Etsy Top Seller Interview: Little Sapling Toys

I am in LOVE with Little Sapling Toys! Nick and Kimber Christensen create the most delightful eco-friendly wood toys, blocks and teethers. They even make state, province and continent teethers! For every toy sold they also plant a tree. Hip hip hooray!

What is your business name and what kinds of products do you sell?

Little Sapling Toys | Modern, natural and organic wooden toys

Is there a story behind your store name?

Nick and I went on a walk while brainstorming business names.  Little
Sapling Toys popped out of Nick’s mouth and we both knew immediately that
it was the right one.

How did you get started in your handmade business?

Nick was a new dad, working as a cabinet maker, studying historic
preservation and restoration and making rattles for baby shower gifts.  We
took some rattles into a consignment shop in Old Town Eureka, CA and asked
for their opinion.  With favorable encouragement, we developed a line of
rattle styles along with variations of wooden toys we had made for our own
son.  At the same time we did our duty through the city and state to make
Little Sapling Toys legal.

That summer we traveled to Vermont and went into every baby shop we could
scout out to try and sell our small line of wooden toys.  Nothing large
enough to start a viable business happened until we set up our shop on
Etsy.

I spent long hours researching Etsy and figuring out what would work best
for LST.  With consistent branding, constantly improving pictures and
descriptions and a strong and unique product, our Etsy shop flourished.

Where do you sell your products both online and offline?

www.littlesaplingtoys.etsy.comwww.littlesaplingtoys.com and in about 90
online and physical stores worldwide.

How much time do you put into your online activities?

I work online at about six hours each day, Nick is online for about 1-2
hours each day and we have an employee, Misty, who works online 1-2 hours
each day.  We all work six days a week.

Which online activities do you feel have helped your shop the most?

Communicating with our customers on our Facebook page
(www.facebook.com/littlesaplingtoys), editing photos on picnik.com,
reading up on pertinent Etsy news/advice, updating our product
descriptions.

What is your schedule like on a typical business day?

The space we live in has everything to do with how we organize our time.
Right now our space is transitional (we are in process of purchasing a
house in Wisconsin) and our schedule feels so as well.
After a late night of work, we sleep in as long as our two and four year
old will let us and take care of pressing customer service or orders.
It’s a jumble of workouts, feed, play with and take care of children,
sneak in more work and naps until early afternoon. We print receipts and
labels and package orders with a fury until dinner.  We make dinner, eat,
play and put the kids to bed.  Finally we work on various aspects of LST
until bed anywhere from 12 am to 3 am.

What are your biggest challenges selling on Etsy?

It’s difficult to see our original designs that have come from so much
time and hard work being recreated by other sellers.

Do you have any time saving tips you could share?

Along with my ‘to do’ list each day, I write a ‘do not do’ list to help me
stay focused.

What social media do you like to use and how do you use it?

Blog: informational; we write two posts each week, one by myself and one
by Misty
Facebook: communicative; ask customer opinions, announce sales, etc.
Twitter: light and fun blips from our life

What is your favorite part of your handmade business?

Pride in doing things our way with success and the potential to grow and
develop.

What are your hopes and aspirations for your store and where do you see
yourself going from here?

Once we are in our new house and situation, we plan to hire a shop
foreman.  We will set up our basement to be an organized office and
homeschooling area.  The hope is that all the organization will lend us
more time, which we will use to explore the ideas we have for other
handmade businesses.

Do you do anything to stay inspired and what motivates you to create?

Having the time to create is motivating.  Once we hired Misty to help with
the customer service and wholesale orders, my creativity surged from
simply having time to indulge it.  Misty, Nick and I are a great team of
minds as well; it is exciting to throw ideas around between us.

What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?

Employees, computers and woodworking equipment

*Thank you so much Kimber! I especially like your ‘do not do’ list.*

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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