I love throwing parties and entertaining so I am excited to have discovered The Cake Stand Lady shop on Etsy! This shop is filled cake stands and cupcake stands made from vintage and modern dishes – the perfect addition to your next party or event!
I love all of the different designs this shop has to offer – they definitely have something for every taste and theme. I encourage you to check out the shop and keep reading the interview below with shop owner Sky Croswell for more information on these amazing items.
My Craft Assistant: What drew you to this particular art/craft?
Sky: When I plan a party, I invest hours into every detail, and I know that finding that one gem that perfectly finishes a table can make an event unforgettable. I started making my cake stands because I wanted the perfect detail for a dessert table at a birthday party. My husband encouraged me to open up shop when I came home from an antique sale with a stack of vintage plates and an idea to start drilling them into cake stands. He’s an accomplished web designer and promised me if I set up shop, he’d build me a website to advertise it. Once he showed me his design idea, I didn’t need any other motivation to get started. We started with an Etsy storefront and took it from there.
My Craft Assistant: Do you sell anywhere outside of Etsy?
Sky: I also sell via my website/blog and via word of mouth through friends, colleagues, and family.
My Craft Assistant: What do you like best about selling on Etsy?
Sky: Etsy has an amazing community of sellers who are happy to help you get started. If you have a vision, a unique product, a glimmer of an idea, you can find someone there to help you along the way. It’s very easy to get started, and a great outlet for creativity. And, I promise, there is someone out there looking for what you want to sell!
Besides that, I love the marketing opportunities available right through Etsy directly. I participate in the teams and treasuries and have seen great success with it. The only way to get featured on the front page of Etsy is to be featured in someone else’s gorgeous treasury; you can’t build a winning one with your own products, so you need other Etsians to want to include you. That means you have to get out there and make some friends. The best way to do that is to share the love by building beautiful treasuries for other shops. It’s a fun way to collaborate, window shop, celebrate other great stores, and someday maybe we’ll see one of my cake stands on that homepage (if I’m lucky!).
My Craft Assistant: What are your 2 favorite products in your shop? Why?
Sky: My inventory is ever-evolving, so my favorites come and (sadly) go. Right now I am loving this Octopus and this Starfish cake stand. These two cake stands celebrate summer and really get me in the mood for summer entertaining!
My Craft Assistant: What is your greatest success since joining Etsy?
Sky: Since joining Etsy, my cake stands have been featured on The Huffington Post, Martha Stewart American Made, Apartment Therapy, Handmadeology, and more. Etsy has an unparalleled user base of shoppers and artisans and they have an incredible reach on the Web. By starting my shop on Etsy I have been found by and featured on some amazing and very popular design websites and blogs. It is quite an honor!
My Craft Assistant: What inspires you? How do you keep your creative spark firing?
Sky: I make and sell these cake stands because I am always on the lookout for something unique, unexpected, classy, and on-trend (but not too trendy) when I plan a party, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. Many of my customers use my cake stands at special events, so they are often looking for a themed item, but then use the stand every day in their home after the big day. I like to keep in mind that while my cake stand might be in the spotlight at a wedding, the happy couple will likely be using it at dinner parties for years to come, so it’s important to come up with a timeless design.
I am also continually inspired by my customers and their unique uses for my cake stands. I have been told that they will be used as jewelry stands, fruit stands, bathroom displays, dessert displays, and more. Knowing that they will be used for so many things beyond a pretty party display inspires me to seek out unique designs and to create a product that can be re-purposed again and again.
My Craft Assistant: What factor do you feel has contributed most to your success on Etsy?
Sky: Great customer service and focused marketing has helped me succeed. I believe that great customer service is the best marketing you can have. Really! I work hard to be sure that every cake stand sale is seamless and that every person who buys one of my stands is happy with their purchase. I rely on word of mouth quite heavily for sales of my cake stands and I believe that a happy customer breeds new sales. But, I don’t stop there.
I’m also an experienced marketing professional with a degree in marketing and advertising, and I know that you can’t just sit and wait for customers to find you. My Etsy shop is not my full-time job (wouldn’t that be a dream come true?) so I have to focus my energy where I see the greatest results in the least amount of time spent. I use my personal Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts to showcase the new cake stands I am working on and the sales and success of the shop to my network of friends, family, and peers. I also built a business website on day one for my cake stand shop. I enjoy writing and wanted to be sure that a blog was part of my marketing. I know the value of strong content and the importance of good SEO, and I wanted that going from day one to build a history of content and help drive traffic to my Etsy shop.
My Craft Assistant: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned running a handmade business? What advice can you pass on to other Etsy sellers?
Sky: Never, ever post a less-than-stellar photo. Often I find myself in a hurry to get a new cake stand into the shop and I snap away without taking the time to set up right. I’ll set up the listing, upload all the pics, and immediately delete it and start over. It’s important to be sure that you have the right lighting and a consistent background to every image. Take a look at your own store’s front page. Does every item look like it was taken under similar conditions? Does every item look like it belongs in the same shop? If it doesn’t you might be giving off the wrong impression. Just last month I was surprised to find a major media outlet picked up one of my Etsy listings and featured it in a gift guide. Hooray! I was so excited, and then I looked at it and said, “They picked THAT one? Of everything in my shop? There are SO many better photos!” Lesson learned. Be ready for prime-time at any time, and make sure you are only putting up your best work, even if it means your new listing needs to wait a day or two for the right set up.