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Out to get a piece of the international handmade marketplace? And why not? There’s more than enough space in the sun, and Filipino craftsmanship is something to definitely be proud of.

We cornered our resident guide to all things Etsy, Nikki Abelardo of Junkstudio to share a bit of a prelude to what participants to our upcoming Etsy How-to sessions can expect. Nikki’s Etsy shop has garnered over 400 sales since she began to actively sell a little over a year ago.

What’s your Etsy Shop? How long have you been selling?
Like any college student, I wanted to make extra bucks to go to gigs and whatnot. So I started Junk Studio as means to earn extra cash on the side while I juggled schoolwork.
I registered my shop on Etsy back in 2009 just to get first dibs on the name. Two years later I finally gained the guts to post my stuff online.

What do you sell?
I started selling upcycled products like bottle cap rings, decoupage bangles, floppy disk wallets online. Recently I developed more items made out of vinyl records like bags, bookends and clocks. I also sell other handmade items on the side such as hand painted pendants, book lockets & quote necklaces ,which I mainly sell on etsy.

Etsy earnings = Travel fund.
Etsy earnings = Travel fund.

How did you come up with your products (catered to the international market)?
Well I decided to sell my local bestsellers (the book lockets) on Etsy, banking on the idea that there are more bibiliophiles out there who would appreciate tribute pieces after their favorite books–and so far it worked out well for me. Now I’m concentrating on diversifying my product line by listing different novelty items online.

What was the experience of your first sale like?
I remember listing a few items sometime around September of 2011…a few book lockets and some hand painted clay necklaces. Two months later, I got my first sale, a handpainted Navajo necklace! I remember getting an email notification about an etsy sale at 3am in morning. And man was I beyond ecstatic!! Honestly, there was a period in between those months of waiting for a sale that I felt like giving up… but since I paid for the listing the items online I decided to wait until my listings expired. My first sale definitely gave me the confidence to sell more stuff online.

Booklockets.  Where it all began.  Photo from Junkstudio's Etsy page.
Booklockets. Where it all began. Photo from Junkstudio’s Etsy page.

Are the returns worth it?
Yes definitely and it still is!! It may take a while to get noticed at first but hey, If you make an effort to make your presence known, I’m sure you’re bound to get an interested buyer. It’s more of a waiting game actually. Selling on Etsy will really test your patience. It all gets easier after your first sale.

Some of my earnings from Etsy go to my travel fund. It’s comforting to know that I get to support my hobbies using my hard-earned money. Being a full time crafter kinda feels like you’re getting paid while you play and experiment with things. And I’d rather do this for the rest of my life than being stuck with a job that I don’t like.

Tell us about some of the Etsy/Paypal troubleshooting you’ve had to do.
I remember screwing up my paypal account for Etsy. When I made my first sale, the money didn’t even go to my account directly, because I made the mistake of registering the wrong email. Yeah, very noob of me haha. The payment floated through cyber space until I was able to reconfigure my account settings. It helps to read paypal FAQs and forums online. A little research goes a long way. ☺

Nikki Abelardo is the Founder and Craftsmith of Junk Studio, and is also Craft MNL's workshop manager and one of its artisans-in-residence.  She loves to cook, climb mountains and make stuff.
Nikki Abelardo is the Founder and Craftsmith of Junk Studio, and is also Craft MNL’s workshop manager and one of its artisans-in-residence. She loves to cook, climb mountains and make stuff.

Nikki’s got an upcoming introduction on how to sell on Etsy at the Urban Mom Mommy Maker Day at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street on February 17, from 6-8 PM. Session fee is PHP 1,200.00. If you’re game to join, sign up here.