Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Etsy Shop Product Update: Boho Pinback Buttons, Forest Mushroom Buttons & Asian Architecture Travel Pins

I would like to talk about some of the newest products on my Etsy shop. I recently bought a guide for getting seen on Etsy through www.attention-getting.com and one tip that I was given said, "create a blog or website and post your items." and I realized that I need to do this more often. I think that this is wise advice, as it helps to build SEO. So, I will be doing this from time to time.

When it comes to being seen on Etsy, it's great to get your products out there. That means posting on social media, blogs, or reaching out to the press to see if they would feature your items. It also can mean reaching out to local stores and seeing if they will carry your products. 

Boho Hippie Quote Pinback Buttons

Cute Boho Hippie Themed Pinback Buttons 

I just love how these pinback buttons turned out. I wanted something with a clean look, but with quotes that were considered "boho hippie" so I came up with these. Each one has a quote, and you can purchase them separately on the site, or as a set. 

What I wanted for these items was something that felt happy, fun, unique, and stylish. The colors go great with almost any outfit, and the text looks good and is easy to read. I wanted these pinback buttons to pop, and I am really happy with how they turned out! 

Forest Mushrooms on Buttons

Forest Mushroom Pinback Button Set

I just LOVE how these little buttons turned out. I made them as a regular sized set (1.25" and 1.5") and made a separate listing for 1' buttons! These little buttons make me think of all the mushrooms that I find out here in the Pacific Northwest on the Washington Coast. I wanted something colorful and bright, that made one feel cheerful and fun. I also wanted something that could be used for craft projects. I think that these buttons are going to be a success! 

Our forest mushroom pinback button set is great for those who love nature, the outdoors, or who just happen to love mushrooms.

Asian Travel Pinback Buttons

Asia Travel Pinback Button Set

I love travel, and these buttons evoke the image of some of my favorite places in the world. Four years ago I was with my family at Angkor Wat in Cambodia and we had an amazing time touring the temples. A couple years before that we were at the Taj Mahal, and I was super impressed with what is definitely one of the world's most beautiful buildings. The temple button reminds me a lot of the temples I saw in Cambodia and Thailand. I have yet to visit the Great Wall of China, but one day I expect to.

These pinback buttons would look great on a backpack of a traveler or someone who just loves Asian architecture. If you can't get enough of Asia, these are a great button for you to remember the far east.


All of these products and more are available on our Etsy shop

Returning to the United States and Beginning a New Chapter in Life

We have now moved back to the United States from Ukraine

After spending some time overseas, my wife, daughter and I returned to the United States and decided to work on building on Etsy shop. While in Ukraine, we had a lot of success with our store, but knew that we would be able to take it to the next level if we came back to the United States and focused on building client relationships here. So we packed our bags and left Ukraine and moved back to the Washington coast.

We now live about five miles from the entrance to Olympic National Park in a very small town called Queets. Coming back here has been quite an adventure, and we are still getting settled in. 

I have not written in this blog for a while, as I have been more focused on our Etsy shop, but it's good to see that there have been some readers and that there is interest in this blog, so I will continue to add to it.

I have written about travel and Etsy in the past, and will continue to do so. I have a lot to add, and am excited to talk about how life is going and helping people grow their own Etsy shop. 

In fact, that's what I began doing in Ukraine. While teaching English in Dnipro, I needed another way to earn money. COVID was raging and my hours were cut, and I thought, "I can't keep going like this." So, I decided to turn my attention back to our Etsy shop and reopened it. I thought to myself, "I have been doing this for a long time. I am in the top 1% of Etsy sellers. Why not do Etsy shop critiques and write blogs for other people?"

I started getting clients right away and, as a result, I began to rebrand and rebuild my shop. Now I have done hundreds of shop critiques and have many writing clients. 

The thing about business is that you just have to keep updating and evolving, or it will all stagnate. After being on "vacation mode" for over a year, it took a lot for me to regain traction in my shop. I had to advertise, add new items, and think of different ways to stand out. What was popular now? I also began learning from others, purchasing ebooks about Etsy growth from top Etsy stores and marketers, and I started to find that I had a lot to learn. It has been quite a journey, but now I feel confident to be able to help others get their Etsy shops off the ground. 

