This month I spoke to Claire and Olivia from A Few Home Truths. They are based in Liverpool, Merseyside and sell a variety of customised items including mugs, coasters and pet ID tags. They have been selling on Etsy since 2012 and are a team of two, Claire being the owner of the business with Olivia her assistant plus Bradley the cocker spaniel puppy that hangs out at the studio. Their shop is filled with quirky artistic gifts to suit a variety of people, I particularly like the engraved bamboo coasters that have phrases such as ‘procrastinate, snack, panic, all-nighter, repeat’ engraved on them (this was so relatable for me at uni!) Their shop is all about personalised gifts, why buy a generic gift when you can get something sentimental and perfect for your loved ones? We had a chat about how they manage the business and what motivates them.
When did you open your Etsy shop & what inspired you to do so?
Wow I really need to think back on that one. It was back in 2012 when I first started the idea of researching house histories (now just a small part of what we do). I also joined Folksy at the same time – that fell by the wayside years ago! I also made the “mistake” of asking the forum on Netmums what they thought of my ideas – oof that was an eye opener!
Do you remember your first sale on Etsy? What did that feel like?
I was walking around the Trafford Centre and heard a kerching! My heart honestly missed a beat I was so excited.
How do you organise your day and manage your time effectively? (Do you follow a strict working routine or are you more organic with the way you work?)
Afewhometruths is a full-time job and I also employ Olivia who is my assistant, processing orders, dealing with customer service and social media. There is no working in pyjamas (even though I work from home) but there is plenty of tea, biscuits and cake. Olivia makes a mean banana bread!
Mornings tend to be spent processing orders and, depending on the time of year, the afternoons are more likely to be spent product developing and on marketing. Our post is collected at 4pm every day so that gives us a pretty rigid timetable to work to. We sell on various platforms and so have to make sure we are on top of them all.
Do you listen to music, audiobooks or podcasts to motivate you whilst working? If so, what?
The radio is always on and usually tuned to Radio City. It’s then a case of who gives in first and says “Is it time for a playlist?” and then Spotify goes on. We are pretty good at being accommodating to each other. Olivia loves musicals like Les Mis and has introduced me to Scott Bradlee and I sometimes persuade her to indulge me in some classical music. When it gets to Christmas though we definitely squabble as to when it is acceptable to have festive music on!
What is your favourite time of year to sell on Etsy?
I love being busy so Christmas is the best.
How do you get inspired to start a new product line, and how long does it typically take you to add a new item to your shop, (from the idea phase to hitting the publish button)?
We are really lucky to have quite a lot of equipment at our disposal, including a laser cutter and white laser printer as well as a sublimation printer and other little bits and pieces. I confess I am a little obsessed with things and have a notebook full of ideas which Olivia is often confronted with on a Monday morning to give her opinion on! We also have a little puppy called Bramley so he has inspired us to create a new line in pet products including look-a-like dog mugs. One of the advantages of being a small team is that things can move really quickly from the design phase to prototype and selling the finished product.
What is your favourite social media platform to promote your shop and why?
We are just testing out the Tailwind app to help regular posting and hope this will make a big difference to our Instagram account. Social media is definitely something we need to concentrate more on.
Do you use any other marketing strategies to promote your shop? (mailing list, flyers etc)
We are now trying to get the hang of Facebook advertising which, although very challenging in the setup, is actually proving to be fascinating. I am loving the psychology of a successful campaign, gaining cold leads and enticing them through the sales funnel to make a final purchase. (Haha – sounds as if I know what I am talking about there!)
What are your goals for your business for the next year?
We definitely would like to diversify and move into corporate sales and also building our own customer list so that we aren’t so reliant on algorithms over which we have no control. These last few months on Etsy have been a bit of a challenge but I am trying to be positive and view them as a catalyst to make us up our game.
What advice or resource(s) would you recommend to new Etsy sellers?
Be passionate about what you do and the rest should follow – but it will take hard work, resilience and testing. You also need to really understand your ideal customer and get inside their heads as to what makes them want to buy from you.
You can find A Few Home Truths over on Etsy at https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/aFewHomeTruths and via social media at