Shop Etsy

Quit Your Day Job: ShopRedLeaf

Apr 26, 2010

by Mary Andrews handmade and vintage goods

Chris of ShopRedLeaf knew in order to dig himself out of “cubicle land” and into running the business of his dreams, he would need to plan ahead, save, research, and dedicate his energy full time into launching his shop. After rigorous time and research, Chris created a line of products that he himself would want to buy, use daily, have sitting on his counter, or feel great about giving as a gift. He now enjoys the freedom to pace and prioritize differently, and be hands on — which allows him the control over the business’ outcome. Learn more about how Chris uses his shop photos and customer service skills as some of his best marketing tactics for new and repeat business in the interview below.

How did you originally get into the business of making things?
I’ve always liked making things but only in recent years did I start to think about selling them. The first thing I remember making was a beetle sculpture made out of nails. It was as weird as it sounds, but it was fun to make and it really set up an early template of sorts for rethinking a material’s intended use, and seeing a finished piece before I began making it. I still remember feeling creative when I made that, and a little rebellious somehow.

For an income, I originally started with totally different products than the current Red Leaf line, and it bombed! That was about a year before I launched ShopRedLeaf on Etsy, and I still had my day job. That was my first experience with the business of making things. But I learned a lot about online selling, and I built the site for those old products from scratch so I learned a lot about what that entailed as well. I started to build a site for Red Leaf and even hired some help for it but then I realized that if I’m going to see how far I can take Red Leaf, then site maintenance isn’t something I’m going to have time for daily. So I started looking at options, and I found Etsy. Three days of research later, I dumped my site and went with Etsy. The work Etsy saves me daily and the exposure it gives me is fantastic.

When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?
When I started with Etsy I had already left my day job a few months before opening shop. So for me it was a little different. I knew in advance that my day job would disappear before it did. I wasn’t interested in advancing in that field any longer so I gave myself a goal of 2 years to get out of the grind and make the move to my own income. I knew that I couldn’t develop any business to its potential unless I made a full-time commitment to it. So, instead of quitting my day job my hope was (and still is) that I won’t need to return to it.

Once I made the decision to be independent I gave myself time to save money, do research and develop a business plan. I also cut my overhead expenses by 60% so I could save and learn to live on less, which I figured would come in handy when the sales weren’t steady. Before I opened my Etsy shop I went to every bath and body store I could find, and in downtown Seattle that includes most of the well-known brands and several independents. I bought a ton of stuff, studied it, and used it all. I needed to figure out what combination of colors, textures and scents made a product appeal to a buyer — what made it a #1 seller. I wasn’t interested in the ingredients because I wasn’t interested in duplication. Because my goal was to quit my day job, I took this part of the research to heart and soon I had some workable prototypes of products. I put them in the freezer, and heated it in the oven to simulate extreme shipping conditions and what packaging worked or didn’t. I’d use a product repeatedly to see if my skin or hair was affected adversely. I compared store-bought to mine in blind tests with friends to see the impact of branding on a person’s perception of quality. I found out a lot about these products with my goal being to make them with simpler ingredients, an added benefit (such as a better look, multiple uses, or the ability to travel with it) and at a better price point.

Eventually I ended up with a line of products that I would want to buy, use daily, have sitting on my counter, or feel great about giving as a gift. All that research was a fun way to learn about what makes a great bath and body product. I felt very strongly that all the research and testing would help a lot towards my ultimate goal of being truly independent, and my mid-term goal of not having to go back to an office job.

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business?

  • The most effective and consistently productive online promotional tool I have is the shop itself. I always envisioned that as my main promotional tool and I put a lot of work into its look. I knew I’d be putting tons of work into promotion and getting traffic to my shop so it seemed obvious that once a person lands there it should look fun, and instantly convey my brand’s message. I felt that my shop should be an engaging place that you’d want to spend some time in, and if possible it should definitely have a “WOW” factor. So, the strongest promotional tool can be distilled down to the shop pictures. Visuals are always strong tools in selling, and online that goes double. A buyer perceives messages instantly whether those messages are bad or good. You just don’t get a second chance once someone stops by your shop.
  • There is definitely room for improvement in my shop, and I’m working on several new products and scents driven by customer requests. I have found YouTube to be an excellent promotional tool but only if actual customers are posting the review. It’s authentic and immediate.
  • I also use Facebook and Twitter, but honestly I don’t do my own promotion that well. I’m not yet comfortable with that — I’m a visual person not a text person, so promoting with words eludes me. So I depend on word of mouth, customer reviews, in person visits, and the shop (and products) to promote.
  • I also renew daily on Etsy. That exposure has led to print magazine features, online magazine features, a ton of blog mentions, YouTube reviews, and 60 active wholesale accounts. I see the results in renewing, and I believe in the power of a focused shop. I love a well designed retail store, and I had that in mind when I put together my shop and the product branding.

What’s your best marketing tip?
Well I think that depends on how you sell your business: online, locally, craft shows, etc. When I am pursuing local wholesale accounts, then my best marketing strategy is to focus on the fact that the products are made locally, by me personally one at a time and to order. Same for local craft shows. Those are huge incentives to take a serious look at my products. But for all situations, especially for online sales, it’s all about consistently excellent customer service. I was lucky in that I had a chance to work with some companies in the past that were extremely customer focused — and just as fortunate to work for a few that were the opposite. I saw firsthand the expense and aggravation that a company suffers when it is not customer oriented — not to mention the unnecessary frustration a customer experiences for what often ends up being an issue over an amount of 20 bucks or less.

Excellent customer service is the most effective, dependable way to market your business. It’s not the fastest way, but it’s an easy way to build a solid customer base. People respond well to a quickly returned message or an immediate and effective response to a problem. I had this in mind when I finally chose my vendors. If they don’t respond to my initial emails, I won’t use them. They’re telling me that they are going to be a problem down the road, and that I don’t need.

What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?