I have been writing many blog entries and articles for other websites, but have let my own website go stagnant. However, I think that it's time to put some effort into my own site in addition to writing for other sites. That doesn't mean that I am going to stop writing for others. I am always looking for new clients, especially in the travel writing genre. If you are looking for a travel writer, please get in contact with me and I will gladly help you out.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Visiting Lviv Ukraine: What To See and Do Around Lviv's Old Town

We took a break from our Etsy store and recently visited Lviv, Ukraine, and it's been nice to come back to the city, explore, and see some places that we have not seen for a couple of years.  This was our third time exploring Lviv, and a lot is just how we remembered it! 

Lviv is one of my favorite cities in Ukraine.  If you like classic architecture, you are going to love this city.  Lviv is full of some of the most beautiful old-world-style buildings and monuments anywhere.  In fact, Lviv's old town is a paradise for a photographer or someone who just likes to get lost in small brick-lined alleyways with ancient cobblestone streets.  

The Lviv Train Station

We arrived in Lviv around 8:30 am and were told that the apartment we reserved had its door broken into by the police.  The police had arrested whoever the last guest was for illegal activity of some kind.  Since the door was broken into, we had to find somewhere else to stay.  Being that I had an online class at 1 pm we needed to find something fast!  To make things more difficult, most places had a 1 pm check-in, and I was a bit worried.  However, finding a nice place close to the center was not a problem, and we were able to check-in at 11 am.  

We had a very nice fourth-floor apartment overlooking the old town of Lviv and a park below.  It was close to the Lviv Opera House, which is probably one of the most beautiful and recognizable buildings in Ukraine.  After doing a few online classes, we went out to explore.

It was not long before the rain began to fall and the scene changed.  After popping into the ornate Church of Transfiguration and meandering through the picturesque streets, larger drops of water began to fall.  This was a great chance to get some more "moody-style" images of the city.  We have always visited Lviv in the summer, but it was also beautiful in Spring, with its glistening water-covered streets and dark foreboding skies.  We ventured into the Aremenian Cathedral's beautiuful gated courtyard and reminisiced of the time before, when our daugther took pictures of the monuments and people were everywhere.  This time there was no one else there.  Now the rain began to fall harder as the sky grew black.

The girls found a place to hide under the columns of the gorgeous Lviv town hall as I braved the storm to see some more of the city and gaze at the ancient-looking Ensemble Church of the Assumption.  This soot-covered church tower is one of the prominent focal points of the Lviv skyline.  

The next day we explored a lot more of Lviv, including the park near the Gunpowder tower, a new memorial to fallen soldiers of Ukraine (with a beautiful view of the city skyline), and enjoyed taking photos around the Lviv Town Hall.  We were going to go up to the hill known as Highcastle, with the radio tower and awesome city views, but the rain made it less enticing.  We had visited the tower during the summer and definately recommend going up there if you are in Lviv.

Our friend, Julia, told us about an old mansion that her friend recommended, and I thought this would be a good place to go visit.  Known as the House of Scientists, this mansion was once an opulent casino and now serves as a museum, event space, and place where many films are shot.  The architects of this building also built the Vienna Observatory and Odessa Opera House (which is another spectacular building worth visiting).  

The house of scientists is like stepping back into a palace in the far past.  Being that it was low season in Lviv, and that COVID is still a reality, there was only one other couple in the building.  Shortly after we arrived, the other couple left, and we had the entire mansion to oursleves!  This was great, as it made for some excellent photo opportuntieis and made it extra intersting to explore!  The creeking sounds and dark rooms made for a kind of creepy, somewhat moody experience.  It really felt like we were in a time long gone.

Later in the evening, we ventured back into the old town and visited the famous Lviv Chocolate Factory for some sweet treats and wandered aimlessly, stumbling upon the ruins of an old synagogue and Halocaust memorial.  We continued on a walk towards the massive Roman-Catholic Cathedral of Saint Mary where a local man was selling old badges and pins.  We talked for a while and I purchased a badge that was given to workers who helped with the Chernobyl clean-up efforts.  At this point, it was getting late and we had some packing to do and a meeting with a member of our church, so headed back to our apartment.  The next day we said goodbye once again to Lviv and headed towards Yaremche, a village in the Carpathian Mountains.  

