How Beans and Peanuts 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?

After the birth of my two daughters, one I nicknamed “Peanut” and the other I nicknamed “Bean,” Beans and Peanuts was born!  I loved sticking cute hair bows on them and realized quickly that I could make the bows very easily.  So, my business originally started as a hair accessory store.  However, after a few messages asking me about obtaining supplies and die cuts, I quickly realized that other moms were much more interested in making their own bows than buying the finished product.  

Over a year, I worked on finding trustworthy suppliers selling high quality materials and studying other successful supply businesses that sold products I wanted to carry.  As my glitter and faux leather supply increased, I started selling more and more products.  Then, wIth changing trends, I started adding cork fabric to my store.  It became wildly popular as a “Green” product used to make gorgeous high quality earrings and accessories.  

I continue to add new items weekly to keep up with jewelry and bow making trends.  I carry only products that I would use as quality is still my number one priority.  At this point, I have over 1000 selections in my store and continue to add new items and patterns weekly.  Having great suppliers and top quality fun and pretty products has been essential to growing this one-mama business.

Favorite items

What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?

I love listing multiple items with variations.  I think it just looks gorgeous to showcase them as an array of colors.  They do tend to sell well when there is stock of all the variations.  I think they sell well because people can see the colors better and can get ideas about how to mix and match. 

I also make double sided fabrics.  I love ironing and matching up fabrics with backings.  Double Sided Fabrics allow me to personally make the items still and get my craft on.  They are unique to my store and sell well.

I also like this Chicken and Dot Cork Fabric.  It’s just fun and cute! It’s one of my most popular corks and I have a hard time keeping it in stock.

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 didn’t take long for me to make my first sale because my mom bought something right after I opened!  I would say it took me a  few days to sell a bow and it took a good solid year to switch from finished products to supplies and establish a base of regular customers.

I don’t actually do much outside advertising.  I rely mainly on my reputation for high-quality products and excellent customer service.  A solid base of regular customers, good reviews, and word of mouth keep me very busy.  I do periodically post on Instagram but generally I am not a social media person.  I am a super busy mama!

Managing Beans And Peanuts

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?

Managing the shop is primarily me.  I do all of the product procurement, listings, customer service and order fulfillment.  My husband helps out with the business planning and of course the lifting heavy things. My store is very simply run---I purchase some fabric, I list it using my phone for photos, I sell some fabric, I ship it with an Etsy shipping label, and I send it off into the hands of the Postal Service.   I try to have a very quick turnaround for supplies (24-48 hours).  I know customers need them for their projects and businesses.

Shipping is honestly one of the biggest challenges for Beans & Peanuts.  Unfortunately, the Postal Service is less than reliable, to put it charitably, and my business is a high-volume, lower cost business so unless it is a really big order, it usually doesn’t make sense for either the customer or me to pay for private shipping. 

On a related note,I also want to note how much care I put into shipping items.  I love shipping items in fun poly bags and I always try to use new and unique bags to stand out from others.  Customers have remarked on how receiving a mailer is like opening a gift.  That’s EXACTLY what I am hoping for!

The future of Beans And Peanuts

What goals do you have for your shop in the future?

I plan on continuing to watch trends, post more on Instagram, start my own website, and figure out a reliable shipping method.  Adding new and different items to my shop also keeps customers coming back.

Advice for new sellers

What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?

List new items daily for the first few months.  Build up your supply and get GREAT suppliers.  If you are a crafter, learn to trust your instincts but also listen to customer requests.  Lastly, only do this if you love it.  It’s hard work!