Hello! I have been sewing and designing since I was a teenager and was accepted to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in Los Angeles while I was in High School. That is what originally brought me to California from Minnesota. My plans got derailed due to financial issues which kept me from attending school there. So I worked a couple different desk jobs for a few years until I met my hubby and had our two children. I then became a stay at home mom. After my children became a bit older, I decided it was time to do something with my creativity. So I started my own brand called Honey’d in 2007. From there I had a custom logo designed and trademarked. I then ordered matching logo labels and hang tags for my handbags. I went on to start up my own website which turned out to be an absolute nightmare! I did not know the first thing about running a website so it didn’t work out so well. Without knowing about Etsy or any other avenues for selling my handbags, I went ahead and shut down my website. I then basically gave up and packed away all of my supplies and beautiful fabrics. I had thought about trying again until I found out that I was pregnant. I knew that between having a new baby and everything else I had going on that there would be no extra time for my handbags. Sadly I miscarried 4 months into my pregnancy and then took a few months to heal my broken heart.
Then I found out about Etsy and how easy it was to navigate the website and start my own shop. So once again I decided to give my business another try. So I unpacked all my supplies, my sewing machine, purchased a good camera and went to work. I started selling on Etsy in Novemeber 2009. I sold my first item instantly after I listed it. At first I didn’t know what happened to my listing and thought I did something wrong. I was happily surprised when I realized I had sold it! It was a pillow cover, which is one of the things I also sell in my shop. Although I sell jewelry and pillow covers, my main focus now is my handbags. It’s where my heart is. I’ve learned many things about business since starting my Etsy shop. The Etsy forums and Storque Blog have the best information! I have learned so much about photography, pricing, shipping tips and so much more. I’ve also learned that international shipping is not as scary as it sounds. The USPS website has excellent information and if that doesn’t work just go to the post office and they will answer all your questions. The first step is the hardest and it’s usually smooth sailing after that.
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The best advice I have for new sellers would be about getting your shop exposure. The most important thing is your pictures! Invest in a good camera and don’t have the date stamp on your pictures. The better your pictures are the more visits you’ll get to your shop. I would also suggest not spending a ton of money on advertising. The best money I’ve spent on advertising is simply renewing my items a peak shopping hours. I follow the morning, afternoon and late evening times for the east and west coast. Those seem to be the best hours to renew items. My shop is still a work in progress, but I’m enjoying every minute of it and I look forward to what the future holds. I’m glad I have Etsy to make my business so much easier and fun. You can get to know me a little bit better by reading a recent article I was featured in at http://www.nuok.it/2010/03/today-in-new-york-sahnda-black/. Thanks so much for reading my story and have a great day! ~Sahnda
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