  • Free samples to friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and people I do business with, or included with a shipment to a new buyer. I’m not exactly sure why handing over a free sample doesn’t result in an order, but in my experience, it doesn’t. It doesn’t work with a new buyer because you don’t know their ordering history yet, and you could end up sending something that is inappropriate and would be counter-productive.
  • Secondly, handing out business cards/flyers out of context. Network gatherings, good. Street corner, bad. A friend suggested once that I put flyers on cars. I wish I could make all my decisions as quickly as I made the decision to not do that. Aggravating a potential buyer, then likely producing litter is not a good promotional strategy.

Walk us through your typical workday.
I’d like my days to sound very efficient and calculated, a whirlwind of tightly scheduled activities designed to maximize every minute of every day so I can be the next Mr. Big Stuff. Some days are nothing of the sort. I do usually have a main task that I want to focus on during a given day — like a new promotion, re-editing picks, experimenting with new products or packaging or something that I know will take hours. My business just isn’t at the point yet where I’m working 12 hour days every day, and I’m not the type of guy to be looking for things to do when everything is already done. I no longer have young kids or a 60-hour a week job, so I like down time because it’s still new and will eventually be pretty much gone. Still though, for some reason every morning starts around 6:30.

  • The first thing I will do is make coffee and get online to check my Etsy shop for sales, Convos or new reviews. Then I’ll process sales and respond to Convos. I’ll also take this time to stare out my window at the gorgeous view of downtown and a large park that I’m fortunate to have.
  • That brings us to about 8 a.m. and I’ll search Etsy for my products using the Most Recently Listed or Most Relevant functions, and check out other bath and body products shops.
  • Around 9 I’ll do one of several things: check my Google rankings, Google Analytics or just Google and tweak my shop as necessary. I might have to prepare weekly inventory, research vendors, contact wholesale accounts by phone, or promote on Facebook, Twitter, or blogs. Or I’ll be comparing sales/expenses to this time last month/year, visiting various forums (I get a lot of sales from that) or continuing my education of Photoshop. I work best in the morning, so whatever I’m doing is usually Red Leaf oriented. Often some of these things will take me through the whole day.
  • Around 2 p.m. I’ll either be wrapped up in an article about SEO, online selling, the latest grim news about consumer confidence, or some other long-winded article about the first quarter of 2010. Thanks, Google!
  • This is also the time I’ll use if I have to shoot pictures for products, visit local bath and body products shops to see what’s new or get involved with changing my item descriptions, titles, or tags to keep up with whatever needs keeping up with.
  • Now it’s about 3:30 so it’s time to start packing orders and make the daily trek to the post office, which also turns into personal errands and usually a walk around downtown Seattle.
  • When I get home there’s usually an order waiting, emails from vendors or customers or something that requires an immediate response.
  • I make dinner every night for myself because I love to cook and that takes me to about 8 p.m. then it’s always back to the shop/forums/emails etc. to see what’s going on. There are the usual phone calls with friends, meeting a friend for a drink or occasionally I’ll go to a yoga class.
  • I love to read and watch movies, especially in bed, and I hit that around 10:30 or so.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss?
I can pace myself differently, prioritize and be hands on with all aspects of my day — which means I control the outcome and ultimately my income. I had always wanted to create a line of products from scratch and then see them on a store’s shelf, and no job I ever had would have provided that chance. As far as missing anything about my past day jobs, there are a few people I have lost track of who were funny, and funny is important in cubicle land. As for anything else, no. Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
For me, it can be hard to turn it off — and that is vital to the quality of my day. I’m a lot better at it now; I can just blow it off if I have everything done and stop obsessing about it. Besides, nobody wants to hear me talk more than 3 minutes about my business. Not even me.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?  
You know that money you inherited? Apple stock, baby, Apple.

What advice would you give someone else?
Do the research before you do anything else. Find out everything there is to know about that venture. And stock up on stories about people who have really struggled then eventually achieved their goals, they come in very handy.

What goals do you wish to accomplish in the coming year for your Etsy business?

Since I started on Etsy the market has changed radically and online business especially. I think that a more localized approach is the way to go for the fastest growth. In the next year, I’ll be working on a lot more local wholesale and craft shows — two things I haven’t focused on. I see a great deal of potential in those areas, and Seattleites are well known for supporting local businesses. I’ll also be expanding my line, offering several new scents, and exploring international wholesale. I will still maintain Etsy as my primary online venue.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

  • I’d like to say thank you. Thank you so much to my loyal customers who not only come back to my shop but many of which are also friends and a total pleasure to interact with. Thanks especially to Dorana and to Judy. I’ve met some amazing people through all of this but you two have been extraordinarily helpful and kind. Thank you for making this new venture a lot less scary.
  • Here’s a shout-out to the wonderful people who have contacted me regarding a feature on their blogs. You all are directly responsible for my growth and have taught me a ton about what online business is all about. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I really appreciate you all featuring me.
  • I also want to thank George at Warp Graphics. He has been invaluable in helping me refine my brand and I highly recommend his services.
  • And of course to the Etsy staff. You have had to keep up with unbelievable growth within a lightening fast market while considering the needs of a very diverse community of sellers. Hats off to you all. And of course, thanks for this feature!

Thanks to Chris for sharing his story. You can see some of Chris‘ bath and beauty line in the Related Items. Check out previous Quit Your Day Job posts here.


  • atouchofvintage

    atouchofvintage said 9 years ago

    i second the notion on random card giving in inappropriate situations ~ very smart biz guy! and beautiful product

  • TuscaloosaRoad

    TuscaloosaRoad said 9 years ago

    Yay ShopRedLeaf and congratulations! I have a tin of your fabulous bubble bath and room spritzer. Really really good stuff!

  • polkadotmagpie

    polkadotmagpie said 9 years ago

    This is a great piece MaryMary....congrats Chris. No more cubicle!

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 9 years ago

    Great products, and a great story!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • craftscafe

    craftscafe said 9 years ago

    Congrats to a fellow Seattleite - your planning & research skills are admirable! & the staple suicide by dreadsky is hilarious!

  • RetroEyewear

    RetroEyewear said 9 years ago

    i love the story!!! thank you for sharing..and lots of success to you!

