How MemoriaObscura 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?
Before I was allowed to work as a designer for Memoria, I was a passionate photographer, working under my stage name "Mia Mane." I had my own ideas for my photos, which led me to design masks, mini hats, and headdresses. I offered these on a public rental page and on Facebook for colleagues and models to borrow. These were well received very quickly, and the questions as to whether my pieces could also be bought became so many at some point that I toyed with the idea of actually offering them for sale. I was then repeatedly made aware of Etsy by Instagram users, who mentioned the name in their posts, etc. So at some point I looked at "this Etsy" and just opened my shop without expecting anything.
It had a different name back then.At first, nothing happened at all, and I didn't even think about it anymore when Halloween came and I had the right product in my range, which caused great enthusiasm among customers. Due to the first sales and great reviews from customers, other customers then dared to place their orders with me, and so it went on and on. Unfortunately, a year later, I became very ill and was forced to close my own label.
My best friend and our company owner, Hanspeter, quickly founded MemoriaObscura; he provided me with creative, supportive friends, and I was able to focus on my recovery while my designs were allowed to live and exist. I was allowed to remain creatively active in the background and am the contact person for the team. just as my health allowed. Over the past few years, Memoria Obscura has grown into a team that I don't think exists anywhere else in the world. Each of us has different full-time commitments and practices Memoria Obscura as a hobby and passion. In recent years, such a great working symbiosis has developed among all of us.
While one loves the production and shell construction of the items, the other gets absorbed in it when he can varnish and paint the finished items, and someone else loves to accompany the item maintenance and shop administration and customer service in the shop. That's how it is with everyone having their favorite, which ends up together in the shipment to the customer, while Hanspeter takes care of all tax and legal matters.
Personally, I love developing new ideas, designing drafts and prototypes, creating the item photos, and accompanying our customers and everyone else who is interested in us on and via our social media channels, making me the mouthpiece for Memoria. When we release new products and make them available in the shop for interested customers, we don't just think about selling them. We're just proud of each product and happy that we created it. Memoria Obscura is motivated solely by a desire to create and not by a desire to sell.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
My number-one favorite item is definitely the Medusa Headpiece. It is the headpiece that made everything possible on Etsy and is still one of our bestsellers to this day. Without this headpiece, none of this would exist. It's somehow very simple, but it's still exciting because of the arrangement of the snakes, the optics as a whole, and the flexibility in use. No matter how someone combines this headpiece, it always fits perfectly into the outfit and looks very classy.
My second is a set that I designed in early 2018. At the time, it was the first of its kind, and it is still incredibly noble today. The combination of an actually religious halo with snakes and a blind mask so that Medusa does not petrify her counterpart is a combination that allows for a lot of creative freedom in its use by the wearer.
The third is the first "Mouthpatch," designed and published by me. I had already designed and published it in 2018, when one evening I had the idea of what it would look like to wear an eye patch on your mouth. So the "Mouthpatch" was born, and I love the design to this day. In my opinion, none of the subsequent patches are as beautiful as the first one. It is not as prominent as a full lower jaw mask, creating a slightly bizarre yet exciting and mysterious look.
After that, our big crown of thorns is on my top 10 list of our own items. It took me weeks and hours of internet research back then. I really wanted to do a photo shoot with a crown of thorns, but I couldn't find any that I liked to buy. So I looked around for possible tutorials to craft my own piece, none of which existed. I turned the entire worldwide web upside down to maybe find a rudimentary idea for production. without any success.
So at some point, I just sat down at the table with my hot glue gun and some wooden skewers and tried something out. Out came our crown of thorns. It really was the first and only item so far where I asked myself afterwards, "How the hell did I get this done now?" I had to create some prototypes afterwards in order to be able to replicate the design again and again and make it accessible to customers. It stands out from other "crowns of thorns" on the market because of its own appearance, and I believe it reflects the magic of my own excitement when I finally got my hands on it.
