How HinterlandFoil 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?

Hinterland Foil started out as a trade supplier to the print industry. I was doing specialty print finishes, like letterpress and embossing foil, on business cards and invitations. Over time, people kept asking me if I could monogram leather, and after some trial and error, I managed to perfect the technique. I did some market research, and we established our own independent website and partnered up with an Australian company that designs leather products and has them made in environmentally responsible factories. My daughter shops regularly on Etsy and suggested that I list my products there as well! We initially started our range with a focus on men's wallets and have expanded the range and our services over the years to also offer laser engraving on both leather and wood.

Favorite items

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

Our signature leather wallet is still my favorite item, and it continues to be our best seller. Our focus on quality and durability means that people often come back to purchase them as gifts for other people. Another item that I frequently use is our journals, which are popular as graduation and corporate gifts because they can be filled with any A5 notebook.


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?

Our first sale happened pretty quickly, but it really took off about ten months after we were spotlighted by Etsy. That was a bit of a surreal moment because the sales came in faster than I could print the shipping labels, and I had to get my wife, daughter, son-in-law, and son to come in to make sure we could meet our dispatch times. We obviously use Etsy marketing and ads to promote our bestsellers, but because our use of industrial machinery is what allows our monograms to last, we mostly just focus on making sure our reputation for high-quality products and durable monograms speaks for itself.

Managing HinterlandFoil

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?

I own and manage the company by myself, but I am also very lucky to have my beautiful wife managing all my accounting. When things get really hectic, my daughter and son will come in to help, but most of the time it's just me in the factory. I don’t use a lot of tools and apps to manage the store, but I do use ShipIt to automate the processing of orders into labels and booking postal carriers. I also use the Etsy plugin to automate the accounts in QuickBooks.

The future of HinterlandFoil

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

I'd like to see the store grow to the point where I can hire another full-time employee to handle our other responsibilities and free up my time for monogramming. 

Advice for new sellers

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

Pay for professional product photography! Like many people around the world, our sales did drop during the pandemic and we started to see a lot of similar businesses coming out as people used lockdown as opportunities to create some amazingly successful side hustles. So for new businesses, I think it is also important to know what makes you different from other shops. For example, I use a vintage industrial machine and my experience as a commercial foil printer to make sure that when you purchase a Hinterland Foil product, you are buying a quality product that has the monogram deeply imprinted to enhance durability and enable you to use the product daily.