We’ve been huge fans of Etsy from the beginning, whether it be for finding unique gift ideas, or for supporting local, handmade products that you won’t find in the shops.
If you’ve ever thought of becoming an Etsy seller and sharing your crafty items with the world, read on. We chat with one of Australia’s most successful Etsy sellers, Amy Ta of Seventh Tree Soaps, to find out how she started her Etsy store, her tips on how to succeed on Etsy and her other favourite Australian Etsy stores.
When did you start Seventh Tree Soaps, and what were you doing before?
I had been floating in and out of various administration jobs over the last 15 years. Jumping from one to another, I was always unsatisfied, full of confusion and despair about what I wanted for myself and my career. In the Spring of 2012 I had become tired and weary and I hit a crossroad. It was either do nothing and go on a downward spiral or take a leap of faith and follow my dreams of running my own business and be the author of my own fate.
Opening an online soap store was an incredibly risky move. I used every waking moment to develop my idea into something that would hopefully turn into a success. I decided to open my business on New Year’s Day, a small but significant reminder for me of the possibility of chance and new beginnings.
What made you decide to start a vegan beauty business on Etsy?
I had been making vegan soaps for myself and family for a while before I opened the Etsy store. Bathing in a sea of chemicals and animal fat seems abhorrent to me.
Why are vegan products important to you?
Over the years, I have become more conscious about the cascading effects of my day to day actions on the environment. Recycling, reducing waste, consuming less animal products and greening my environment had been incorporated into my daily routine. Making the change to a more vegetable-based lifestyle was a simple and sensible choice.
What are your 3 top tips for someone thinking about selling on Etsy?
1. Think about your products as a brand and not merely individual items. Create a store that is filled with products that you love and bring together as one whole experience.
2. Photography is key. Take the time to know your camera and learn the settings. If you are dealing with smaller items, it helps to use macro settings. Your backdrop and props should also compliment but not overwhelm the hero item. Flash can be harsh and wash out colours, try to use filtered daylight as much as possible. It also helps to think about how your products fit into a prospective buyer’s life and photograph the item with these core elements in mind.
3. One of the things that I love about Etsy is that it connects people from all corners of the world. There are an abundance of people who have loved ones living across the country or world from them. Shopping for gifts online is an easy and less expensive way to send gifts of gratitude. Create an environment in your store to enable people to do this easily. i.e. offer gift wrapping options and gift sets.
Where do you get your inspiration for new products from?
I am inspired by Mother Nature. My soaps reflect the rich colours and shapes of flora and fauna. The serums and balms have been developed with family and friends in mind.
What are your other favourite Australian Etsy stores?
Ena and Albert – gorgeous, eclectic and colourful clay jewellery.
Whimsy Milieu – whimsical, quirky and unique jewellery, homewares and prints.
Epoch Co – hard to find, unique vintage wares.
Emma Leonard Art – beautiful, feminine, evocative water colour prints and sketches.
What’s coming up next for Seventh Tree Soaps?
I am currently developing a fragrance-free and baby-friendly range of products.
Do you have an Etsy store? Tell us about it in the comments below!
Julia has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam, and New York, and is obsessed with food. She's either cooking or thinking about what to eat next. Follow Julia on Twitter.