is a lot of interest.
Getting sales on Etsy
How long did it take for you to earn your first sale and how do you currently attract customers to your Etsy shop?
It was only a couple days after setting up our shop that we got our first order, but we had lots of wonderful family and friends supporting us, so that definitely helped. We do our best to find quality keywords that are going to bring the right customers to our products. But beyond that, we use social media as well as getting our name out there through craft shows in the area and wholesale orders with local shops.
How do you manage your shop? Are you running solo or do you have any team members? What tools or services do you use to run your shop and how do you handle fulfillment?
Josh has always helped me with behind-the-scenes stuff (this shop surely wouldn’t be where it is now without his business mastermind). However, about a year ago, he started taking on more of the workload. He handles the products—engraving, assembling, cleaning, and finishing them. My (Sarah) job is to draw the designs, fulfil orders, and add or maintain Etsy listings. One of the tools we have been using that has been very helpful is erank.com to look for keywords to see which are the most searched and how much competition there is.
The future of ArmoredWithTruth
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
We hope to keep growing, and this, along with my husband’s writing career, could be our main source of income. As our kids grow older (we have two boys, one 3 years old and another at almost a year old), we want to incorporate them into our work by having them help us and teaching them about running a business.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
Take the time to sit down and price out your items to see if you can get a good return for the time you invest in creating your product. It is so easy to undersell handcrafted items because not everyone understands the process involved in creating them, but you have to make sure what you are doing is worthwhile if you want to make this into a successful business. I would also say to pursue the products that you love, even if they are a bit out there, because you might find a niche of people who love your products and will faithfully support you.