Starting your own Etsy shop can seem a little daunting, but Gina Mote did it and sold over 8000 items in her first year! In this interview, she shares some great tips on how to get started, including inviting people to your shop, making an initial investment, and using Facebook as a tool.
Topics covered in the interview
Starting an Etsy store
Facebook as a tool
People to invite on your Facebook Page
Gina Mote’s Bio
Gina is a San Diego native. She and her husband Scott have been married nearly 37 years.
They have 4 grown children and nearly 8 grandchildren, 6 of which are 2 and under.
After more than 2 decades of living in beautiful but cold Idaho, this San Diego beach girl and desert guy had had enough. 5 years ago the empty nesters made a quick life altering decision to pick up and move to Arizona.
Gina has worked from home for 35 years in various files, creating several businesses from scratch in the craft field, including hand painting clothing and creating an online scrapbook store over 20 years ago. She loved teaching crafts to women as well as holding weekend retreats for as many as 60 crafters.
After a long stretch in network marketing and encouraging others to do what makes them happy she realized she had to get back into the creative world.
She only meant to create for their new home but things quickly got out of hand and now just a year and a half into it, She and Scott both dedicate their days creating wood decor and craft kits for their Etsy store and website.
In just a year’s time Little August Ranch has had 24 best sellers and 5500 sales.
The business continues to develop as the industry grows and new paths are discovered.
Follow Gina Mote
Susan Sly 00:00
Well, what is up Raw and Real Entrepreneurs. I mean, I was just, the team just gave me the top five countries and we have some consistent ones. Shouts out UK, Canada, Australia, US. But we have some countries that are kind of moving into that top five spot. We recently had the Philippines, Malaysia. Wherever you are in the world, I want to give you credit. Ouur show is growing every single month by 20%. In the podcast world, that is outstanding. And most podcasters, 90% of podcasters haven't released a new show in the last 90 days. And there is a new episode for you every single week. I'm going to be talking to a longtime friend today. And this hass blown my mind. Her Etsy store has 5566 five star reviews in a year. She's going to talk about how she built this massive business part time and it's incredible. And before I bring her out, just a couple of quick announcements. Number one, I have a new course. It's called Employee to Entrepreneur. So if you are an employee, and you want the typical Susan Sly, no nonsense like, in your face, direct how to go from employee to entrepreneur, that is the course for you. It is based on how I study at MIT, which is one of the top five universities in the world for technology. And so this is professionally filmed, it's got a workbook. You cannot go to the next course without completing the first module. So I just want to say go to Susansly.com. Check it out. We are getting rave reviews. We did a very soft launch. And it's just fantastic. And my next announcement is if you go to Susansly.com, and you have an idea for a show, or you know a show guest, please fill out the application, we would love to hear from you.
Susan Sly 01:59
Welcome to Real and Entrepreneurship, the show that dares to bring the no nonsense insight to those who have the coverage to start, grow, and scale a business. Here's your host, entrepreneur, investor, and best selling author Susan Sly.
Susan Sly 02:15
Check it out. My guest today is first and foremost, she has had many incarnations of her career. She has worked from home for the last 35 years and credit several businesses, you know, in the direct sales space, in the crafting field, online scrapbooking. And on top of all of it, she's a natural leader and yes, I'm looking at her bio, but I'm gonna speak from the heart. I have seen her on stages, bringing thousands of people to tears. She is transparent. She has overcome adversity. And on top of it, she is a mom and a grandma. She doesn't look like it. If you're, if you're watching on YouTube, you'll be like No, I don't believe it. She has six grandchildren under the age of two, eight grandchildren. And that number just keeps growing all the time. And her Etsy store, Little August Ranch has 24 best sellers. I haven't done a craft since I was probably 13 years old or one of the kids school projects but this woman is, it's just blowing my mind. So Gina Mote. Thank you for being on Raw and Real Entrepreneurship.
Gina Mote 03:29
Oh, thank you so much for having me.
Susan Sly 03:32
Gina, I have wanted to interview you, we're friends. We have spent Christmas eves together. We have had wine together. We you know, and every time I'm talking to Gina, she's just giving me updates. But she's also so humble about it all. But this is, this is incredible. Some people started an Etsy store and don't sell one thing. You know, I just want to jump in and ask you the very first question that's top of mind which is like, what made you say I want to start an Etsy store?
