Alicia Shaffer's shop, Three Bird Nest, is a top selling handmade Etsy product store. Shaffer says began her Etsy business in 2011 with what started as a simple store featuring some headbands from her boutique. Now Shaffer reportedly sells approximately 3,000 items per day and brings in a whopping $65,000 a month.
The Daily Mail reports that Shaffer has no background in fashion and figured out everything through "trial and error." Her Etsy store began as an extension to her brick and mortar boutique. She simply wanted to use the Etsy store as a way to offset boutique sales and never expected it to become one of the most successful stores on the site.
"I opened an Etsy shop, figuring I'd help pay for dance lessons or offset the boutique's sales."Shaffer can definitely pay for those dance lessons now that she is raking in a staggering $65,000 a month from her boho chic store. In an interview with Organic Bloom, Shaffer discusses the humble beginnings of Three Bird Nest and how the Etsy store was an almost immediate hit. In the beginning, Shaffer was working alone and says she spent many nights crying over her products as she struggled to get products out on time.
"I remember being so stressed with getting all the orders out & crying at 3am because I was so overwhelmed with getting everything made & shipped on time. Yet at the same time I was so overwhelmed with joy at the success of the shop and appreciation for my customers. Needless to say, I kept at it & added Spring items -- scarves and leg warmers that added variety to my line, as well as offer additional items for my repeat customers."Three Bird Nest was such a hit that, in 2013, Shaffer closed the doors of her boutique to focus solely on her Etsy shop and brand. Shaffer now has a standalone website in addition to her Etsy store for customers who do not have an Etsy account. Shaffer told the Huffington Post that the website is mostly for wholesale business with Etsy still a primary focus.
"Initially we ONLY were on Etsy and we only sold on Etsy for the first year. We added our website as a way for non-Etsy customers to find us and as a way to grow the brand and have more of a presence. Sales between the two are very different. We do most of our wholesale business through our web site because it is easier to manage wholesale on our own site (than on Etsy), but we still focus a lot on Etsy sales. If a customer is on Etsy and finds our shop without knowing about us, that is the exact customer that we want, they get us. They get the brand and what makes us different. Sometimes on web platforms they don't get the story behind our product so for me that is what I see as the difference."Handemadeology reports on the top Etsy shops and shows Three Bird Nest with a staggering 90,726 sales as of the end of 2014. It seems that Three Bird Nest's success has caused many to question Shaffer's honesty in regards to the handmade aspect of her products. Some internet users are saying "there is no way these products are handmade." Some have claimed that the products were likely purchased overseas from China. Here are a few of the comments that posters have made in regards to Three Bird Nest's claims to being "handmade."
"Handmade?????? please, just how stupid does she think we are? Granted maybe they make the headbands, but that is about it, everything else is imported from China from the sweat shops. This people have zero integrity claiming handmade when they even forget to remove the made in China labels...for shame! Oh and don't forget to check out the new handmade suede shoes?? LOL"Another user even says they found the same exact products listed on AliExpress.
"Unfortunately, her products seem to be bought elsewhere rather than made as it didn't take 2 minutes to find the exact same boot cuffs on aliexpress, with a different model before people say THEY are stealing photos from her. It is a crying shame there are people who sell like this on etsy as there as so many wonderful hand crafters out there that deserve recognition."Though almost identical products are listed on AliExpress, does that mean Shaffer is purchasing the products from overseas? Not necessarily, as AliExpress could have created a copycat version of the product as it is a hot seller online. Knock-offs of popular brands are not uncommon in Chinese factories. In addition, it is possible that Shaffer has contracted through a Chinese supplier to obtain specifically designed handmade products. Nowhere on the Three Bird Nest website or Etsy shop does it say the product is made in the USA; therefore, some of the handcrafting may take place overseas.
Did you know that some Etsy shop owners are bringing in tens of thousands of dollars in a sales each month? What do you think of the claims that Shaffer's products aren't truly handcrafted?
[Image Credit: Three Bird Nest Etsy Shop]