  • RUBYrecycled

    RUBYrecycled said 9 years ago

    Fab article - love the Quit Your Day Job articles! Always so interesting to see how other sellers work through the day and what they find successful!

  • gumbygirl

    gumbygirl said 9 years ago

    Check out my shop for Cubicle Candy!! Gotta spice it up - since we live in it!!

  • vitamini

    vitamini said 9 years ago

    Great story - thanks for sharing your success!

  • jenniferdennispotter

    jenniferdennispotter said 9 years ago

    Great article! The products look beautiful, too. Thanks, Chris and Mary.

  • ElasIdea

    ElasIdea said 9 years ago

    I love the simplicity in color and design of your brand, it's inspiring. Your shop is clean and colorful, makes me want to definitely stay awhile and browse. :) I agree with random flyers being a bad move. There's nothing I dislike more than finding flyers stuck on my windshield! There are much better ways of marketing. Wishing you many sales, Ela

  • pabrika

    pabrika said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success!!

  • StudioZen

    StudioZen said 9 years ago

    Congratulations Chris and hooray Seattle! Way to represent!!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 9 years ago

    Great article. Thank's for sharing and congrats!

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! And thanks for the tip about not blitzing people with business cards as I was considering doing that.

  • SimplyCutebyKarin

    SimplyCutebyKarin said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! And thanks for the tip about not blitzing people with business cards as I was considering doing that.

  • SeaFindDesigns

    SeaFindDesigns said 9 years ago

    Isn't it great to work from home!!? Congratulations... this was a great story!

  • CindyEllison

    CindyEllison said 9 years ago

    A wonderful article on makin' it happen! I need to pay attention to some of your excellent advice. Chris, may your business continue to grow and GROW!

  • CositasSeriasVintage

    CositasSeriasVintage said 9 years ago

    A new favorite. Congratulations!

  • thecraftpantry

    thecraftpantry said 9 years ago

    Way to go! Fantastic shop and very inspiring story. Thanks for sharing!

  • thecraftpantry

    thecraftpantry said 9 years ago

    Way to go! A great shop and very inspiring story! Thank you.

  • EvenAndy

    EvenAndy said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story:) Congratulations on your wonderful shop! I hope that you have continued success!

  • pixiebell

    pixiebell said 9 years ago

    I've always loved the visual appeal of this shop. I have yet to place an order, but it is on my short list. (and ..I didn't know it was run by a dude! how awesome)

  • sleepymoondesign

    sleepymoondesign said 9 years ago

    Great shop! Different than all the other soap sellers on Etsy, I like it is is refreshing and looks like great quality products!! Thank you for the great advice :)

  • sleepymoondesign

    sleepymoondesign said 9 years ago

    Oh and I just wanted to say that I am the exact same was I am a visual person so words are not a strong suit. That is very smart to make your shop look as visually appealing as possible so that people want to look through it!!

  • ShopRedLeaf

    ShopRedLeaf said 9 years ago

    Thank you all for your nice comments:) Theres a lot of new (to me) shops in this thread, I have to go do some checking now. Thanks again!

  • Slowshirts

    Slowshirts said 9 years ago

    Hey Chris, are you going to be at any Seattle fairs this summer? Hopefully we'll run into you, nice work! -Jessica

  • thespottedsparrow

    thespottedsparrow said 9 years ago

    Great article! I am a huge fan and my husband adores your Soap and Shave Cube. May you have many more years of success!

  • ShopRedLeaf

    ShopRedLeaf said 9 years ago

    Hiya Slowshirts! Yes, I definitely plan on being in fairs this summer. See ya then!

  • aBreathofFrenchair

    aBreathofFrenchair said 9 years ago

    Congrats! You live in a beautiful area of the country!

  • ForYouDesigns

    ForYouDesigns said 9 years ago

    Your labeling definitely catches the eye, Chris! It inspires me to know that the hard yards I'm putting in now, educating myself about the various facets of business, may very well pay off. Thanks for sharing your many gems of knowledge. Cheers, Tasha

  • BlackStar

    BlackStar said 9 years ago

    Great interview! Congrats on your success.

  • littlepancakes

    littlepancakes said 9 years ago

    I love that huge soap! and the dough! Two great ideas I haven't seen much of on etsy.

  • HighRidgeRockNbeads

    HighRidgeRockNbeads said 9 years ago

    Just loved reading your story! Thank you for sharing! Quit Your Day Job are my favorite articles to read. Your packaging is very pleasing to the eyes! Best wishes for continued success always. :):)

  • ANewLife

    ANewLife said 9 years ago

    Yours was an extremely enjoyable read ShopRedLeaf, lots of valuable insight, all the best!

  • tizzalicious

    tizzalicious said 9 years ago

    I always enjoy these. Gorgeous shop, too! I love all the color in your packaging!

  • HinaStar

    HinaStar said 9 years ago

    I live in Seattle, too. Congrats!

  • acstremcha

    acstremcha said 9 years ago

    Thanks for your story! You do a great job conveying your brand throughout your shop.

  • tigersanddragons

    tigersanddragons said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success Chris! Very interesting to hear how you took time to test your products, and even how extreme shipping conditions affected them. Wish more body products makers would have your diligence to do testing to their products. I've bought products from other crafters at craft sales that go off very quickly, or are ruined during winter travelling and that has led me to not buy from them again.

  • aptrick

    aptrick said 9 years ago

    nice you got stuff for guys - sweeeeet

  • JetWhitePonytail

    JetWhitePonytail said 9 years ago

    Love the branding, very consistent

  • ArtisticIntentions

    ArtisticIntentions said 9 years ago

    Great article! I love these articles!! Very inspirational - thanks for sharing!

  • WonderTurtleSoaps

    WonderTurtleSoaps said 9 years ago

    Congratulations, Chris! You have a beautiful shop, and I love the look of your brand. Instantly recognizable and very stylish :)

  • Yvonne4eyes

    Yvonne4eyes said 9 years ago

    Great article...I'm checking out RedLeaf right now!