Gina Mote 04:05
No, so it all began, right, actually the beginning of COVID, which is kind of a funny thing, because it wasn't a COVID Born business per se. We moved into our new house out on property the day COVID started and having the back history with being a crafter and a maker but I hadn't been in that space for years. This was our third build of a new house and I just, I was craving to create my own, my own decor, my own pieces in this house. And so that's where it all, we were trapped in an RV for five months while we were building and I'll tell you guys, everybody thinks of Arizona being really rainy in the summer months with the monsoons. Oh, no, no, that was the rainiest winter and spring like ever in the history and I was trapped in an RV. And so I did nothing but look at Pinterest and all these different craft ideas and things like that. I had a notebook full of things I wanted to make. And I started to do that. But my husband kind of knows the way things go with me. As soon as we started, you know, we moved in and we started doing things. He says to me, we're not going to do shows again, are we? I guess that was like, 30 years ago, and I said, Oh, no, no, no, no. So long story short, we did end up doing shows. And here in Arizona, we were really lucky that things were still open outdoors. But we immediately realized how hot it was and how heavy our items were to haul. And I started the Etsy store simply to use the credit card for doing the shows. But I noticed you know what? We have a shipping history years ago, like shipping, a lot of people are afraid of shipping. Shipping is not that hard. So to me Etsy just sounded like something that we could do. We didn't have to pre make product, we could make it to order we didn't, have to
Gina Mote 06:06
haul, we're old.
Susan Sly 06:08
Don't use that, girl, don't use the O word. We're not using it the O word.
Gina Mote 06:14
Yeah, no, no, like, we're like, you know, knocking on 60 here in a couple years. And it is, it's like, it's hard to explain, but like with every decade, it's like this is the new opportunity to like, you know, come out of that cocoon and reinvent and do something new and it's been a while since I've done something new so Etsy, it's, it's just, it's such a wonderful place to do business because again, you don't have to pre make anything. You don't have to haul anything. We had bought in the trailer, we were hauling like I said it was hot. And you know, now I'm in in my own environment. So it's just a wonderful place to be
Susan Sly 06:57
Gina the, and for everyone listening, something to really comprehend about Gina is she becomes an expert in anything she does. I have watched her when Facebook sort of you know, just started becoming a thing, 2008, Gina mastered that. She figured it out. She figured out how to leverage community and build relationships and generate customers and repeat orders using Facebook when a lot of people, as Gina said, she's almost 60, I'm turning 50. And so a lot of people who, when we were starting on that platform, were in our 30s and 40s. And she figured it out and she started doing all these guest appearances because people were like, how is Gina doing this? So when I watched her do Etsy, and for those of you familiar with Diana Frerick, president of Agency 8, she's on itm she's been on the show, and Diana and Gina and I are we're good friends. And Diana's telling me Okay, Gina and Scott, they bought property out in the middle of nowhere. Gina and Scott, they're living in a trailer while their house is being built. And then she's like, Gina started an Etsy startup like, of course, she started an Etsy store because this is Gina. Gina, there, you know, Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. I, recently the last couple of shows I had VCs on, we're talking about the investment climate, we're talking about the economy. And right now, the day we're doing the show, we can't say recession yet because a recession is back to back quarters of the downturn. We know we're in a bear market. We know that there is a you know, big companies like Tesla are starting to lay off people. The job market shifting. The job market is definitely shifting for women and men in their 50s, in their 60s. You and I have always been big believers in multiple streams of income. So someone listening right now, you know, let's use Etsy as the case study. But walk us through like, what are the steps to physically setting up an Etsy store?
Gina Mote 09:05
So, to set up an Etsy store, it's really not difficult. I mean, anybody could go in there. I think now that they have a little bit different of a process than when I started even a year and a half ago. They need to vet people a little bit differently. And so when you go in there, you know you put in your information, you have to be handmade or vintage. In order to be vintage, items have to be 50 years old or older, in good condition, all that kind of thing. Not people. We're talking items.
