Thursday, May 17, 2012


I'm Kate and I blog at Scathingly Brilliant and sell my illustrated goodies in my Etsy shop, Flapper Doodle. If I had to be honest, the thing that gets me out of bed in the morning is food. My food (I'm a huge fan of breakfast) and my cat's food (she starts meowing at me incessantly from the moment she sees me open my eyes.) Other than that, each morning I really look forward to getting dressed (oh, I would add this to my list of 5 important things -- if you work from home, get dressed! It makes work feel more like work, and makes the transition into pj's at night really fun), reading my favorite blogs, and watching movies! 

Scathingly Brilliant is my personal life & style blog. I do outfit photos, post about music, astronomy, fashion, and movies... and cats, of course! When I'm not blogging, I'm usually drawing or tending to my Etsy shop. I started Flapper Doodle in 2009 on a whim, after someone on Flickr liked one of the doodles I had uploaded to my account. I had spent the last 4 years trying to sell my art at outdoor street fairs, but nothing really took off until I opened my Etsy shop. Since then, I've been really lucky to work from home and hang out with my cats all day long! Anytime I regret working from home, I look over at one of them and I'm reminded of how much I love it! :)

1. Don't let low sales hurt your self esteem. ---> I struggle with this a lot... I tend to feel really bad about myself when my sales are slow, and it affects me way too much. So I try hard not to let my Etsy shop dictate my mood & my self confidence. Running a handmade shop is a lot more personal than running any online business -- you're putting your own creations 'out there' and it can be really rough on the ego. During these slow times, I try to come up with new products and re-energize my shop! Creating something new helps bounce the ego back a bit (assuming you created something you like, lol) and take your mind off the slow sales!

2. Know what your best-sellers are. ---> My dad owns a small mail-order business, and he told me that 20% of your items account for 80% of your sales, and he's right! You'll have a lot of great products that just never sell, and one or two that fly off the (virtual) shelves! For me, it's my best friend art prints. They're far and away my best seller, so I try to capitalize on that by offering a bunch of products with that design. Right now I have prints in 2 sizes, customizable prints, an embroidery pattern, and pendant sets! Even if your best seller isn't your personal favorite, remember that its success is what makes your handmade lifestyle possible.
3. Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. ---> Only list items in your shop that are either pre-made or can be made in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure that you have your supplies in stock before listing an item for sale. Even if you have a reliable supplier, it's easy to accidentally oversell, and then find out that your supplier is sold-out too. (Can you tell I'm speaking from experience? lol) If you sell 20 of something that has to be made to order, consider deactivating the item for a little bit while you play catch up. There's nothing worse than an angry, impatient customer, and making sure you're not overwhelmed is the best way to avoid meeting any!

4. Celebrate little victories. ---> When you're running a handmade business, chances are you're doing it alone. A lot of people have amazingly supportive spouses (or in my case, parents & a brother) who help them when they're crunched for time, but the bulk of the work is all on you. You're a manager, customer service representative, shipper, *and* you have to make the product from scratch. It can get overwhelming and sometimes seem very daunting. I find that one of the perks of being your own boss is treating your whole staff (aka: you) to a treat. It can be reaching a milestone sales number, or just packing up an especially challenging order. Buy yourself a little something, or order take-out! (P.S.-- Ordering take-out can also serve as a great bribe incentive for getting family and friends to help you out!)

5. Support other handmade artists. ---> You don't have to purchase (although that is always awesome!), but at least leave feedback on their blog posts, favorite items on Etsy, re-tweet their sales and new products on Twitter, or like their posts on Facebook. Good feedback and encouragement is SO important and if we all support each other, everybody is happy! :)

Find Kate Here:  Twitter  |  Facebook  |  Blog  |  Shop  |  Pinterest  |  Bloglovin

Thanks so much, Kate, for sharing!! I loved all of your tips! I especially love your idea about capitalizing on your best selling products and supporting other handmade artists!


  1. Loveeee this interview, they are all great tips and Kate is lovely! x

  2. I love Kate's blog and her work, great post!


  3. Anonymous17.5.12

    I thoroughly enjoy Kate's blog and it was so great to read her thoughts and get a glimpse into what her day-to-day life is as well as her tips. Thanks!

  4. aww, i love kate :) she's the cutest, and this is wonderful advice. xo

  5. Kate is a total darling, she's one of my favorite bloggers and Etsy sellers. I also think we'd totally make wonderful off-line friends! She listed some really awesome points here, especially for someone like me who is hoping to run my own little Etsy/Society6 business one day!

    Thank you for doing this series, as always, Savannah! You rock!

  6. I love the interview, if in the future I own a shop on Etsy I'll definitely take these tips into consideration. I agree that it's a hard task. Thanks! :)

  7. I went and checked out the shop! This is helpful since I have an etsy shop, too!

    Amanda Rose

  8. I have admired Kate's Flapperdoodle artwork for a long time, and always loved it. And I love that she is such a cat lover, I appreciate that in people! :) Thanks for the helpful tips!

  9. Another great post in this series, love it! I love Kate's designs and style and this is all such great advice. Thanks to you both!

  10. love kate and this advice is really great! thanks for sharing. xoxo


  11. What a wonderful interview and thanks so much for all the good advice. Besides that, I love your shop!!!!!

  12. This is lovely and perfect timing as I'll be starting my own Etsy shop this year :) It's soo exciting and scary, great advice just in time!

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