View photos Etsy More Louise Verity Etsy provides a space for 1.7 million "Hobbypreneurs" to turn a hobby into a profit-making venture. We spoke
Louise Verity” data-reactid=”31″>Louise Verity
Tired of working the daily nine-to-five slog?
If you have a creative hobby, there could be a much more enjoyable way to earn a living. More people than ever are making big career changes, turning a hobby into a money-making business.
Investec Click & Invest, showed that 32% of the population is planning to make a major life adjustment in the next five years, such as changing to a more rewarding career, setting up a new business or even turning a hobby into a profit-making venture — a group of people the report called “Hobbypreneurs.”” data-reactid=”39″>A new report, commissioned by investment management firm Investec Click & Invest, showed that 32% of the population is planning to make a major life adjustment in the next five years, such as changing to a more rewarding career, setting up a new business or even turning a hobby into a profit-making venture — a group of people the report called “Hobbypreneurs.”
The report — based on a survey of 3,652 people across the UK in February 2017, as well as a snap poll survey of 2,000 people in July 2017 — also revealed that 79% of people agreed there was “no age limit on making a big change to your life.” Some 79% added that they would rather do something they love than something well paid.
a new report from Not on the High Street and Oxford Economics showed that over a quarter of the 134,000 creative businesses in the UK are run by women, with 95% citing a greater sense of achievement due to running their own business.” data-reactid=”41″>Meanwhile, a new report from Not on the High Street and Oxford Economics showed that over a quarter of the 134,000 creative businesses in the UK are run by women, with 95% citing a greater sense of achievement due to running their own business.
Etsy provides one such platform for creative Hobbypreneurs to turn their side hustle into a full-time career.” data-reactid=”42″>Online marketplace Etsy provides one such platform for creative Hobbypreneurs to turn their side hustle into a full-time career.
Etsy has 1.7 million active sellers and 28.6 million active buyers. In return for a 3.5% cut of sales, it allows those with a knack for creating something — from knitwear to perfume, and jewellery to pottery — to set up a shop. And it turns out they’re turning a pretty healthy profit, when it’s done right.
We spoke to four successful Etsy sellers in the UK to find out how they turned an on-the-side hobby into a money-making venture. Scroll down to read their stories.
This 34-year-old woman doubled her salary by going full-time with Etsy — and works only four days a week.
Louise Verity” data-reactid=”66″>Louise Verity
Bookishly UK: Literary gifts for book lovers.” data-reactid=”70″>Etsy Store: Bookishly UK: Literary gifts for book lovers.
I started selling on Etsy while I had a full time job in HR administration. I had recently been made redundant from Virgin Megastores. I went into some admin rolls and went to night school to train in HR. At the same time I started this hobby making these little prints onto book pages and framing them into block frames that my family’s business made. I started putting them on Etsy, and it became fairly successful. After a while, I got pregnant and decided to use a bit of the time I had while on maternity leave to give it a go full-time, and I ended up not going back to my job.
Shortly after the maternity leave period, I got so busy I started taking other people on. Now there’s 12 of us. Not everybody is full time — half are part-timers.
We’ve got three units in a business centre in Northampton — one office and two workshops, one where all the parcels go out from and a framing workshop with machinery and materials.
In our office we have admin, designers, and a full-time marketing graduate. It’s made a big difference and increased our volume.
One of the [other] things that’s made a big difference is we’ve brought our framing in-house. We have our own framer, [and we] started offering frames in small wholesale batches to other businesses, which is going quite nicely.
Louise VerityWhat hours do you work?” data-reactid=”102″>Louise VerityWhat hours do you work?
I work just in school hours, on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. I’m massively fortunate to be able to do that, to pick up the kids from school every day and take them to school every day. The whole of Wednesday [I spend] with my pre-schooler and don’t do a huge amount at weekends and evenings any more. When I started it was constant — [put the] kids in bed, [get the] laptop out — but now I’ve got this team who are a bit more established.
I had a really standard job — full time, commuting 45-50 minutes to an entry level HR admin job Monday to Friday. Now I’m working four short days a week earning more than double that. I’m massively fortunate it’s worked out that way. There’s alot of risk involved in having your own business and I can never guarantee it’s always going to be like that, but so far [so good].
Just completely go for it. You don’t have to have everything perfect straight away. The first product I sold, our book page prints, when I first listed them they were £6 each — we now sell them for £25.
I’ve learned so much since I first started but I don’t regret selling them for £6. I improved my listings, photography, everything as I was going along. Don’t imagine everything is going to be perfect straight away, just get stuff listed and start the process.
This 44-year-old mother used Etsy to save up for her wedding.
Janice WorsleyName: Janice Worsley” data-reactid=”130″>Janice WorsleyName: Janice Worsley
SwankyCrafts: Handmade jewellery, cards and gifts specialising in bridesmaid bracelets.” data-reactid=”133″>Etsy Store: SwankyCrafts: Handmade jewellery, cards and gifts specialising in bridesmaid bracelets.
I’m a mum, [and while] my kids are grown up, throughout their childhood crafts were one of their favourite things to do. I never thought about it as a potential business, it was just for the kids, but we did all enjoy it.
I was a single mum from quite young, so it was more important to have a proper wage. In June 2015, my friend had started a business and I saw a different way of life where you could be your own boss.
My neighbours were getting married, and I had made them a card. In July 2015, I opened my shop and started doing cards and gifty things. It started getting quite popular, [but I was only making] a sale or two a week. I realised doing greeting cards and gifts was never going to be something I could see as a long-term thing. I did a bit of research and thought jewellery could be a good thing. It’s known to be a saturated market, but I thought if I could get that business to be popular, I would be able to go full-time one day.
