Shop Etsy

Quit Your Day Job: Maryjanesattic

Oct 6, 2008

by Maryjanesattic

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Not long ago, I learned of a shop opening in San Francisco, California called Urban Fauna Studio. Its owners are Blas and Jamie, the husband and wife team behind MaryJanesAttic here on Etsy, and they made it their mission to open a brick and mortar venture. This exciting project would not only expand upon their own Etsy success, but they also decided to help out other similar Etsy shop owners through consignment in the store. Because of their recent selling success on Etsy, Blas was able to quit his regular day job to fulfill Etsy orders and expand their home business into the new brick and mortar shop.  Keep reading to find out why they hold Etsy so near and dear to their hearts and what made them want to share that passion by helping out other Etsy artists.

When you first started selling on Etsy did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?
Yes!
Blas and I had been dreaming of opening our own store for years. We
couldn’t really decide what to sell and how to sell it, at first. With a
lucky twist of fate, we focused on handmade fiber art and supplies. We
joined Etsy at the beginning of our handmade selling career as
MaryJanesAttic. We were not quite sure how it would affect our sales,
but it turned out to be an incredible resource for testing products,
finding new customers and networking with other artists. Our Etsy
business has been contributing to our income for several years, but only
recently has Etsy enabled us to open our first brick and mortar store.
We only felt it fitting to use our store to highlight other Etsy
artists and that’s how Urban Fauna Studio was born. Urban Fauna Studio
was our way to sell our handmade goods, commercial fiber art supplies
and handmade items from over a dozen different Etsy artists!

How long were you selling on Etsy before taking the plunge into selling full time?
We
have been selling on Etsy since 2005, and we made the decision last year
to dedicate most of our time to selling online and in person. We open
Urban Fauna Studio from Friday to Monday, and from Tuesday to Thursday,
Blas packs Etsy orders and makes products.

What was the deciding factor resulting in your pursuing Etsy as your full time job?
Well,
we looked at other success stories, we networked with other Etsy
sellers, and that taught us a lot about what it means to find your
happiness. We were told by several sellers that there never is a “good
time” to start a business. That was really a deciding factor for us,
the realization that our dreams would never be met waiting for an ideal
time or a bigger number of Etsy sales
. We had to pursue our business
with full dedication! We also were in career transition. I was
finishing graduate school and my husband was between jobs. We really
needed to make our handmade business work for us. It had to be more
than a hobby in order to pay the bills and put food on our table,
especially in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Did you do anything
to prepare ahead of time before taking the plunge?

We
did do some preparation. Since we already had our business licenses and
tax papers we knew we had to work on our business plan. I looked at the
Small Business Administration web site and learned about how to start writing our business plan as a brick and
mortar. We have also worked hard to develop an identity with a
distinctive logo and web presence.

We started wholesale
accounts with various distributors and manufacturers so that we could
have raw materials to use in our products. Now in our store we carry
items on consignment and wholesale from other Etsy artists. As the
business has grown, we have found that we have less time to produce
handmade goods, so our brick and mortar store was created to carry
handmade goods from trusted Etsians. We carry goods from Etsy artists
such as: travelingrhinos, thespunmonkey, girlontherocks, redsheep,
sighfoo, knittydirtygirl, theweekendstore, vozamer, nutandbee,
craftyscientist, buttonarcade, alyssaettinger and more!

We also
made decisions to invest in Quickbooks and Point of Sale Software that
would enable us to watch what we sold and inventory all our items both
on the Etsy shop and in our brick and mortar. We understood it was
important to track which items were selling and which were not.

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business? What’s you’re best marketing tip?
I
think some of the best ways to promote our Etsy store was to start a
customer newsletter, start a blog (or two or three!), submit your
products for review by other popular blogs and magazines, participate
in Etsy Street Teams (we belong to the SF Etsy Team, Etsy FAST and The
Needlefelters Team
) and vend at local craft fairs. It is the combination
of all these things that make up our promotional strategy, and we
believe it gives us a chance to get higher visibility among a wide
variety of customers.

