A few weeks ago I was going on an embellishment spree. I decided I would start making greeting cards. It was something I used to do as a child. I figured, "there are so many great embellishments on Etsy, how can I resist buying some and making cards and paper goods." I couldn't resist and bought a lot of items. Now that I moved I have to wait till my work space is set up before I can begin. Nonetheless, I can keep looking at supplies on Etsy. That is what I have been doing. Thienthanh's shop is one of the incredible paper supply shops I came across in my searches.
Back in the spirit of interviews, below are the questions I asked Thien and the answers she gave me.
1. How would you describe your shop?
Thienthanh shop mainly offers supplies for your crafting needs, such as: commercial scrapbooking paper, handmade embellishments, handmade gift items (mini dolls), commercial stamps, and ready made greeting cards and tags. My shop also offers tote that I sew - occasionally.
2. How long have you been making embellishments for? Or do you purchase them wholesale?
All of Thienthanh's paper embellishments are handmade. I've been making them since last year when I opened shop. Before that... I made greeting cards. =D I started to make more embellishment than cards becuase I started offering paper scrap packs when I found out the Etsy community needed supplies and the time I spent making cards was cut short. I thought of making embellishments to go with the papers that I had in shop and then the embellishment section was born.
3. How did you get into this line of work/hobby?
In Vietnam - where I was born and spent 16 years of my life. My family had a little store in front of our house and sold handmade cards and gift items. I used to go with my mom to buy supplies. Days went by and my love for papers grew.
4. What is your favorite item in your shop? Why?
I love paper because you can turn it into many different types of art and show your feelings.
5. What are some of your favorite Etsy shops or items?
Hmm... my favorite Etsy shop is OrigamiCentral.etsy.com (she's busy now so she had to close her shop for a little while).
6. Since joining Etsy in November 2007, you have had 3,148 sales. How do you attract people to your shop?
How I attract customers? Osffering new items regularly so my customers aren't bored when they come by my shop. I always make myself available to help and provide good customer service. Would you come back to visit a shop that you have great communication with? And has a new item every week? I also have a promotion, make a purchase of $10+ and you have a chance to win that month's giveaway.
7. You are obviously a great seller. What advice can you offer other Etsy sellers?
- Customer service is #1 priority
- Answer customer's question ASAP
- Ship out orders ASAP
- Check mail regularly
- Make new item everyday
- List and/or relist items everyday
- Leave feedback for customers ASAP
- Promote your Etsy shop everyday
- Join a street team and "network"
- Balance paypal account every month
- Work on Tax forms every 3 months (I calculate my balance and how much I owe the government then "piggy bank" that amount so it won't be a problem later on when Uncle Sam needs it.)
- Organize your workplace, clean up, set a work schedule. (I work at home so some days I will be extremely lazy and some days I work so may hours.)
- Schedule time for family and friends
- Take vacations
8. Are your items available anywhere other than Etsy?
For now, Etsy is the only place I offer my goods because as a student, I need time for my classes. I currently do contract work for a local shop near my house, offering embellishments and greeting cards. In about 2 years, I hope to start my own website.
Name: Thien Thanh M. Le
Business/Shop Name: Thien Thanh
Location: Garden Grove, Southern California
Etsy URL: thienthanh.etsy.com