How SpellbinderieToo 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 Karen Rudd, a bookbinder from the US currently living in France and owner of Spellbinderie Too on Etsy, a supply shop for bookbinding, scrapbooking, and junk journals. The inspiration to open the shop came after years of experience sourcing my own bookbinding supplies as well as teaching Coptic binding classes. I thought a supply shop would be a wonderful way to share my experience, expertise, and passion for the craft. I also knew there was a market for it based on conversations I had with customers in my first Etsy shop, Spellbinderie, which I opened in 2010 to sell my handbound guestbook and journal creations.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
Some of my favorite items are the supplies I use in my own work. For example, these brass book corners, which are very solid and have a wonderful old world look, add character in addition to protecting the corners of a book, journal, scrapbook, or album.
And this silicone "brush" that I discovered when looking for a way to apply adhesive on endpapers without the mess and clean-up of typical "paint" brushes. I found these silicone make-up applicators and was instantly hooked. The feedback from customers has been equally wonderful.
Another favorite, which is also a big seller in my shop, is starter bookbinding tool kits. This kit below was put together for my bookbinding students. It’s a great set for anyone interested in Coptic bookbinding, but particularly aimed at beginners. It includes curved needles, which are my favorite to do Coptic binding with, and I found that my students prefer them as well over straight needles. I also offer a simple, small plastic folder in this kit rather than the more expensive, larger bone folder that most professionals use. The bone folder isn’t necessary for beginners, so there’s no need to splurge on one. This small one costs much less and gets the job done nicely!
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 took only a few days to get my first sale on Etsy, but I think that’s due largely to selling what I know and love as well as having past experience on the site. Since Spellbinderie Too is one of three Etsy shops I operate and my goal is to maintain my current sales volume so that I have time to run my other two shops, I don’t do much to attract more customers beyond offering products I know and love, paying attention to Etsy-specific SEO in order for my products to be found in search, and adding new products from time to time. I’m very pleased to have loyal repeat customers, and I try to add new stock from time to time based on their feedback.
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 am the sole operator of Spellbinderie Too, so I do it all, from sourcing, product testing, photographing, answering messages, packaging, and shipping. I don’t use any tools or apps for Spellbinderie Too since I’m not looking to expand the shop at the moment. However, I use various tools and apps for my other Etsy shops, Spellbinderie and Frapperie.
The future of SpellbinderieToo
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
My 2023 goal for Spellbinderie Too is to maintain the course! I’m very happy with the success of my shop and feel lucky to have the customers I do. I’d also like to find a locally made waxed linen thread to replace the Crawford brand thread I currently stock. Otherwise, I’m currently in the process of launching a website for Frapperie, which is pretty exciting. My husband has recently joined me in that venture, so 2023 and beyond should be quite exciting.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
My advice to new sellers is to do research beyond the product. One area many seem to skip at first is the legal aspects of selling online, such as the right to return a product and who’s responsible for damage or items lost in the mail. These issues are particularly important since Etsy launched its new protection program. If a seller doesn’t have appropriate legal policies, they won’t be covered by Etsy if there is a problem, and that can result in financial loss. Another important but the less fun aspect is understanding how Etsy search works. I strongly recommend new sellers take time to read through Etsy’s handbook to understand best practices for titling and tagging for search placement. The handbook can be daunting, however, so I also suggest spending some time in the forums and asking for a critique. There are lots of seasoned sellers there willing to help a new shop get up and running. My last words of advice are: pay attention to customer feedback and learn from it; you never know where it can take you!