One year ago today, we listed (and sold) our first leaf puzzle on Etsy. Never in a million years would I have imagined what the year would be like. (Yes, our Etsy account was created in 2007 when a friend and I had a short-lived attempt at selling some burp clothes and bibs! It sat dormant for a few years, used only as a buyer account, until I used it to list our first toys in Jan 2010.)
To summarize this amazing year will be difficult, but here goes:
We never set out to start a business. It still blows my mind that we can even call what we're doing here a business. There was no plan, no budget, no goals. Make things. See if anyone will buy them. Repeat. Had those first few items not sold right away, we likely would have moved on and not thought twice about selling anything again.
In April, with less than 3 months experience and only 60+ sales, our leaf puzzle was included in Etsy's Earth Day Voter. What a lucky day that was! It was pretty exciting, but really we were blown away when our item won. Of course we thought our puzzle was pretty nifty, but never would have expected to get the most votes among so many other wonderful earthy goodies!
The voter gave us a nice boost in our shop, and things continued along and slowly we got busier and busier... until one day in August when I checked my email and saw the convo that every Etsy seller dreams of - we were chosen to be a featured seller in September. I'll make a whole post about this later, but it was quite an adventure. A huge learning experience for us, as we were still a fairly new shop.
Our 2 days as featured seller were great, but probably the biggest lesson of this year was do not underestimate holiday shoppers on Etsy. Oh my goodness, November and December was a whirlwind of production and shipping and "holy cow I had no idea it would be this busy!"
We also ended the year by finding out we are a finalist for NASA and Etsy's Space Craft contest! We will be sending in our Blast Off Space Set for final judging in February. What a fun honor!
And just like that, our first year is behind us. We can finally get to some of our "to do list" for new items we've been wanting to make, and try to get more organized for 2011. (I am not looking forward to taxes and tackling this pile of receipts on the desk that we started saving once we realized this was actually turning into a "business"!)
2010 was a fun, busy, whirlwind year for us on Etsy. I will share some more of what we learned in upcoming posts. I am really thankful for everyone who cheered us on, gave advice, shopped in our store, voted for us, hearted us, and helped make this a fantastic year for our shop and our family! Thank you!