How TinyCauldron 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?

My Etsy shop is The Tiny Cauldron (TinyCauldron). It sells high-end witchcraft and ritual goodies. It seems like a strange area of focus, for sure. But one search on Etsy (and Google) will tell you there is definitely a market for it and a community around it that is thriving. I began in 2017 by just trying it on a whim at the suggestion of my then-husband. I was a teacher, and a family member had asked me if I wanted to take part in a business idea, and I said yes. That fell apart, but I decided to try it out on my own. I knew the niche area pretty well, and so I began selling things I myself would want using ingredients and interesting inclusions that I would want.

I create items based on what interests me and what are typical items found in our practice: salts, herbal oils, herbal sachets, sprays, and such. And then I make them with quality florals and herbs, some of which are a bit out there but are really interesting. I created it all myself. If I don’t, I source it from wonderful small businesses that I myself use, ones that I trust to craft the items I want to offer.

Favorite items

What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?

My favorites are not always the ones that sell well. I make things I am proud of, and I love all of them because they are all crafted with a particular focus and aesthetic in mind. When they were really popular, my Witchcraft Mystery Boxes were the best-selling boxes. And when their popularity waned, the Halloween kit was the most popular. It all just depends on the season and trends, but over time, these two have been the most popular. I would say the one product that has stood the test of time, no matter the trend or season, is the Tar Water Spray. This is a spray alternative to tar water and a tool to spiritually protect yourself and your space.

Tar Water (War Water) Spray for banishing rituals, witchcraft supplies and herb magic, altar tools, hoodoo spells and conjure magick

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 was two days after I posted a collection of listings that I received my first sale, I believe. Then another in a couple more days. I don’t attract customers or drive them there, and I think I’ve purchased ad space once. Ad space is pay-to-play with bids and limits. And if your bid isn’t that high, you’re going to be among all the other listings anyway. I found that was not a good use of funds, honestly. Especially when nothing stands out about an ad other than where the shop name is, it says "ad by an Etsy seller." Learning good SEO practices and taking good pictures are your best options to stand out.

Managing TinyCauldron

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 is only me. Right now, I am letting my Etsy SEO do the work (and it needs re-done!) but I used to use eRank or another SEO site to help me gauge how well my listings were doing. They would give you a grade based on how all of the components came together: keywords, pictures, descriptions, etc. In doing so, they provided snapshots of how each listing was performing, and when I would edit the listing, I could see how the site interpreted my changes instantly. It may feel overwhelming to work with a site like this, but it’s really helpful. And as competition grows, I think it’s necessary. That’s as true for Etsy as it is for a regular site.

The future of TinyCauldron 

What goals do you have for your shop in the future?

I want to refine the offerings based on what I’ve learned on my own site and enhance them. I also want it to feel more cohesive as the brand has grown and I’ve covered more of my interests in my offerings. So my own website has helped me learn what may also work better on Etsy. I think this is a reflective process that owners have to return to periodically to answer. I also want it to feel more cohesive as the brand has grown and I've covered more of my interests in my offerings. So my own website has helped me learn what may also work better on Etsy. I think this is a reflective process that owners have to return to periodically to answer the question, "Does the brand make sense? Do all of the facets come together rather than feeling like a bunch of different interests lumped together? That may be fine for an antique shop, but not if you’re building your own brand and your own products.

Advice for new sellers

What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?

Etsy is a great tool for getting your feet wet in learning SEO, how to phrase product listings, and seeing what’s popular or working in terms of what you sell. Based on that information, you can discontinue store items or focus on and enhance the ones that work. It’s like a microcosm of an online business with its own site. But new sellers benefit from understanding that there are ebbs and flows in sales based on popularity in the search engine, the item's exclusivity, and the constant shifts in SEO. It is not a one-and-done venture; you will have to go back and refine and edit SEO to maintain your flow. This is good practice because the same is true on the web.

Also, take a peek at your competition and the listings surrounding yours. Instead of feeling "less than," ask yourself honestly why those might grab the buyer more than your own pictures or titles. That gives you room for growth.

Keep that abundance of competition in mind: there are so many people competing with you and so many listings for people to look at. You know your item is good, but your buyers don’t see it day-to-day. They can only go off of what you say in the listing and what your pictures look like. We can use alt tags and keywords all we want, but the impression and the description matter. Treat it like a business with an actual site, and you’ll get treated that way by buyers.

Use your popularity on Etsy to convert to an online shop with your own website. Multiple platforms mean multiple revenue streams, and that helps when it’s time to redo SEO, in the "dry" seasons, and so on.

Set yourself apart. I’ve learned that customers on Etsy like the hand-made idea of items, but they want them to look like a company or brand. If it’s possible, get your items looking as branded and polished as possible.

Controversial advice: Etsy is a business in itself, and it’s there to make money. It’s important to remember that. Ad money, the Pattern platform, the fees But the most difficult one to get past is that Etsy lists comparable items right below your listing. So even if a person comes to your product page, they are still inundated with ads for other shops’ products. Because on Etsy, it doesn’t matter who sells what; in the end, they get some money out of it. They have helpful services, sure, but they have their own interests to focus on. So while Etsy is a good place to start, it’s best to diversify if you’re looking to build something with a decent income. On your own site, you don’t compete with anyone else. All listings are yours. But you need Etsy and Etsy-like platforms to serve as stepping stones for you.

Some sellers really get inspired by hearing numbers. Feel free to share these if you like.

Question: How much is your monthly revenue?
Answer: It’s a lot lower than it used to be because I switched over to my own site. At its height (2020), I earned $9197, with some months earning $1100–1500.

Question: What is your shop’s conversion rate?
Answer: Over 5 years, the shop has earned $33,439, and the overall conversion rate is 1.3%.