Honor Eastly tries Etsy Wk 4: Making bank on Beyoncé mugs

This week in Honor Eastly tries Etsy, I made a thing! And that thing was like, the most successful thing I’ve made! Ever!

(I even ended up bringing in most of my month’s rent off the back of it).

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Here’s how it went down.

I put this quote up from the recent episode of Starving Artist about the time I quit my day job.

A lot of people liked it, shared it, etc. (Turns out it’s not just me who has a lot of feels about the original Beyoncé mugs).

I was home alone the following Saturday, so I decided to mock-up a design of this quote about Beyonce mugs on a mug (how #meta), and set up a pre-order on my Etsy store, to see if other people wanted a mug that SPEAKS SOME TRUTH (rather than self-flagellating inspo quotes).

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And the response was quite amazing! It was easily the biggest seller in my store, and in the fancy analytics part of Etsy you can see this huge spike the day I released the mug.

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I’m a bit of a try stuff and see what sticks kind of a person, and I’m really into this idea of minimum viable product - of finding ways to test things, making small runs, and then learning and growing from there. It’s one of the advantages of social media, or direct to audience structured ventures, but I didn’t previously realise how much the Etsy platform is perfect for doing this kind of thing.

I can’t tell if it’s obvious, or whether I’ve managed to keep my shameful secret shameful and secret, but I am a secret numbers nerd, and when you get into the back end of Etsy, and when you start properly selling things, there’s heaps of data that’s really useful to guide what you might want to make, and how you might want to tell people about it. For instance, I was really surprised that more people came from Facebook to my Etsy store, than through Instagram, even though Instagram is my main stomping ground. Also, the response versus the orders that I received made me realise that there’s probably people who are into that Beyonce mug quote, but find the mug a little out of their price range, (particularly considering shipping a mug internationally is like $15!), so I then made a bunch of prints of that same quote as a cheaper option, that I’ve now put up in my Etsy store.

So this is the last episode of season one, which means it’s also the end of my experiment in trying my hand at making an Etsy store. At the end of all of this experiment I’ve actually decided to keep my store going. I wasn’t really sure if I’d do that, because it is work to maintain a store, but after this last experiment, it’s made me realise how much the platform really works for how I work. It means I can try small things, get all that delicious data, and experiment over time. Moving forward, I think it’ll be a great home for my burgeoning little collection of things I make that are - as my store bio says - for people with feelings, like me.

You can find my store here, and if you want to start an Etsy store yourself, there’s a special promo code for Starving Artist listeners. Just head to etsy.com/promotions, chuck in the code STARVINGARTIST and you’re on your way!