Lviv is a wonderful town in Ukraine, and one of the most visited.  It's located close to Poland (and once was a part of Poland), so it is a good place to visit if you are looking to see some of Ukraine and are in Poland for a trip.  With that said, it's far different than other cities in Ukraine, such as Kyiv, Dnipro, Odessa and other gems like Poltava and Chernihiv.  It's worth seeing though, and there's so much to explore that a week isn't even enough to see everything. 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Early Spring in Ukraine

This is our fourth Spring in Ukraine.  When we first came to Ukraine in 2015, we arrived in early March and left in April.  last year, we arrived on March 10th, 2020.  Now it's been one year since we have been here, and Spring is starting again.  Spring is one of my favorite times of year in Ukraine (although Summer has to be my absolute favorite).  The winter is such a desolate time (I don't particularly care for winter anywhere), and to see the trees return to life is one of the joys of being here. 

We have decided to spend this Spring season exploring a bit of Ukraine.  I recently mentioned in a previous post how I had taken some time off of work to go out and see some of the countryside.  It has been a long time since we got to go somewhere where we were just surrounded by nature, and we are both craving that.  Lucky for us, Ukraine has some great natural places, especially in the western side of the country.  

We purchased train tickets to Lviv and will continue onward to Yaremche, provided that Ukraine does not shut down for COVID.  Last I heard, cases were rising, and that makes it difficult to plan.  I am hoping that in the coming weeks as we head towards the west side, that cases are falling.  Talking to many of my students, there is not much excitement to take the vaccine here, and to be honest, when I mention it, some of my students look at me as if I am crazy.  It’s really everyone’s choice whether or not they get the vaccine, and as for me, I see no reason not to.  

The view from our "house." 

Lately, we have been getting out more as the sun has been shining and it’s been warm enough to not have to wear an undershirt, two sweaters, jacket, leggings under my pants, scarf, hat, and gloves.  That gets exhausting, to be honest.  It’s nice to feel the sun on our skin and see the trees budding.  After being inside for so long, it’s really a treat.

We have been to the Carpathians previously.  Two years ago, we visited the city of Uzhhorod (which I wrote about).  I liked this town, as it had a feel of more “classic” Ukraine.  It also had the same “western-style” feel that I love about that side of the country.  Five years ago, when Sephie was two, we were in Mukachevo.  I didn’t have much time to see Mukachevo but remember it as a very pretty little town with a nice castle and a lovely central area.  We took the electric train from Lviv to Mukachevo, and it was a spectacular ride through small villages and lovely green hills with towering bridges over green tree-filled valleys and winding rivers.  

Yaremche is located near Hoverla, which is Ukraine’s highest mountain.  I am not sure if we will go try to climb it or go towards the base, but I am honestly quite excited to do a bit of hiking in the area and see nature again.  

I look at how much Ukraine has changed these last few years.  It has become far more modern than it used to be when we arrived in 2015.  I suppose that's a good thing, as a place rarely becomes a museum.  One of the things that I really loved about this country was how it felt like stepping back into the past.  But, now, I see some technological advances here that I don't even see in the US.  I remember the first time I saw a television in a marshrutka.  And then there are the lights on the street for people to cross when the light turns green.  The express trains are quite modern as well.  I see many new, modern-looking buildings coming up in both Dnipro and Kyiv.  Yes, things here are changing.  In a previous post, I wrote about how many of the students have changed, as well.  There is a bigger "middle class" that's present now.  This has brought some big changes.  I think that part of it is that there's a want to separate from the past.  Five years ago when I visited Dnipro, Park Globu was the place to be.  It's the central park in Dnipro.  Now, it's considered an older park.  Most of the students don't admit to liking it.  It reminds them of the past.  Now Green Grove and Park Shevchenko, both recently modernized parks, are the hip places to be. 

