Category Archives: Success Stories

Shop Success- Marilyn of Pulp Sushi

I am very excited to introduce Marilyn from Pulp Sushi to you today. Marilyn has a fabulous Etsy shop with beautiful bright jewelry and accessories. As she puts it, her shop is inspired by classic beauty with a bold twist. Everything about Marilyn’s shop is fun, including the name! Marilyn has been on Etsy for almost five years now, and has some great insight into this crazy little world! I am excited to share with you today.

necklace bold turquoise blue funky

Marilyn, when did you decided to open your shop and why?
I originally opened my shop just as an experiment to see if I can make some extra pocket change selling my little handmade items. I’ve always wanted my own store and Etsy was to test the waters.  I opened my Etsy shop making custom notebooks and marble magnets.  I started making more jewelry with my marbles because I wanted to start doing other things besides magnets, and I just wasn’t very good with making the notebooks even though they sold – I got bored with that pretty quick.

You are getting ready to celebrate your fifth anniversary on Etsy. Have there been any transitions for you as a shop owner and artist?
Definitely!  I’m going through a major transition right now actually. I’m actually looking in to branching and expanding on the Pulp Sushi brand.  I already started when I introduced the exclusive candles made by TattooedGeek.    I’m looking at expanding the store to include original art prints, small decorative houseware items, soaps and of course more jewelry.  I would like to work with other designers, it is my dream to have a Collective store where I get to showcase different talents.  I am at the point now where I’m not going to close my Etsy shop, but will be channeling my focus to a new website.

You have some really unique jewelry in your shop. What keeps you inspired and motivated?
Thank you! I respect my thought process and don’t force myself to hammer things out.  I do get annoyed when my creativity hits a dry spell so what I do is write in my journal, read my favorite blogs, visit my favorite online shops (just browsing!).  I am so thankful for things like my cameraphone because sometimes I can just see something on the street and it will trigger an idea and sometimes I can’t just write it down.
necklace jewelery turquoise Pulp Sushi
What has attributed to your shop’s growth and success?
Is it a “success”? LOL Funny that I don’t see it that way. It continues to be a work in progress.  I guess the reason why it hasn’t completely flopped is because I take it seriously and I look at it as a business more than a hobby.  This is my second job.  I continue to strive to make it my ONLY job but it doesn’t happen over night.  It might for some people but they’re just lucky.  I don’t expect Etsy to bring people to my shop, I know I have to do all the work myself.  I’m mindful with how I present myself online like on my blog and my Twitter, I don’t want to come across as a flake.
What is success to you?
To me, I define it as doing something you take pride in.  When your work is something you look forward to doing, it’s the last thing you think about before you go sleep and it’s what gets you up in the morning.   When it’s Sunday night and you do not think “Ugh, I have to go to work tomorrow.”

What is one thing that you know you did right? If you had to do it over again, what would you be sure to still do?
I would have gotten a business bank account sooner.  It really does give you a better picture of just how much you’re spending in your business and it helps you think more about where to invest your money in.  I will continue to renew my items because I think that’s the best promotion on Etsy.  I would NOT spend money on Showcase spots and blog ads – that has only paid off for me once.   I also wish I started doing craft shows sooner.  For a long time I was scared and intimidated that my stuff would get laughed out.  I needed to have more confidence in my work which I feel I do now.

What has been the biggest lesson for you to learn so far?
After five years, I think I have finally got a grip on where to channel my advertising and promotion as far as markets and approaching stores are concerned.  Before what mattered was if a lot of people read that blog or go to that market, surely I’ll have sales but it wasn’t the right target audience.

Also, if you can find a local community to join that will bring more selling opportunities for you if you’re looking for craft shows, markets and stores to get into.  I use to be a member of the {NewNew} (http://thenewnewny.com/) before I moved further away from the city and I loved it and learned so much about business from this group. More than ever did when I was a business major in college.  Now I am part of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team (http://hvetsyians.blogspot.com/) and it’s been a great group to be a part of and get support from.  There are a lot of online groups you can join but there’s something about meeting face to face and selling together that is really nice.

What advice would you give to shop owners just starting out?
Don’t freak out if you don’t sell right away.  If you expect to see growth and recognition you must must must put time into your shop.  It’s not just what you make and sell, but how you present it in photos, banners, descriptions, your bio, blog, anywhere you want to people to notice your stuff. I have spent countless hours promoting on Etsy forums, Twitter, Facebook, MySpace (before I deleted my account), Flickr, Kaboodle.   The more put into your promotion, the more you will get out of it.
pulp sushi ring flower purple

You can find Marilyn here:
Etsy Shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/pulpsushi                                                               Blog: http://pulpsushi.typepad.com                                                                                          Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pulpsushi                                     Twitter: http://twitter.com/pulpsushi

To include you in the celebration of her 5 year anniversary on Etsy, Marilyn is offering free shipping all of June in her Etsy shop PLUS a 15% discount with coupon code “HAPPYJUNE15”. And you can head over to her blog to get in on a fantastic giveaway!

