How StorybookGoods 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 started sewing at the age of 4 on a little blue Holly Hobbie sewing machine, which I still have sitting on a windowsill in my studio. After leaving my career as a dean in 2015, I became a stay-at-home mom and soon learned I needed to earn an income. Fortunate enough to have had many prior years of experience sewing professionally, I quickly developed a small sampling of Christmas stockings and opened an Etsy shop in October of 2016. The stockings sold, much to my surprise, which gave me a needed boost of confidence to then offer products such as Easter totes and pumpkins. By 2020, this little side hustle had grown from around $12,000 in yearly sales to over $100,000, thanks largely to our influencer partnerships and the growing popularity of our party goods.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
Since 2016, we’ve offered a range of keepsakes for every holiday. Our handmade stockings grace the mantles of hundreds, including several celebrity clients, and our Easter totes are a tradition for many families. Growth brings change, and in 2023, we made the decision to scale back and niche into our most popular offerings, party goods. Our party hats, high chair banners, heirloom bibs, and cake toppers are the most precious keepsakes, and it brightens my day to know that we are helping our sweet customers make memories! I enjoy making each and every product by hand. Sewing is more than a skill; it is a gift, and one I’m very grateful for. Party goods are just the best, though. Something about making an item that will help celebrate life is so joyful.
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 was a little uncertain at first; my initial listings really didn’t generate much interest. At that point, very early on, I made a pivotal decision. Rather than just sitting idly by, hoping for views, visits, favorites, or even sales, I dug into Etsy SEO. After making some tweaks to product titles, improving descriptions, and uploading better-quality images, the listings began to gain some momentum, and by December, I had all the sales I could handle. To this day, even when things get super busy, I still make it a priority to stay updated on SEO best practices and listen to our customers. I might love an item, but if it’s not selling well, then I’ll pull it after some time. I might not be as excited about another item, but if it’s our top seller, then we’ll give it more attention!
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?
Thankfully, I have a very dedicated customer service manager who helps keep track of orders and shipments. Shipping has been challenging since 2020, but we hung in there, and things are finally improving. Our changes for 2023 include introducing a quick-ship business model that helps ensure faster turnaround times, which is going very well so far. I’ve used Marmalead, eRank, and Alura to help improve listings and dig deeper into analytics. The QuickBooks integration on Etsy is how we began using that particular service, which becomes essential as you grow. Shipping and fulfillment for Etsy orders are done almost entirely through Etsy. We’ve used third-party platforms but ultimately found that Etsy offers everything we need.
The future of StorybookGoods
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
Currently, in the midst of making major changes, including scaling back and niching into party goods, we’ve also implemented a quick ship business model that offers faster turnaround times and helps eliminate delays. We’ve also decided to grow our wholesale segment this year and expand more into international markets. Even though we use Faire and our own site for these purposes, we’re also leveraging Etsy by creating wholesale listings to attract smaller retailers looking to stock their shops.
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
Just start, and if you’ve already opened a shop, then pat yourself on the back! Maybe you don’t have all the resources to purchase a fancy logo or pay for product photography; that’s no excuse. Create your own, have friends help, and use what you have. We grossed over $100,000 in sales during 2020 despite the pandemic, using pictures I made myself (I’m definitely not a photographer) and developing products like cake toppers to reduce the amount of material being wasted.