The Etsy Blog

Quit Your Day Job: WorleysLighting

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Tell us about your shop and the idea behind it.
I was at a point in my life when I had so much pent-up creativity from never having an outlet or the time to create. This built-up energy released last fall, and Worley’s Lighting was born. I have always been fond of home lighting and have followed design trends over the years; it only made sense that my creativity would take the form of unique lighting for the home. Our candle holders come from my obsession with natural wood. We live in a heavily wooded area where tree pruning and removal goes on year round. I started to collect all of the wood I could find and came up with a few designs. Before we knew it, they became our best sellers!

Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.
I was working full time as a data manager for a sales and marketing company. I have always been the one with some sort of steady job despite the other cool, creative jobs my friends had, but no “comfortable” job ever remotely satisfied me. It’s hard to be a creative person who looks at numbers for a living. I discovered Etsy five years back, shopping for a birthday present for my sister. Last summer, I really looked into opening a shop, and last fall, I finally took the plunge.

What steps did you take to prepare for transitioning into full time Etsy selling?
I started the shop after reading every single article (I am not exaggerating) in the Seller Handbook. It took off in November, and we experienced more success than we could have hoped for. December 2011 was great for the shop, but I was stretched so thin. I was working full time at an awful desk job and giving my all to Worley’s Lighting. I continued on through January and February, religiously reading the Quit Your Day Job posts for any new advice. I finally got to a point where if I  worked part time, we would be fine financially. I went to my boss to let him know only to find out that the company was letting me go (they had been downsizing for weeks). I saw this as an opportunity to dedicate all of my time to making Worley’s Lighting a success.

I focused all of my energy into:

  • Rewriting all of our descriptions, titles and tags, making them more search engine relevant.
  • Taking better product shots to give the storefront a more cohesive feel.
  • Designing new products at different price points to draw in as many customers as possible.
  • Getting our personal finances in order and setting up systems to keep track of our business expenses.

What is your favorite part in the lamp-making process? 
My favorite part is definitely the design stage. I brainstorm and sketch all of my new ideas in a book. From there, my favorite part is attempting to pick out the golden idea from all of the others.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? 
One of my life goals has always been to be my own boss. I absolutely adore not having to report to anyone. It is such a luxury to set your own schedule and to work when you want. When I’m inspired, I can spend as much time as I want creating, and when I’m not, I can pack and ship orders! I feel so much more alive and free knowing that I can take breaks, go places when I want and be around whoever I choose!

What are your best marketing tips? 
Etsy Showcase spots have been our most effective way of marketing. We’ve been on a lot of blogs and websites and have purchased ads on relevant blogs, and nothing drives traffic or sales to our shop like a Showcase spot does. Other than that, the best thing you can possibly do is to take professional-looking product shots and write great descriptions.

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
The hardest part is wearing all the different hats seven days a week: being a customer service rep, designer, accountant, packaging and shipping pro and small business owner every day all day can sometimes get me stressed! I have my ways of dealing with the stresses, though, and it is definitely worth the trade off to me!

?What advice would you give to someone considering a similar path? 
I would say to go for it! Nothing is more fulfilling than making a living doing something you love. Make sure you have the drive to put in the long hours and do whatever it takes to get your shop looking great. Make smart decisions, read the Seller Handbook and Quit Your Day Job features, and be confident if you have a great product. Don’t be shy about getting your name out there!

Anything else you would like to share? 
I have had such a great experience selling on Etsy. I’d like to thank everyone at Etsy who works to give people like us at Worley’s Lighting a platform to make a living doing something that we love!

Thanks for sharing your story, Shelli. Check out her items below.

Seller Handbook | Quit Your Day Job Series