How Wintertime Crafts 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 Heidi and I’m the creator of Wintertime Crafts. I was born and raised in Denmark, but in 2014, I moved to the US to be with my now husband and his 2 kids. I’m a creative soul with decades of experience in graphic design and photography.

One winter I was folding some paper stars to give to friends and family for Christmas. I wanted a more distressed look and after trying out different methods I quickly learned that clear stamps gave me the best result. Unfortunately, the stamps I had at that time were too small and I had no luck finding what I wanted online either. Long story short, I ended up having my own stamps made from a photopolymer manufacturer in Arizona.

The stars became quite popular and a few people also reached out asking about the stamps. In 2016, I opened my Etsy shop with a small selection of handmade Christmas products and a few clear stamps. 

Today, the paper stars are gone—I simply don’t have the time needed to make them anymore—but my line of exclusive paper crafting products has grown significantly. My passion and main focus is on designing and offering unique, high-quality supplies that’ll help anyone achieve a beautiful vintage look in their creations!

My personal collection of real vintage advertisements, books, letters and other ephemera is the foundation of most of my products. I scan, digitally restore and create various designs which are then printed on washi tape, postcards, stickers or turned into clear stamps.

Favorite items

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

A big favorite of mine—and of my customers too—is the versatile stamp set called Vintage Floral Details. Anyone looking to add subtle vintage details to a journal page, letter, tag, etc., simply can’t go wrong with this set.

Another favorite of mine is the Cut-N-Tear Metal Die. I worked on this for almost a year: figuring out the design, finding a manufacturer that could make the perforation small enough, testing the quality of materials and designing the special packaging. It’s the only cutting die I offer and it’s an absolute game changer for faux postage stamp making.

Picking a favorite washi tape in my shop is an impossible task, so here's a set with my five best-selling designs. I pack each tape in an elegant box before adding a homemade label at the end—such a lovely gift for a loved one!

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 made my first sale in about two weeks. My first customers were mainly from Instagram and Facebook. It’s critical to connect with your customers and build a brand that supports the core values of your business.

I never compromise with quality, packaging, presentation or customer care. Nearly half of my orders are now from return customers, some with over 25 orders to date. 

The Etsy search and customers sharing their creations on social media is mainly what attracts new customers nowadays.

Managing Wintertime Crafts

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’s just me. I don’t have any employees but my husband helps out with inventory management and pre-filling orders. 

Every day. I print all orders and place each sheet in a plastic bin. We then find the products for each order, and once all bins are full, I start packing. Most orders are shipped using Etsy’s built in label system and then taken to the post office daily.

I use an Inventory app called Inventory Control with Scanner by Starcode Limited Company. This works well for my daily inventory tracking. 

For more overall management of products, listings, manufacturers and purchases, I use Airtable and Excel.

The future of Wintertime Crafts

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

My goals are pretty straight-forward: offering exciting new products while discontinuing others. I don’t see myself expanding or hiring help, I love my shop where it’s at now and running a small business out of my home is a dream come true.

Advice for new sellers

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

Take the leap! Etsy is a great platform with many tools to get you started. But be thorough and spend some extra time on setting up your shop. 

Will customers remember your name? Can it be confused with other shop names? Who are you? What are your values? What sets you apart from others?

Think about your product presentation: keywords, descriptions, photos and packaging. Many Etsy customers are accustomed to a more personal shopping experience and won’t appreciate a beautiful piece of jewelry or knitted scarf just thrown into a shipping bag with no real thought from the seller.

Research! Get an idea of what your competition is doing well and what you can do even better. Always track every expense you have when making and selling a product (materials, machines, packaging, time, fees, etc.) and set your price according to that—don’t simply look at similar products from other sellers to set your price.

Be patient. Put effort into building your customer base, don’t rely on the Etsy search only to grow your business. 

Don’t be discouraged, deal with obstacles as they come and remember, the customer is always right (even when they’re not).