Our best marketing tip? Encourage feedback and
word of mouth! We believe each of our customers is valuable and we tell
them that each time they purchase from us.
We acknowledge the value of
their opinions and ask that they continue to keep us and other handmade
artists in mind when shopping for products. We believe when your friend
tells you about that “cool indie shop around the corner,” it’s worth
loads more than any newspaper ad could communicate. A customer’s
satisfaction is important, so always see that as your #1 marketing
strategy.

What have you found to be unsuccessful promotion or something that’s just not working for your shop?
We
have found that print coupons and ads don’t always come back to us. We
attached discount codes and vary rarely did they get used. We also
found that doing regular sales in the Etsy shop were not very
effective. Instead we price our items at what we believe to be fair
price points and stick to them. Our customers have been loyal to us
because of our affordability and consistency, not because of any fly by night sales.

Would you walk us through what a typical workday might entail being your own boss?
Oh
boy, we wish we had something you could call typical! Honestly, it can
change from day to day for us. But we do have some routine on days the
shop is open to the public:

  • Get up, answer e-mails and check Etsy shop.
  • Pack orders
  • Walk dogs
  • Drop off packages at post office
  • Grab coffee and go to store
  • Do inventory, stock shelves
  • Answer e-mails and order products as necessary, attend to customers
  • Pack second round of orders
  • Close shop, drop off second round of packages and home again to walk the doggies!

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job and is there anything you miss?
For
Blas, he can say that he will NEVER miss having a boss full time. He
enjoys being his own time manager. It makes us both feel empowered to
be able to make our business decisions together without any other
outside influences. He does miss the collegial atmosphere of having
many co-workers. It can be isolating in many ways to own your own
store, but the nice thing is you can get some interaction by popping
over to the Etsy Forums and Teams, which are just a click away!

If you could go back in time before you took the plunge, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now?
Prepare
your press materials sooner. Make more efforts to promote your products
and your business on a regular basis. Systematically collect and record
customer suggestions and comments about products. Inventory! Inventory!
Inventory! If you don’t know what sold and how many, you’ll never know
exactly what the moneymakers are.

What advice would you give someone else thinking about taking the plunge to sell full time on Etsy?
Take
it slowly, in stages. Don’t give up. You will make mistakes. We all make
mistakes, and the best we can do is grow from them. Surround yourself
(online and in person) with friends and colleagues who support what you
do and share common goals. It’s important to have a support system. We
would never have gotten this far if we did not have the support from
lots of fellow crafters and business people.

How’s it going so far? Are you supporting yourself?
We’re
doing well. We are
getting incredibly good feedback both online and in person. It means a
lot to us that our Etsy customers see the potential our business has to
offer!

What goals do you wish to accomplish in the coming year for your Etsy business?
We want to sell more of our handmade kits and increase our product offerings by 30%.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Etsy
has been a lot of support and inspiration for us. Thank you! You are
helping us pursue our dream jobs. We are incredibly thankful for all
the people that shop here and the crafty friends we have made along the way.

Thanks to Jamie and Blas for sharing their story and business with us! Check out the related items below to see some of their items. You can
find some of our previous Quit Your Day Job
posts here.

62 comments

  • dogties

    dogties said 9 years ago

    Amazing! Great Colors

  • chainchainchained

    chainchainchained said 9 years ago

    wow, beautiful!!

  • FruteJuce

    FruteJuce said 9 years ago

    Sweet!

  • TeachersLounge

    TeachersLounge said 9 years ago

    Great advice about preparing in advance! Good Luck!

  • glassredefined

    glassredefined said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring and encouraging..I love that they sell from fellow etsy shops...really supporting the hand made effort!

  • mamafamilias

    mamafamilias said 9 years ago

    I'd heard of Urban Fauna Studio but had no idea that it had etsy roots. small world.

  • Snowberrylime

    Snowberrylime said 9 years ago

    Nice interview and beautiful fibres. :D

  • PhineasandLou

    PhineasandLou said 9 years ago

    Awesome feature. These are always inspiring!