Gina Mote 09:35
Susan Sly 09:36
So like someone could sell their ex husband. I digress. Okay, so
Gina Mote 09:44
So it's mostly handmade and that's, you know, it always strikes me a little bit batty when somebody says, Well, you know this about Etsy that about. No, we're all individual businesses just very much like Amazon is. Amazon is almost all individual businesses, they don't really, they have a hub but it's not that big. Etsy is all individual businesses, they don't even have their own hub. So when you shop from Etsy you are shopping from individual store. And that's something really important to keep in mind. Most of us are handmade, that the vintage market is smaller on Etsy, but you do have to go in and put your information and that kind of thing. It all comes down to really filling everything out in great detail. And really plugging in and learning a few of the key pieces that have driven the internet for ever and ever. You know, search engine optimization. People have probably heard of that phrase many, many times. But when you're building a business online, that's key. Absolutely. And that is why, you know, I credit that 100% to the 24 best sellers. If I didn't have my keywords plugged in, right, if I didn't do my research, much of what I learned with Susan and Diana in previous yeah, definitely plug into to everything that Susan has to offer. Because even though the business I'm doing now is lightyears different from what I was doing, when I took Susan's courses, the information that I learned is exactly what I'm using now to build SEO stuff quickly.
Susan Sly 11:23
And Gina, well, thank you for the unsolicited plug. I'm still laughing about the vintage, but the, How did you, how did you get the word out to the initial customers, because as you know, one of the big steps I teach in process is we have the idea, we're going to spend the least amount of money possible to test before we start to invest more money. So how did you, how did you spread awareness of that, hey, I'm putting my shingle up on Etsy like, hello.
Gina Mote 11:54
Well, of course, it was Facebook. And on Facebook, there's still so many free tools. I know, you can advertise and that kind of thing. But what I did is because I was already doing a little Farmers Market here in town, I plugged right away into Facebook. And what I would do with the farmers market is I was running around doing a live video of everybody else's booth. I would end with my booth, but I highlighted everybody else and that way, Yeah. I mean, and you know, we really care about the other people in the market. And they have some really cool things. But that way I was allowed to post my live in all the local community groups. If I just done an infomercial of myself, you know, I mean, I could do that. But it isn't really helping the community at all. And they might take it down in the groups, but I started to do that. I always, you know, would tag with Little August Ranch, when I built Etsy, I you know, tag that as well. But that is how it really started. Gaining the traction and whatnot. Yeah, and then from there, what already built my Facebook page, you know, I always want to start with your Facebook page. But today, it's a little bit different than when I started in 2008. You really don't want to invite every person on your personal Facebook to like your Facebook page. You want to target it down. Because say you have 2000 people following you on your page, and only 10 are engaged. You're gonna tank. So you really, really, you know, in layman's terms, you really just want to target that down, invite the people that you know will follow you and will like your things. Most for me, it's women and having the history with having a scrapbook store years ago and stuff. That's where I started, is I invited all of my former clients because I knew they're crafty, they're gonna like things. But I also did you know, there's a handful of men I invited, and again, they're family and I know very supportive, they're gonna comment on any, everything I do. But that's where I started. And then you start to drive it a little bit to Etsy. And I'll tell you what, my customers on Etsy, like 99% are people I have never met.
Susan Sly 14:10
And we're going to talk about customer build because the fact that you got over 5500 people to even give you a review is significant. And what happens to most people is they start something and after their you know, their sister and their cousin order their product, then there, they have no one left, right. But I love what you did. That is genius. I'm going to go add value to other people. I'm going to see people as collaborators, not competitors, and I'm going to showcase them. That is genius. Hello, if you take nothing away from this show, but you do need to tag Gina and I on social media and go to Little August Ranch on Facebook but, and Etsy. But if you take nothing away from that, I mean how can you do that in your business or in the business that you want to start. I think it's the same thing, Gina in the startup community, in the tech world. So there are some companies where we might have overlap in certain things. But I will post photos with my friend Atif who owns a company called Vistory AI. I will post photos with other AI providers because we're in it together, and you have to have that abundant mindset. Okay, so you start to get those first few orders and tell us like, tell the audience like, how did that feel for you?
