Shop Etsy

Etsy Success Stories: Ahpeele

May 19, 2008

by Ahpeele handmade and vintage goods

You’ve seen those big sellers on Etsy who seem to be making sales left and right. You have to wonder how they’ve made it to where they are: can they actually be FOR REAL? What’s their recipe for success? And just how do they do it?

This week’s installment of our Etsy Success Stories series features AdAm and Hiromi of Ahpeele.  The history behind these two is a love story.  AdAm and Hiromi met by chance and had a whirlwind romance and marriage traveling between New York, Tokyo, and North Carolina!  They presently work and reside in North Carolina, and have been a selling team on Etsy for almost two years and are quickly approaching 3,100 total sales!  Keep reading to find out what makes this successful pair tick.

How did you first hear about Etsy, and what made you decide to open a shop on the site?
A friend first told us about Etsy. We checked it out and realized it was perfect for what we were already doing, so we opened a shop in a couple days.

What do you think your key to success for selling on Etsy has been?
Our partnership is the #1 key, and it helps big time.  Of course, other things help too, like — a lot of effort in making nice things people will love, always pushing to make something better, and being nice in general.

What are the best and most effective ways you have promoted your shop?
Besides telling people we meet on the street and putting the Etsy address on business cards, we haven’t really done much promotion. That’s why we really like Etsy: we spend our time making new designs and the world is already there looking.

How do you handle such a large volume of sales in your shop? What systems have you created to manage the orders?
As a wife and husband team we’ve found it’s important to define our jobs. Hiromi is in charge of the shipping section (she’s the organized half of the partnership).  She does most of the order processing at night. First labeling envelopes, then locating the shirts, wrapping shirts, packing, and printing postage. The next day she takes everything to the post office, where they know her by name. We give Christmas and birthday presents to all of the workers there. We ship stuff everyday so people get items as quickly as possible.  AdAm answers all the customer questions, makes designs, and is in charge of printing. We work at least a few hours, seven days a week.

Are your orders mostly from repeat buyers or new buyers? What do you do to gain repeat buyers?
There are a lot of repeat people, which makes us really happy. Shipping quality stuff quickly definitely makes people want to buy again. It’s tough sometimes to be fast when you’re making, selling, and shipping. A nice package and personal touches, like a note or knick knack, usually makes up for any delays. Being friendly and patient while answering convos is important, too.

How do you stay motivated? Does it come naturally?
We’re both very self-motivated to do what we like.  We motivate each other to do the things we don’t like. We’d be making designs even if we were rich. It’s never hard to sit down to make something new.

Do you "Etsy" full time or do you have another job to
We’re pretty much full -time Etsy, but we also do custom printing. That’s AdAm’s big other job.

If you "Etsy" full time, were you able to quit your day job due to your success selling on Etsy?
We started our own business after moving back to North Carolina from Tokyo.  Neither of us had real full-time jobs.  AdAm worked in construction for a friend’s company.  Then when that slowed down, we had to do something, so making our company quickly became our full-time jobs.  AdAm had silkscreen and design experience so we built our business around that.  We found Etsy about a year after we started Ahpeele.  Etsy has definitely helped us take our business in a more artistic direction.

What is your favorite current Etsy Feature?
Hiromi — Featured seller section.
AdAm — Handpicked items.

What features do you use most on Etsy?

Hiromi — I like to browse the main showcase.
AdAm — I use the conversations.

What goals do you have for your Etsy shop one year from now?
We’re always looking for new inspirations and styles, so look for us to be even more creative in a year.

What piece of advice would you give to a new seller on Etsy who might be feeling discouraged? Do you have a quick tip or trick that you have learned over time you would be willing to share?
You should love making what you’re selling. If you love making but aren’t selling, just look around see what other people are doing.  A little research can be very valuable.

Read our previous Etsy Success Stories. See some of Ahpeele’s work and top picks on Etsy in the gallery below:


  • qwynwyn

    qwynwyn said 9 years ago

    Great success story! I've been keeping my eye on this shop!

  • eclipse

    eclipse said 9 years ago

    I LOVE ahpeele's T-shirts! I have 4 of them. I really love their organic styled designs that wrap around to the back of the shirt, and their designs with multiple colors.

  • photoglassworks

    photoglassworks said 9 years ago

    Awesome Adam and Hiromi! What a great success/love story! You two are a sweet team and you KNOW I love your t-shirts as I own at least 1/2 a dozen. Wishing you continued success!