Make sure to show Marilyn some love and make her day! Thanks so much, Marilyn!

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Shop Success: Malissa of Lil Bundle of Joy


I am excited to introduce you to the incredibly talented Malissa from Lil Bundle of Joy. She makes adorable plushies, crinkle toys, burp clothes, and other fun things that make me want to have a baby! Malissa is an overnight Etsy success story, and a good one at that. She was just featured on the Etsy blog! So excited to have her with us today.

owl baby toy crinkle sew

Malissa, how did you first get started sewing?
I dabbled in hand embroidery when I was around 10, my Gram showed me, sewed barbie clothes & doll clothes by hand, but it wasn’t until I had my own sewing machine did I really start sewing.  The hubs and I received one as a wedding gift.  =)  Nobody showed me how, I’m self taught!  Started with throw pillows, tried selling those on ebay for a bit, didn’t pan out…..

When did you decided to open your shop and why?
I honestly became inspired to start making baby stuff when I received soooooo many handmade items at my baby shower!  I remember thinking, hey I can make this!!  =D  So after my Logan was born(Dec. 31st) I was decided!  And since I still had 2 months of maternity leave left I figured what the heck!  And so I opened!  With lots to learn!!

I have a serious love of your owls and their eyes. What drew you to making those little cuties?
My momma used to collect owls….. But I re-fell in love with them while I was pregnant.  So we had an owl themed shower, etc…..And I knew people would love some owls too, so I contacted another seller here on etsy, EmbroideryGarden, thanks to a suggestion from a wonderful friend I also met here on Etsy through the Etsy Owl Lovers Team, to turn some drawings I had into embroidery files!  And so my owls were born!  =)  So yes, those eyes are my original design!  I made those all by myself!
Owl plushies baby toy
163 sales in your first four months is incredible. What has attributed to your success?
I am blessed to be where I am right now, I wouldn’t trade any of it!  My success comes from my family and friends.  I honestly wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t from all the support I got.  =)  The moment I realized I could make a go at this was the day I returned to work…..I used to work at Michaels….I remember people always telling me how talented I was and that I was wasting it…. I worked for Michaels for almost 6 years, would of been 6 in June had I not quit this past April.  That was a sad day for me….to walk away from all those people, but to be able to be home with my kids, twin 3 year old girls and my baby boy now almost 5 months, was what I’d always wanted.  There have been plenty of days when I ask myself why I did this…..It’s hard to find a good balance. But like I said, I wouldn’t trade it for anything!!

What is success to you?
To me success is being able to do what you love while being able to enjoy your family.  =)  I consider myself to be very blessed.  =)

What has been the biggest lesson for you to learn so far?
Biggest lesson I’ve had to learn is patience.  Things don’t happen over night…..I remember waiting for that first sale….and then came an email telling me my paypal wasn’t verified or something like that and so I rushed to fix it so my very first customer could buy her things!!  And then she did!!  And it wasn’t just one, it was 3!!!  Now everytime my phone goes ping! I get excited!  =D  But I can only do so much, so I guess another lesson I’ve learned  is I can’t do it all!!  I put my shop on vacation this week just so I could catch up on my wholesale orders….ever since the owls, wholesale orders keep coming in, I have 4 to catch up on…. But I have to pay my bills so I keep saying yes…. I decided to open my shop back up for this reason, I was going to stay on vacation until the 1st, but we need the money so I opened it back up yesterday and was bombarded by emails!  People were waiting for me!!  So I did a few custom listings and have decided to keep my shop open an d just say I’m on vacation so you’ll have to wait a few days to get your goodies.  I ended up getting 2 sales today too, kinda crazy when I wasn’t even trying… =)

dinosaur dino baby boy burp cloths handmade
What advice would you give to shop owners just starting out?
The best advice I got was to join a team!!  It really helps with questions you have!  I think I’m a member of about 8 or so now…. =)  Also, ask your team members to critique your shop!  I really think that helped me get quite a few sales!!   Make sure to photograph your items on a plain white/black background….good advice, makes it easier for people to use your items in treasuries!  And makes your items pop!  Use every single tag and picture so people can find you easier!  And break your shop into sections!!  I know I’ve visited a few shops where they have none and I don’t want to sift through pages and pages….. Oh and I know it’s scary but open up and ship internationally!  I’ve shipped lots of places!  Including Israel, Hong Kong, Australia, and Canada just to name a few.  =)   Crazy huh!

You can find Malissa here:
Etsy Shop: www.lilbundleofjoy.etsy.com
Blog: www.owlletyouknow.blogspot.com
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lil-Bundle-of-Joy/177552298948481

Make sure to show her some love! Thanks so much, Malissa. Looking forward to even bigger things to come for you 🙂