  • matouenpeluche

    matouenpeluche said 9 years ago

    Something to aspire to! Great interview and congratulations to Chris!

  • BeljaysFeltnArt

    BeljaysFeltnArt said 9 years ago

    Always great to hear how people go about their business. Thanks for sharing.

  • bedbuggs

    bedbuggs said 9 years ago

    Love this article, very inspiring! Thanks!

  • vintagemaison

    vintagemaison said 9 years ago

    Well done - a great story. I love the livery - bold colours, instantly recognisable, and some excellent advice on research etc.

  • ABoxForMyTreasure

    ABoxForMyTreasure said 9 years ago

    What a fantastic article - it really highlights the importance of research at the set up stage and ongoing.

  • momochas

    momochas said 9 years ago

    Well deserved success, I think you have done your homework with your shop because it looks great,love it!. Congrats!!

  • adrienneaudrey

    adrienneaudrey said 9 years ago

    What a great article. I really enjoyed this one :)


    BELLACOSAART said 9 years ago

    Chris is the sweetest, so nice and helpful, and I love his products, Way to go Chris, Congrats!!!

  • MaggieGlynn

    MaggieGlynn said 9 years ago

    One of the best "Quit Your Day Job" stories yet! Great shop and wonderful photos...I guess that I had better place an order.

  • marinebiochic07

    marinebiochic07 said 9 years ago

    Congratulations Chris! I knew you were going to accomplish great things the first time I tried your products and I always come back for more as gifts and for myself. I need to go shopping again!

  • 4TheSparrowsNest

    4TheSparrowsNest said 9 years ago

    Congrats Chris! I loved the quote about Apple stock too. It's obvious that you've worked hard and we all congratulate you on your success.

  • rarebeasts

    rarebeasts said 9 years ago

    Your story is inspirational, I have just quit my job to get my etsy store going into a real business. Your products looks great and I like your work space lots. Thanks for sharing your story.

  • DowntownGirlDesigns

    DowntownGirlDesigns said 9 years ago

    you have the coolest shop ever!!! congrats!!

  • maxandolivia

    maxandolivia said 9 years ago

    amazing story. very inspirational. thank you for sharing and congrats!!!!

  • HomeStudio

    HomeStudio said 9 years ago

    love RedLeaf's unmistakable design aesthetic

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 9 years ago

    great info...heading back to read it again!

  • artbybarri

    artbybarri said 9 years ago

    Great products! Congratulations on all of your success!!

  • elemegibere

    elemegibere said 9 years ago

    Wonderful! Thank you

  • SandBoxStudio

    SandBoxStudio said 9 years ago

    Congratulations Chris! I hope that your success continues. Best of luck. :)

  • LulaMatilda

    LulaMatilda said 9 years ago

    Chris, I'm even MORE inspired, if that's possible, after reading this! Your enthusiasm is contagious. Thanks!

  • 2TrickPony

    2TrickPony said 9 years ago

    I totally agree about the awesomeness of etsy...and the focus on the customer. Great quit your day job article, I really enjoyed reading your story:)

  • sherrytruitt

    sherrytruitt said 9 years ago

    Yay, Chris. So happy to see you here. Your products are as awesome as your packaging. Continued success to you! xoSherry

  • JulieLillian

    JulieLillian said 9 years ago

    so inspiring! what a terrific story, chris!

  • VedaArts

    VedaArts said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! beautiful shop. I am so grateful for the quit your day job articles!

  • BambuEarth

    BambuEarth said 9 years ago

    What a great feature! You have a beautiful shop and I love your branding. I agree, photos are key in marketing! I appreciate the advice, especially because a lot of it directly applies to me as a bath and body shop! Thanks again!

  • shizendesigns

    shizendesigns said 9 years ago

    Wow, really beautiful products (and presentation)!

  • bhangtiez

    bhangtiez said 9 years ago

    this is a great story...what a hard worker & multi-tasker...congrats

  • craftpile

    craftpile said 9 years ago

    Chris, Thank you for sharing and congrats to your present and future success! p.s. gorgeous products :)

  • TKIDesigns

    TKIDesigns said 9 years ago

    Congrats! Love the clean look of your packaging.

  • EarthAngelClothing

    EarthAngelClothing said 9 years ago

    Congrats on your success. I'm gonna have to check your shop out!

  • ShimmeringSky

    ShimmeringSky said 9 years ago

    I applaud the linear and methodical steps you took to create your business - success seemed guaranteed, & you made it sound so easy, lol (even 'tho we all know it isn't). Congratulations on a fabulous shop, brand & products (the Bubble Bath Dough certainly made me do a double take!).

  • tscrapper

    tscrapper said 9 years ago

    Great article! I always find inspiration in this series, and I love the clean look of your packaging and photos.

  • MelroseFields

    MelroseFields said 9 years ago

    Wonderful shop and you are spot on about customer service!

  • ShopRedLeaf

    ShopRedLeaf said 9 years ago

    Thank you all for you nice comments, I really appreciate that. I wish everyone the greatest success!

  • nikid

    nikid said 9 years ago

    Wonderful feature! My kids just finished their bath with ShopRedLeaf products!! Chris, that was very nice of you to mention Dorana - she is a great help and good friend!

  • SatinandBirch

    SatinandBirch said 9 years ago

    Thank you, maybe some day.. Great article

  • sweetirie

    sweetirie said 9 years ago

    Love these articles! Great feature!

  • FrenchKnot2U

    FrenchKnot2U said 9 years ago

    Fantastic and well written article. What an incredibly full day you live! And, what a super way to relax in the evening by cooking up a meal for yourself. Thank you the sound advise and for your willingness to share what you have had to learn yourself!

  • karalennox

    karalennox said 9 years ago

    I've tried a couple of RedLeaf's lotions and they are incredible! Highly recommend them. And Chris does give great customer service, too. YOU GO CHRIS!

  • KarensLoom

    KarensLoom said 9 years ago

    Thanks Chris for the tips and advice.. i will certainly take into account what you have said..... Congrats on your shop!!!!