I think that I feel a bit of nostalgia for a Ukraine that doesn't really exist anymore.  It is good for the local people that their country is "catching up" to the west.  It's good to see progress.  Clean parks, smooth streets, nice buses and trains, modern buildings, big malls, and versatility in food is great.  With those things, the prices have also risen.  That's the cost of change.  At the same time, I wonder if part of the soul that made Ukraine somewhat unique has been lost.  I see far less of the old women selling vegetables, meat, and cheese on the sidewalks.  The same with the people who sold kvas and piroshki.   Chain supermarkets are replacing farmer's markets.  More people seem to be driving.  Western-style businesses and hip dining establishments are taking over many traditional Ukrainian restaurants.  People everywhere crave the exotic, and what's popular elsewhere.  I honestly think there are more sushi restaurants in Dnipro than traditional Ukrainian restaurants.  

Ozerka, our city's main marketplace, is not as busy as the malls.  Many of my students claim to not like this place.  For me, this is the kind of place that I loved when I first visited Ukraine.  It's sad to see the middle and upper-class people turning their backs on these things.  But, I think of the United States, and this happened in many places as prosperity grew.  Now, farmer's markets are making a come back, but are often seen as a "luxury," with prices higher than average stores such as Wal-Mart or the supermarkets that are filled with the masses.  

Spring is a time to reflect on the change that is happening.  Every year, things change.  I think about the last five years and the changes that have taken place.  Now, Spring brings with it the hope that COVID19 is on its way out.  However, the current reality in Ukraine is that COVID19 is very much here and may be here for a while.  Yet, there's always hope for the summer and the future.  The trees and flowers bloom, showing that life prevails.  The sun shines and a new warmth brings forth flowers and leaves.  Ukraine will continue to change like everywhere else.  Nothing stops.  Each year there is more change that takes place.  I look forward to the changes that will come in our lives.  My daughter is no longer a baby.  We are no longer who we were two years ago when we lived in Egypt.  Ukraine is no longer what it was in 2015.  Spring is a reminder of that.  Now I look forward to seeing what will become of this year and rest in the hope that good things are coming.  

What It's Like to Work at American English Center (AEC) In Ukraine

The view from the window at the Dnipro
office of American English Center.

I have been teaching English at AEC in Dnipro for about a year now.  Before I began teaching at this school, I read the blog by Katherine or "Crazy About Ukraine" as her blogger profile states.  I recently went back to this blog when searching about getting a visa and I thought to myself, "I need to write about my experiences here in Ukraine more" so I decided to write this entry about my experiences working at American English Center (AEC) in Dnipro, Ukraine.

As of this writing, I am about to take a break from teaching and go explore some of Ukraine and work on some side projects.  I have been teaching at AEC during the COVID19 pandemic in Ukraine and business seems to have slowed down a bit.  However, I never taught here outside of COVID (I arrived in Ukraine three days before quarantine began), so I don't know what "business as usual" looks like at AEC.  

When I arrived in Ukraine, I trained and did some teaching practice at a school in Kyiv.  As I have taught at another school in Ukraine (English Language Center - ELC), taught high school English in Egypt, have a master's in TESOL, as well as a CELTA, I am guessing that the school thought that I didn't need too much training.   After about three to four days of training, it was time to go to Dnipro to begin work.  However, at this point, the quarantine began, so the manager had me come back to Kyiv as the schools were all closed down for a couple of months and the school would begin to transition to online learning.

I taught online for a couple of semesters.  The classes went pretty good.  I am not a fan of teaching online, but the course material that is provided by AEC gives enough activities to work with and there's always the benefit of adding supplemental material and conversation.  After three or so months of teaching online, I went to work in Dnipro.

Dnipro is one of Ukraine's largest cities but is quite different than Kyiv.  It has the feel of a smaller city in some ways, but a lot of big-city amenities.  There are a few big malls with lots of shops, such as Most City and Dafi (one of the two AEC schools in Dnipro, and the one that I teach at, is near Dafi).  There is a nice downtown area with many shops, restaurants, and parks.  Most of the students that I teach tell me that they like Dnipro more than Kyiv and many other cities in Ukraine.  In fact, other than about half sharing their want to leave Ukraine, most of the students really like Dnipro.  

