How To Sell Your Crafts Online featuring The Whimsical Art of Amy’s Not Dead Yet

by PaperbackWriter

 
 
Happy Pink Squid

This weeks Featured Etsy Seller is the weirdly whimsical and gothic AmysNotDeadYet. I first discovered Amy’s unique and vibrant art while shopping on Etsy for a wedding anniversary card for my wife. We both like the strange and unsual so Amy’s art was absolutely perfect! And I’m really thrilled that Amy agreed to this insightful Q&A which gives excellent advice to anyone selling crafts online.

Bio

I’m Amy Crook, and I’ve been selling on Etsy as AmysNotDeadYet (which is also where you can find me on Twitter) for about 2 years now, and selling my fine art originals at Antemortem Arts for about the same time period. I’ve been in business for myself since 1998 as a graphic designer, but stepping out of my comfort zone and into the wide world of selling has been quite the journey, and it’s not over yet. I live and work in the San Francisco East Bay with my two cats, cantankerous roommate, and about 1400 books.

Sherlock Holmes

Six Questions for Crafters who Sell Online

How did you come to Sell your crafts online?

I’ve been doing business online for years as a graphic designer and illustrator, so turning some of my illustrations into greeting cards was an easy move for me. I used to have a never-updated gallery of fine art hiding on my design site, but a few years ago I decided I wanted to concentrate more on art. I branched out and created an art blog where I post new pieces (some for sale, some not) daily, and made some cards to put up on Etsy. It took a long time to build momentum since my main business is still my design work, but I’m finally starting to really see results, which is awesome.

What inspires you to make your creations?

Mostly pop culture! I have a lot of cartoons and other art inspired by the horror writing of HP Lovecraft, which went into the public domain a few years back and became sort of an underground hit. I’ve also got a small school of squid cards, and a few things related to the BBC’s recent Sherlock and Harry Potter – basically I make art about stuff I think is cool, and then the ones I think might be salable become cards or coloring books.

Gothic Christmas Tree

Do you sell your crafts online with the goal of creating a full-time business?

It started out as a sideline when I first opened the shop, and due to neglect it really went nowhere. Now that I’m putting time, thought and effort into it, though, I’ve seen a really nice response. I couldn’t live off the proceeds yet, but I’m hopeful that between the art shop on Antemortem Arts, and the cards, coloring books and prints (coming soon!) on Etsy, I can start being a full-time artist sometime in the next year.

What advice do you have for how to sell your crafts online?

First, check your pricing. Make sure you’re not paying yourself sweatshop wages just to feel competitive – handmade is different than commercial retail, and people don’t buy hand-knitted sweaters for the same reasons they buy from Walmart, for instance. Price what feels good to you, pays for your materials and your time and creativity, and you won’t burn yourself out.

Second, make sure you stay active. A shop that gets virtual dust on it will languish in sales, too. This is true not only of Etsy but personal websites – you won’t come up in anyone’s searches if you haven’t updated in months.

Third, and most important, if it stops being enjoyable, figure out where the cycle is broken for you and fix it! Do you have more business than you have energy, so you need an assistant? Are you paying yourself enough? Is your studio or office space ergonomic and fun? Don’t be afraid to go in a new direction or raise your prices if that’s what you need to sustain yourself. I also sometimes take spontaneous mental health days, where I do nothing but watch whatever’s on the DVR or play Plants vs Zombies all day – guilt-free, because I inevitably have twice the energy and interest in work the next day.

Cthulhu Coloring Book

Do you have one quick tip for online crafters who want to get started?

Take good photos! Which is horrible for me to say, because it’s such a huge learning curve (I’m still climbing!), but it makes such a big difference. A really good description can help, but there’s nothing like a good photo to really convey the feeling of owning and cherishing your crafty items. The first and best bit of advice I’ve had for photos is to take them in a nice sunny room.

What has been your most rewarding and positive experience with selling your crafts online?

My Cthulhu Coloring Book has been a surprise hit! I was doing very little business with the Etsy shop for a lot of reasons, and then that one item really clicked for me. Having something that I enjoyed making and can keep putting together for new people is really a great feeling, and helped me get the momentum to build the shop further. I’m always very pleased when I have to get more “book parts” because I sold out of the last batch.

You can find more of Amy’s uniquely strange and wonderful art by visiting her Etsy shop AmysNotDeadYet. You should also visit Amy’s website Antemortem Arts and follow Amy’s adventures on Twitter

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