How DesertDyesbyLo 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?
Desert Dyes is a small-batch, handmade tie-dye brand located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Female-run and operated, we pride ourselves on our unique style and sustainable practices. We focus on making clothing that is comfortable, uplifting, and inspired by the earth. I started Desert Dyes in my last year of college. I was struggling with my mental health after experiencing what so many women experience in college: assault. I fell back on what made me the happiest: abstract art and cozy clothing. My now-fiance and I had just moved into our first apartment; it was tiny—only 350 square feet! Let me tell you, the whole place was drenched in color! I was making more tie-dyes than I could give away. Eventually, I decided to open an Etsy shop to try and clear some space. All of my first dyes were made with tulip tie dye kits. They were awesome, but eventually, I needed bigger bottles. I was lucky to find Dharma Trading Co., which is my all-time favorite dye manufacturer. As my business grew, my process changed. In my first stages, I was hand-wringing and washing all of my pieces. I now have a series of eco-washers that do this for me with little to no water usage!
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
My all-time favorite listing is my Ice blue tie-dye sweatsuit listing. It is purely sentimental haha! This was the first sweatsuit I ever listed that went viral. It went so well that I had to enlist the assistance of my fiancé! We made hundreds of these sets in the weeks that followed. It was one of the craziest things that have ever happened to me! I felt so over the moon that people were so excited about my designs. It was the first time in my life that I felt like a legitimate artist or designer. I continued on my journey of perfecting pastel tie-dye. Pastels are really hard to achieve when tie-dying and are not often part of the typical designs. My collection offers a dreamy take on tie-dye. My rainbow spiral set is my all-time best seller across all marketplaces. It features a pastel rainbow spiral design that is unlike any tie-dye rainbows available elsewhere. It is truly one of a kind!
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 sales happened a few months after uploading products consistently. Consistency is key! If I give anyone advice about starting their Etsy shop, it’s to post at least one new product a week. This will help you get noticed by Etsy’s algorithm as well as help you find what you like to make and what sells well. Clothing is especially hard to buy online. It is not as giftable as something like jewelry, and people get their sizes wrong a lot more than you would think. At the beginning of my shop, I was making one-offs, so there was only one item available in one size for each listing. It is super hard to get clothing sales like this. People often order different size for the top and bottom of sweatsuits, so reworking my listings to have more options was super helpful.
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?
My shop is a solo operation right now, with just me doing it all! I sell on several different marketplaces as well as on Etsy, so having things organized can get tricky sometimes. I am a bit old school despite being 25 and prefer to do most of my accounting and whatnot on Google Sheets. All of my items are made to order, which keeps Desert Dyes sustainable, as nothing ever gets thrown out or discarded. It also makes shipping and fulfillment easy because I don’t need to keep a perfect eye on inventory of different styles, just the blank stock.
The future of DesertDyesbyLo
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
Right now, my goals for Desert Dyes are to add a jewelry line and get our name out locally. I would love for Desert Dyes to be a known part of Salt Lake City. We are vending at as many local markets as possible this summer and have fun plans to offer "Tie Dye Parties" for locals this summer as well. Our jewelry line is in the works; unfortunately, I can’t share much yet, but stay tuned!
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
My two biggest pieces of advice are to be consistent and to listen to your supporters, not your haters. I mentioned the importance of consistency above for both your growth as an artist and getting the Etsy algorithm's attention. Bad reviews have been the hardest thing for me to keep my shop open. Let me preface this with the fact that I am pretty shy and not the best with confidence. I have almost 800 reviews with a 5-star average, but the few 1 and 2-star reviews have had such an impact on me as an artist. It can be so hard when you are putting your heart and soul into your craft to go through this. Just remember that these people may have a lot of words to say, but they aren’t necessarily true. Most people, even if unhappy, are kind. Some people are just having a bad day and taking it out on you, so never let them get to you too much!