29 March 2013

Starting a Shop: What You DON'T Need

As it says in my shop's About Me page, I started my shop once my own jewelry box got too full. I had little resources and little direction. What I did have was a supportive husband, a little extra time, and a lot of passion for making jewelry.

I've read post after post about what you need to get your shop up and running, but I also think there a few things you just don't need to get started -- so let's start there.

A Ton of Inventory:
Don't feel like you need to make hundreds of necklaces, purses, paintings, or handmade pastel wooden Easter eggs [just saw those on the front page of Etsy] to get things going. What I love about the handmade marketplace is that I can list things as I make them. It allows me to control my time [something I often lack living with a 5 month old] and set my limits. I only offer made-to-order options when I know I can commit to making them when they are ordered.

Made a few things you love? List them. Test out the water. Try your hand at taking photographs. See  what sells. Don't feel like you need 15 pages of products to get things started.

A Ton of Money:
I definitely didn't have a ton of money. I did have a supportive husband that understood my new hobby and the need for some trips to Hobby Lobby, but I didn't sink our savings into it. My shop is an outlet, not a full-time gig, and the resources I put into it reflect that.

A great resource for cost effective products for your shop [and where I buy all my business cards] is VistaPrint. They always always offering great deals on VistaPrint products. For example, today they are offering 250 business cards for $25. I used a template the first go around and loved it. As my brand changed, I uploaded images and created my own custom cards.

A Ton of Followers:
Don't think for one minute that you have to have a lot of followers to start a shop. There is no magic number. The success of our blogs and shop is so much more than numbers. If starting a shop is on your heart, go for it. Use the social media resources you have and don't worry about those silly numbers.

A Ton of Confidence:
I definitely didn't have a ton of confidence going into my shop. Sometimes I still don't have a ton of confidence. Putting yourself out there [in all it's variations] is hard. Will folks like my products? Will they sell? What if I fail?

I think a healthy does of fear can sometimes be a good thing. I think it keeps us creative, humble, and on our toes.

But too much fear? Well that's not a good thing. In need of some encouragement? Reach out to fellow shop owners and bloggers and see if they can take a peek at your new shop. Offer to do product reviews. Ask folks for feedback. I am always here to help!

Now there is one thing I think you do need from the get go.

A Ton of Excitement:
If the thought opening a handmade shop doesn't sound like fun, then by all means, don't do it! I would caution anyone who is thinking about opening a shop just because they feel like it's the thing to do. You should get giddy over the things you make. Reflect on that and make sure you're in it for the right reasons.

What are those things that are vital to opening a handmade shop? What about those things we can simply do without? I'd love to hear your thoughts!


  1. encouraging thoughts laura! thanks for sharing.

  2. oh I love this! This helped me so much. Thank you!!!

  3. great advice, laura! i can't wait to open my shop up soon with a few new items!

  4. Love this post! I keep chickening out & putting off opening my shop. This list is a great reminder to just start.

  5. You are such an encouragement to me. I've been seriously considering starting a shop. I mull things over far too much. But your post has truly made me realize that my stopping points aren't stopping points. Because enthusiasm, I have. =)

  6. Thank you for this post. I have been thinking a lot about opening an etsy shop. This is helping in my thoughts. I have been praying to try to understand if it is the direction I need to go in. I had never been to your blog before and found it randomly. Glad I did! I added you to the "blogs I adore" on my blog. http://pinkgerberdaisies-kady.blogspot.com/

  7. Thanks for this! I'm a little late to the party, but wanted to say your post is encouraging. I just opened up a shop, and I'm very excited about it! I keep reading about how I need to have twitter followers and blog subscribers to sell anything. My inventory is low...but I sell sewing patterns. All the Etsy advice can be overwhelming. I know I have put out my best work on a useful product. I'll try not to worry so much about the numbers and just keep making things :)


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