American Engish Center then and now

I am going to compare my experience with Katherine's, as quite a few years have passed and there have been some things that are different now, and probably different in Dnipro from the Kharkiv office of AEC.

  • You get your teaching schedule about 24 hours before classes start. This can be really scary at first, especially if you're a perfectionist like me, but it gets easier over time. Again, the material is rather repetitive so it takes significantly less prep after teaching it the first time. 
This is still true.  Each semester lasts 7 weeks, with a week "break" between semesters.  Generally, I would get my schedule for the week the day before class.  Sometimes you don't get your full schedule until halfway through the week.  For example, I may not know what I am doing on Sunday until Wednesday or Thursday.  
  • Midterms means that you'll need to hand-write progress reports for all of your students. If you're teaching full-time and have over 60 students in core classes, hello writer's cramp. (On the other hand [get it? haha :p] progress reports are a chance to interact more personally with students and give needed feedback.)
I can't imagine having sixty students.  Most of my classes have 4 students, and I generally teach 6 to 7 classes at most.  I have been the only native speaker working in our office (other than my wife when two classes need to be taught at the same time.  I have not written progress reports, but give a final exam score based on students speaking.  It's super easy to do.  
  • Supplies. It's not a big deal, but always have your own tape and your own chalk. Also, since you teach in an elementary school classroom rented out for the evening, be prepared to battle with ancient Soviet blackboards of evil. If you wear black, you will lose. And always bring wet wipes to clean your hands of all that chalk dust.
I work in a rented office building, but the other Dnipro AEC location is in a high school near the center of the city.  We still use blackboards and chalk, but I don't use them too often.  I like to focus on conversational English and teaching the lessons.  As a native speaker, I do very little grammar, except when the students have a problem with grammar or if there is a question about grammar.  Otherwise, there is a local Russian and/or Ukrainian-speaking teacher who does the grammar portion of the lesson.  
  • Another thing about working in an elementary school? The bathrooms are squat pits. Doors, toilet paper, and soap are as rare as unicorns, but during 4-6 PM you may encounter small children running [amok through] the restrooms : )
Yes, this is still true if you don't work at a rented office location.  If you are working at one of the schools, this is how it is.  It's kind of interesting though.  I have learned to like squat toilets.  
  • All printing is done in a central office so along with the scheduling chaos at the beginning of the semester, there's a lot of supply chaos. Books may come just in time or "it'll be here sometime next semester."
I have not had this problem at all.  There are many books now and they have all been given to me far ahead of my first class.  We reuse the same books and finding the laminates are easy enough as well.

It seems that a lot has changed since Katherine has taught at AEC, but some things are slower to change.   Overall, I have liked my time at AEC.  There are some issues, such as you get so used to the material after a while that it can get boring to teach.  Also, when you have the same students semester after semester, you kind of run out of things to talk about, so you have to get a bit philosophical.  

When I taught at ELC, which was about five years ago in Kyiv, we had a lot of students from a lower-income background.  Now, Ukraine is going through a cultural shift and things are changing.  People seem to have more money, and the students are more "up and coming" in the world.  Many students work in the IT-sphere and can afford luxuries like private English classes.  This means that sometimes students feel pressure to conform or look a certain way, generally more upper or middle class, and are slow to talk about some things or admit to doing certain activities that may seem "beneath them."  This includes swimming in the Dnipro river (my daughter loves it in that water, and so do many locals), talking about shopping at a second-hand store (I do it!), or coming from families where there's a weird person.  Sometimes I seem to shock the students by talking about doing regular life things that are not strange (and were not strange for my other students or local Ukrainian friend) but are somehow very strange or embarrassing to my students.

 The management at AEC does a pretty good job of working with the teachers and trying to make everyone happy, just as Katherine says.  Now with COVID, things are harder, and I never got close to reaching the hours that I expected to, which meant that I had to take on a few side projects, such as teaching online with a Chinese school (which helped me to earn a lot more than I would have at AEC), going back to run my Etsy shop, and doing freelance writing on the side.  This made me quite exhausted to teach, especially when those long full-day Sundays came around.  As I started to do well in Dnipro doing other activities, I realized that I needed a break, so I decided that I will be taking a break at least for the next couple of semesters.  I don't know if I will go back to AEC (my contract ended a few weeks ago), and a new replacement teacher has been found for me.  

