wonderfully made: My Etsy selling story

Monday, July 21, 2014

My Etsy selling story

Happy Monday everyone! There has been a lot of chatter (mostly from me) within the last week on social media about my new Etsy shop: SweetSuits. I want to use this little corner of the Internet to share more about the who/what/why/where/how's of my new venture and hopefully inspire you to check out my products or maybe even start a store of your own!

The idea came to me about 2 months ago when I pinned this image on Pinterest. I'm always looking for fun swimsuits and I hate showing up in the same suit as someone else (don't we all?). I started pittering around on Etsy and ended up buying a swimsuit top from this shop owner, the same one that makes the popular one that I had pinned. I really like the top and I've gotten some compliments on it, but I had a few issues with it...

First - I noticed in the reviews that a lot of the customers weren't happy with the fit (it slid down when they bent over, etc.) and they didn't like how wide the back was. I seemed to agree with both of these statements after I got my top, but I knew what it would look like and how it would perform, so I wasn't entirely displeased.

Second - the suit was VERY simply made and had a few small issues like gapping and unfinished edges. I immediately knew I could make something similar and better.

Since the wide back seemed to bother me (and others) the most, I got on Etsy to see if anyone was selling a normal bandeau top with a proper back closure like a clasp or tie. I couldn't find ANYTHING! I couldn't believe that it could be THAT hard to make a swimsuit top that fits and performs like one you can find in any other store front. 

So with that, I starting thinking about starting a shop and making suits. I found more images that I wanted to try out and did my research on Etsy about what people were making and charging.

First I tested a swimsuit top using cheap material I got at Jo-Ann. It served its purpose and I was able to answer a lot of questions I had about how to make the top (since I was sewing without a pattern). I learned that my 68+year old Singer sewing machine wasn't going to cut it since it only had 1 stitch pattern and I needed  a zig zag stitch for the nature of swimsuit material. I also learned how thin cheap fabric can be!

the prototype

Then, I found some great resources that have super cute patterns and solid colors and are great quality, so I ordered samples from them. Once I got my samples, I ordered a few yards of 3 three different fabrics. 

my first fabric order!

Last week, after a plan to borrow a sewing machine that could do a zig zag stitch failed, I took the plunge and found a great deal on a simple machine on Craigslist (are you sensing a theme in my shopping trends?). As soon as I got home I got to work sewing my next suit. It came a LONG way since the first one, and that's when I took photos and listed it for sale here as a pre-order. I have access to a great number of different patterns and colors, so at the moment I'm letting my customers decide which combination they want. It's a great way to keep production costs down!

my craigslist score (3/3, if you're counting)

just a small amount of the patterns available!

my first listing!

So that was my path to opening my Etsy shop. Of course, I listed (and sold!) a few camera straps before I had everything ready for the swimsuits. My goal is to be able to make fun, quality things and sell them at a great price. A lot of Etsy items are really great, but sometimes I feel like sellers take advantage of their customers just because it's a handmade item. I need to be able to buy my materials and pay for my time and shipping, but that's all I'm going to be charging my customers. As I come across crafts and projects that I think will benefit customers, I'll make them. I'm just super excited about this new creative outlet and I hope to be successful!

my first sale!

fun camera straps posted this weekend

fabric I'm hoarding for future crafts!

Of course, I'd love your help getting the word out, so please feel free at any time to share my blog, my Etsy shop, my pins on Pinterest, and my instagram account, because social media is so important to bringing new eyes to my products. Anyone who shares and tags me gets 20% off any item of their choice, even custom orders. :)

Thanks so much for reading and please contact me if you would like anything custom made! 

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