  • OsoVictoria

    OsoVictoria said 9 years ago

    Great article, thanks for the insights, good focus!

  • GoodGriefGlass

    GoodGriefGlass said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success. Great to read that your research, hard work and customer service fulfilled your dream of being self-employed.

  • KatsKube

    KatsKube said 9 years ago

    nice job. thinks for the info

  • imakecutestuff

    imakecutestuff said 9 years ago

    Fantastic article. Yay! Go RedLeaf! EtsyRAIN loves you :)

  • ifanhour

    ifanhour said 9 years ago

    OH MAN, what an inspiration!

  • mpaperarts

    mpaperarts said 9 years ago

    Love this shop! I buy from them every couple of months when I run out of the several products I have with BLACK TEA! I am addicted to this scent and I am not a scent person. Always great service, some freebies and perfect product. Inspiring story for my own biz, thanks for choosing them!

  • DPKministat

    DPKministat said 9 years ago

    All the best to you Chris! Great story!

  • velvetacide

    velvetacide said 9 years ago

    Red Leaf was one of the first shops I ever visited on Etsy. I was immediately drawn in by the labeling (i'm a packaging-design-whore, can't help it) and thought, "wow, now that's how I'd like to be seen too!" Thanks for the great article! I've always wanted to know more about the inner workings of Red Leaf. And yay! Fellow Seattleite!

  • styleforlife

    styleforlife said 9 years ago

    Incredible, such helpful information all around and I will use many of your tips and high standards of branding, etc. I love that completely! XO Emily

  • shellsherree

    shellsherree said 9 years ago

    Lovely clean and bright packaging! Many great insights and tips here ~ thanks, Chris, and congrats on your success.

  • HelloShoes

    HelloShoes said 9 years ago

    Lovely and inspiring Great Products also

  • beaujangles

    beaujangles said 9 years ago

    You are living my dream man day day I will be there !

  • wensaccessories

    wensaccessories said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing, congrats

  • Panterina

    Panterina said 9 years ago

    I envy you.... thank you for inspiring us all!

  • PeculiarForest

    PeculiarForest said 9 years ago

    thanks for sharing

  • RockRibbons

    RockRibbons said 9 years ago

    I laughed about the comment about what you would say to yourself if you went back in time! Me too, me too, Ha Ha Ha! great to see someone doing so well. All the best to you!

  • glorioushats

    glorioushats said 9 years ago

    Well written and inspiring. Much good advice. Thanks so much for sharing this story.

  • kathyjohnson3

    kathyjohnson3 said 9 years ago

    Love your story, I too was able to quit my day job - and loving it!!

  • BlackDaisyDesigns

    BlackDaisyDesigns said 9 years ago

    Great article... and very inspiring. Congrats!! :D

  • CasaDiAries

    CasaDiAries said 9 years ago

    I absolutely love the way you show your products and the beautiful vivid colors of your labels. Congratulations and I wish us all to be as successful as you are.

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 9 years ago

    Great article! Nice to see a chap in a quit your day job, also really inspirational to get out of cubical land!

  • beautyschooldropout2

    beautyschooldropout2 said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing this. I found your story inspirational as I am also in a very similar situation. Although I currently have to juggle my day job with making things, I hope to be able to devote more time to Etsy over the next few weeks and finally start getting some sales. Good luck with your business in the future.

  • discerningchichi

    discerningchichi said 9 years ago

    Fantastic and so inspirational! Well done Chris!!

  • breadandroses

    breadandroses said 9 years ago

    Maybe I missed something....Interesting interview & congratulations but there is no mention of products being handmade by the seller in this feature. Seems like seller only markets products made by others, and if so, why are they being sold on Etsy much less being featured. Surely in the tally of daily activity there would be a mention of actually MAKING. So who makes this product line?

  • H20works

    H20works said 9 years ago

    What a great feature for a wonderful Etsian I have had the privilege to do business with. My son's just love his men's line! I love it when these storque articles are someone I know, I'm so proud of you Chris! :D

  • SomethingBetsy

    SomethingBetsy said 9 years ago

    Wow. I mean... wow. I am not a "Scented Soaps" person (they give me headaches, boo!) but am seriously considering purchasing some soaps!! Not only does he have unscented (so hard to find!) I really think that some of his lighter fragrances might be fine! Just waiting till I move, and I'm pretty sure I'll be back :-P

  • pickleberries

    pickleberries said 9 years ago

    Not an easy market to be successful in, congrats!

  • MyJunkyTrunk

    MyJunkyTrunk said 9 years ago

    Wonderful article and continued success to you!!!

  • VirtuoSew

    VirtuoSew said 9 years ago

    Great story! Thanks for sharing - It's inspiring to hear how people make it without a "day job".

  • SudsNSuch

    SudsNSuch said 9 years ago

    Great article! I love reading about other soapers who have quit their day job!

  • nowonder

    nowonder said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success. I really like how the shop is brand! Well done!

  • chasedreams

    chasedreams said 9 years ago

    Great story and here's to your continued success!

  • BellaLunaCrafts

    BellaLunaCrafts said 9 years ago

    I love, love, love Chris's packaging and branding! Congrats on "not going back" to your day job!

  • tadalyn2006

    tadalyn2006 said 9 years ago

    What inspiration, congratulations (as I write from my cubicle)!

  • CarolinaCottage

    CarolinaCottage said 9 years ago

    Great story! I'm impressed by how much product research he did!

  • warmwhippets

    warmwhippets said 9 years ago

    yay Chris! Hello from your old cubicle! all of us at work still talk about you and your humor is missed at the office. that said, dont come back! i'm so happy to see you succeeding at your business. keep going!

  • SimpleTraditions

    SimpleTraditions said 9 years ago

    Congrats on your success! I've noticed you from day one, because of your awesome packaging!

  • Morado

    Morado said 9 years ago

    Great article... shop looks so well put together :o)

  • mediumcontrol

    mediumcontrol said 9 years ago

    inspirational - thanks for sharing and best of luck!

