Etsy Success Story: Sombras Blancas
Etsy success seems like a hard task to achieve, especially if you're just starting out.
Like many other Etsy sellers, you probably heard many conflicting opinions about whether it is or isn't possible to really achieve financial independence from your Etsy shop.
The fees, the lack of visibility, china cheapies overrunning it and no real support are only some of the complaints I've heard from fellow Etsy sellers in the last few weeks, but I'm here today to tell you - you CAN do it!
I had the utmost pleasure of getting to know successful Etsy seller, Cristina Castro Moral and interviewing her so that you can learn from her success.
So without further ado, Cristina is here to tell you about how she made it on Etsy and how you can too:
1. Let's start at the tipping point. When did you start seeing a real profit from your shop?
For my design shop, which is my main source of income now, I think I started seriously considering going full time about a year after opening it.
It took me another year to figure out everything and then I did it! I’ve been working as a full time designer for 3 and a half years now and I couldn’t have done it without Etsy.
2. How did you get started?
For me, it all started while I was studying my major in Industrial Design.
I had always had a very big interest in graphic design so I took a course in order to learn the basics and I’ve never stopped since then.
My first job came when a friend of mine asked me to create a logo for a fair trade campaign he was preparing at our university. I opened my Etsy shop around that time as well.
3. Why did you choose Etsy?
I can’t remember where I heard about Etsy for the first time but I am pretty sure it was from some artist on MySpace (back then!).
In fact, the first shop I opened was my art shop where I used to sell original drawings.
I thought (and still think) Etsy was a great platform to start testing the waters because the startup costs were tiny and the exposure great.
4. When did you set out to create your own website?
I kept selling only on Etsy for the first couple of years and then created my own website.
5. Why did you decide to start your own website?
Being a graphic designer, once I went full time I saw the need for a more professional way to showcase my work where I had more control and possibly open a new sales channel.
I also wanted to have a blog where I could publish articles about small business related topics, marketing, etc.
My website allowed me to have a space where all these pieces came together.
5. What did the first few years on Etsy look like and what would you do differently if you would have started today?
Five years ago, Etsy was a much less saturated marketplace and it was easier to get found.
I’ve seen a significant change on my most popular products throughout all these years and I think that’s the main cause.
Back then, my premade logo designs were my best selling items because it was easier for people to find exactly what they needed.
Now, I sell much more custom design packs than premade logos.
If I could go back, I would probably have focused on increasing the number of products right from the start. This may not work for everyone but in my case, variety of offer is one of my strengths.
6. You're like.. everywhere! What's your favorite social media and why? How do you handle so many social media channels at once?
I’m torn between Instagram and Facebook.
In my case, they serve different purposes and work perfectly for each one.
Instagram works better as a portfolio and to share behind the scenes snapshots (I love Stories!) and Facebook is my place for networking and finding new clients.
As for how to manage everything, it is pretty difficult but scheduling posts in advance once a week really helps.
I only do it for my Facebook page but it means I can focus on creating new connections every day instead of adding content.
7. Any tips for Etsy sellers who are starting out?
First of all, go for it!
We usually say life is too short but I also think it is too long not to try at least once.
If you have a true passion and you end up earning a living by working on it, you won’t need much more.
Then once you have started I would say stop looking at what others are doing and work harder. It’s always great to take a look at your competition to get new ideas but those ideas won’t work unless you do.
Cristina is a freelance graphic designer at Sombras Blancas Art & Design where she specializes in branding and web design for small businesses.
She runs several successful Etsy shops:
Click here if you want access to her resource library which has printables, checklists and challenges that will help you grow your business with ease.