How did you originally get into the business of making things?
I have been sewing since high school and before that I was always making stuff like clothes and furniture for my Barbies. Later I made pillows, duvet covers and curtains for the house. I went to school for fashion design and merchandising; I guess you could say creating as a career was a natural progression.
Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.
I worked as a designer for a clothing manufacturer in California and enjoyed it but never felt that sense of pride and ownership in my work. After my step-mom first told me about Etsy, I did some research and fell in love. When my sister-in-law was pregnant with my nephew, Hayden, she needed a new diaper bag, and that was the birth of HaydenJ.
How did you make the transition into selling on Etsy full time?
Working in the fashion industry prepared me a great deal for what I needed to know to run my own business. Much of my artistic, business, pricing and sourcing experience translates to HaydenJ. I also took business classes in college. â€¨I relocated at the same time as making HaydenJ my full-time job so I really didn’t have the time to prepare as much as I would have liked to.
What’s been your most popular item or line to date?
It’s a toss up between the Hip Pouch and the Weekend Tote. Some of my favorite orders have been for bridal parties. Brides have requested anything from my Weekend Totes to Ruffle Clutches and all styles in between. It’s great to be able to personalize each item for the bridesmaids and provide a gift that they will use and remember for years to come.
What are your best marketing tips?
- The most effective way I’ve promoted HaydenJ is through word of mouth.
- I have a Facebook page which helps promote sales and new items.
- I have also had success with Category Showcases.
- Finding a team that is active and supportive is important — they can often help with the business basics and offer feedback when needed.
- I try to list new items periodically throughout the day to keep my shop fresh so shoppers can see the different styles offered.
- I take my time taking pictures, paying attention to lighting, props and backgrounds.
- Use all the tags and create detailed descriptions.
- Take advantage of the many tools Etsy has to offer.
- I never leave home without carrying a HaydenJ bag.
What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
I have found that doing blog giveaways don’t bring in traffic and sales for me. I have heard these are great venues for other shops, so don’t exclude it — just find one that fits your demographic. Use Google Analytics to track how traffic comes to your site.
What is the biggest challenge you face during your daily schedule?
Some days it is incredibly hard to stay focused on what needs to be done. I have a to-do list a mile long and all I can think is how nice it would be to take the pup for a long walk or go spend the day with my nieces and nephews. I also find it difficult to get motivated to do the bookkeeping side of the business. I would much rather be sewing or working on new designs.
What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Anything you miss?
Knowing that I can make a life for myself with something that I create from beginning to end is pretty amazing. It’s something that I have always dreamed of and never thought would actually happen. I do miss interacting and socializing with coworkers on a daily basis. I certainly don’t miss the three hours worth of driving each day!
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself or someone considering a similar path?
Soak up as much knowledge as possible! Anything from how to price your items to business courses. Most importantly create something that you truly enjoy, your passion will translate to your customers.
What goals do you have in store for the future of HaydenJ?
Continue to grow and introduce new styles and amazing fabrics in the new year. I am a stickler on quality control, but someday I would like to have a couple extra sets of hands around to help out.
Have any favorite Etsy shops we should know about?
tinatarnoff: I have a necklace from her and love it. I get compliments on it all the time!
sweetpetula: The best soaps!
madebyjackie: My family loves getting her cards.
CampanaCeramics: I have five of his pieces — they are amazing.
Thanks to Aimee for sharing her story. You can see some of her work in the Seller’s Items below.
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