  • JeansVintageCloset

    JeansVintageCloset said 9 years ago

    Reading this article makes good sense. So much work, consideration can go into your shop. Many times I have reflected back to the brick and mortar we once had, Sometimes it was a total nighmare and others very profitable, Love the photo of Seattle, artwork, and the whimsical stapler

  • loosethreads2

    loosethreads2 said 9 years ago

    This was a wonderful article and your shop is phenominal! Keep up the great work!

  • genisepark

    genisepark said 9 years ago

    I love reading these success stories. Good work.

  • PUREnaturalMinerals

    PUREnaturalMinerals said 9 years ago

    What a great story!

  • BodyLuxe

    BodyLuxe said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story with those of us who are redy to follow ing your footsteps! Congrats:)

  • missrubysue

    missrubysue said 9 years ago

    The colors and simplistic design are attractive and catchy. Great job on selling your products- after all, it is all about packaging isn't it? Lori creative director

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 9 years ago

    Congrats! Your hard work paid off. Wonderful article!

  • MeowBarkArt

    MeowBarkArt said 9 years ago

    Your photos really are amazing! They make me want to pick up the products & smell them to find out which scents I prefer... congratulations on your success!

  • BartonsCreations

    BartonsCreations said 9 years ago

    Such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your insights and your fabulous products. Love it!

  • Interprintations

    Interprintations said 9 years ago

    I always love reading these Quit Your Day Job features. It's nice to hear how fellow Etsy full-time sellers are managing! Chris - your shop is full of gorgeous eye candy, and it seems you've really done well with it's branding. Congrats on your success!

  • mamalotsoftots

    mamalotsoftots said 9 years ago

    Your products are gorgeous! I'm going to go search thru your products now. lol. I would love to get to where you are. Congratulations on your success!

  • ialbert

    ialbert said 9 years ago

    Very detailed interview thanks and very inspirational at the same time very determined in what you are doing. You are real guru. Congrats & Best wishes Chris.

  • ScrapHappyLyrebird

    ScrapHappyLyrebird said 9 years ago

    This is so inspiring as I am mindlessly typing in data entry at my windowless desk!

  • FerntreeStudio

    FerntreeStudio said 9 years ago

    Holy cow at the research! Great job. :) angie

  • Metamorphosi

    Metamorphosi said 9 years ago

    I love this story!Great article! I am so happy about my Etsy shop and reading stories like this makes me feel in the right place!Thank you Etsy!!

  • sucree

    sucree said 9 years ago

    Great interview Chris! Best wishes for continued success!

  • yarncoture

    yarncoture said 9 years ago

    What a wonderful and inspiring story! Congrats and thanks for sharing!

  • 1920

    1920 said 9 years ago

    very authentic and detailed story, love it!

  • BlessedRepublic

    BlessedRepublic said 9 years ago

    Good choice of following your hearts desire and well planned. Keep it up. Thanks for the inspiration .

  • AlpenglowVintage

    AlpenglowVintage said 9 years ago

    Thanks. Feeling a lull in my new shop and wondering if I've burned myself out already. This article reinspired me. Thanks again! p.s. I used to work in that skyscraper shown in the photo behind the fan!

  • slubird

    slubird said 9 years ago

    What a great article! Really fascinating to read the in-depth account of an Etsy seller's day, and I had no idea what it was like to make bath and body products. I also adore RedLeaf!

  • pearlies4girlies

    pearlies4girlies said 9 years ago

    Wow, what a fab story! I love the look and feel of your shop and items. A great inspiration to draw from. Well done!

  • Loreesjewelrybox

    Loreesjewelrybox said 9 years ago

    Great story! I am just starting out on Etsy adn this article gave me alot of insight... thank you so much

  • Stephaniegeology

    Stephaniegeology said 9 years ago

    Wonderful story. Great inspiration for us.

  • banyantreeclothing

    banyantreeclothing said 9 years ago

    My first reaction when I went to his shop, was that he really has his brand image together and the logo and packaging is so professional. I can't express how important that is, to me, at least. Your image is a lot!

  • ArtisticPaws23

    ArtisticPaws23 said 9 years ago

    Thanks for the article and all the tips. I especially like your approach to customer service. The outline of your typical day is very insightful. Congratulations on your success!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 9 years ago

    Kiddos to you for getting out of that cube and starting your own successful business, wish you continued success in all you do in life. Way to go and thanks for sharing with all of us.

  • klacustomcreations

    klacustomcreations said 9 years ago

    congrats to you, great tips and story. I agree excellent customer service is key, that is one of the best ways to build your business. I am always disappointed when I receive a great product but it took longer than promised or the customer service was terrible, the product alone won't bring me back.

  • tricollectivedesigns

    tricollectivedesigns said 9 years ago

    grats and thanks for the tips. I hope to follow in your footsteps.

  • AllAboutTheFiber

    AllAboutTheFiber said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. Great inspiration!

  • sherrisscentsandsoys

    sherrisscentsandsoys said 9 years ago

    Great interview and inspiration! Congratulations on your success.

  • Furiousdreams

    Furiousdreams said 9 years ago

    I loved this interview. Great tips from Chris and a lifestyle that resembles mine.... I wish I'd invested in Apple stock!!

  • goodegear

    goodegear said 9 years ago

    Wonderful interview! Congrats

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 9 years ago

    This was a very inspiring interview. You brought out a lot of good points and a lot of valuable information and you know from the start how you wanted your business to be and so that's what you did from the start. Thank you

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 9 years ago

    Great products, and a great story!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  • GetLathered

    GetLathered said 9 years ago

    Great interview, Chris-- I enjoyed seeing how you escaped the daily grind. An appreciated your descriptions of developing and implementing your business plan.

  • Caskendesigns

    Caskendesigns said 9 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing! Love your products and enjoyed seeing your shop.

  • LAccentNou

    LAccentNou said 9 years ago

    Great and encouraging story! Thank you for sharing! I wish you a lot of success! Anastasia

  • traceygarciadesigns

    traceygarciadesigns said 9 years ago

    Very impressive and inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • ParisianDreams

    ParisianDreams said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! Very inspirational!

