How Designsby3ofakind 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?

My name is Sarah, and along with my partner Rory, we opened a brick-and-mortar location in 2012 in Toronto, Canada. We are art school graduates who share a passion for collecting and creating, which led us to open up a shop. We were avid Etsy buyers before we started selling on the platform in late 2014. We started selling just a few small vintage items and later expanded into a wider range of antique and vintage merchandise. We source our products all from Canada, which gives our shop a unique Canadian aesthetic. We are crazy collectors ourselves, so the business is a reflection of our passion for gathering pieces and discovering beauty in the timeless past. We never go out specifically on a mission to find things for the shop. It is a way of life for us where, as a hobby, we enjoy attending flea markets, estate sales, and auctions, as well as exploring places in small towns on our adventures.

Favorite items

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

We would never sell anything we didn’t like, so all of our pieces are, in some way, our favorites. Since the majority of our items are antique and vintage, they are all “one of a kind,” so nothing sells better than the other!

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?

We made our first sale, I believe, relatively quickly, but we definitely were not focusing on Etsy as a source of income in the beginning. It was more to get involved with the online community that it offers.

Since we have a retail shop, that has always been our number one focus.

As artists, we are always creating, so we don’t spend too much time on screens. We don’t dabble in social media and are comfortable with it being somewhat of a discovery you have to naturally discover rather than broadcasting on social media apps in order to attract customers.

We were embarrassed to admit it, but we only started focusing on growing our Etsy business in 2020, when we were pushed to sell online due to the pandemic.

That is when our Etsy shop really took off to a whole new level.

Our only outlet for attracting customers is by making sure we use the tag option to its ultimate potential and making sure our listing details and photographs reflect the item precisely.

Perhaps we should do more work on trying to draw attention to our shop, but in all honesty, time is valuable, and we would rather spend it working on other things!

Managing Designsby3ofakind

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?

We manage the shop ourselves. We organise the shipping and pack the items in the shop.

I guess you can say we are old-school in the ways we are utilising Etsy.

We are not very tech-savvy, so no apps or tools aid us.

We believe in recycling and keeping things out of landfills, which is why we sell antique and vintage items as well as reuse materials for shipping.

The future of Designsby3ofakind 

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

We will be opening up a larger retail shop in the near future, as we are currently in the process of leaving the city to live in the country. We have quite a bit of architectural pieces, high-end collector items, and vintage clothing we do not currently offer on Etsy but will as time unfolds.

Advice for new sellers

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

Don’t feel overwhelmed by making things happen all at once. Great things take time, and the process is a part of the adventure. Use all of the outlets Etsy has to offer; don’t underprice your goods; be honest; and with time, your shop will grow.