How PapaKarloUA 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 turn 60 this year and have never done anything like this before. I have a good technical education in the field of automation. Never dealt with wood. I have a very creative wife, and a few years ago she decided that wooden furniture for a dollhouse is exactly what we lack. I decided to try it. My wife sold the first products rather quickly. This inspired me. Although there are still doubts about whether she actually sold them. Now, from a distance of several years of experience, I understand that they were terrible.
Gradually, my garage, where I worked, was filled with various tools, fixtures, and machines for woodworking. Some I bought, and some I designed and made myself. Soon I became cramped in the garage. And we bought a big house. In our country, the secondary real estate market is completely undeveloped, and the choice of acceptable options is very small. A suitable house turned out to be too big for the two of us, so half of it was reserved for a photographic studio, a warehouse, and workshops (4 large rooms).
It all started with wooden furniture, but my wife discovered her talent for making miniatures on the topic and excelled at it. Now miniatures occupy three-quarters of the store's assortment. In addition, she is an excellent seamstress; this skill was also very useful. But in real life, she is a microbiologist; she works in a hospital laboratory, and her main tools are a microscope and a computer.
We love making things for kids. But as it turned out, almost the majority of buyers are adults who are collectors. Of course, this activity brings us, in addition to pleasure, additional income, and this makes it even more enjoyable. This is our first Etsy store, but not the only one. We have two lap dogs, and my wife makes wonderful clothes for them. Dogs, of course, work as fashion models. How not to use this opportunity. And we have singled out the direction of dog clothes in a separate store. It is not as successful as the first but quite self-sufficient. The home decor was then allocated to another store. Unfortunately, the last store was a complete fiasco. Not a single sale. I suspect it's just not seen in the US.
Here is our story: There was another touching moment. Letters from regular customers are not uncommon, with some even becoming friends, but one letter touched us very much. It was a correspondence with a single black woman. She shared her story about how our miniatures helped her break with drugs, and now she makes them herself and is very happy. It looks like we saved someone's life. Even for the sake of one such case, it was worth opening a store.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
I like such lots, which consist of many components. But they don't sell well. Miniatures have been the main source of income in recent years. The complexity of manufacturing, of course, is incomparable. Not to mention investment in equipment.
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 started with eBay, and the first sale happened in a couple of weeks. This inspired me a lot. Then I came to ETSY, and here the first sale happened quite quickly, in a month. But it was a long time ago. And now my home decor store hasn't generated a single sale in a year. I tried several times to buy ads, but the effect was zero.
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'm the only one running the store. I take the photos myself. I also make all the wood products; the rest are made by my wife. I don't use apps. Delivery exclusively by our national mail. Works great. It has not spoiled or lost a single package out of more than two thousand over the years. Even during the current war, the parcel leaves the territory of our country in a week. It used to be three or four days. I don't know of any other mailing service that works just as well. Alternative methods are much more expensive. Not using.
The future of PapaKarloUA
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
We constantly update the assortment. I would like to return to the results of 2-3 years ago.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
Now you will not envy a novice seller. If he is not from the USA, he must be ready to dump and work for several years in the red.
Some sellers really get inspired by hearing numbers. Feel free to share these if you like.
Question: How much is your monthly revenue?
Question: What is your average profit margin?
Answer: And how can you estimate the rate of return for manual labor? The cost of materials is low; the main costs are my time and equipment depreciation.
Question: What is your shop’s conversion rate?