  • PonyDustCosmetics

    PonyDustCosmetics said 9 years ago

    Chris You shop is awesome. I must admit when doing my research your shop had the biggest impact on my designs and photos. Fantastic job.

  • gardenleafdesign

    gardenleafdesign said 9 years ago

    You are awesome ! Thanks so much!

  • jechorydesigns

    jechorydesigns said 9 years ago

    Wish you continued success!

  • CottageOnTheCoast

    CottageOnTheCoast said 9 years ago

    what a great article. i hope to be there one day!

  • kathryncole

    kathryncole said 9 years ago

    Great article!

  • atomicblue

    atomicblue said 9 years ago

    Great article! Tho I've personally found samples of my wool + tasty candy to be a winning combo for freebies. Fabulous tips & confirmation that I'm doing the right thing!

  • bluecreekhome

    bluecreekhome said 9 years ago

    Thanks for all of the tips. Your shop is absolutely fun to look at! Rhonda

  • littleANGELboutique

    littleANGELboutique said 9 years ago

    I love success stories. Hard work definitely pays off. Thanks for sharing!

  • cokiepopaper

    cokiepopaper said 9 years ago

    One of the best interviews that I have read on Etsy. Great details in this interview. I'm striving to get to this level.

  • positiveflow

    positiveflow said 9 years ago

    All I can say is WOW!!! You give me HOPE!! I am a newbie to etsy but love it already!!♥

  • mmtncrfts

    mmtncrfts said 9 years ago

    Great story. Inspiring and helpful. Thanks for sharing and congratulations on your success.

  • ShopRedLeaf

    ShopRedLeaf said 9 years ago

    Hi everyone! Thanks so much for all the nice comments, they are amazing to read! Also, I wanted to clarify a point I made not have made clear in the interview when I talked about my typical day. I cant believe I left out the time spent making soaps and bases and doing prep work and filling the orders. And that has led to a few convos asking if I do in fact make my own stuff. Yes, I definitely do! I actually do everything myself so I just wanted to pop in and clarify that. I cant believe I left that part out! Thank you all again so much for your nice comments, they are very inspiring:)

  • ambette

    ambette said 9 years ago

    Congrats on your success! I love the shop and it's obvious you've put so much work into it. Just shows how hard work and research pays off. Well done, and wishing you much future success!

  • WoodNPiece

    WoodNPiece said 9 years ago

    So inspiring. What a great article! Thank you.

  • SadieThenTy

    SadieThenTy said 9 years ago

    Great Advice !

  • BotanicalBead

    BotanicalBead said 9 years ago

    I am so inspired. Thank you for sharing your story of success.

  • GabbyandZack

    GabbyandZack said 9 years ago

    Great article! Very inspiring. Way to go Chris. Thanks for sharing.

  • frenchtoastfriday

    frenchtoastfriday said 9 years ago

    Congrats Chris! I really like your packaging.

  • louisagallery

    louisagallery said 9 years ago

    very usefull!!

  • VioletVickers

    VioletVickers said 9 years ago

    Great article. I haven't got time to read it properly now but will go back and enjoy it later. You have obviously worked very hard and planned well. You deserve success. Good Luck.

  • TerrorDome

    TerrorDome said 9 years ago

    Really good read! I'm taking notes..........Thanks :)

  • cartwheel

    cartwheel said 9 years ago

    What a great interview!! Research, research, research... Love the bright're right, I do want to spend time in your store :)

  • alexskye

    alexskye said 9 years ago

    Wonderful article and great business strategy. It's nice reading inspiring articles.

  • KreatedbyKarina

    KreatedbyKarina said 9 years ago

    Great to see you here! Best of luck with your business!

  • PoeticArtImpressions

    PoeticArtImpressions said 9 years ago

    What a great story. It is my inspiration for the day. Thank you for that.

  • modernbird

    modernbird said 9 years ago

    fantastic interview! thanks so much for sharing. ~Laura

  • riricreations

    riricreations said 9 years ago

    Now THAT was very inspirational reading, and REAL. Thanks!

  • sewsuzanne

    sewsuzanne said 9 years ago

    A great read!!! And very inspirational! Thanks for sharing :)

  • ecochicplanet

    ecochicplanet said 9 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing! I especially enjoyed walking through your day. You mean there's a possibility for time to cook!?

  • appletreejewelry

    appletreejewelry said 9 years ago

    This was one of the best articles I have read on etsy success. Full of useful info and advice. Thank you! So jealous of your day job status Mr Redleaf!

  • SoaperieMaindeNature

    SoaperieMaindeNature said 9 years ago

    Thanks for the tips, you are an inspiration for me. When you have a passion for a craft, you want to be the best you can be! Nic

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 9 years ago

    You look very organized and it sounds like you work hard to keep up with the trends. I like the fact that you see what others are doing in your field and try to improve upon it. Great advice. And I must add, your pictures look appealing - keep up the good work in photoshop.

  • shopperdesign

    shopperdesign said 9 years ago

    Thanks Chris, very inspirational and great advise on customer service. Sometimes we forget that it is all about the customer. continued success to you

  • Lipeony

    Lipeony said 9 years ago

    Great article you're so very methodical and organized just like your working space =D Keep up the great job =D

  • NaturalAmber

    NaturalAmber said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring! :)

  • Chandeluse

    Chandeluse said 9 years ago

    Thanks, I am hoping to make this my job. I was making jewelery but found people bought more vintage stuff so now I concentrate on that. I do find that good customer service leads to repeat business. I appreciated all your advice. I am not sure how to renew daily though.

  • hollynsage

    hollynsage said 9 years ago

    Great article! Congratulations on quitting your day job! I have a question: You said<"I also renew daily on Etsy" - what does this mean?

  • FaeryKissNaturals

    FaeryKissNaturals said 9 years ago

    Chris, from one soap maker to have a great line!! EXCELLENT article, thank you so much!!

