What’s up beautiful bookworms! I know I haven’t been posting much, but I’ve been working on something and that’s why there’s been a dire lack of updates. But today I’m so excited to share it with you, finally! It’s my fandom-inspired jewelry and bookmark shop, Chiqui Creates! Ever since I discovered all the amazing bookish shops on bookstagram I wanted to make one of my own as well, and jewelry was what I first had in mind because I love making shiny things (lol).
I took to youtube to watch how-to tutorials on jewelry-making and now here I am! But setting up the business wasn’t always smooth-sailing!
The troubles of setting up a business in Asia
I first went to where everyone else goes to first when they want to sell handmade jewelry: Etsy. I set up a shop there and even listed one of my first-ever products, a silver mermaid bookmark with holographic scales.
But then the troubles began.
I found out that Etsy doesn’t send money direct to paypal, but to the bank instead. The problem? Etsy doesn’t accept Philippine bank accounts. I was disappointed; I even emailed Etsy support to ask if they can deposit to my paypal, but they confirmed that it was not possible at this time. The reason why Etsy was such a good choice for me despite the plethora of charges they ask was because people can search their site for products they want and there’s a chance that my product will come up. Etsy has a large userbase and I needed those people to see my products!
Moving on to Shopify
Like I said earlier, Etsy charges you several times: once for listing a new product, another when your product sells, another cut from shipping, and one last cut depending on the bank account your Etsy shop is linked to. I figured that it would be okay starting off, but once I grow I want to get my own Shopify store. So getting a Shopify account was just sped up after encountering those Etsy problems.
I bought the cheapest plan on Shopify but it surprisingly is good even with just the bare basics! I could set up my own shipping zones and shipping costs, set discounts on individual items, make a ton of discount codes, and lots more! I think that in the end, the monthly cost of Shopify would be almost the same (if not less than) if I set up shop at Etsy, considering that Shopify doesn’t charge me for listing items or get a cut from shipping costs and all that. What’s more is that my earnings are deposited directly to my Philippines Paypal account, just like what I wanted!
You can check out Shopify for yourself down here.
And then what happened?
After posting a few products on Shopify and plugging in shipping fees and setting up one of their free themes, I opened my shop on the 8th of August, which is an auspicious date!
Then I set out to spread news of my shop. I do have a personal bookstagram account at Chiqui Reads, so I announced Chiqui Creates over there. I find that people on Instagram are generally welcoming and enthusiastic about new bookish/fandom shops, so I had a couple of friends post in their stories about my shop, which I greatly appreciated! It certainly did help spread the word, and I managed to get a few sales in a few days after opening my shop. It also helps that I set up a discount code for 10% off for the entire month of August so people were keen to use that.
I also made an Instagram for my shop, named (aptly) Chiqui Creates, just so I wouldn’t spam my personal bookstagram timeline with shop news and new products and stuff. I do also have a Facebook page set up for it because you need a Facebook page to make your Instagram account a business account, but I haven’t done anything with the Facebook page yet.
That said, does anyone have any tips on growing a Facebook page? I admittedly don’t use Facebook enough, so this is one of my weak spots. I’d love to learn how people grew their accounts!
So what’s next?
I plan to complete more products first, and then go on to paid advertising on Instagram sometime in September or October. Other than that, I am also currently holding a grand opening giveaway!
Click on the image or here to get to my post about the giveaway, and what you can do to gain entries for the chance to win one of four shiny, bookish products!
I am also on the lookout for brand reps from October to December, so if you’re active in the bookstagram community on Instagram then please do head over here to read more about how you can join.
Lastly, I need a domain! I plan to register chiquicreates.com when September comes, so be on the lookout for that as well.
And that’s the story so far!
I enjoy making jewelry; it gives me something to do that’s fun and creative and I just love it when I finish pieces that look beautiful and something other people would wear. I love it when people who bought products from me enjoy them and wear them! Mostly, I just enjoy the feeling of happiness I get when people love something I also love, and enjoy something I made and worked hard on. So I can say that I made the right decision setting up a jewelry shop.
Please do look forward to more products on Chiqui Creates! And if you’re interested in my pieces, you can use promo code CHIQUI10 on checkout to enjoy 10% OFF all products. Hurry though, because the promo code expires on the 31st of August!
Do you have a bookish/fandom shop? Link it to me in the comments so I can visit them!