  • sillylittlelady

    sillylittlelady said 9 years ago

    This is such a wonderful shop and has such an inspiring story! I can't till the day comes when I can take the plunge :D

  • additionsstyle

    additionsstyle said 9 years ago

    As a new seller it is great to read about the success stories. Good Luck!

  • NicoAndMooMoo

    NicoAndMooMoo said 9 years ago

    Good luck guys!!!

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 9 years ago

    VERY ENCOURAGING!!! Just the pick me up I needed today.

  • iKnit2

    iKnit2 said 9 years ago

    Wonderful story! Great advice! Fun shop! I'm now a fan! I hope to stop by the brick & mortar one of these days. Good luck!

  • HomemadeZen

    HomemadeZen said 9 years ago

    congrets and good luck to you!

  • petalandpink

    petalandpink said 9 years ago

    what lovely colors! Congrats and best wishes to you. I love hearing these stories!

  • framegeeeks

    framegeeeks said 9 years ago

    ...great interview, the future is bright.

  • HappySolez

    HappySolez said 9 years ago

    How awesome and inspiring! I think you guys have a great attitude about your items and about life! I love to find happy people. I featured parts of this article on my Craft Fair Blog: http://craftfriendlyso-il.blogspot.com/ Have a good day! Katherine

  • soniamineo

    soniamineo said 9 years ago

    Congrats! What a great story. I wish you guys the best! :)

  • penguinandfish

    penguinandfish said 9 years ago

    This was a great read and very encouraging. Good luck with the store. It looks great!

  • mpaperarts

    mpaperarts said 9 years ago

    Neat story!

  • msladyc65

    msladyc65 said 9 years ago

    Wonderful story!! Visiting the community and reading all of the stories is giving me the boost I need to get my items up and stop holding back. Thanks!!

  • beadnchainjewelry

    beadnchainjewelry said 9 years ago

    Your story is awesome. I have been designing my beaded jewelry for over thirty years and can't think of anything else I'd rather do. Stay very motivated, and I wish you continued success. Have a Blessed day, Jeannine

  • 3littlebrds

    3littlebrds said 9 years ago

    I am just wondering what a "brick and mortal" venture is? : )

  • olivebrown

    olivebrown said 9 years ago

    interesting & inspiring interview... congrats on the opening of your store!

  • VermontFairies

    VermontFairies said 9 years ago

    Yay Jamie! I loved reading this...how inspiring!

  • CandyStickLane

    CandyStickLane said 9 years ago

    AWESOME! Congrats on your store!

  • shopgoodgrace

    shopgoodgrace said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success - both on Etsy and in your brick and mortar store! Fabulous article! :)

  • Thinkoutsidethebox

    Thinkoutsidethebox said 9 years ago

    Every thing on this page looks so yummy! The wool and the colors are just gorgeous. Makes me want to pull out all of my needle felting right now. I wish them both much success.

  • lasercut

    lasercut said 9 years ago

    Rock and Roll guys! Some great tips which I have already written down! Thanks!

  • tinahdee

    tinahdee said 9 years ago

    Great story, I think it's supposed to be "bricks and mortar" not "brick and mortal."

  • TheKnottyPine

    TheKnottyPine said 9 years ago

    You have inspired me greatly! And congrats to you both. I hope I can one day accomplish what you have :)

  • pinkshowercurtain

    pinkshowercurtain said 9 years ago

    Yay- what a happy and inspiring story. I love their shop. They are really awesome sellers. :) Love their 'catnip ravioli'!

  • allica

    allica said 9 years ago

    Great story and tips. I am looking forward to being able to do my thing from home, too! Maybe someday...

  • AuntTiff

    AuntTiff said 9 years ago

    I really enjoyed that interview. Thanks. I wish you continued success!

  • JMcGuinness

    JMcGuinness said 9 years ago

    How inspiring! Congratulations on your success!

