Tips for Becoming an Online Entrepreneur: Making Jewelry
Today's "I Want to Be" series features Katie Baker, who is a jewelry maker who sells her wares on Etsy. She is a homeschooling mom to 10 children (5 here and 5 in heaven), ages 18, 16, 12, 10, and 2. Her oldest daughter has graduated and will be going to college in the fall. She and her husband decided now was the perfect time for Katie to create a flexible job that allowed her to work while homeschooling and taking care of the children and home. Find out how to connect with Katie at the end of this article.
How long have you had your business?
I started Mary's Remedies, an online arts and craft store, not quite a year ago.
What led you to pursue it?
I was very sick after having our youngest, so I knew that I couldn't do a lot of paperwork or physical labor. I prayed that God provide an income that would fit our circumstances and that was easy for me to do.
The next day my mom told me about Etsy, an online arts and craft venue where I could sell homemade items. It sounded perfect. So, after a bit of searching for my little niche, I finally stumbled upon making earrings, jewelry and other items for children and women. I have several people that believe in my cause and have volunteered their time to help me get my shop going. Each person has their talents that they contribute, which helps Mary's Remedies run smoothly and efficiently.
I make jewelry for women and kids 5 and up. Occasionally, I sell other items like paintings and artwork. I sell fairies, Hello Kitty, Halloween pieces, cute summer fun flip flop and fruit earrings and necklaces to name a few. For ladies, I sell elegant rhinestone on metal, Victorian and other earrings and necklace sets.
All of my jewelry is affordable and good quality. I try to find attractive and well made items to make my jewelry with. Prices range from $3.00 to about $12. Most items are around $9. I always have free shipping to anywhere in the United States. If someone buys outside the U.S., I charge $10 for the first item or $5 with another item. I always encourage customers who would like to purchase more to email me so can discuss shipping prices.
Are you full time or part time? If part-time, do you anticipate switching to full time?
At the moment, I am part-time. Because of my other responsibilities, I don't foresee me doing this full time. Sometimes I work about an hour a day; other times I work a few hours a day. It is easy to fit in between taking care of my toddler, cooking, cleaning, resting, and other things that we have to do. (I can even do my work in my pajamas! I love that!)
How do you market your business?
I have several means of advertising. First, I am excited about what I do. That is the best advertising I have. I talk to people, show them what I do, and they do what they can to support me.
Second, I have business cards that I put around local businesses.
Third, I advertise on Facebook and periodically display some of my items that I post in my online store.
Another way I advertise is by paying for advertising each month. I advertise my company on LinkedIn and Linkreferral. I also advertise by listing some of my items on free craft websites and blogs. Pinterest also helps me show off the cute items.
Finally, I advertise on each email that I send out. On each email, I list my addresses for Facebook, LinkedIn, and my Mary's Remedies store at Etsy. The best advertising still is word of mouth!
What is your favorite part of the business?
My favorite part of the business is being able to nurse my toddler and help put my oldest daughter through college---all while still in pajamas!
What one myth or misconception do you want to dispel about the work you do?
I don't do it all myself. I have abundant help around here. I have silent partners who help me do the work, pay for some of the material, do the computer work and the photographing. We all work together to make it work.
What advice do you have for others who want to get into a similar opportunity?
Pray that God provide you with something that fits your needs. I have a health condition that exhausts me, so I can't do a lot of hard work. So, I can sit at the table and make earrings while my toddler sleeps. That fits me. You might like to paint pictures and want to donate some of the money to your favorite charity, but you are also taking care of your elderly mother. So, on your days off, while you rest, you can relax and unwind by painting a picture of the beach and also fulfill your other dream. God does provide for you in ways that meet your individual needs!
What is the first step?
Go to http://www.etsy.com/ and browse their website for tips on how to sell. Don't wait until you know all the things there are to do---just get started. You can ask questions later.
What websites or books do you recommend for tips?
I find this website pretty helpful: http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/category/seller-handbook/ Look through these and get many useful ideas of where to begin. Good luck and God bless!
You can learn more about what Katie does at her Etsy Store, Mary's Remedies. You can also connect with her on Facebook or LinkedIn.