How YILPrintworks 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 Yasmin, I'm 28 years old, and I run YIL Printworks, a home decor brand that sells all things groovy, bright, retro, and psychedelic. A lot of our products are upcycled vintage items, such as LP records, which we add designs to and create wall art from. I actually had an Etsy account in 2017 but didn't start selling anything properly until 2019. I started when I listed a couple of artworks I made for my (now) fiancé and brothers for Christmas, not expecting them to even sell. But they sold really well, so I just continuously added more over time. I had it as a side hobby, but it quickly grew to the point where I was matching what I made in my job. Me and my fiance ended up buying a house on the other side of the country, so that meant I'd be leaving my job, and I decided to pursue my brand full time. Two years later, and we are stronger than ever! We have expanded to include posters, records, acrylic plaques, acrylic banners, fluorescent discs, VHS tapes, and totes. All items except prints are color-customizable, meaning you can choose the colors of everything. Because of this, all orders are made to order. We also offer personalized items.

I’m a firm believer that you don't need anything but a laptop to start your business. I started doing just prints and got them outsourced as orders came in. Only when I decided to pursue it full-time in 2021 did I invest in a printer, and later, more machines to produce other products. It’s more costly to outsource, but it’s worth it to build up your shop and brand. I have always had a design background; I have a degree in fashion design, and I went into menswear design as a job. I then went into installation design for brands such as Gucci, Nike, and Selfridges. Once I left that job, I started YIL Printworks full-time and have been doing it ever since. We are now available on Etsy, our own website, NotontheHighstreet, and Urban Outfitters as an official brand. I was actually discovered by Urban Outfitters on Etsy! We now have a very distinct look that is very groovy and psychedelic, but it took a while to refine the style to what it is today. Having designed for other brands my whole career, I had to find my own style, which developed over time.

Favorite items

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

My favorite products that we sell are definitely our psychedelic print collection, in particular our Wonderland and Field of dreams listings. I also absolutely love our records too, particularly our 70’s swirl and it’s all groovy design. I love our psychedelic prints because they're so detailed, and are perfect to add a pop of colour to a room. The records are also brilliant because they are all vintage records mostly from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. For me it’s really cool to take an already awesome piece and make it even more eye-catching.

Psychedelic graphic typography retro bright vintage styled 70's wonderland hippy poster print artwork
Psychedelic graphic retro bright vintage styled 70's field of dreams Fleetwood Mac Stevie Nicks hippy poster print artwork
12" LP vinyl record 70's swirl groovy pattern upcycled vintage home decor gift
12" LP vinyl record It's all groovy baby 70's typography upcycled vintage home decor gift

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 actually only took a day or two to get my first sale. I remember putting up a couple of listings and not thinking anything of it, and very quickly I got sales on them. It really got me thinking, "Oh, people actually want to buy things I’ve made?" I also pride myself on the shop being very affordable. I try to keep prices as low as possible because I’ve always hated coming across a brand I love but then not being able to afford any of it. I want my products to be as accessible as possible, so you can jazz up your decor without breaking the bank. I’ve found you don’t need to do a lot to get traffic to your shop, although we have accumulated 25k followers on Instagram and 33k on TikTok, so I know some customers find us through social media!

Managing YILPrintworks

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 only me who runs the shop, but I’m planning on moving to a much bigger office unit and hiring people to help. Everything is made to order, so it can be fairly time-consuming, but I somehow manage. I am at full capacity now, though, so an extra pair of hands is needed! I really only use the Etsy Seller app on mobile and the Etsy website to manage orders. I tend to alternate days of making and packing, so it allows me time to make a bunch of orders, then I have a day to pack everything. We use Royal Mail to ship.

The future of YILPrintworks 

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

We have some big goals ahead. We have a brand new collection coming out with Urban Outfitters, and I have a new product to launch soon too. I plan to move into a bigger unit in the next few months and then get some new machines, such as a laser cutter, to be able to do larger custom items.

Advice for new sellers

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

I get asked a lot by people starting a small business what my best tips are, and the best tip I can give is to try and try again! I have tried to sell artwork various times over the years on different platforms, and none were successful, but looking back, I only did a couple of prints here and there, and I designed what I thought people wanted, not what I actually loved to design. Find your style and do what you love!