ETSY: a Powerful Tool for the Collegiate Small Business
ETSY is a popular Web store that allows small-business owners to display their products on the website for a small fee every month. The site aims to empower small-business owners and help them get their product out on the market while still working within their budget.
For college students striving to be young entrepreneurs, ETSY is a great way to begin a small business without breaking the bank.
Caty Mills, a junior advertising and public relations major, created a shop on ETSY last January to sell her handmade canvases.
“I always wanted to sell something that I created,” Mills said. “Last January I got the idea to make black-and-white canvases with pictures from a girl who had done something similar on a blog.”
Mills creates her canvases in the kitchen of the Kappa Delta sorority house, where she lives. She makes her black-and-white canvases by printing off the picture on computer paper. She then puts Mod Podge on the front of the picture and places it facedown on the canvas. After the Mod Podge dries, she uses a paper towel to rub off the paper, leaving the print behind.
“I have to play around with the saturation and contrast of the pictures in Photoshop to make sure it will show up on the canvas,” Mill said.
In addition to black-and-white canvases, Mills also creates custom quote canvases. She splatter-paints a canvas with multi-colored paints and lets it dry. Then she arranges the quote on the canvas with foam letters and spray-paints the canvas white. Once she peels off the foam letters, the quote is left behind in multi-colored paint.
Mills created her ETSY profile to sell her customized black-and-white and quote canvases. Her shop is called “Caty’s Corner.” She pays around four dollars a month to maintain it and use the PayPal features for her customers.
The shop allows you to browse her canvases and either buy one of her premade canvases or send her your own quote or picture.
“When people order my canvases, they email me the picture or quote they want, and then they order through PayPal,” Mills said. “I get their shipping information off their PayPal account and pack and ship their canvas to them.”
Mills has received orders from all over the United States, including Illinois, Connecticut, Texas and Arkansas.
She even was asked to create a black-and-white print of an engagement photo for a couple.
“A lady contacted me about creating a canvas from a picture of her and her fiance holding a giant umbrella,” Mills said. “The umbrella took up almost the whole picture, and you could only see their legs. It was a really fun canvas to do.”
After she started her ETSY account, Mills began contacting businesses in Fayetteville to ask them if they could sell her art. She now sells her black-and-white canvases in Riffraff. Her canvases will also hang in the new Arsaga’s in Springdale this fall.
Mills’ canvases range from $12-40. Find them in Riffraff or online at http://www.etsy.com/shop/catymills.