In this article I talked with Sally. owner of Top Dogs Gear and Tumbletree Lane on Etsy.
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Tell us a little about your shop and who you are.
My name is Sally, I’m the owner of Top Dogs Gear, a dog accessory shop selling handmade bow ties and bandanas for dogs, located in Australia.
I also sew dog waste bag dispensers that clip onto dog leads.
My second Etsy shop is Tumbletree Lane, where I sell bags and keyrings.
How long have you been selling on Etsy?
I’ve been on Etsy since 2017 with both my handmade shops, Top Dogs Gear & Tumbletree Lane.
What’s the hardest part about selling online?
One of the hardest things about starting a business has been trying to calculate the perfect amount of fabric and materials that is needed for a project.
I always seem to end up purchasing way too much and it often feels like my sewing room is bursting at the seams!
I guess it’s something I still haven’t quite figured out.
I’ll probably be forever finding creative ways to store all the extra supplies that seem to accumulate quicker than I can sew them into accessories!
What’s your daily routine like?
On a sewing day I’ll check my stock of bow ties and bandanas and make a list of sizes and colours that need to be sewn.
Calculating amounts of fabric and materials needing to be purchased in the following month is also done at the same time.
I’ll start by cutting out the fabric, use the heat press for any interfacing that needs to be applied and then head to the sewing machine and batch sew the accessories.
Batch cutting and sewing has been the best way for me to stay organized and get everything sewn efficiently.
Polly our big pup comes in to remind me when she wants some love or she’ll just come to have a little visit and snooze underneath one of the sewing machine tables.
Orders are usually packaged in the afternoon or evening so they are ready to be posted the next day.
Custom name pet bandanas take a couple of days to design, prepare and package.
Ordering and sourcing materials and hardware gets done in the evening or squeezed in between sewing jobs.
Updating the online shop and uploading photos and videos is generally done at night time or on weekends.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start selling online?
In the beginning, learning all the different aspects of an online creative business can be hard, especially if you haven’t done anything like this before.
Finding a good support group for small business can be a huge help with answers to any questions that will inevitably pop up.
I would also recommend watching Kara Buntin Tutorials on YouTube.
Kara’s bite sized videos are perfect for both beginner and experienced Etsy sellers.
Kara is an active and successful Etsy seller with a lot of business know-how, and she freely shares loads of helpful Etsy advice on her YouTube channel.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Of course, appreciating and valuing your customers goes without saying, but also listening and taking onboard their constructive feedback can be invaluable for product innovations and new ideas for your business.
Find Sally online at:
On Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook & TikTok @TopDogsGear, and on YouTube Top Dogs Gear
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