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.
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: