How KraftWeddingPapers 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?

Hello! I’m Gina Kraft, owner of Kraft Wedding Papers on Etsy. I design, customize, and print invitations for weddings and special events. I started in 2014, shortly after planning my own wedding. Ever since I can remember, I have always been inspired to one day own a business. Having planned my wedding and organized all the details, I must admit I didn’t love the planning aspect of it all, but I did fall in love with selecting all the pretty details such as invitations and décor. There is also a unique energy around the whole wedding industry. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of creating something beautiful for the most important day of a couple’s life?

I already had the software and design experience needed to start creating invitations, so I started working on just designing the invitations in Illustrator on the side while still working in my full-time position in marketing. After about 6 months, I realized I needed to dedicate more time to the business if the goal was to make this my full-time job one day. So, I started working more on a part-time basis for my employer at the time, which then provided more time to build the business.

I create everything myself and do not outsource anything! When I first started, I knew nothing about printing, so the actual production of the printed products was originally outsourced to a large commercial-grade printing company. Being the highly detail-oriented person that I am, this ended up not working out. It only took a year in business to realize, after trying to work with a few different printing companies, that if I wanted my product a certain way, I would need to bring everything in-house, where I could either do it myself or oversee everything, should I ever need to hire additional full-time staff.

Bringing everything in-house ended up being the best decision I have ever made for the business. I found a fabulous printer leasing and maintenance company, learned a lot, and ultimately found the perfect equipment for my application. I have built a wonderful relationship with my paper and material vendors, so I will order the materials, usually in bulk, and create the customized invitation suite from start to finish. This involves the initial design as specified by my client, printing, cutting, assembling, and shipping the completed stationery.

Favorite items

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

My favorite designs are the elegant gold handmade paper suite, the Blair suite, and anything listed in our "Deckled Invitations" and "NEW! Ribbon Invitations" sections in our shop. I think these 2 collections are my favorites and will sell well, as they are our newest designs and probably the most in-trend for 2023 and 2024 weddings. In the beginning stages of the design process, I will first decide that I want to use a certain color or font combo and then put it all together. Seeing the first sale of any new design is always inspiring to me, as when you are the designer, you sort of have to put in the work without yet knowing if your new idea will actually sell.

Many clients have told me that they love our new handmade deckled paper and silk ribbon suite style. I still sell a lot of our older designs that I created years ago, but I think couples are gravitating more toward this newer style as wedding trends evolve.

 Elegant gold handmade paper suite
Blair suite
 "Deckled Invitations"
"NEW! Ribbon Invitations"

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 took several months to get my first sale on Etsy. Even after that first sale, it took several additional months before I was comfortable or happy with the momentum of sales I was getting. I remember it being a very slow and, at times, frustrating start. Constantly creating new content each year and adding new styles (staying in trend) has, I think, been the key to regular sales on Etsy. The wedding industry is hard because styles can change a lot in just a year. Currently, we advertise our listings on Etsy (etsy ads) and try to stay active on social media.

Managing KraftWeddingPapers

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 run the business myself. I have hired individuals on a freelance basis to assist with marketing, creating our order forms, budgeting, and creating a pricing structure when we first started a business, which has really helped. For tools and apps, I design everything using Adobe Design software, have a commercial-grade printer and stack cutter, and do all of the assembling and purchasing of shipping labels in-house.

The future of KraftWeddingPapers

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

I love what I do. I also really like the intimacy of being the sole proprietor of my business. I like that when a client reaches out to me to create their invitations, that client knows that I will be the one making their invitations, and nothing will be outsourced or relayed to another employee that had not previously been in contact with my client at the time of starting their order. I love having close client relationships and personally sending each order out with complete confidence that I am not only sending out a great product but also exactly what they envisioned. That being said, my goal for Kraft Wedding Papers would be to continue to create, improve, and provide the best customer experience that I can while still remaining a small online luxury invitation shop.

Advice for new sellers

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

My first piece of advice is to make sure you are truly doing what you love and have a solid business plan to start.

Don’t get discouraged. It took several months for a sale and a few years to be comfortable with the number of sales I was getting.

Be flexible and creative. You may find that not everything you make sells, and you might need to change directions.

There are lots of options for different styles and budgets.

Lastly, have good photography of your products!