By BECKY GILLETTE
Anna Childers, Apple Farm Creations, Handmade Home Decor & Personalized Gifts, D’Iberville, said the biggest advantage for her and her husband in selling on Amazon is the large customer base.
Anna Childers started the business in 2015 selling handmade home decor such as hand-painted wood signs, wood shelves, coat racks, etc.
“I love making this kind of stuff, and really just had too much of it on hand and decided to try to sell a few pieces,” Childers said. “I was actually surprised when people wanted to buy my products that I had made. Initially I sold on eBay and then Etsy. In late 2015 I received an email from Amazon inviting me to apply to join their new Handmade program.”
Unlike with eBay and Etsy, she had to provide Amazon with a lot documentation. She was asked to prove that her offerings were handmade. She provided pictures of her work space, which at the time was her dining room table and a saw set up on the back porch.
“I was subsequently accepted in early 2016 and I listed a few items on Amazon and just kind of forgot about it,” Childers said. “A few weeks later one of those items sold, then another and another. Within three to six months of joining Amazon Handmade, 75 percent of my business income was from Amazon. My hobby transformed into a business because of Amazon. I now sell on Amazon, Etsy, and I have my own website, www.applefarmcreations.com.”
She and her husband went from building their wood products outside, on the porch, the back yard, wherever she felt like setting up that day to now having two work areas — a stand-alone wood shop designated for making all of their wood products, and a studio inside their home for the other products added over the years, such as ceramic mugs, travel mugs, phone cases, license plates, garden flags and coasters.
“All of our products are completely made to order from my home in D’Iberville,” she said. “I know many handmade sellers that have been able to leave their full-time jobs and run their home-based business full time due to the success they have had on Amazon Handmade.”
Her advice to other small businesses (any small business, not just handmade), is to give Amazon a try.
“Amazon Handmade has been a game changer, not just for me, but for many handmade sellers that I know,’ Childers said. “Amazon provides exceptional customer service, which in turn makes consumers feel more comfortable purchasing from Amazon, and provides Amazon with a larger customer base than any other platform I have sold on. Therefore, more potential customers are seeing what I make and sell.”
She knows single mothers who have been able to stay at home with their children and support their family by selling on Amazon.
“I think what a lot of people don’t understand about Amazon is that, as a whole, Amazon is made up of primarily businesses like mine that are family owned and operated, with or without a brick and mortar storefront,” Childers said. “Small businesses appreciate every sale we get. Amazon Handmade is 100 percent made up of small businesses exactly like mine. So, when you buy something-on Amazon Handmade, you are helping a small business.”
Her situation is a little unique in that she already had worked from home prior to starting Apple Farm Creations. She has continued to do both jobs, but said there was no way she could have done Apple Farm Creations if she had to leave and go into an office for eight hours every day.
“I think as my business continues to grow, I may have to eventually choose, but for now this works well for me,” Childers said. “As Apple Farm Creations has grown, my husband has started taking over more responsibilities, which has been a tremendous help. It is just the two of us running the business–no other employees at this time–although I am thinking about adding one employee next year if we continue our growth rate.”
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