Hey all, Debra here! I had the pleasure of speaking with a MomsBasement member: Jeni of KupoCraft. She has been on Etsy since May of 2009 selling an assortment of cosplay accessories, novelty t-shirts, beadsprites, plushes and bags. She has made a lot of sales on Etsy and through conventions and has a lot of great pearls of wisdom to share!
Rikku's Scarf from Final Fantasy X-2
You have such a variety of geeky goodness in your shop. What sells the best?
It changes depending on the time of year. During con season and at Halloween, cosplay stuff does really well. Around Christmas, beadsprites and plushes do well because people want to give them as unique gifts. T-shirts are actually something new for my shop, so I really haven’t seen what they can do yet, but as far as an all-around successful item I would have to say my scarves do very well because they can be worn for cosplay in the summer and for warmth in the winter.
How often do you design new items for your store?
I am constantly designing new things for the store.. I’ve been sewing and crafting for a really long time, and I’ve built up a great collection of inspiring fabrics and materials that just beg to be used. The designing is happening in my brain everyday.. I rarely get a chance to make anything new, though, because I have a three month old baby who is not entertained by my sewing, crafting, or screen-printing.
Hello Moogle Tee
I really like your original plushes: Coffee Cupperson, Cloudy Clyde, Popsicle Petey. Do you find that your original stuff sells as well as your fan-made items?
Wow, the original plushes- you noticed them! In my experience, the original plushes do not do as well as the recognizable, existing characters. The one exception to this is when I sell in person at conventions. I think the reason is that when people are shopping online, maybe they have a specific idea of what they are looking for, versus when someone is walking around browsing at a convention and it’s more of an impulse buy.
Have you ever had any unruley customer interactions? Maybe about shipping, custom order policies, refunds, damages, etc?
You know, I’ve never really had any bad experiences that can be blamed on a customer, or anything like that. A couple of bumps in the road have come when shipping took longer than expected (FYI- shipping to Canada takes longer than shipping to Ireland.. don’t expect it to be faster just because it’s closer..) I also recently had an incident where there were some problems getting an item to the UK because the postal service over there claimed that the proper amount of postage had not been paid, though my USPS transaction had gone smoothly. That was kind of a hassle, and I ended up having to paypal transfer some of my money to the customer just so he could pick up his item and get his post office to stop holding it hostage. Sometimes you just have to take a small loss to make a customer happy. That being said, I believe that shipping is the place where you need to be most careful. Get delivery confirmation EVERY time, and keep it handy and organized, or things get confusing.
Have you been to / sold at any conventions? Were you successful?
I have been to several conventions, recently as a seller. I opened my Etsy shop after going to a con in late 2008 where lots of people kept asking me where I got the pieces for my costume. That really showed me that there was a market for these things. For about the last year, I have been going to conventions and setting up as a seller along with my husband, who has been promoting his new comic book. It’s been such a blast, and definitely a help financially too. I’ve got a few scheduled this year: Bits And Pieces Classic Gaming Expo (June 24-26, Cincinnati Ohio), Cincinnati Comic Expo (Septmeber 17th, Cincinnati), and probably Sugoicon (November 4-6th, Cincinnati) and I’m really looking forward to them.
Do you take advantage of any advertising? Is there anything in particular that works well for you?
Advertising is really something I’d like to push myself to do more of. So far, I haven’t really done much. The most successful advertising I have done to date has just been putting out business cards at conventions. That being said, it seems like with teams and circles and coupon codes and stuff, Etsy is really making an effort lately to help out, and I think that’s terrific.
Indeed, thank you Melvin for the gift of teams. Mom’s Basement would never have existed without you. Go Team Melvin!