Tracy Owens Chasteen is a wife, music lover, thrifter, and a city girl who lives in beautiful downtown Austin, Texas--the Live Music Capital of the World. She's also the prolific crafter behind the successful Etsy shop Polished Two, a veritable smorgasbord of great earrings, bracelets and one of a kind necklaces.
After the jump, how does she do it? And enter to win a pair of earrings!
OC Weekly: How does your non-crafty life differ from your Etsy work?
Tracy Owens Chasteen: Being crafty is not my fulltime job. By day, I work in marketing and business development for a professional services company. I have a fast-paced, deadline-driven job, so coming home and being creative is therapeutic and really helps me unwind after a long day at the office. When I'm not crafting, I'm often enjoying live music at a nearby venue, browsing flea markets, hunting down estate sales, or cooling off in a swimming hole.
OCW: Why the name Polished Two--it's a great name to describe the bright shiny earrings you sell, but is that where the name came from?
TOC: My sister and I started selling jewelry under the name Polished. We love working with shiny glass beads and semiprecious stones, so it seemed fitting. When we decided to go online, we needed a way to split identities since we live in different places and would each be fulfilling orders from our own shops. At that point, my sister became Polished One and I became Polished Two.
OCW: How did you get started making jewelry?
TOC: I started making jewelry shortly after I moved to Austin, nearly 15 years ago. I was working at an entry level job and couldn't really afford the trendy jewelry I'd see in boutiques, but I'd always been into one craft or another, so my attitude was "I can make that!" I started with stretch bracelets just to get a handle on beading, but I also read everything I could about basic techniques and took a class with a friend. Throughout the whole time I was learning, I couldn't stop buying beads and my collection continues to grow to this day.
OCW: What's been your most exciting accomplishment so far with Polished Two?
TOC: My most exciting accomplishment with Polished Two was being accepted as a part of the Etsy Community Council. We get to test new features of the website, give our opinions on changes, and discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with selling on the handmade-focused website.
On the next page, Tracy shares some of the secrets to her success (no thanks to Michael J. Fox!), and gives you a chance to win a pair of earrings.
OCW: You have a whopping 3,444 sales on Etsy in just under 3 years--what would you attribute that to?
TOC: I attribute my success on Etsy to a lot of hard work! I wish it were simpler, but the reality is that it has taken a lot of time and effort to make it to this point. The hard work includes shamelessly self-promoting, shipping orders out quickly, working diligently on custom requests, and keeping buyers coming back for more with new items added daily.
OCW: You're very smart in the time-management involved with marketing your work--do you have any tips for Etsy sellers out there that can help them increase their sales?
TOC: Because I work full time, the marketing of my jewelry design work is very limited, so I try to maximize any exposure I can get! I rely on social media because it is free, quick, and offers immediate feedback.
One of the best pieces of advice that the Etsy admin give out is to make a connection with your buyers. When we buy something handmade, we want to know the story behind it. I started out using a blog to try to cash in on this tip, but I couldn't keep up with it with my limited time. I also could never think of enough to say! Now I use the Facebook Connect feature to tell something about each piece I'm working on.
OCW: Great tips! Share with us a little bit about any Etsy teams you're a part of.
TOC: I am on two Etsy teams--Unique Women in Business and Etsy Austin. Unique Women in Business is a supportive, encouraging group of women in diverse businesses -- all with something to sell. Its a bit of a shopping club, but with definite benefits. We all buy from each other, but along the way we offer lots of advice, resources, and support to help each other succeed--but everything is done online. Etsy Austin is the local team for sellers in the area who want to have the benefits of a street team, but also appreciate the importance of meeting in person. We have monthly meetings, committees, and events all over town that help support our Etsy presence.
Salivating for your own piece of Polished Two jewelry? Enter to win a free pair of Tracy's Yarnball earrings by leaving a comment on this blog post! Share what you think about her work or add more tips on increasing Etsy sales; any comment will automatically enter you in the contest. Comment as much as you like, but one entry per person will be counted and if you've won anything in the last 30 days, (I'm looking at you, Jennifer Ward-Brown!) you'll be ineligible to win so others have a chance at awesomeness. Entries must be received before midnight on Friday, October 16.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!