Gina Mote 15:35
Oh, my gosh, so I had followed a couple of different people on YouTube and whatever. And then I had paid for some training on different subjects over the years and stuff. And the, for Etsy, they tell you something needs to be up for six to eight weeks for, for it to sell. And I was thinking, Gosh, I'm already really late for the Christmas season. So I had posted some things. And I bought, actually, no, no, that was, it was Valentine's, Valentine's. And I posted some things and later that day, something so like, Oh, no. And so at that point, I'm like, okay, all right. Where's my postal scale? Because I had one years ago, where's this? Where's that? It was really exciting. But um, almost right away, I started having at least one sale a day. And so then yeah, then the mouse starts coming in, like, wait a minute, was I sort of kind of retired and wanting, because at that point, my daughter and her, her husband and litte boy had moved here. They since just left with, with my babies. But anyway, at that time they were here and like, how hard do I want to work? How many hours do I want to put into this? But it's an addiction. And, you know, I just kind of went for it. But it just, it was such a feeling of like, Wow, here I am, out of the field for gosh, at that point in time, maybe 16 years, I was completely out of the makers field. And people still like, like my stuff. They'll buy it. So it was, it was a really cool feeling to know that you handmade something, you designed it and somebody bought it.
Susan Sly 17:21
When did you start to panic though? Like how soon did that set in?
Gina Mote 17:27
Oh, there was two different points. One, so that was February and things started going and I could keep up with it and stuff. And then last summer when my sister and her fiance were here and we're floating around our pool, and my little chaching chaching, I had come out with a new product. I don't know if you can see them or not. They're way over in the wall surfboards up there. But I was selling a surfboard, like every few hours, and like, oh, but now I have to go inside and paint them. So you know playing with that, playing with how many days because you have to be very committed to how many days you know, you put your product out that it'll ship. You have to stick to that like glue. So that was a little bit of panic, but you know, got over it. Things just progressively got busier and busier, we get used to the flow, you know, that kind of thing. And then let's see Black friday hit. And I wasn't specifically going after Black Friday, I had some Christmas ornaments that were selling like gangbusters, they both made bestseller. And that was great. And they were fairly simple for me to have our adult son lives here. And he was helping with that. And Scott was cutting and helping with that. And then December 1 happened. And we had just had two brand new baby girls, granddaughters born, one being on Black Friday, and I created a new ornament. And I thought oh, this will be fun. But I really didn't expect it to get, gained traction because again, the training that I had listened to and paid for told me six to eight weeks right? So I'm like we're three weeks out, you know to where you cannot ship anything anymore. That thing hit hard and heavy day one. And that little ornament that I sold for under $20, I made over 20,000 on in three weeks. And so there was not a lot of sleep. I actually panic now.
Susan Sly 19:28
I'm sorry. Sorry. Well yeah.
Gina Mote 19:33
Because I'll tell you what. I was waking up like at three in the morning just going like oh my god and working until nine o'clock at night or so. We can't run our lasers after that because we have neighbors and even though we're out we don't, they make noise. And so Scott was bringing me my dinner, putting it in on one of my tables. I have a few. And like, it would take me two or three hours to eat it. I'd take a bite and I'm working, take a bite, eat. Do you want me to reheat that? What's the point? But um again, now, I do have an addiction to the little chaching on my Etsy. But you can make that flow anything you want. So, you know, use me as an example, you don't have to have that chaos in your life. If you want to say you have 24 of an item and it sells out, that's fine. If you want to say that this ships in, you know, four weeks, that's fine. I was playing the game of trying to rank up and get up, you know, get up there and numbers and stuff. So I did it to myself, you really don't have to do that.
Susan Sly 20:34
Well, I think that, I think you know, and Gina I knew like before the show, we were talking and because we're friends and the show is called Raw and Real Entrepreneurship, and I love that you're so candid about that. You know, I know there's, there are people listening right now who they, they are crafty. And they, they look at this, and they, they're they're hearing what you're saying and they're in a situation, maybe they were one of the people laid off in the tech world, but they had this side hobby, right. And they're listening to you getting hope, because it's one thing to say I'm addicted, it's another thing to come from a sense of need and purpose, right? Because I have to put a roof over my head or I have to, you know, pay the bills, or whatever the case is. So how much money did it cost to just start the business to test the waters? What was your initial investment?