  • FluteTeacher

    FluteTeacher said 9 years ago

    I love reading these! Each story is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  • lanedesigns

    lanedesigns said 9 years ago

    Very Inspiring! Congratulations and I wish you much success!

  • edessedesigns

    edessedesigns said 9 years ago

    these stories are always motivating!

  • Selkiemoonlight

    Selkiemoonlight said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! These stories are always so inspiring.

  • ElementLux

    ElementLux said 9 years ago

    Having met both Blas and Jamie at Bay Area venues these are very hardworking nice people. All the best to both of you. You're livin' the dream!

  • ZoeChen

    ZoeChen said 9 years ago

    Wonderful story! Congrats that your dream came true!

  • harvesttextiles

    harvesttextiles said 9 years ago

    Great story and it's so amazing that they are able to open a brick and mortar and support other great Etsy artists as well. Looking forward to visiting next time I'm in San Fran.

  • RockYourWire

    RockYourWire said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for taking the time to share your information! Awesome story :)

  • DuckySoaps

    DuckySoaps said 9 years ago

    Great story, really informative and interesting, congratulations to both Blas and Jamie.

  • babypeasandcarrots

    babypeasandcarrots said 9 years ago

    Such a helpful and inspiring article!

  • chebang

    chebang said 9 years ago

    awesome jaime and blas! i am going to be in the city this weekend and will stop by to see you. it's been toooooooo long. so happy for you. rockers!

  • tramontana

    tramontana said 9 years ago

    oh beautiful colors wool! This article is very interesting :)

  • backyardprims

    backyardprims said 9 years ago

    Wow!Fantastic! You have definitely inspired me. I wish you continued growth and success of your business in the future.

  • Pattibear

    Pattibear said 9 years ago

    I also have a shop but am new to etsy, this gives me alot of good ideas. I am in Wisconsin and would love to have local etsy shops join me.

  • belaluna

    belaluna said 9 years ago

    So inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story, great article!

  • ElementsbyJulie

    ElementsbyJulie said 9 years ago

    Wonderful article! :)

  • purplefeet

    purplefeet said 9 years ago

    felicitation Jamie and Blas your story is very inspiring and shows that it is possible to make your dream a reality! It's fun to see that walking the dogs is an important part of your daily life

  • Hyena

    Hyena said 9 years ago

    Jamie makes amazing yarn! I have ordered several times from her in the past and she always have been a doll with me. She even made custom skein for me. I am glad it is turning up that good for you girl!

  • oceanstar21

    oceanstar21 said 9 years ago

    Congrats on these two. Eventually I plan on having my own store as well. This is great advice. Thank you. ~Ocean Star~

  • thegoodybag2

    thegoodybag2 said 9 years ago

    Your story is very encouraging. I am just starting out slowly. I make handmade jewelry and enjoy it so much I would LOVE to do it full time. I just have to figure out how. I have a small business plan book that I received from someone as a thoughtful out of the blue gift. I plan on putting it to good use in my spare time. I hope that you continue to live your dream and that I may be there beside you one day.

  • simpledream2

    simpledream2 said 9 years ago

    Inspiring story. I keep reading "Quit your day job" articles and yours had me smiling the whole time I was reading. I wish you much success and am working toward the same goal myself. Thanks for the inspiration........ Lisa

  • arielsdad

    arielsdad said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing , I am working In that direction also .keep up the hard work.

  • happybags

    happybags said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring! I'm new to Etsy, so it's good to see success stories from those who've been "in the trenches." As a fiber artist, I can't wait to check out the wool roving shown in the photos--gorgeous, juicy colors!

  • FPDesigns

    FPDesigns said 9 years ago

    So encouraging - I would love to be a little further into selling my art and crafts. There are so many talented people and a lot are right here in Etsy. Thanks for inspiring me to push forward.

  • Accents194

    Accents194 said 9 years ago

    Great Story!!! I was very enthralled with what you had to say. I am new at Etsy and I rally want my business to suceed. Thank you for you tips. Jeanette

  • TheChameleonsAttic

    TheChameleonsAttic said 9 years ago

    Great read thank you!

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