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‘It kept a roof over our heads’ - Etsy shop owners see 900% increase in traffic during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 06:30 18 July 2020

Many owners of Etsy shops in Norfolk have seen sales spike during the coronavirus lockdown. Clockwise from left: Ella Goodwin, picture: Emily Jane Lovell, Kirsteen Wythe picture: Kirsteen Wythe, Amy Browne, picture: Buttonpearl Crafts and Katie Bale, picture: Katie Bale

Many owners of Etsy shops in Norfolk have seen sales spike during the coronavirus lockdown. Clockwise from left: Ella Goodwin, picture: Emily Jane Lovell, Kirsteen Wythe picture: Kirsteen Wythe, Amy Browne, picture: Buttonpearl Crafts and Katie Bale, picture: Katie Bale

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From 987pc increases in traffic to spikes in sales of face masks, Etsy shop owners in Norfolk say the last four months have been some of their busiest on record.

Ella Goodwin, who has been selling illustrations, kits, jewellery and homewares through Etsy since 2012, saw visits to her shop increase 900% during lockdown. Picture: Emily Jane LovellElla Goodwin, who has been selling illustrations, kits, jewellery and homewares through Etsy since 2012, saw visits to her shop increase 900% during lockdown. Picture: Emily Jane Lovell

Lockdown saw high streets become ghost towns almost overnight, but while traditional shopping areas became deserted, business owners using the online marketplace Etsy saw sales rocket.

Amy Browne, 34, who runs Buttonpearl Crafts from her home in Mulbarton, reported a 987pc increase in visits to her site between March and July compared to the same period in 2019.

She said: “At the start of lockdown when many people started working from home for the first time, I saw a surge in cushion sales, with customers messaging saying they were doing up their new office spaces.”

Mrs Browne said she had spent a lot of evenings in lockdown sewing, she said: “Etsy has been very busy for home furnishings during lockdown, but since the government announced face coverings will be compulsory in all shops, sales of these have increased dramatically.”

Norwich Theatre Royal costume designer Kirsteen Wythe.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYNorwich Theatre Royal costume designer Kirsteen Wythe. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Ella Goodwin, who has been selling on Etsy since 2012, said traffic to her shop increased 900pc year on year within the first month of lockdown.

She said while sales had recently started to drop off, they were still 47pc above average.

Miss Goodwin said she had seen the greatest increase in sales of DIY kits, as people looked to entertain themselves and children during lockdown.

She said: “Initially it was crazy, when lockdown happened I thought well that’s that then but then it got really busy. I sell a lot of DIY kits, stationery, a lot of things people can could continue to make things themselves.”

Amy Browne, the owner of Buttonpearl, which she started in 2016, Mrs Browne said she had seen an increase in sales over lockdown. Picture: Buttonpearl CraftsAmy Browne, the owner of Buttonpearl, which she started in 2016, Mrs Browne said she had seen an increase in sales over lockdown. Picture: Buttonpearl Crafts

Katie Bale, 29, from Hainford, whose Etsy shop My Holly House sells a range of stationery, custom designed party decorations and prints primarily aimed at children said she also saw sales increase.

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Miss Bale said: “Sales more than doubled over first few weeks, I saw a big increase and it was lots of people ordering gifts to send to friends and family and it wasn’t just in the UK, America too.”

Miss Bale said she was able to turn surplus stock from cancelled markets into lucky dip boxes aimed at different age groups.

Katie Bale, from Hainford who owns My Holly House on Etsy. Picture: Katie BaleKatie Bale, from Hainford who owns My Holly House on Etsy. Picture: Katie Bale

“I think a lot of my sales came from lucky dip boxes, it got quite hectic with lucky dip boxes, I had to say I had a limited number because I couldn’t reprint a lot of the [contents].”

Miss Bale said she had also seen an increase in demand for lockdown scrapbooks, especially in the run up to Fathers Day.

Kirsteen Wythe, a costume designer from Norwich, started making and selling face masks through Etsy after she lost a year’s worth of work in a matter of days when theatres were forced to close.

The 35-year-old said making the masks had not only kept a roof over her head but had also helped to keep her busy.

She said: “A lot of my work went overnight, it was pretty tough. It’s been really hard, the arts have been really affected.”

Mrs Wythe estimated that she had sold thousands of masks over the last six weeks.

“It’s turned into not having a day off in six weeks, it’s been really, really busy but it’s helped,” she said.

“Before I was doing this I was just sitting around not knowing what to do, being freelance I fell thought the gaps for financial support and the first month was really hard. Financially it’s kept a roof over our heads and mentally it’s been really good.”

Mrs Wythe said she had sold masks to people as far away as Australia as well as closer to home. She said she has seen spikes in sales when various countries, such as Scotland, first made face coverings mandatory.

“I’ve had so many nice messages [from people] it’s been positive and I’ve had lots of repeat orders, I’ve also had lots of support from friends, family and people at the Theatre Royal,” she said.


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