How RedGiraffeDesigns 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?
Hi! My name is Kate Stevens, and I’m the owner and founder of Red Giraffe Designs (or RGD for short). We sell handmade and personalised jewellery, accessories, and other small gifts. After graduating during a recession and struggling to find a job, I started my business in my parents basement in 2008 as a hobby. Originally, I just sold at craft fairs and markets, but I would always get asked by my customers if I sold on Etsy, so in 2009, I finally opened up a shop!
When I first began, I sold mainly earrings and necklaces that I designed using vintage or deadstock materials. Now, RGD offers a wide range of designs using high-quality metals like sterling silver and gold-filled, as well as a variety of semi-precious stones and beads. Many of our items are also able to be customised with hand-stamped lettering for a personalised touch.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
Customization wasn’t always such a big part of my business, but over the years, with various custom requests from customers, it organically grew to be a main aspect of Red Giraffe and is now something people know us for.
Some of my favourite items in our shop are our customizable pieces. We use high-quality materials and put a lot of care into making these items, so the customer can keep their special piece for years to come. It’s really cool that we have made so many personalised items for people over the years commemorating important life events like the birth of a new baby, an anniversary, or a graduation (just to name a few!)
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 only took a couple of weeks to get a sale, and I still remember the very first sale on Etsy—it was a tiny magnifying glass pendant necklace. My phone lit up with the notification, and I was so excited that I called my husband right away to tell him. It was such a great feeling! I still love seeing the notifications pop up, almost 14 years later.
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?
For several years I ran the shop entirely by myself, but as my company grew and I opened up my first storefront in 2015 (now 3 storefronts and a studio/office space), I brought on a couple of employees to help me—one still works at Red Giraffe today and manages our studio and designs many of our items for the stores and online shop.
The future of RedGiraffeDesigns
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
After a couple of challenging years with COVID, I’m enjoying getting back to a more normal work setting. We have a brand new studio this year that we’ve been getting ready for so we can offer events and private consultations. And even though I feel like it’s still summer, we’re also starting to gear up for the holiday season and brainstorming a holiday jewellery collection!
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
People love shopping on Etsy because you are getting handmade items while also supporting a small business, so be sure to add your own personal touch to your packaging. We like to include a little note from the person who packaged their order as well as care instructions if needed. Knowledge is power, and the more information your customer has about what they’re purchasing and how to care for it, the happier they’ll be in the end.