Gina Mote 21:27
Well, it kind of started slow. I mean, initially, before I even started, you know, on Etsy or so I might have, again, addiction, I had to have every color paint by every company. Initially, when I started doing the craft shows, we might have put like $500 out. And it just kind of grew, you know, week by week kind of tested the market. And that was just strictly doing the the local farmers market. And I did well. I would sell between three and $500 a week on a Sunday. And it was only open a few hours. Listen to your gut really, really listen to your gut. Because again, some of the mentors I've listened to said that, you know, most customers, they want to spend with pocket change. They don't want to spend you know, more than, than $20. You know, that kind of thing. And I said to heck with that. I did have lower costs. Like these little earrings like, I sell a ton of these because these are, these way of feather. They're so light, but they're wood. And those sold really well. But my other low cost items didn't really sell in the booth. So I did that. And we did really well with it. But when I moved over to Etsy, by then I had bought equipment, we bought machines. And that is expensive. And you've probably seen the background if you're on video here. I do have a Glowforge that's the baby machine. And people are a little bit more familiar with what a Glowforge is nowadays, it's a laser cutter. It cuts wood or acrylic or whatever. But it also engraves. And you can do like, we've not even hardly tapped into that thing. Because we went so crazy with what we were doing. We haven't had time to explore. Well, this thing only lasted me May until July until I outgrew it. That was $6,000. And we outgrew it but it paid for itself really, really fast. Yeah. And then we had to get this ginormous machine that's taking up most of the garage, we can no longer get. It's really important to us to have our cars in the garage from day one and moving into a new house,
Susan Sly 23:29
especially in Arizona.
Gina Mote 23:30
I know. The cars are kicked out, but we're going to build a shop and all that kind of thing. We can only get one vehicle.
Susan Sly 23:38
And Gina the other thing we were talking about, so the day we're doing the show, it's the end of June, it's 110 degrees out. And where is Scott? Scott is Gina's husband. But where's Scott right now, tell everyone.
Gina Mote 23:53
Well rightnow he's probably on Seventh Heaven. He's keeping the dogs quiet. So it's an air conditioned house. But he works right behind that wall over there. On the other side is the garage. This was supposed to originally be a garage, but I, this was supposed to be my game room, wine room. And we immediately made into craft space. But anyway, he works out in the garage where it is hot and he keeps the door down. So he's not disturbing. We live in a little valley and we're on two and a half acres but noise in a valley kind of just echoes and we like our neighbors. We don't want to bother them. So he has the garage down and he works out in the sweatshop. And again, we limit our hours, we never start cutting till seven, we always end. Well, it's summertime. We usually end by three or four because I've got to hit the pool. I mean, I'll be real here. We do get up between four and five in the morning. I get my computer work that done early and then we work until three or four and then we're in the pool. But yeah, he is out there. That is the best site in the world. You guys it is, talk about hot yoga. I know Susan's a fan. He's like the hot yoga all day long.
Susan Sly 25:00
Well and Scott is, Scott is very lean. He's super fit. And now he's working with Gina, and what has gone from the farmers market to a full blown business, what's been your biggest month that you've had so far?
Gina Mote 25:13
Well, December was huge. It was really, really huge. But I'll tell you that again, everybody I followed said that your J months are dead. January, June and July are dead. I'm waiting for that. Not that, not that I am. I mean, I say that kind of flippantly, because like, we do want to know when is the best time to travel and go see our kids and stuff. I actually had my, after Christmas, my biggest week of the entire year was just two weeks ago, in June, and like everybody, and we don't do wedding, and that's the thing is people said, if you want to do a year round business, you've got to do wedding. And frankly, I've worked with the wedding before and I don't want to, I don't want to work with bridezillas, I'm sorry.
Susan Sly 25:57
Well, and that's, and I love that you're saying that because there are expert opinions, but then there's a time to, you know, you follow along, follow a formula. But then there's a time to say, You know what, I have to trust my gut as an entrepreneur or I, you know, that might make sense for that sector. But it doesn't necessarily make sense. I'll give you another example. So everyone told me in tech, and you know, I can sell obviously, everyone said in tech it's 18 months to two years to get a deal. And so the biggest one we've done, I can't disclose the details. But we started the discussion in late September. And we signed the papers in January. And so that was, you know, a four month and so you follow a formula. You read the books, you attend the seminars, and you take the courses, and then you go, Okay, I've got it. Now it's time for me to step into my own power and say, I know how to do this. I'm going to share, if you're on YouTube, I'm going to share Little August Ranch on Etsy. And so I think one of the many zones of genius in terms of like, things like the DIY kits, is that as parents, we're home with our kids for this summer, and we love our children, but it's like, I want you off a screen, right? So here's something and I'm already you know, I'm looking at this and we're planning Emery's 13th birthday party, and I'm like, Oh my gosh, this is the best. Like, I'm just thinking about like, fun things we can do for her birthday, right? Because she's a tween. And so I can see so clearly, with your store why there's not a definitive seasonality to this, which I think is absolutely genius. Gina, I want to ask you a final question like, What do you want to say to that person who is, you and I have both you know, within the last, what year is this? I have to think twice. So I do within the last seven, eight years, you and I had both gone through some very serious health events for very different reasons. And we came out of those and said, You know what, I want to create life on my own terms, I, you know, I want, there's I want to claim a different level of power. What do you want to say to the person listening to this, the man or the woman who maybe is in their 50s, in their 60s? And they're like, you know, what, I don't feel in my power, but I feel like there's something I still want to do. What do you want to say to them to give them the courage to take the next step?
