The Budget Smart Girl Guide to One Way To Make Money
Etsy and a Chat with Rachael Ward
If you read my Budget Smart Girl’s Guide to Selling Arts and Crafts, you might remember I mentioned an online community called Etsy www.etsy.com. It just so happened that after I wrote that piece I was working on another article, this one was about cosmetics. When I went looking for people to feature I was contacted by Rachael Ward, who by coincidence sells her line of cosmetics on Etsy. As I planned to write about places that Budget Smart Girls can sell homemade items, and Etsy being one of them, I asked Rachael if she’d like to share her experience, what it’s like to sell online, and how it’s helped her grow her business.
As you’ll see by her answers it’s an inexpensive way to launch a business, there’s low risk, low overhead. You can run it as a part time business, and best of all you can connect with, and yes, makes sales from all over the world.
Etsy is the ideal venue if you have homemade goods your want to sell. Visit the site, check out their requirements and see if it’s right for you. And if you want to check out Rachael’s site visit it at www.mixologymakeup.etsy.com
She very kindly sent me samples to try and I love this line of makeup. I’m already hooked on the eye shadow. It’s the first one I’ve ever used that lasts all day and doesn’t form ‘crease lines’ on my eyelids.
Here’s what Rachel had to say about her business and experience with Etsy.
When did you start your makeup business?
I started “playing” with making makeup in 2005 and my friends kept asking me to make them some makeup too and so in June 2006 I launched it to the public after finalizing the starting products of my line.
Did you launch it on Etsy from day one?
I discovered Etsy about a month later. July 18th 2007 to be exact.
How did you hear about Etsy?
I heard about Etsy through another supplier and I’d never heard of it before and decided to look it up.
What attracted you to selling your products on Etsy?
I like the idea that everything was handmade and seemed very artsy and chic. I looked though other sellers on there and just wanted to be apart of it! I signed up right away and spent the next 14 hours taking photos and building my shop. Needless to say, I was a little cross-eyed by the end.
If someone’s just starting out in business, do you think that Etsy is a good place to be, is it easy to use?
I drive all my friends crazy because I promote Etsy like crazy! I always ask “do you make something? Well, then get it on Etsy!” I firmly believe I would not have the customer base and business I do today if not for Etsy and my great organic makeup. I can do all the local events I want, but I would not have customers in Lithuania, Singapore, Canada, and the UK if not for Etsy. And besides all that, it was incredibly easy to use; setting up your shop is akin to any social networking site, meaning it walks you through the process and it is all cleanly laid out for you.
Any lessons you’ve learned through selling online?
Oh wow, try to be as clear as possible about your policies, shipping, products, etc…. It will save you time in emailing in the end. Always be kind to your customers even if they are half way around the world – they offer the best free advertising you can get! Be creative and take really clean photos because they sell your product.
Do you sell your makeup on any other sites, or through mail order?
Right now I am only on Etsy, it has done more for me than any other avenue so far…. I have listed on similar site just testing and nothing has happened. I do have products in salons, spas, and boutiques and I do live events and that about covers it.
How has Etsy helped your business grow?
In a lot of ways Etsy IS my business. It gives me exposure to thousands of people who otherwise would never hear the words Mixology Makeup. It has also helped me in raising money for Blood:Water Mission because so much traffic comes through and that has been the biggest blessing of all.
Do you have any advice for women who are thinking about starting a business?
Do it! Do it now! You have nothing to lose and you never know until you try… The worst that can happen is no one buys your stuff and you are out a few listing fees ($0.20). Look for something unique to do in your business that will give you an edge and set you apart from the other people who may be doing the same thing. Be honest, simple, but true and love what you make it comes out in your final product. Also, another part of my business plan is to use my business to help others because even a little bit can help. We sponsor Blood:Water Mission, which is putting in clean water wells in Africa, we donate $1 per product sold and $1 can save 1 life in Africa.