Last but not least, there are three sets that are close to my heart. They have a great emotional background for me as they were created when my cat was seriously ill and I cared for him around the clock. They arose while I stayed up late at night because I was afraid my cat might collapse while I was sleeping and I wouldn't notice. The idea for this existed months in advance; the drawers were full of the necessary materials, so I had the opportunity to implement these ideas.
I made the first drafts at the beginning of January and published the first items in our Etsy shop (at that time, we didn't offer them as a set) at the end of January/bbeginning of February 2020. Their combination of the materials used, their wide range of uses, and their elegant charisma make them real eye-catchers.
To this day, the three sets that mean the most to me are, in fact, the ones most preferred by customers. They still have a crying and a laughing eye for me because my cat died as a result of his illness.They carry warm and painful memories for me, but I still love them, maybe because of that. This appears to be reflected in them, which is why they are so popular with customers.
I believe the secret to the popularity of our items is that we operate for the sheer joy of creativity. Almost every one of our designs has its own personal story, idea, and emotion. We are very happy about sales and customers but do not have a primary financial interest in what we do. We are all addicted to what Memoria allows us to do. This is reflected in our shop and our outward appearance.
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?
Because I (Sabrina) was already acquainted with my previous label, a certain reach already existed, and I stayed in the public eye with Memoria when it came to social media, we had direct sales with Memoria right from the start. Otherwise, Etsy itself (especially the search function that people use to find us) takes a lot off our hands. We generate the rest via our Instagram account, where many of our customers share their wonderful photos and videos with us.
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?
Work in the shop, like everything else in the team, is shared among us.Our customer service is available to customers from Monday to Friday. I myself still like to keep an eye on things here and there on the weekends in case a customer has an urgent matter or someone urgently needs help. We usually work on the PC. I like to use the Etsy app myself when I just want to check the news. Our items are regularly shipped every Tuesday. So not too much accumulates, and we have enough time to pack everything nicely and safely.
In addition, we work with sufficient manufacturing time before shipping (we work almost exclusively to order) and regulate our stock. This means that we put items offline when we have sold a certain number to be processed and activate them again when we have processed them in peace and are ready to accept orders again. Our manufacturing time allows us not only to take a certain number of orders but also to manage our workload as best as is possible and realistic for each of us, and always keep a small buffer open in case one of us wants to go on vacation or gets sick. Of course, shorter production times are an advantage, but you also have to make sure that you only accept what you can and want to do; breaks are needed and can sometimes make you ill. Nothing is worse than having to act under stress and pressure.
The future of MemoriaObscura
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
Of course, we hope that we can continue to inspire people with our items for a long time to come and that such difficult times as the past Corona Pandemic are over. In the future, we would like to increase our range of ready-to-ship items and give customers more opportunities to purchase items that have a shorter production time because they have already been manufactured but not yet finished in color.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
Always working with passion and being who you are Nothing is more important than authenticity. People see through you very quickly when you play something for them; don't stand behind what you're doing, and don't do it with enthusiasm and conviction. Making something you really don't like just so you can sell it doesn't work. You should always have goals in mind, but leave everything open. Stay realistic and just enjoy what you do. Goals that are too high and expectations that are too high can be very disappointing.
Also, new sellers should not be intimidated, which can quickly be the case when you face such a big competitor. Otherwise, stamina and a thick skin are required, as is knowledge of Etsy guidelines and current laws in order to act correctly in customer contact.
As a new seller, you can and should really celebrate every success, no matter how small! That motivates me!
If you have any questions, don't be afraid to visit the community or ask Etsy Support for help. But the most important thing is probably how you deal with customers in communication. For our part, we do not have classic seller-buyer relationships with our customers but rather maintain real, authentic contact. We maintain a friendly eye level with our customers and enjoy casual conversation.
It's not all peace and joy, and it takes a fair amount of time and willingness to "know." If you are afraid of the hardship, the first negative reviews (which you should simply learn from), and the commitment, you should distance yourself better. Those who go to work with joy and vigor and remain so will experience an exciting new world if their product is in demand on the market.