  • UnconventionalMinds

    UnconventionalMinds said 9 years ago

    Great advice and insight, thanks! I am going to go tweak my shop now, yours has inspired me! Now if only I had a bath tub I would get some bubble bath dough... :)

  • OhFaro

    OhFaro said 9 years ago

    Great article. It's nice to put a face to the avatar!

  • BeadedTail

    BeadedTail said 9 years ago

    Congratulations Chris! Continued success to you!

  • giftforallseasons

    giftforallseasons said 9 years ago

    I am so inspired by you, and your wonderful shop. I truly love all the great advice, and all that you've shared!! Thank you! Continued success!

  • PinkSenorita

    PinkSenorita said 9 years ago

    Thanks for your story. I appreciate your tips on how to be sucessful and get the word out.

  • Whimsywares

    Whimsywares said 9 years ago

    As one soap shop to another -- Congrats!

  • goingplaces2

    goingplaces2 said 9 years ago

    I love the bright and yummy colors. Great job on your packaging Chris!

  • goingplaces2

    goingplaces2 said 9 years ago

    Great job on your packaging Chris. I love the bright and yummy colors!

  • Tuesdaymoon

    Tuesdaymoon said 9 years ago

    That was so inspiring. I learned a lot and decided to share it on Linked In because this info is too good not to share. Best of luck and much success!

  • art68

    art68 said 9 years ago

    I love the story,I just quite my day job and help my husband to run a chinese art store on etsy,your story give me more confidence.Thanks for sharing.

  • timenlovejewelry

    timenlovejewelry said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. I am very new in this online selling. I am doing what you are preaching... researching.... Thanks so much. I am learning all I can from your interview. Thank you!

  • lilabelledesign

    lilabelledesign said 9 years ago

    thanks for sharing, great story ;o)

  • fluxplay

    fluxplay said 9 years ago

    Im really glad you don't advocate spamming your biz cards everywhere / inappropriate situations as it's just not indicative of the handmade ethos. Thanks for the interview.

  • houdacrea

    houdacrea said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing.Greet story!

  • houdacrea

    houdacrea said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing.

  • TakeyceArt

    TakeyceArt said 9 years ago

    So inspring!

  • ImageNationphoto

    ImageNationphoto said 9 years ago

    Such great inspiration for those of us trying to stay OUT of cubicle hell! :-) Thanks for sharing your story and that Bubble Bath Dough looks like something I need to buy!!

  • soulfullysilver

    soulfullysilver said 9 years ago

    I'm inspired by your story... Best of Luck!

  • Epiphany6andCo

    Epiphany6andCo said 9 years ago

    I LOVE your shop and brand style! Glad to see a face & story behind the wonderful product!

  • camstudiostore

    camstudiostore said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! Great story and your products look wonderful!

  • MulberryHillDesigns

    MulberryHillDesigns said 9 years ago

    Thank you for all your tips. They are very helpful.

  • lavendarblue

    lavendarblue said 9 years ago

    Excellent photos and great products,beautifully packaged. Looks like success to me!

  • LatheratiSoap

    LatheratiSoap said 9 years ago

    Great story! Thanks for the inspiration :-)

  • LeafLee

    LeafLee said 9 years ago

    Great ideas and advice to think about. No one wants unnecessary litter! I love your branding/labeling!

  • TheWoodGarden

    TheWoodGarden said 9 years ago

    What gorgeous, bright, colourful shop photos! Nicely done!

  • PatchworkMountain

    PatchworkMountain said 9 years ago

    Great story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Campkaloli

    Campkaloli said 9 years ago

    What an inspiration..... great photos..... outstanding packaging.....

  • bittybambu

    bittybambu said 9 years ago

    What can I say?? Completely inspiring. Thanks.

  • elisemahan

    elisemahan said 9 years ago

    thanks for this article, I'm new to and I found it incredibly inspiring and helpful.

  • BlueBoxStudioToo

    BlueBoxStudioToo said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing and being an inspiration.

  • thehillbillywife

    thehillbillywife said 9 years ago

    Wow! i need to do some re-thinking for sure!

  • PetScribbles

    PetScribbles said 9 years ago

    Congrats on quitting your day job, and nice interview!

  • mewnewmew

    mewnewmew said 9 years ago

    Thanks for sharing. wish i cud quit my day job too!

  • lindab142

    lindab142 said 9 years ago

    Great article. Congratulations and best wishes for more success.

  • dorana

    dorana said 9 years ago

    CHRIS!!! CONGEMULATIONS! We're so happy for you that I was screaming with glee when we finally caught up on our emails! The hubby kept me away from the computer while we were on our honeymoon and trust me it was a tough struggle for him! LOL Thank you so much for your kindness and friendship. We've always believed in you!! Your products are exceptional and your dedication contagious! Lifting my glass of OJ to you my friend - here's to much more success and happiness - you deserve it all! siempre- dorana

  • EviesToolEmporium

    EviesToolEmporium said 9 years ago

    Congrats on your hard work and continued success!

  • DevineDesignStudios

    DevineDesignStudios said 9 years ago

    Good job detailing the early planning and concept/product development that you took the time to optimize your ability to achieve success.

  • realisbeautiful

    realisbeautiful said 9 years ago

    I have loved your shop for a long time, and it was one of my inspirations when I was researching and developing my own. I just read this, although it was posted a while ago now, and I think: no wonder his shop is so great! Congratulations and thanks for sharing your story. Kirsten

  • pandoraslocker

    pandoraslocker said 9 years ago

    What a great article! Incredible amount of research and trial and errors that went into his shop.

  • wonderartstudio

    wonderartstudio said 8 years ago

    I have had the pleasure of using and falling in love with chris's products and am proud to say I've shared with friends, my beauty secret. I love the brand, products, and the genius behind them....... thanks chris sincerely jen

  • in2ition

    Jennifer from aMATTERcontinuum said 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and the steps of your daily day. It is helpful to hear the words "trial and error" to remind us that everything is a work in progress and takes time to make right. Your shop displays this with your wonderful products!

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