We’re Olivia & Kyle – owners of The Wooden Earth on Etsy. We’ve been operating our online shop for almost two years. It began as a hobby, but has transformed into a mobile source of reliable income.
There is no magic formula to achieve a lucrative shop overnight. It’s a combination of passion and perseverance. We’ll show you what worked for us, and what didn’t.
Passion: This is the most important of all components. Sell what you love. Customers don’t always want to buy things, they want to be a part of a story. If you love the smell of fresh cedar, find a way to share that experience through your craft. If you’re like us and love to hunt for treasure, scour every flea market, yard sale, and thrift store. Enjoy the treasures you find, but remember, don’t keep them!
Logistics/Storage: It’s very easy to find a Post Office in any town in North America. The challenge is storing the inventory while traveling. Our rule of thumb is, “If it doesn’t ship in an envelope, we don’t sell it”. Cloth, paper products, digital products, and jewelry seem to be most suitable for travelers. Shipping supplies will also take up some space, but it’s more economical to buy those supplies in bulk.
Shipping: Shipping through USPS has been an extremely pleasant experience. They lose or damage about 4 packages in 1000. It’s never fun to refund an order, but it comes with the territory. The USPS has begun offering free tracking with almost all shipping options! But remember, some of the small towns have very outdated offices with strange hours.
Patience: During our first year as Etsy shop owners we made little profit. We did, however, learn the ropes, earned positive reviews, and slowly found the way into our niche market. Also, we didn’t become full-time RVers until our shop was making steady money. Don’t expect to see big profit in the first months of operation.
Promoted Listings: In our experience, Etsy’s Promoted Listings option works well. We pay between 2 and 5 cents for every promoted click – the payoff is usually ten fold (for every $10 we spend on promotion, we earn $100 in sales). The outcome varies from shop to shop, but it’s definitely worth trying.
Perseverance: Stick with it! If we’re not getting sales, we’re working on listing more items. We’ve found no rhyme or reason to online sales. Some of our most profitable months have started with no sales for days.
Tough Lessons: Sometimes the time we invested didn’t pay off. Worse still, sometimes the money we invested didn’t pay off. We’ve learned and refined our process to make those situations less common.
Overall: If we found a way to do it, anyone can do it! Neither of us had retail or internet commerce experience when we opened our shop. We just jumped in and learned the ropes. Etsy is a safe platform to sell online with lots of opportunity.
Help support our mission – to live freely and deliberately – by checking out our Etsy store or treating us to a virtual latte!