  • BibBon

    BibBon said 9 years ago

    You guys are such a cute couple!!!! I hope my and my hunk of love muffing can hoof it on Etsy some day too! Thanks for your great interview!!

  • SupernovaDesigns

    SupernovaDesigns said 9 years ago

    ahpeele shirts are the bee's knees. My bf has one and we totally love it, as does everyone who sees it. beautiful designs on high quality AA shirts can't be beat!

  • twiststyle

    twiststyle said 9 years ago

    So great to see Ahpeele featured! They really are as lovely as their products -which are totally! awesome;last time I saw them at a craft show, I brought home 8, count 'em, 8 T's - because I loved them all SO much I couldn't decide!

  • cloud9designstudio

    cloud9designstudio said 8 years ago

    great story. you guys are my mentors! :)

  • katelynjane

    katelynjane said 8 years ago

    Love it guys!! Congrats on the success!!I'd really like to know why you have a huge parachute in your studio though... (:

  • mizzpoo

    mizzpoo said 8 years ago

    Loved your story! Loved your work. You're both really inspiring to us new artists just hitting the scene....Thanks for the great tips...

  • blendastudio

    blendastudio said 8 years ago

    Always love a good success story. Many happy sales ahead.

  • ShannonKayeDesigns

    ShannonKayeDesigns said 8 years ago

    What a great and motivating success story. Thanks for the great tips... I'm a newbie and love reading success stories to help me with ideas that would take me too long to figure out. Thanks

  • FolkArtbyKerry

    FolkArtbyKerry said 8 years ago

    This is a great article for a "newbie" like me. Etsy is a fantastic way to share your art form. I was a buyer before a seller and I fell in love with everything about Etsy! Best wishes for continued success.

  • BestScrapbookPages

    BestScrapbookPages said 8 years ago

    What a great story! Its inspiring to see what you guys have acomplished. wishing you many more sales

  • mykonos

    mykonos said 8 years ago

    oh, just love your work!!

  • sailorpinkvintage

    sailorpinkvintage said 8 years ago

    LOVE the story!!! Happy to see people make things happen!! XOXO

  • ellensgreenart

    ellensgreenart said 8 years ago

    It's so good to read about other people's success! It inspires all of us!

  • lovetuushop

    lovetuushop said 8 years ago

    wow! very motivating!

  • amuse

    amuse said 8 years ago

    I have admired this shop's prints for quite a while now. I love seeing the pictures of their set up...what a wonderful printing space!

  • beadlady5

    beadlady5 said 8 years ago

    What a great story--I'm new and this was inspiring! Hope you have continued success--:o)

  • ValerieTyler

    ValerieTyler said 8 years ago

    Congrats---love the styles.

  • hippiechicboutique

    hippiechicboutique said 8 years ago

    Your words are inspiring..."the world is already there looking"... Just waiting for us to show them what we have to offer.

  • MonjioCreations

    MonjioCreations said 8 years ago

    Love your story. It provides new sellers like me wonderful inspiration!! Thanks!


    SIKIU said 8 years ago

    Nothing better when your family support you. Good inspiration.

  • springflowerchild

    springflowerchild said 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I'm brand new and this is fresh inspiration for me.

  • lsad

    lsad said 8 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your info, it doesn't come so easily in other aspects of life so I do apreciate it so much!

  • gdjensen

    gdjensen said 8 years ago

    Way to go and thanks for your comments.I'm just starting out and you are an inspiration.

  • LJNixonartist

    LJNixonartist said 8 years ago

    I enjoyed reading your success story. It was highly motivating!

  • Diana39

    Diana39 said 8 years ago

    I love your shirts - I have several and keep coming back for great designs and exceptional customer service. It's nice to put your faces with the name. Thank you!

  • kellyvanhook

    kellyvanhook said 8 years ago

    oh I so love this story! that would be one of my goals...for my husband and I to get to paint full time together! I'm so proud for you two...keep up the awesome inspiration!

  • dreamspiralart

    dreamspiralart said 8 years ago

    I really enjoyed reading this article about two down to earth artists, who work as a team and have a successful business. Ahpeele has been one of my favorite shops since I first found Etsy.

  • soulflower

    soulflower said 8 years ago

    Wow I totally love your designs! its always great to see couples collaborate!

  • stitchcrafter

    stitchcrafter said 8 years ago

    I love seeing where you work.. I also truely appreciate that it is not all cleaned up and tidy for photos. I like to see process. And, how very charming to see a wedding photo. Gosh, so personal and intimate. That's a real treat. Thank you


    JJMOSSIEM from JJMOSSIEM said 5 years ago

    What a great story!

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