How WheatBagHeaven 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?

Hello, my name is Heather Rusbridge, owner and founder of "WheatBagHeaven," a small rural business based in Somerset, UK, that makes wheat bags and eye pillows using local Somerset wheat with the added bonus of lavender and all its benefits. I have always loved the range of beautiful fabrics on offer in our local haberdashery, and I wanted to make this work for me. Over the past few years, when my mother was very ill and spent almost a year in the hospital, I would make her wheat bags to help with her pain and discomfort and to help her relax and feel better. I then went on to add lavender, which really helped to calm and scent her room, which she loved, plus the nurses enjoyed a brief escape from the hectic day and enjoyed the floral aroma in her room. Others started asking if they could also order wheat bags, and WheatBagHeaven was born. This is how our little business started and is now going from strength to strength.

Favorite items

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

There is something that catches my eye with all the fabrics in my shop, and depending on my mood, I have several favorites, but I do love the bumble bee fabrics as well as the lavender flower-printed wheat bags,  the fabrics are easy on the eye, comforting, and work well with our product. They make an easy gift when you're unsure of someone’s preference, are good for all occasions, and are our best sellers.

Beautiful Microwave Lavender Scented Wheat Bag Gift in a - Etsy UK
Lavender bouquets
Lavender flower heat pad

We also have a "bubbles" category. which I feel is a great fabric for men as they need to relax and unwind at the end of the day too!

Men’s long cotton wheat bags

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 selling at local markets and fairs, but wheat bags are heavy to take from site to site, so a web shop was needed. I could reach a greater audience from home and spread more warmth and comfort... I decided on Etsy after quite a lot of research. I set up an account, added my products, and waited. I thought the sales would flood in—who wouldn't want my beautiful wheat bags?—but soon realized it’s a lot of hard work getting titles, tags, pictures, and a presence right. I have set up Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter where I promote my products daily and link back to Etsy. With all the changes happening on social media platforms, it’s still not an easy task to get your products seen and in front of an audience. This really has been my hardest step, and I am still learning with the help of other Etsy shop owners and help links on the internet, Facebook, etc. But don’t give up! If it doesn't work, try another way, and keep going and asking... Someone has always had the same problem.

Managing  WheatBagHeaven

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?

Yes, it’s just me! And it’s been a steep learning curve, which continues. Through the winter months, our product is much more popular but still needs to be promoted. I spend long days and nights working on my shop, making up the sleeves ready for filling, sieving the whole wheat to remove husks and any other debris that should not be in it, although I have just found a local source of beautiful wheat and this process has been shortened considerably. I keep a stock of filled wheat bags on hand so that orders can be dispatched quickly, checking into each of my selling platforms—fulfilling and wrapping orders; networking in my spare time between jobs; daily post office trips; customer inquiries; and I work.I market through the social media sites above and on (this site will cease operations in February 2023), although I am in the process of creating a brand new website  just for our wheat bags. 

Labeling and shipping were all done manually, which was a real problem for me living in a small rural village with limited post office hours. I have now invested in a label printer and print all my labels through the Etsy app; it’s so much easier, all in one place, and looks more professional. Plus, it's easy to keep track of customers' orders and delivery tracking information, and then make one daily PO visit.

The future of WheatBagHeaven 

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

I want to expand the fabric choice and size of our wheat bags and maybe add different herb combinations for those who do not like the lavender scent. I am also thinking about adding an option to get replacement cover slips. More work is needed to educate potential customers about the benefits of wheat bags throughout the year.

Advice for new sellers

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

It's not easy to sell on any platform without commitment and hard work; there's no overnight fix; you really do have to keep at it with SEO, tags, keywords, and titles; find your market; promote, and promote some more. People need to find and want your product. The market is always changing, and your item needs to have a purpose and be able to change too to meet demand and needs. The Etsy platform has made the process less stressful with a straightforward way of adding products and showcasing your work, and help is always on hand when needed. Read Etsy’s seller guides on best practices for doing this effectively when starting out; it saves a lot of time. There’s a lot of help out there, so don't be afraid to ask if you get stuck. Esty has become more well-known in the UK as a result of her TV appearances and her position in the selling world, providing her with an excellent platform to work from. 

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 can be as little as $100-$200 some months and as much as $1000 other months, plus it's seasonal and there are always slow months.