I was only selling one a week at first — it was very slow. Then in December 2015 I got engaged. I suddenly thought, why aren’t I marketing this to bridesmaids? Instead of one sale, I’d be getting five or six. That’s when the business started taking off.
Janice WorsleyWhat does your business look like now?” data-reactid=”159″>Janice WorsleyWhat does your business look like now?
I still have my full-time job — doing data analysis for a large bank — but from July I dropped a day a week. [As far as] my business situation, I do it on evenings and have a spare room in my house that is my studio. I also have some staff — one official staff member who works 15 hours, makes all the bracelets, does the packaging, and works from home.
I’m currently making three times what I make in my full-time day job in revenue, [and] I expect it to do better as well. [There will be] a lot more going on once rebranding is done.
Absolutely do it. It’s free to open an Etsy shop, and even if you pay for your initial listing it’s about 14p. That’s all you’ll lose if you don’t make a sale.
But give time to it. You can’t open a shop and expect it to take off. I do hear of it, but thats the exception.
This 34-year-old pays her east London mortgage thanks to her Etsy income.
Lucie Ellen” data-reactid=”187″>Lucie Ellen
Lucie0ellen: Wooden jewellery and homewares.” data-reactid=”191″>Etsy Store: Lucie0ellen: Wooden jewellery and homewares.
I opened by Etsy shop eight years ago, but I’ve been running my business for about 10 years. I was working in a shop and a cinema and making jewellery on the side. I got a market stall at the Backyard Market on Brick Lane and [sold there] for about five years on Saturday and Sunday. It went from strength to stength, but I needed something extra as my mum wasn’t well.
I make a range of wooden jewellery, entirely by hand, in a studio in my garden in Leyton, east London. I have a woodworking shop where I cut all of the pieces, and an office where I do the packing and admin. I sell through Etsy, my own online store, and shops and galleries, alot of which have found me through Etsy.
[My wife also] makes her own products. We were both successful in the beginning at the same time which was nice. We work separately but in the same house.
Lucie Ellen” data-reactid=”197″>What does your day look like?Lucie Ellen
I really like getting up early. I feed the cats, have a cup of tea, go down to the studio, and pack my orders in the morning. I come back up and have my breakfast, then get on with making. I make sure everyting is done to do a post run early afternoon, then catch up on my email. I finish around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. I work 10 hour days.
I have a few favourite jobs that I save to the end of the day which I can do with an audiobook on, [like] varnishing pieces I make. It’s a meditative activity.
If I have a market [stall] I have to spend a few hours preparing for that. [I’m also doing social media etc throughout the day.
Etsy makes up about a quarter of my income, the rest is from other sources. I own a flat in east London which I bought five years ago with inheritance that I got when my mum died. We had a fairly hefty deposit, [but] our mortgage isn’t as big as other people’s, [so] our overheads aren’t as big.
I think if it was [just] me I would maybe need to outsource some more to keep up with the demand. I only have a certain amount of time I can make things, but I think it would be possible, I know people that do it.
Be prepared to work really hard. There’s alot of people out there at the moment doing it, you need to work really hard doing it or it’s quite easy to get lost. It will take time for it to become something that will make you proper money. Don’t get too concerned if it’s what other people are doing, it can be a dangerous hole to go down comparing yourself [to others]. If you’ve got an idea that you think is great, then concentrate on that and people will see the passion behind it.
This 28-year-old started an Etsy business from her parents house — and now has eight staff in a four-room office.
Maria FoxName: Maria Fox” data-reactid=”247″>Maria FoxName: Maria Fox
Maria Allen Boutique: Unique personalised jewellery and gifts” data-reactid=”250″>Etsy Store: Maria Allen Boutique: Unique personalised jewellery and gifts
I started off way back when I was at school making and selling handmade cards. Someone said I should sell them because they looked professional, so I started selling them in shops in the lane in Brighton.
From the ages of 14 to 18 I had a handmade card business. When I was 18 I was going into my first year of university in Brighton for graphic design. Around then I couldn’t find jewellery I really liked that was right for me, so I tried to make some myself. I taught myself how to take older jewellery apart and put it back together into new things.
I started doing this and wearing these pieces, [then started] getting orders from friends and friends of friends. I opened my Etsy shop when I was 18, in my first year of uni.
I was living in my parent’s house — their kitchen was where it started. I did my best to take some photos [and started] selling to different countries all over the world.
[I was getting] positive feedback to keep going and developing my designs. All of my spare time while I was studying was spent working on my business. I realised this could be my full-time job — I had always found it quite daunting what I was going to do when I graduated. [So] when I graduted in 2011 I decided to start runing my business full-time. I took up every possible space in my parents house, [and] at one point realised it was time to move, so I found a one room studio.
Since then we’ve grown and moved premises several times. Within less than a year we outgrew [the studio] and moved into two rooms. Then we outgrew those. We now have four rooms in our studio — my office, sales and marketing, a making room with laser cutters and a metal engraver, and a packing/dispatch/customer service room.
We’re now a team of eight, but [this can get] up to about 14 at Christmas.
Etsy is part of our business, but it’s not all of it. We do sell through other channels as well but Etsy was the first shop I launched on. We’ve grown our Etsy sales hugely. Our Etsy sales grew 137% year on year to 2016.
The business turned over more than £100,000 during the three years while I was studying at university, [and] we’re currently on track to turn over more than £500,000 this year.
It’s much more about [the fact that] it doesn’t feel like work, and the freedom that the business provides me. This is my full-time job — it’s about creating a job that I love and jobs for other people as well.
Start with a really great quality product, something innovative, and get good clear photos of it. Use the Etsy forums. Etsy provide brilliant stats. Always keep looking for ways to improve. Start and don’t want for the ideal time.
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