Getting a Ukrainian Visa

Katherine also states that:  

A work visa from the school is about as likely as a nice fluffy roll of lavender-scented toilet paper in a bathroom stall at Barabashova market.

I am in no way advocating breaking the laws of any country (did you really dream of growing up to be an illegal immigrant in Eastern Europe as a child?), so just do the best you can to get things straightened out before you come or immediately after you arrive. It's pretty much all on your shoulders.

Things have probably changed since then.  Getting the visa was a headache, but I was able to go to Istanbul and get it taken care of.  It has been a few months and I am just about to get my residency permit, but the school does help with it, despite what others have said on various forums.  You just have to really be proactive about it and be willing to spend quite a bit of money, especially if you come as a family, as I have.  

I have taught at a few English schools now, and they are not so different.   In fact, as Katherine says on her blog, this school could be anywhere:  Thailand, South Korea, Mexico, Egypt, and things would probably look and operate more or less the same.  I could have probably found a job, even in Ukraine, making a lot more money.  I could have probably found something with housing (such as the school where I took my CELTA -- London School of English), but I didn't go that route.  I also came during COVID which made things very challenging as well.  Having ended up teaching online with a Chinese company, I am now making more per hour than I would probably find anywhere in Ukraine, so there's that too. 

AEC Dnipro Ukraine

Would I recommend AEC?

Yes, I would recommend working at this school.  They give you all the material you need and it's very easy to prep for classes.  Living here has been a great experience.  I have liked living in Dnipro a lot and it has been very interesting.  It's a lot quieter than Kyiv, and there's a bit less to do, but I do like having the sea closer by and the feel of a smaller city is more interesting.  I also feel more exotic here, in the sense that there are far fewer ex-pats in this city.  The people are great and I have loved getting to know my students better.  

Honestly, my dream was to work in Odesa (the city where I took my CELTA, and my favorite city in Ukraine), but I never inquired about that and probably won't at this time in my life.  I honestly have no clue where life will take me, but I imagine that things are about to change as COVID ends.  We will see though.  Thanks for reading!

I am going to also link to some of the sites that Katherine linked to:  

Monday, March 22, 2021

I Started Selling on Etsy When In Law School and Never Looked Back!

How I Went From Law School To Making Money On Etsy

Let me be honest.  Law school was not my best part of life.  Granted, I got excellent grades during my first year, transferred to a more prestigious law school, and impressed many of my professors with my exams.  However, my heart was not in the law.  It was during this period of life that I decided that I wanted to do something more creative to offset the oft-mundane study of law.

I saw a segment on Etsy and was immediately intrigued.  I imagined making something super cool and getting a ton of sales, but then reality hit me and I realized that I was never really a crafty type.  I had long seen myself as a writer, not an artisan, and I had no clue at all that I should sell on Etsy.

As the days passed, I thought a lot about Etsy.  Law school wasn't cheap, and living in New York City was very expensive.  The legal career was taking a dive at this point and many of my fellow students were literally scared to death that they would not be able to graduate with a job.  I must admit that I felt the same way.  Even graduates from the top schools were having a hard time finding work.

How I Started An Etsy Pinback Button Business

I decided that I needed to find something to sell on Etsy.  I needed something that I would be passionate about and enjoy doing.  I couldn't just throw something random on and hope to sell it.  It needed to be something fun.  What was it though?

After experimenting with many different ideas, my wife and I came to the conclusion that Pinback Buttons would be a great thing for us to sell.  I had always loved inspirational quotes and thought that they would sell well on buttons.  When I started researching pinback buttons, most of the pinback buttons were based on pop culture or television shows and movies.  I wanted to stand out in some way.  

Getting started on Etsy was slow at first.  But it didn't take me long until I got our first sale.  What a rush it was to actually sell something!  Now for the fun part: figuring out how to ship it to the customer in a cost-effective manner.  We didn't really try sending anything out and wish we had, because we were shocked that sending a little 1.25" button was a parcel.  You couldn't just throw a couple of stamps on an envelope and send it.  No, sending a pinback button would cost close to $3!  This would become a thorn in our side for a while until we started to figure out free volume shipping, which our store now offers for orders over $15.

