By Annabelle Short on
Etsy Success: How Ten UK Artists Made it Big with Etsy Shops
Have you been thinking about selling your handmade products online? There's definitely a lot to consider. Setting up a website domain, designing the look and feel, dealing with the technicalities and security issues of e-commerce...wouldn't it be nice if there were an easier way?
There is! If you're not ready for a full website of your own, check out handmade marketplace websites like Etsy. They handle the digital logistics so you can focus on your art, and with low upfront costs, you won't have to invest in the overhead and maintenance of running your own website. Making a successful Etsy store requires more than just posting your work and hoping for the best, however. Take a look at these ten talented artists, all from the UK, who've each made their Etsy shop a success.
Helen Foers opened her Sheffield-based studio to follow her dream of owning her own creative business. Her Etsy store sells beautifully detailed, hand-cut cards and stationery, but her reach has grown far beyond her small online store. Thanks to outreach through her blog and other web outlets, Helen has also been commissioned to create layouts for several magazines and now has wholesale relationships with boutiques and shops including Mercer & Wells stores in London.
For Megan Price of Mr.PS, the biggest challenge was learning how to meet demand for her screen-printed tea towels, bags, and other household goods. ‘It was a risk-free way to start a business, but as it took off it was a real learning curve in terms of stock management, keeping of top of ordering supplies and how online shops work,’ Price explained in an interview with The Telegraph. Once she mastered the knack, however, her business took off, and she now offers items at wholesale to retailers worldwide!
Rob Ryan was already a successful artist and illustrator when his personal assistant suggested he start selling on Etsy. At first he was reluctant to dive in; as a fine artist, he didn't think that Etsy suited his niche. But as he began to explore the possibilities, he found that his papercut designs, which can be easily translated into silk-screened prints on everything from paper to fabric to ceramic, were exactly what the Etsy audience was looking for. He reserves higher-end original works and prints for his east London shop.
Margate-based artist Nick Morley is a designer and illustrator specializing in printmaking. For him, Etsy is a sideline that helps build interest in his work. His sales are primarily made through exhibitions, but he's found that having his work on Etsy builds name recognition and brings his work to an international audience. He's even been asked to participate in exhibitions after organizers found his work on Etsy!
For Sandra Dieckmann, her Etsy store is a labor of love. She originally opened the shop in 2010 after fans of her art and illustrations asked for a way to buy her work. It's snowballed from there, and she's now made more than 12,000 sales! Sandra emphasizes that Etsy isn't a "set it and forget it" type of income stream. It takes a lot of promotion and dedication to continually getting the word out about your work and what you do to help new customers find you online.
Mandy Sutcliffe had been drawing children her entire life, but she wasn't sure there was a market for her work until she opened an Etsy shop and her first print sold almost immediately. Her success on Etsy gave her the confidence to expand her business and opened up valuable new opportunities, including book deals with American publishers who discovered her via her shop. Though prints are available of all Mandy's art, she's also branched out to include cross-stitch patterns, fabric, and other materials featuring her work.
Julia Pott opened her Etsy store while she was studying animation at the Royal College of Art. ‘It’s like an online gallery of all my work constantly available,' she told The Telegraph. For her, Etsy became a portfolio that not only helped pay the rent, it also spread the word about her talents as an illustrator and animator. Now living in the US, Julia has been approached to illustrate books and participate in exhibitions all thanks to her Etsy shop!
8. Nikki Strange
Nikki Strange started as a freelance textile designer, and in that role has worked with a wide variety of designers and clothing brands. When she wanted to feature her work on her own terms, she turned to Etsy. Her success comes from being able to translate a single image into a wide variety of tangible products. In her Etsy shop, you can find her rich, nature-inspired ink and watercolor designs adorning everything from stationery to phone cases to travel bags.
fromMyBearHands, the Etsy shop of Sally Haysom, features a wide range of handmade jewelry. Sally is an illustrator by trade, and each of her pieces begins as an illustration that she transforms into wearable art. By rotating her stock through different collections, she keeps visitors coming back for more throughout the year, changing up offerings to suit the season and the latest fashion trends.
10. Claudia Varosio
Illustrator and designer Claudia Varosio brings her passion for poster art to her Etsy shop, where thousands of fans have purchased her brightly colored graphic prints. Though she does have a website of her own, she sticks with Etsy for her e-commerce because it's easier for new customers to stumble across her work and stick around to shop. "My main window to the internet is Etsy. It has a huge traffic and it's a lot easier to be found on it," she told The Mirror. For Claudia, the secret to success has been to keep her shop fresh, with new designs added weekly to keep her fans returning and engaged.