Etsy store spotlight: Chemist Creations

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A good pair of earrings that can cover up a multitude of cosmetic maladies. Abigail Unrau

Etsy products are made with love – Amazon’s are not.

The newest craze of Instagram and Etsy stores have been providing customers with some super unique items. The accessibility of Etsy and Instagram stores make shopping from your couch incredibly convenient and safe during the pandemic – not to mention the opportunity to find one-of-a-kind items!

This week I sat down with the owner of Chemist Creations, Abigail Unrau, to chat (email-to-email) about what it’s like to operate an Etsy and Instagram store. Abigail is going into her fifth year at the University of Saskatchewan to finish her Honours degree in Chemistry.

What made you begin your Instagram/Etsy store?

I have been dreaming of making resin flower jewelry for two years and had finally made the jump to invest in it. However, Facebook marketplace [is] not [a] hot market for jewelry. Etsy is the place where people go for handmade jewelry, and a [great] starting place if you don’t have a huge following. I [also] wanted an outlet for all my creative energy. I wanted to do more making, but craft supplies are insanely expensive. Through selling my handmade items I have been able to afford to explore a wide variety of mediums.

What kind of items do you make for your Instagram/Etsy store? What are some of your best sellers?

My best sellers on my social media are my custom pet sweaters – people send me pictures of their dogs and I turn it into a monochrome, abstract photo that I can easily transfer onto clothing. People love their pets (including me), so it’s no wonder why these are so popular! [On] Etsy, my best sellers have been my rings and anything with Forget Me Not flowers in them. [They’re] so small and beautiful; I find that dainty jewelry has been a lot more popular than any kind of “statement” earring I have made.

Do you get your materials from anywhere particularly special? Do you create or gather your own materials?

I have almost completely transitioned into growing and pressing the flowers that go into my jewelry! It’s taken a few months as flowers don’t bloom overnight, but I have quite a bit in my stock right now and am hoping to grow enough to last through the winter!

What has been the hardest part of operating an online store in the middle of the pandemic?

I can’t say whether the pandemic has hindered my sales or not since I started it in March, but I think the hardest parts are building a brand and waiting.

When I say building a brand, I mean everything that goes into packaging items. [I have had to order] business cards, care cards, return labels, thank you cards, and much more. This all takes a lot of time and creativity, and is very important in displaying what your business is about. [It also] play[s] a very big part in whether people share your items on social media or shop with you again.

When I say waiting, I mean waiting for orders to come. Not knowing whether people will buy your items or not. It takes a while, but it is worth it. Every month that I have had my store up sales [have increased] almost exponentially.

What are your best tips and tricks to navigating and achieving the online business world?

Take good pictures! Good pictures are what sell your items. I’m lucky to have a DSLR camera that takes fantastic photos, but it’s not necessary with how well phone cameras work these days. Make sure you have a neutral background and good lighting. Then, once you’re done taking photos, edit them! I use Lightroom, which is a free app and very easy to use.

What is the best part about being an Etsy store owner?

One of the things that brings me the most joy in my life is igniting joy in others. I want to make items that make people happy. I want to do something with my business, such as [making] a $1 donation from every sale to a local charity! I have [also] done fundraising events in the past and plan to do more in the future. So far, I have made donations to [Saskatoon Dog Rescues,] OutSaskatoon, and Prairie Harm Reduction. This month my donation is going to the IRSSS. I love helping others and I can do it a lot more with my business than ever before.

Find Abigail and her fabulous items on Etsy & Facebook at “Chemist Creations” and on Instagram @chemist.creations.

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