I had the privilege of interviewing Irene from Is Photography and asking her a few questions about successfully selling photography on Etsy. Irene is the top selling photographer currently on Etsy. I have included a few of photos in the interviews, so please take the time to check out her amazing work and learn from what she has to say.
1. When and how did you become interested in photography?
I first became interested in photography in the mid 1990s. I started traveling and wanted to learn about photography so that I could take decent photographs on my trips. I took a night course at a college to learn how to use my camera. I became much more serious about photography in 2005 when I purchased my first digital SLR and found flickr.
2. How did you find Etsy, and why did you start selling on Etsy?
I noticed that a couple of my flickr contacts were selling prints on a site with a weird name: Etsy. I wasn’t even thinking about selling prints at that time, but a seed must have been planted and the idea began slowly percolating in the back of my mind. About a year later, in early 2007, I opened a shop. Initially it was simply a means to make a little extra money to pay for all the photography gear I was coveting.
3. When I first started selling on Etsy I was afraid of failing, did you ever encounter that fear? If so how did you overcome that fear?
I wasn’t afraid at the start. I didn’t have many expectations at first and I had a full-time day job. The start-up costs were minimal, the risk was low, and at that time there was no thought of doing it full-time. I decided to quit my day job in May of 2008. Then in September the economy crashed. Then, hello fear. The way I live with it is to have a Plan B and a Plan C. Last year I started photographing weddings to diversify myself and to develop a new skill set. If sales ever seriously slump, I can seek more wedding and portrait work. My Plan C is to go back to what I was doing before (technical writing), at least on a part-time basis. So far I have been blessed and feel so fortunate to be making a living doing what I love in this tough economy.
4. Do you remember your first sale on Etsy? How has your product changed since then?
Yes! I sold my first print the day after I opened my shop. It was so exciting!
At first I only offered photographic prints. Over time, I have added other products such as greeting cards, calendars, and photo jewelry (in collaboration with another Etsy seller). I also offer a matting service and I work with a local professional framer to offer framed prints at a reasonable price. My style has evolved over time as well. My color palette has shifted from darker colors to lighter hues. I feel it has gotten more impressionistic and abstract over time too.
5. Do you still get that “feeling” when you see your sold item number go up?
Oh yes! I feel that little jolt in the heart region every time.
Read more of the interview on Handmadeology.