What Exactly Does a Small Online Shop Owner Do?

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

This is the fifth installment in the career series that answers the question "What exactly do you do?" Instead of tossing around vague industry titles, we're diving into the day-to-day activities of a few talented ladies in different industries and getting the nitty gritty on what exactly it is they do all day. Today, I'm excited to welcome Courtney Kennedy from the blog Always Rooney. Thanks for sharing your story, Courtney!

always-rooney-blog

Anytime I am asked "What do you do?" I quickly and most of the time, shyly respond with "I have an online shop where I sell leather passport cases." This is almost always followed with "Really? That is all you do? Sell passport cases?" Surprising, huh? People don't always know how to respond because they didn't know that being in such a specific market was possible. But I have given myself plenty of pep talks to just brush off people's responses. But I guess it is a little deceiving saying that is all I do. There is way more that goes into it than just making the case and sending it out to it's new adventure owner.

handcrafted-leather

Buying Leather and other supplies
Leather is what I make all of my products out of. One hundred percent genuine, soft, quality leather. When I was first starting out, I would drive two and a half hours to buy leather because the town I lived in did not stock the leather I needed. As fate would have it, I ended up moving to the exact town I used to drive to. Buying leather can take a few hours every other week. Other supplies I need requires lots of research to make sure I am getting what I need at the perfect price. This takes scouring the Internet, shopping local stores and comparing with friends to hear their thoughts. 

This doesn't take nearly as long now that I have gotten a groove and found what works and doesn't work but any time I want to add a new product, I spend plenty of time at the fore front doing research.

always-rooney2

Emails
I used to roll my eyes when I would read about someone complaining about answering emails. But now I understand. I am not the best at communication in the first place, especially if it is replying to a text or email. So I try to set aside time each day to read and reply to emails (key word: try). Most emails need detailed responses and I don't always check my email at the most opportune time to make a detailed reply. This causes neglect and follow-up emails asking "Did you get my last email?" Anyways, I'm learning and trying to push myself in this area of my business!

Promoting & Marketing
A big part of any business, organization, non-profit is marketing your brand and most of the time you are marketing yourself. There is pressure to always be promoting or talking about your product, production process and how business is. People want to know! And with social media it seems like a never-ending process. So this is a huge chunk of "what I do."

leather-passport-case

Photography & Listings
The hardest and most time-consuming thing I do for my business is photography and listings! It can be a couple days worth of work and even stretch into weeks when I have other things to juggle. I am no photographer to begin with, so that is another reason it takes so long. I recently updated every single listing in my Etsy shop and I re-shot the photos on three different backgrounds before going back to my original look. It takes lots of editing, straightening, curating and thought. This is what shows people what they are buying so of course it needs most of my attention.

packaging


Production
When people think of me working at home, sewing passport covers (and sitting on my butt all day) is probably what they think of. In reality, this is fifteen percent of it! This is definitely the fun part for me!

Packaging
Lastly, the product is as good as the packaging! So I take time to package each order right in house and tie them with a special yard, note, business card, sticker and then send it off!

Side Projects
I am so thankful and so blessed I get to work from home! I love it because not only do I get to do what I love but it creates margin for me to be a wife, care for our home and create other things! I have a blog as well where I post DIY projects and right now I am really into home renovation and decoration projects. I love working at home so I can have time for those things as well!

Connect with Courtney:

You can read more posts in this series here:

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