September 8, 2019
Who doesn’t like to make some income? My guess is everyone because who doesn’t need money? Specially when you’re struggling to make ends meet. Well as a stay at home mother I wanted to find a way to make some cash. Even though I have a husband who has a full time job, still I wanted to contribute in some way. I decided to get crafty, get creative, make use of that artistic side of me. This idea occurred to me while navigating through social media I realized that through there you are able to sell all types of products. Thousands of online shoppers browse each day for all kinds of handmade products. So I started doing my research. Where was the best place to sell? Handmade items are not sold just anywhere you have to go where the right buyers are and where’s the most traffic. That’s when I discovered Etsy.com a marketplace where you can find unique items, handmade and vintage items as well as craft tools. A place where there’s thousands of makers from around the world designing, creating unique items.
My daughter Eden was around 6 months old when I opened my online shop. I had no idea what I was doing and how I was going to manage a small business but I had the will to learn and start a new adventure. I was struggling to find the right headbands for my baby since her head was a little big and the ones from the stores didn’t fit her comfortably. Baby headbands is what I started making for her shabby chic style and from there my inspiration was born to create for other babies. I wanted my products to be different, unique, something you wouldn’t find at a store. Baby girls are born each day and moms are always on the hunt for hair accessories for their babies. In my case I would go to different stores and just couldn’t find what I was looking for. The couple of ones I had ordered online were cheaply made and the quality was poor. Offering something new and of good quality was my main focus I didn’t want customers coming to me because the price is cheap but because of how well made my item was. Selling handcrafted items online made me be more demanding when it came to buying craft supplies and fabric. I wanted my own touch, my own style, I then focused on Disney prints since parents take their children to Disneyland all year long. I started purchasing different types of Disney fabric with unique prints like a vintage Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, The Little Mermaid, Alice in Wonderland ect. It amazed me how big the world of hair accessories was, thousands of creators all mostly mothers designing, making and selling bows and baby headbands!
The competition was real, these people knew how to promote on social media, experts on taking pictures, top sellers, great reviews just everything right. Seeing all this made feel somewhat discouraged and felt so far to reach that level of success but like everything in life you can’t expect victory without sacrifice. Even though I had this passion of creating I had to also step up my game on the business side of things. I got creative with my pictures on social media started buying small accessories and tagging them, my daughter was also my help having her as my little model. Buyers will not come knocking on the door to see what you’re selling you need to grab their attention and in this case through pictures, convincing them that you’re product is perfect for them. Selling online is challenging, you need good pictures, description of your items, measurements, what materials you used, how much it weighs if it’s made in a smoke free home, pet free home. The most challenging part was learning about shipping it can be very tricky and confusing. A small scale helped me figure out the weight of my small accessories had to also research the costs for domestic and international shipping and also combining shipping for multiple orders from one customer. Discovered also about printing my own shipping labels instead of going to the post office everyday and actually saving some money purchasing them online. Finally I bought a printer which made my life a little easier and faster to get my orders out the same day or next day. Most online sellers print their shipping labels from home, pack and send their packages to the post office or hand it to the mail man in the morning like me.
The idea of working from home seemed so much easier, selling online seemed simple but it’s not and it’s a lot of work and time consuming. I invested money on materials, uploading pictures online everyday and wasn’t getting any sales. A month passed by and I felt like a failure, I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong, other beginners were making sales and I was over here ready to close my shop. I knew I had to change something so I started making other accessories like baby minnie mouse ears, hair bows, bow ties, pacifier clips testing the waters and see what buyers were mostly interested. By the second month I finally made my first sale! I got my first review: “Very nicely made! Excellent communication, very accommodating and fast shipping!” My heart exploded with happiness it gave me hope and motivation to continue working my way through this new experience as a seller. After that I slowly started making more sales and receiving more reviews I even started to receive international orders. Places I never thought my small creations would go something that my own hands made with love was going so far to someone special. Places like Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, United Kingdom, Puerto Rico and even Tokyo!
It wasn’t easy in the beginning I made many mistakes it took a lot of trial and error but I improved what wouldn’t work I would change. Even though nobody was there physically helping me or guiding me, I discovered a huge community of mom sellers out there and through their experience and success I was able to learn and say I can be that too. All these stay at home mothers with small businesses working hard from home to provide for their families was a new goal I also wanted. It’s been four years now and it’s been such a fun ride, there’s highs and lows but I haven’t stopped learning or creating new things. I love what I do it’s my hobby it clears my mind and the best part is that I’m able to be home with my children and provide for my family. Trying something new and getting out of my comfort zone was a great change but that change brought success. Never did I imagine having an online business or having customers loving my handmade items and all because of my daughter Eden, my hair bows exist because of her. The support I have received is amazing and I’m so grateful and so glad I didn’t give up on this opportunity.