How CarosCreams 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?
I’m Caroline, the owner and founder of Caro’s Creams on Etsy. It all started with my passion for herbs and hedgerow medicine over the past 20 years, but also with my little one developing eczema. We tried many creams, but none of them worked (some made it worse! ), so I started experimenting with making herbal potions until I hit upon my Calm-it-down, chickweed-based cream, which cleared it in 3 days! And I’ve not looked back... Friends tried it on their children, and the business grew from there, with me setting up an Etsy shop in 2016. I realized that I loved coming up with formulations and making products that are as good quality, natural, and nourishing as possible for our skin and, more recently, our hair.
Many of my products are based on my homemade herbal extracts: I make my own infused oils (where I double infuse wild herbs in the best quality organic oils) and herbal infusions (strong herbal teas left to brew in cosmetically approved water). I use wild herbs from the allotments, hedgerows, parks, fields, or garden, as long as they are nowhere near anything polluting. Being environmentally conscious is also very important to me, and so I take care to save energy and reduce waste at all times, especially in my production and postage processes.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
My favorite items are the gift sets—I love the rose and the orange raw cocoa sets especially! They are just a scrummy combination of creams, soaps, and lip balms that seem to be as much a joy to receive as they are to make and put together.
I think the drive towards more natural living and a toxic-free home is driving sales in my niche. I didn’t deliberately set out to be in this niche, but it is what I believe in, so it naturally comes through authentically in my Etsy shop products.
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?
My first sale came straight away, as I had been doing markets locally and people were asking how to order online, so I set up my shop in response to this. The first couple of years were relatively quiet (compared to now), but I gradually built up a steady interest, and once I hit a certain level of reviews or orders or something, the floodgates opened, and I have not stopped since!
I have always used Facebook to post about new products or give updates, but last year I joined Instagram and have found that it really does link directly to generating sales. I don’t post very frequently, as I myself don’t appreciate this side of the marketing push you get from many companies, so when I do post, it’s because I have something to say or update customers on. I think they appreciate that.
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?
Just me—I do it all! I’ve never wanted to be so busy that I couldn’t handle it or needed to employ others. I like running a sustainable business in a way that’s sustainable for me and provides me with a sustainable income. I created all the formulas, I ensure the lab tests are carried out, I complete the paperwork, I design the labels, I update the listings, I manufacture the products, I make up and send off the orders, and I record everything I do on several HUGE Excel spreadsheets! I don’t use any tools or apps to run the store; is that unusual?
The future of CarosCreams
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
I really just want it to carry on like this for as long as possible. I’m not looking to make millions or take my products mainstream. I realized pretty early on that the margins in the cosmetics industry and for the niche I’m in (organic, handmade, herbal, and natural) are pretty tight. That’s why I love Etsy, as it’s not a product I will make much money from in the shops unless I scale up, but scaling up means selling out on quality, so I’m not about to do that. Online sales are far better for my business.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
I’ve actually helped several friends set up their Etsy shops. My main advice is:
- Get some nice photos done; look at the Etsy guide to what photos you need.
- Research tags and SEO—again, there are good Etsy guides and trainings about this that really helped me understand it all.
- Be reasonable in your pricing; there is what you want and what someone will pay.Don’t be afraid to adjust prices to get some traction with your shop; you can always adjust them up once demand starts to increase and the reviews start rolling in.
- Research the competition, then look at what you do differently and write your descriptions to stand with the best of them, but apart from them in a special and unique way.
- Find a niche—not too small a niche that no one will find you—but be confident in your unique selling points and stick to them. Strong ethics will shine through when customers look at your shop's offer.
Some sellers really get inspired by hearing numbers. Feel free to share these if you like.
Question: How much is your monthly revenue?
Question: What is your average profit margin?
Question: What is your shop’s conversion rate?