After figuring out shipping, we were starting to see some orders coming in.  As we added new products to our shop, the sales continued to rise!  A few days after creating a new design, someone would come along and purchase one and sometimes more.  We were thrilled when we had our first big sale, of close to $50 in buttons!  Wow!

We made a cross-country move from New York to Seattle and took our shop with us.  We started doing well in Seattle and sold a big $200 order to an event at the Google headquarters and it was a big turning point for our shop.  I never imagined that big companies would notice us or order a lot at once.  It was super exciting! 

After a year of living in Seattle and growing our shop, I decided that my heart was not in law.  I was let go of a legal assistant job and decided that I wanted some more adventure in life.  We had a young child and I had often thought about going overseas to teach English.  However, I knew that would mean a big change to our Etsy shop.  I found a job in Ukraine and decided that we would ask my wife's sister to take care of the shop for us while we were out of the country.  She was excited to do so and we left.  

How Our Etsy Shop Began to Flourish

In Ukraine, I spent most of my time teaching, and the Etsy shop kind of stagnated.  We didn't really add anything to our store and sales were mostly level.  Around Christmas, sales would go up a bit, and then the rest of the year, everything kind of went on.  A big change happened when we decided to return to the United States.  I began to add a ton of new products, and our shop really started to bloom.  

Upon returning to the US, I was seeing a lot of extra income on Etsy and many people were interested in our products.  I had started adding a lot of new themes, such as travel, hiking, and more vegan/vegetarian style pins.  People were loving them!  Sales were through the roof as we moved into a small converted travel trailer and turned it into our office.  

I loved that office.  It was so full of light and had a very long table to work on.  I had a mini-fridge behind me and a comfortable bed that I could go read on when I was done with orders.  But, things changed once again as we moved to the Washington coast and we changed offices.  This was the biggest period of expansion, as we began to add many social justice pins that sold like crazy during the 2016 election.  We had shops, cafes, bookstores, museums and comic book stores asking to buy from us and we were making triple of what we normally did.  It was one heck of a ride!  Sometimes we would get an order for a wedding, funeral, or something else and it was always exciting to see people buy these huge lots of buttons.  

Many of my former classmates and people I talked to online during law school never understood why I left the world of law.  But, Etsy replaced that.  I spent a ton of time building my store.  It took years of fine-tuning listings and staying up to date on Etsy SEO.  Even to this day I am constantly redoing listings and adding links into my listings or updating titles and tags.  It is a neverending job.  I have found that when I tweak Etsy, sales increase--so I keep doing it!  

Now, I can't imagine working in the legal field.  Selling on Etsy has been a blast, and it has helped me to learn a ton about starting and creating a business.  At one point we were in the top 500 Etsy stores out of close to 2 million shops!  That was a huge milestone for me.  When I started, all I had hoped for was a way to supplement my income and pay part of our rent.  Now, the sky's the limit!  


About our shop: "BohoButtons.com"

We sell pinback buttons, magnets, bookmarks, keychains, stickers, shirts, digital downloads, and Etsy SEO services at bohobuttons.com.  We started selling in 2012.  Since then we have sold hundreds of thousands of individual pins on Etsy, Amazon, and in person.  We love to supply companies, bookstores, birthday parties, and other events with fun pins and other items.  

Do you have an Etsy shop?  Let me take a look at it and show you how you can take your shop to the next level!  Check out our Etsy Shop Critique listing.  

Want me to take a look at your Etsy titles and tags?  Check out my listing for title and tag help.

Want to get exposure through Pinterest groups?  Check out my Etsy Pinterest Page:  The Best Etsy Finds.

Follow our new Instagram page!  

Etsy Shop Product Update: Boho Pinback Buttons, Forest Mushroom Buttons & Asian Architecture Travel Pins

I would like to talk about some of the newest products on my Etsy shop . I recently bought a guide for getting seen on Etsy through www.atte...