I stepped into the Etsy world by accident (and the grace of Allah). My very first product was a birthday gift for my cousin, Asma. I was a little short on cash and not at all short on art supplies, so I stretched my creative muscles and brainstormed up a unique handmade gift.
This is the first part of our series about becoming a Muslimapreneur, and its all about ETSY! Rawa Saleh is all about Etsy Excellence, and this series will walk you through all of the steps on how to open up an Etsy shop! And, a successful one at that in shaa Allah!
I ended up deciding on a hand-painted mug, with a design that eventually became the very first one in my Etsy shop. She and I were both avid bicyclers back then – we went on a lot of cycling trips together around her neighborhood – and I made a mug that motioned towards the hobby we shared as an inside joke of sorts.
She loved it, and I was ecstatic.
I had been browsing Etsy for weeks back then, falling in love with handmade creations the talented makers had for sale. I didn’t think I was cut out for Etsy selling, and didn’t think I even had something to sell, so stumbling upon the mug idea was just the thing. Creating it was a ton of fun and I wanted a reason to make more. I took the plunge: I set up shop.
It’s amazing how Allah sets up circumstances to move you along to where He wants you to be, and that’s exactly what Allah did for me, Alhamdulilah. Fast forward 2 years later and I was getting 8-10 orders a day for mugs I hand-painted. Mugs that were not too far different from my very first design.
If setting up an Etsy shop is something that you’ve been considering, and you need that push to seal the deal, here are 5 signs you’re perfect for the job:
It’s been mentioned to you.
Everyone knows someone who knows someone who made it big on Etsy, and I bet the reason you’re reading this is because someone has already mentioned to you that your crochet skills are awesome and you’d make a killing on Etsy. It doesn’t necessarily mean you’d sell a ton, but the fact that someone ELSE thinks that your creations are cool beans means they probably are. If you’ve already heard “You should sell these!” you’re on to something.
You’re already creating things for people… but for free.
If you’ve knitted sweaters every time winter rolls around for every member of your family (a la Molly Weasley) and they are the coziest and warmest clothing they own, then maybe it’s time to see if people would be willing to buy them. Handmade has its own sort of magic, and chances are there are people looking for their own cozy and warm sweaters for the winter.
I bet Molly Weasley would have had her hand-knit sweaters flying off her Etsy shop’s metaphorical shelves.
It’s kinda sorta taking over your life.
You spend a lot of time at your local yarn shop, perusing the colors and the soft goodness. There’s yarn EVERYWHERE, and you don’t even own cats. You knit on the subway, at family gatherings, in the bathroom… chances are, you’re running out of excuses NOT to start taking orders online. This is your sign. You owe it to yourself to give it a try.
Tell yourself, I will not buy more yarn. Well, not until I start taking orders, anyway.
You have the time, support, and most importantly: the patience
If you’re a career-woman with a lot of time in the evenings, a stay-at-home mama feeling a little bored during the day, or a student with a creative side and a short budget, go for it. Be sure to know: an Etsy shop IS work. You need the patience and support (sometimes that support comes from YOU) to carry through the setup and the wait for the first order.
You have the entrepreneurial spirit and are itching to get started.
Maybe you come from a long line of businessmen or businesswomen and thus gained some knowledge by osmosis growing up, or maybe you’ve always been interested in the business side of things. Either way, it’s time to give it a shot. With the proper marketing, efficient back-end with creating and shipping, and a little elbow grease, you’ll be getting those orders in no time inshaAllah.
Maybe you create lemonade stand kits for mini-preneurs?
Ready to get started? Click below to grab the Commitment Worksheet!
P.S. Make sure you remember how you fell into it. It’ll make for a great success story one day. My cousin still smiles whenever I tell the tale, and then promptly lets me know that I owe her a percentage of sales for being a part of the inspiration. Yeah, right.
About the Author
Rawa Saleh is a lifelong student and educator. She runs on coffee and ice cream (not the healthiest, she knows), and has a little bit of an obsession with the color maroon and florals. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree, she created an Etsy shop on a whim that became quite the success (Alhamdulilah!). She doesn’t take orders anymore, but she decided to pass along the information and experience she acquired through her years hand-making, to help Etsy sellers find the same success. Visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.