Kirsten Devitt has been selling up a storm on Etsy since 2009. Her eye-catching earrings and accessories are such a hit, her store Each To Own has amassed more than 6000 admirers, a five-star rating and more than 4600 sales.
Kirsten runs her store from her home studio at her family’s off-grid property in the northern New South Wales coastal town of Murwillumbah. Amid the upkeep of the property and her most important role as a mum, she says Etsy provides an essential outlet for her creativity.
“The creativity that Etsy has brought into my life is essential to my wellbeing,” she says.
“Without having joined Etsy and gaining the confidence, by way of people being interested in my products and buying them, to keep growing as a creative person I don’t think that I would have the sense of self that I have…I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now creatively.”
Kirsten’s success on Etsy almost happened by accident after a friend asked her to make some earrings for a school Mother’s Day stall.
“She asked if I could make some stuff for her to sell and I said, ‘Sure’ and she said, ‘What about 300 pairs of earrings?’!” Kirsten recalls.
“I said, ‘OK’ because I learned very early on you just say, ‘yes’. Afterwards, the feedback from her was that people loved the earrings and I really needed to do something with them.
“That big sale gave me the confidence to think I could give it a go, so I opened my shop.”
Opening the store in the same year as giving birth to her son Clem, now seven, proved to be no barrier to selling on Etsy. Balancing work with motherhood has come naturally to Kirsten, even if there are times when she feels guilty.
“I was always consistently busy to the point I was worried that my priorities were wrong, that I should have been with Clem more or whatever,” she says.
“But you know, it’s everybody’s conundrum these days with being a mum and working. You work it out.
“I’m always keen to remind myself that having a little boy see a mum have a full-time job in the creative industries and working hard would hold him in good stead when it came to role models.”
In the past six years, Kirsten has thrown more energy, time and money into her store. She has added more products to her range, experimented with new designs and used a wider array of materials.
As a result, Each To Own has flourished. Her glitzy, bright and unique designs have attracted buyers from around the globe as well as homegrown celebrities Patience Hodgson, lead singer of The Grates and sisters Emma and Amy Sheppard from indie band Sheppard.
Kirsten says her customers have provided the most gratifying rewards for her hard work.
“Sure, it was nice to get a bit of recognition where people started wearing the earrings, like we had some bands, singers and models wearing them,” she says.
“But that wasn’t it. It was when I started getting repeat customers and people started giving really positive feedback.
“That was when the commitment to do it became stronger.”
Living off-grid has been a major achievement for Kirsten and her family. The sun powers all the equipment in her studio, including a laser-cutter.
“It’s been hard to get it to this point, but it’s pretty cool,” she says.
“It’s really quite easy because we’re out in the middle of beautiful, big sunny skies and we have a generator if we need to power things.”
But living in a regional town – Murwillumbah is a 25 minute drive from Byron Bay – hasn’t hampered Kirsten’s connection to the seller community at Etsy. She is a member of two Etsy teams – BrisStyle Inc and Etsy Parents Australia and New Zealand.
A connection to other Etsy sellers has helped in both a professional and personal capacity.
“It takes the internet off the screen and you actually form really close friendships and bonds with other people that are doing what you do,” she says.
“I have a community of other Etsians who are my good friends and they give me encouragement to reach my creative goals through their support.
“I feel I am pretty lucky to have the creative opportunities I have been given in life, and Etsy plays a big role in that.”
Ready to start living your dream? Grow your creative business and open your Etsy shop now.
*All images by Nat McComas
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