Josh Pigford

Josh Pigford

Maker. Dabbler. I can't stop starting things. Bearded.

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Week one with a handmade shop

A week ago I opened the proverbial doors to Cedar & Sail, my little handmade homewares shop. I wanted to walk through what the first week has been like, mostly for posterity sake.

I started dabbling with handmade things like this a few months back and decided in December to turn it in to a real actual thing. I spent about a month pulling together the various pieces needed to actually launch a store (packing supplies, sales tax license, the store itself, social media accounts, etc). And then flipped the switch the morning of January 30.

Let’s take a look at various numbers and observations from this past week. I didn’t really have any expectations of what the first week would be like, nor do I know what’s “normal” for these types of things. Maybe they’re good, maybe they’re terrible.

Money, customers and orders

Gross sales: $265

Discounts: $57.75

Net sales: $207.25

We had 7 orders. All were from the US. 3 were from people I know directly, 1 was from an Instagram ad and 3 were from people who follow me on Twitter.

Current average order value: $37.


I don’t really have enough orders to say with any real confidence “these are the most popular products!” but the dodecahedron planters and the coasters seem to be favorites.

I launched with 24 different products, which I was afraid was going to be a bit overwhelming, but it really hasn’t been bad. From a production standpoint, I’ve got a decent stock of “plain” (unpainted) items and painting an item once it’s ordered takes a negligible amount of time.

I’ve got 3 more products I had hoped to launch with but the molds for them aren’t quite ready yet. They’ll be done and in the store within the next week or two, though.

Sales channels

All sales have come directly through the online store, though you can technically buy them directly through Facebook and pins on Pinterest.

Initial traffic all came via social channels (a pretty even mix of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).

Um, what now?

It’s been ages since I ran an ecommerce shop and things have change quite a bit since then with online marketing. While there’s a lot that can be done with paid acquisition, I’m not there yet, or rather I’m not ready to spend the amount of money it’d take to do it in a meaningful way.

I’m not in any big rush to try to turn this in to some huge operation, which reduces stress. But I’m now at the harder part, mentally, of starting a business. There’s a lot of excitement around getting something off the ground. And now that it’s off the ground, it’s time to dig in and keep pushing forward, even when there’s zero buzz.

I’ve already started working on some new products, and I’m documenting everything as I go. Would love for you to following along, which you can do here and on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.