Gina Mote 28:38
You know, life is the funny thing. You can, whatever you're going through, you're gonna go through it whether you're sitting on the couch, or you're physically creating something. For me, we went through some health things in the past and whatever, but we were hit by a car three years ago from behind. And as I say, I will have the same level of pain if I'm sitting on the couch watching TV, or if I'm creating and working and building something. When you're creating a working, you're building something, especially if you are a creative like I do have that piece. It's still there, but you don't think about it, you're not married to it, you know, you're moving on and you're doing something that you know truly makes you happy. And so for me that was absolutely huge to have this to fall into, that I could still create and do and you know, have fun with it. And Susan was just showing the Etsy it's funny because the mermaids and the surfboard like I love to create, I love it when somebody buys my finished work. And I have a mermaid right here that I just finished for somebody. Those are huge sellers and they're over $100. They sell well on Etsy. It's a really cool thing. I love to be able to create that and when I'm creating that, they're all to order, you know, I can't help but think about whose home it's going to be in and how you know it's going to bless them. And then when they write something on the review and you know, or maybe even share a picture of it hanging, it really means something, you know, and then the DIY, it's such a funny thing with that is I never meant to make DIY but following the market and seeing where things are going. And that's when, you know, that's where the COVID piece kind of hit for me, there's so many more people were home. And so many kids were home and creating this, I've had so many really heartfelt reviews and notes with people telling me how much it meant to have all these fresh new kits. And so, you know, that's, we have a next chapter coming in the next few weeks. So that'll be another piece with the DIY and whatnot, but that, there's so many people out there that are just waiting to see, you know, what, what you have to offer, so don't ever just sit back and say, Well, I have all these things going against me. I'm too old, I'm you know, I'm too sick. I'm too whatever it is, because the more that you pour into something that really brings you joy, you can't help but bring other people joy.
Susan Sly 31:13
I love what you just said, you know, I would, I would be in discomfort, whether I'm sitting on the sofa, or I'm doing something fulfilling. And I hope for some of you that is a good butt kicking because that you know, I was, I was asked the other day about my journey with multiple sclerosis. And that was the what I thought like, if my arm is going to be tingling, or you know, I'm going to whatever is going to be going on like, I can be productive. I could build businesses or I could feel sorry for myself and watch the young and the restless. You know, like whatever. I'm just like you. I'm not, I'm not capable of that. And so, Gina, thank you so much for being here. And I would love, Gina and I would love, I don't have 5566 five star reviews. But if you're, whatever platform you're listening on, Gina and I would love a five star review. Go ahead and tag us on social. Go to Little August Ranch on Etsy. Go do some shopping because you know, there's probably a holiday coming. Wherever you are, someone's birthday, a bar mitzvah, whatever it is that's coming just go go shopping. So Gina, thank you so much.
Gina Mote 32:21
Susan, I did make a code for your audience whether they go to Little August Ranch or Etsy, just Susan22.
Susan Sly 32:28
Well, thank you, Susan22 It's a good code. It's a good code. Yes. And remember, there is nothing vintage on Little August Ranch. There are no ex husbands there y'all to buy. All right, well everyone thank you so much for being here. This has been another episode of Raw and Real Entrepreneurship. And thank you for being an amazing listener. And if this show has helped you in any way, please share it on social, tag us, send an email. We love you so much. And with that, God bless. Go rock your day and I will see you in the next episode.