Woman Manages To Make Almost $1 Million A Year Through Her Etsy Store

by Sean Levinson

Etsy is an online marketplace for homemade crafts like clothing, art and jewelry.

Most users sell just a few items a month, according to Fast Company, and 65 percent of them make less than a $100 off their products a year.

One California mother of three, however, has managed to pull an annual revenue of $960,000 from her Etsy clothing shop.

Alicia Shaffer started ThreeBirdNest in 2011 while running a women's clothing store in Livermore.

Her baby product business had tanked during the recession, and she was eager to prove that she wasn't a failure.

Shaffer's ascent began with handmade headbands that were so well-received at her store, she decided to sell them online.

ThreeBirdNest made 90 sales in its first few weeks, which Shaffer largely attributes to pinning her items on Pinterest.

She told Fast Company,

It was absolutely mindboggling. I thought it was a complete fluke, that it would stop after the holidays were over.

But orders were still coming in months later, so she hired a friend to help out.

Now Shaffer's items are made by a team of 15 full-time employees.

Products mostly consist of scarves, T-shirts, leg warmers and socks ranging from $4 to $68.

She also has a professional photographer who takes pictures of Shaffer's younger sister wearing the items, making them look much more appealing than something just sitting by itself.

ThreeBirdNest currently receives an average of 150 orders of about three times a day, and the shop made $128,000 last January.

But here's the catch: Not all of Shaffer's items are made by her workers.

Many of them, according to Fast Company, are ordered from India for wholesale prices.

She says,

We finish them here, adding lace trimmings and buttons.

These imported items are so cheap, they yield a profit margin of 65 percent.

The Verge reports that Shaffer's store sells a pair of lace socks for $28, and the exact same thing is available on Alibaba's Aliexpress for $6.

But Shaffer's marketing tactics ultimately make her store so successful.

She has great item photos on Etsy, and she gives her products easily searchable names. Shaffer also pre-makes as many orders as possible so her customers can have them ahead of the expected delivery date.

Shaffer takes a modest salary of $55,000 a year and, as she says, literally works 24/7.

She plans on building her business until it is a household name and will be adding a children's line at some point this year.

Citations: How to make a million dollars on Etsy (The Verge), How One Woman Makes Almost 1 Million A Year On Etsy (Fast Company)