Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Why I started my Etsy shop: Stories from the Buffalo Etsy Team

More than ever Etsy is connecting with individuals who want to sell their handmade and vintage items.  The Buffalo Etsy Team has seen a growth in members and with that a lot of new sellers want to know - how did you get started and why? So we asked some team members and here are their stories.

Jessie of Pigknit sells illustrated prints, clip art and other printables, and she's been selling on Etsy since 2012.

"I sell illustrated prints on Etsy. Years ago I opened an Etsy shop and listed a few items. I didn't know what I was doing, my listings were terrible, and after the unsold items expired I let my shop sit empty for years. It wasn't until a friend expressed interest in a series of alphabet prints I had designed that I decided to try listing them on my old shop. This time, with experience working in branding and marketing from my day job, I took Etsy more seriously and it paid off. I made my first sale within 2 days, and Etsy has since become a much bigger part of my life than I had ever anticipated."

Erica of PECollectibles and a team leader is a collector who sells vintage pieces ranging from jewelry to historic photos to books. She's been selling on Etsy since 2011.

"I am a vintage seller and have always had a passion for preserving history especially in Buffalo. This passion probably comes from my family who taught me about antiques and history beginning as a child. After having little financial success at flea markets and other selling venues, a friend suggested I sell on Etsy. Once I made my first sale I knew I could grow this into a nice part time business and it has been very enjoyable for me."

KitchStudios began in 2010.  Erin is a designer and screen printer who sells kitchen and home accessories including tea towels, table runners and other retro and vintage themed decor.

"My husband and I got started screen printing when we were both in touring bands and wanted to make our own merchandise. When I had my daughter, I let my recording contract run out and became a stay at home mom, while my husband ran our shop out of the Larkin building downtown.  When I found Etsy, I fell head over heels in love with their mission about hand made goods and decided to give it a go as a work from home mom. I started small with two tea towel designs and have grown every year since!"

Karin of KarinLorenc makes stoneware pottery coffee mugs, bowls, and serving pieces in bright modern colors.  She's been selling her pieces on Etsy since 2008.

"I've always loved working with clay. I started making pottery in my home after finding a rustic old kick wheel at a garage sale. I'm a minimalist so I couldn't keep everything for myself. I found Etsy almost 9 years ago, and I've been selling my mugs and bowls here ever since."

Jessica makes women's accessories including unique silk flower hair clips, bobby pins, earrings and necklaces. She opened her shop, Fast|crawl, in 2011.

"Mine is a story akin to the chicken and the egg; which came first? I don't remember if I had the idea for flower hair clips first or the materials, but at some point in 2011, I found myself in possession of two 100 gallon totes full of silk flowers, and Fast|crawl was born. I had found Etsy in 2008 through...StumbleUpon? Word of mouth? Sheer happenstance? and was hooked - I knew I had a ready made market, but didn't know where to begin. Four years later I'm still finding things to tweak, though my focus has shifted and I'm finding more business success. There would be no Fast|crawl if it weren't for the platform Etsy has provided."

Dan sells a wide range of handmade pieces including Concrete Decor, Original Art, Limited Edition Art & Photography Prints, Art Cards Editions and Originals (ACEOs), Jewelry and more.  He began his shop, DanDoroArtAndDesign, in 2009.

"I opened my Etsy Shop so that I could share my creative work online with a diverse array of people. My hope was to have others send feedback via conversations, favorites and purchases to learn what products of mine proved to have value in the eyes of others. Those hopes have been realized many times over and I am so grateful for having Etsy as a creative outlet. Much of my work includes rustic handcrafted concrete decor, paintings and illustrations."

Nicole of mealymonster makes creepy, strange, weird, and odd art dolls and creatures (as she describes them) using polymer clay and acrylic paint.  She started her Etsy shop in 2008.

"I put my artistic side on hold for a very long time in order to start a family. I found eEtsy back in 2008. I was looking for a place to reconnect with my artistic side and a creative community to share this journey with. Etsy fit the bill. Etsy inspired me to make art again and also offered a place to share and sell the art I was making."

Mary is a Buffalo Etsy Team leader who has been selling handmade wine charms in her shop, CharmedByWine, since 2011.

"I found Etsy in 2010 when I started planning my 2012 wedding. We didn't really have a wedding theme other than our black/ivory/burgundy colors, and that my family is Italian and naturally goes overboard with food and wine -- so we did end up incorporating some wine/vineyard aspects into our day. I found a really neat wine crate on Etsy to use as a card box, and I wanted to do wine charms as our favors -- but I hated all the designs I was finding! The charms themselves were made from weaker wire that bends out of shape easily, and a lot of the designs made it possible for beads to fall off the charm. To make it worse, nothing really reflected US as a couple. So, I designed and made my own!

1000+ wine charms and 3 months later, my fingers hurt and I had watched the entire Harry Potter series twice. I had leftover materials, and just started messing around with different designs other than the 6 I kept repeating for our guests. My "Vibrant Vino" wine charms were the first set I made for Charmed By Wine (which is why it is my profile photo!). Scared that wine charms would slowly take over my house, I officially opened my shop in November 2012. I love finding interesting beads and coming up with new designs, but my favorite part is helping people create something fun and unique for a gift or special event."

If you're new or want to start an Etsy shop, let us know. Looking for more work from Buffalo Etsy Team members? Visit the team's Buffalove Etsy page and the team's Facebook page.


  1. Great feature! Love reading how everyone got started on Etsy.

  2. That's true. Etsy is a great avenue for people who are starting up small businesses. It is a common platform and a huge playing field, where anyone with stuff to share can build a presence and a brand name to boot. Often, that will be done in tandem with a blog and/or social media sites such as Facebook, but that's part of the game. In any way, I'm glad that you made it this far and are continuing to do so. Thanks for sharing that! More power to you!

    Laverne Mitchell @ Digital Sales Development

  3. It's nice to hear that the whole 'if you build it, they will come' thing still applies to online platforms such as Etsy, particularly to those alphabet prints. Then again, it would still be best to really get the work out there and bring it to people's attention. If not specific works, then the entire library of it, so that the right folks can spot it and make something of it more quickly.

    Lowell Garner @ Attract More Clients

  4. It’s pretty great that you are all working as a team, and that you are bringing your own strengths and interests into your pool of work. From history to stuff that is borne out of rock and roll merchandise, you have everything going well for you. And it’s particularly smart that you have decided to band together and feature each other’s works on a single blog because you get to overlap your audiences and turn the blog into a market at the same time. Kudos to you guys, the Buffalo Etsy Team!

    Clint Shaff @ Franchise Match