It’s officially been a month since my sister and I started selling on Etsy! & Chai has achieved so much more than we’d ever anticipated; from selling out on the first day to hitting the 100-sales milestone and then the 200-sales milestone, we have been pinching ourselves all month. For me, one of the biggest takeaways is realising how ‘good’ it feels to finally have our shop open and to be doing something that feels very much ‘us’. But with all projects come a set of lessons learned, and my gosh have we learned a lot?! I’ve run my own copywriting biz for over four years now, run an independent clothes shop, and worked in e-commerce for over eight years, and I’m still learning more every day.

Without further ado, here’s what I’ve learned after a month of selling on Etsy…

Remember to factor in Etsy fees when pricing

Before our Etsy store opened, we’d read plenty of ‘reviews’ and articles from fellow Etsy makers who complained about their fees and mentioned that it was what eventually pushed them to move to their own platforms. Whilst we priced with the fees in mind, it’s still a bit of a shock to see how much Etsy takes from transactions and all the rest of it. One of our business goals was to work on our own standalone website once we’d hit 100 sales, a milestone that came much quicker than anticipated. Watch this space…

Keeping track of inventory is its own learning curve

As a new small business, we opened our humble little store with a fairly small inventory. Not least because we didn’t want to have lots of stock sitting around for ages, but also because we truly expected for & Chai to start slowly but surely.  I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that investing in a small business is nerve-wracking enough without having to see tons of unsold stock laying around! Thankfully, we had the opposite, having sold out three times over despite scaling up our output. Our biggest struggle this month has been quickly learning how to manage our stock levels, production levels (everything is hand-poured in small batches) and keeping on top of candles that sell quickly and others that have a slower sell-through. Of course a month is nary enough time to truly discover which are our bestsellers, but we’re working hard to keep everything in stock properly.

Dare to dream

Hand in hand with what I just touched on, I’ve learned to dare to dream. When Louise and I sat down excitedly planning the collection and preparing for launch, we wrote down our goals.

  • Make five sales in our launch week.
  • Reach 100 sales by the end of January.

And in many ways, our failure to keep things consistently in stock is because we didn’t anticipate for the best case scenario. As I write this post, we’ve made over 200 sales! We’re eternally grateful for everything that we’ve achieved and for our wonderful customer base, and we’re daring to dream bigger now. From investing in more equipment (so we can work a little faster) to getting new products ready for our next series, it’s really exciting to be doing what we’d dreamed of for a long time.

It’s so rewarding!

Lastly, it’s really, really rewarding to run a hand-crafted goods store. I find most of what I do rewarding because I’m genuinely passionate about it all, but it’s on a different scale to see something tangible that we’ve poured hours and hours into. Whether it’s making the candles themselves or diving into Etsy analytics, packing up orders or even responding to enquiries, both of us find it so rewarding to be doing something we started right from scratch. And, there’s no greater feeling than seeing our products in the homes of our customers. That’s a pretty unbeatable feeling too.

Explore & Chai, our Etsy store, right here.

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