How QuMooDesign 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’m Queenie, owner of QuMoo Design, a graphic design business. My Etsy shop sells museum/gallery quality fine art travel prints dedicated to special locations; I create abstract artwork from photographs, changing the colors and simplifying the image.
I’m British but lived in the Netherlands for over ten years and moved back to the UK in 2017. I found it a real struggle to restart my small business with zero contacts. While living in the Netherlands, I made a few vintage-styled art travel prints of local Dutch landmarks as gifts that went over well. I decided to focus on creating more designs as a way to get to know people, show my style, and enter the small business marketplace differently.
As anyone who has repatriated to a new place will tell you, it isn't easy starting again. Designing new travel prints lifted my spirits, but what was wonderful was realizing that my designs meant something to others too. Based on this, I set up my Etsy shop in 2018. It seemed the perfect plan to focus on the prints. However, just when my business was moving in the right direction, the pandemic hit, and so, like many others, I used my downtime creatively and designed a collection of over 50 prints from all over the UK and the Channel Islands. It made me feel rather happy to sort through my photos and find places I had enjoyed visiting and design prints from the images.
I differentiated myself by selling the prints in a ready-to-gift form, and from there, my business went from strength to strength. During the pandemic, people were looking for postable gifts that were wrapped and ready to gift; my A4 prints were perfect as they were delivered flat (not rolled) and could fit through an average-sized letterbox. I even wrote gift messages.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
My favorite items would include my first Dutch print (Den Haag Cityscape), as this was how I started. My "Europol" print is also special; it has been placed in the Dutch National Archives as a permanent depiction of the building. It’s such an honor, plus a wonderful reminder of my time spent living in The Hague, the Netherlands. Europol’s Chief of Staff, Mr. Sebastien Moras, bought my print and asked if he could use it as his Twitter banner. I said yes!
Another favorite of mine is the Wimbledon Village print, as last year it was featured on the front cover of a Wimbledon magazine during the tennis fortnight. I’m very proud.
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 didn’t take very long to earn my first sale on Etsy, but it was a slow burn, and I think in retrospect that’s a good thing. It took me time to perfect my SEO, my style, and how my shop looks. SEO is the most important way; be careful with your product descriptions and research your keywords very carefully. Luckily, I also love social media, especially Instagram (I’m @qumoodesign).
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?
It’s just me (and my dog) running my shop, and she is not a lot of help! As a graphic designer, I use the Adobe suite of products to create my designs—I love Illustrator, Photoshop, and InDesign. Quickbooks is my accounting package, and it’s easy to use and manage my Etsy accounts. Dropbox is also another necessity for my graphic design services. I use Royal Mail to fulfill my orders; they do a great job.
The future of QuMooDesign
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
I plan to continue adding my favorite places to my shop; I recently moved home (again!) and I’m discovering new areas and places (most recently, the first church featured in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral!). I like interesting, quirky places like that.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
My advice to new sellers is to take it slowly, really research what you are doing and why, stay true to yourself, but be open to perfecting what you are doing—every day is a school day! Practice taking photos; they are incredibly important. Try to see everything from a buyer’s perspective and imagine what search terms they would use to find your products. Also, customer service is everything; be polite, be understanding, and do your best. People appreciate it, and in a world of automated services, I believe the personal touch goes a long way.