Today I’d like to share a story that was submitted through email.
Dilyana is from Bulgaria, and she shares her story of how she started selling her handmade dolls online. If your journey has had a bumpy start, I think you’ll find Dilyana’s story encouraging.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
Dilyana started making dolls when she was just 15. Several years later, she changed her technique and started felting her traditional dolls. After some time, she began developing her personal style and gave her felted wool dolls a character of their own.
At first, Dilyana created her designer dolls to express her creativity, but over time, through posts on social media, she started getting requests from interested buyers. This turn of events is what led Dilyana to open up an Etsy shop, and her first online sale was a purchase made by a customer in France.
ABOUT THE DOLLS
Dilyana describes her creations as art rather than toys. Each doll is between 14-16″ and can stand on its own. The best part is that Dilyana sews super fun clothes to dress her dolls in and even gives them a pair of sneakers.
Her designer dolls are unique and look like super-expressive animals with exaggerated features and cute clothes! You can genuinely see the charm in each of her designs.
THE EASY PART
It seems like so many of us share the same story of selling locally and slowly transitioning to Etsy. It was no different for Dilyana, and she now runs her shop there too. But, it seemed that opening a shop and listing a few items is always the easy part. In reality, Dilyana explained that after not finding much success in her listings, she lost steam and took a break from selling on Etsy for over a year. It wasn’t until last year that she gave it a go again, and with a few tips, she has found it to be a better experience.
Dilyana found it vital for her to develop her knowledge and skills in having an online shop. With the help of social media, her store has gained more visibility. Being active in FB groups has also helped in spreading the word. The most significant impact was finding a group where Dilyana was able to learn more about Etsy. This FB group is called First Steps in Etsy. Here Dilyana found webinars and tips on everything from SEO to selling on Etsy and connecting it all through Pinterest.
I know it may seem like people discover a craft, open an Etsy shop, and start collecting money, but the reality is that it can be a bumpy start. Without the proper SEO, pictures, and self-promotion, your product can easily get lost in a sea of makers.
I admire Dilyana’s drive to keep learning and to get back to selling. She mentioned in the interview that she’s self-educated when it comes to business. I’m going to venture to say that most of the creative business owners I interviewed are too.
The idea is to keep pushing forward and learn the things you’re not familiar with—team up with individuals that are on the same journey. Look for webinars, tutorials, and FB groups. The journey will be a lot easier and not as lonely if you have a few places to go for help.
As far as tips for a small business owner, Dilyana’s advice is to learn one thing a day and to give your business a chance. It’s far too easy to give up when things are not working out. Dilyana recommends getting involved in support groups and learning as much as possible. She admits that her frustration stemmed from her lack of knowledge, but once she started to learn how to get discovered, the hard work started to pay off.
I love Dilyana’s drive to get back to selling. It happens all too often that we believe in the fairytale that if you build it, they will come. The good news is that there are plenty of resources to unravel the questions you might have.
The lesson that I hope you’ll take with you today is that it’s essential to seek help and find the community that will support you.
Tell me, what is your biggest Etsy struggle?