How LouLongworth 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 really wanted to start a business where I could be creative, and Etsy was a great platform to get started with to test the market. I decided to design greeting cards as the start-up costs were relatively low while also offering the opportunity to scale further down the line. I did trial a few other products in the beginning too, such as wooden products with drawings burned onto them using pyrography, but the cards were what I settled on in the end, along with some prints.

Favorite items

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

It was when I started offering custom cartoon portrait cards and prints that my Etsy shop first took off, and these are still popular. They’re fun to do, as I get to interact with my customers and hear the story behind the commission while designing their cartoon portraits from photos they provide. The family cartoon portraits have been my biggest seller, as they make great personal gifts for moms, dads, and grandparents for Christmas, birthdays, and Mother's or Father's Day.

Family cartoon portraits

My best-selling ready-to-ship card is my Love You Mole and Mole Card, and I also sell a lot of birthday milestone cards, such as the Whisky Aged to Perfection 60th Birthday Card. Other bestsellers tend to be the more niche cards that you won’t find on the high street, particularly the sporty-themed cards such as good luck and congratulations cards for runners.

Love You Mole and Mole Card
Whisky Aged to Perfection 60th Birthday Card
Good luck
Congratulations cards for runners.

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?

I think it took me about a month to get my first sale. I initially attracted customers by doing a lot of work on my SEO, and once I had over 50 items and started making sales regularly, Etsy started showing those items to more people, and I then made more sales. So you do need a bit of patience until things get going.

I do still concentrate on adding good tags to my listings now, but I don’t spend as much time tweaking old listings as I used to. I used Marmalead for SEO in the beginning, but now I have a reasonable idea of what people would be searching for. I think the most important way for me to attract more customers is to regularly add new items.

Managing LouLongworth

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 my Etsy shop (and my greeting card business as a whole) on my own, doing all the designs, uploading of items, and processing of orders myself. I usually process orders at the beginning of each day and renew any expired listings then too. I print cards to order so that I don’t have to worry about items that don’t sell and can experiment to see what is most popular.

One of my favourite purchases was a Munbyn thermal label printer, which I can print to straight from the Etsy interface. It makes processing orders so much easier.

Once printed and packaged, I go for a walk and post off the orders before I start any other work.

When I have a new collection of designs, I tend to add all of them to Etsy as drafts and then ‘drip feed’ them by making them live one by one over a longer period. This means that I can do the work in chunks of time and not have to do much every day other than process orders.

I’ve recently signed up for Aweber and integrated that with my Etsy shop, which enables customers to sign up for my Etsy mailing list. I’d recommend doing this so that you can let your customers know when you’re running a clearance sale or have brought out a new collection.

The future of LouLongworth 

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

I would like to sell my greeting cards full time eventually (I currently have a part-time job), and my Etsy shop will be a big part of this. During the COVID lockdowns, I got a glimpse of what it would be like to sell enough cards to pay my bills, and it’s my goal to increase my sales to this level on a consistent basis.

Advice for new sellers

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

Don’t get discouraged if you don’t make sales straight away; just keep adding new items, work on your SEO, and be patient. And once you do start getting orders, make sure your customer service is great. Keep communication open with customers, let them know if there’s ever a delay or problem before they contact you, and post orders promptly.

Some sellers really get inspired by hearing numbers. Feel free to share these if you like.

Question: What is your shop’s conversion rate?
Answer: 4.4% for this year