Why do I have the tierneycreates Etsy shop? In this post I share what motivated me to originally open the tierneycreates: a fusion of textiles and smiles Etsy shop; and what motivates me now.
I originally opened the shop as a part-time business in December 2013 to:
- Justify all the money I had spent over the years on fabric and sewing/quilting supplies.
- Motivate myself to spend more consistent time creating and sewing with the fabric and supplies I own (to decrease my fabric stash).
- Provide support (and justification) for future fabric and supplies purchases.
As you will see later in this post, my current motivations for having an Etsy shop now expand beyond those original reasons.
I selected Etsy over selling on eBay as a selling venue, as Etsy appeared to be a friendly venue and forum for connecting those who have handmade items to sell with individuals who are seeking handmade items!
Etsy Shop Challenges
One of the challenges I faced when opening the shop, was that I work full-time.
I read in one or two of the Etsy Seller Forums, that you need to have an adequate selection of items in your shop to attract and interest customers. For example – if you only have like 10 items in your shop, potential customers will look briefly at your shop and move on.
So I decided that until I could find the time to make more handmade items, I would supplement my handmade items with selling a small selection of fabric yardage and pre-cut fabrics (like “jelly rolls” and “fat quarters”). Then plan was to “bulk up” my Etsy shop with additional offerings, so potential customers would not just pass me by (as a sad empty looking shop, ha!)
Well, If you want to see why I would never open a quilt shop (much respect to those who do) see my post from June 2015 – Adventures in Retail. I could not believe how cumbersome and stressful it is to try and cut fabric yardage for a customer; or to create sets of fat quarters.
I always panic that I will “short” a customer on yardage, so I have been very generous in my cutting. I would likely have very low profit margins as a quilt shop owner – ha!
Additionally, I never fully appreciated those sweet little sets of fat quarters I see in quilt shops, until I tried to make them myself. I now bow in respect to those who work in quilt shops!
Learning to properly package and ship items when they sold was another learning curve I had as a new Etsy shop owner. I can now package and ship items in my sleep (I did develop a process and have a section of my laundry room set up for packaging). Eventually I taught “Terry the Quilting Husband” how to handle packaging and shipping and he helps with the least fun part about an Etsy sale.
Current Motivations & Inspirations
It is now 2016, and my motivations for having the tierneycreates Etsy shop are different from my original motivations.
One of my primary reasons I continue to manage my shop on Etsy (as it is still not a “quit your day job” kind of business) are the CONNECTIONS I have with customers. I have enjoyed many Etsy conversations with fellow quilters who have purchased fabric and with customers who have purchased my handmade items.
It is very exciting to me that fabric I sold someone gets to go into their project, or that something I made is going into someone’s home or as a gift to someone they care about. As a bonus, a positive review on Etsy from a customer is such a huge treat! I feel like I am living my tierneycreates tagline, “fusing textiles and smiles”.
I have considered from time to time – “why continue with the Etsy shop, it is extra work and you already work many hours in your full-time health care job?” Then I remind myself it is a fun hobby and the non-monetary rewards I receive from having the shop.
Speaking of customers – I met this wonderful woman through an Etsy transaction and I now follow her blog and consider her a new long distance friend – Martha’s Blog.
Here is the fabric she purchased from my shop (the entire remaining bolt, it is now sold out):
AND – here is what she did with it (which blows my mind and makes me so glad I had the fabric available to sell her!):
Here is a link to the post about this amazing quilt which was part of a her quilting guild challenge – Shapely Challenge Revealed.
I would have never imagined using that fabric in such a creative way. I am very inspired!
I am debating if in the future, once my current selection of fabrics are sold from my shop, whether to keep selling special fabrics.
On one hand, I really enjoy seeing what people make with the fabric they purchase from my shop and connecting with other crafters. On the other hand I am too small an operation to purchase fabric at the wholesale rates that a quilt shop would and there is a very small profit margin on the fabric I sell (it covers the gas to get it to the post office to ship, ha!).
However buying fabric to resell, does help finance any fabric I keep for myself from a beautiful bolt of fabric. If I do continue to sell fabric, I will only sell fabrics I want to use in my own projects.
Another option would be to sell fabric already in my personal fabric stash, but I have worked hard over the past couple of years to donate to charity thrift shops any fabric I do not absolutely love or do not have planned for any future project (see my post The Fabric Purge).
Also, I would not want to sell on my Etsy shop any fabric that I would now pause and think: “what the heck was I planning when I bought that?!!?!” I bet all quilters have fabrics in their stash that look like they were on hallucinogens (or other mind altering substances) when making their original purchase.
So that is the current story on this Etsy shop journey, thanks for reading. So far being an Etsy shop owner has been a fun, challenging and wonderful experience!