Raw Opal Etsy Shop Founder Shares 5 Tips On How To Get Skyrocketing Sales And Become A “Star Seller

Michelle Marcella-Morales is a passionate earth lover, raw stone jewelry maker, small business-obsessed mom of two, and a familiar face to our Babes In Business community. Michelle founded her Raw Opal Etsy shop in 2018 and since then it’s grown to nearly 1800 sales, garnered many “Top Seller Badges” and has amassed over 500 five-star reviews!

The day Michelle Opened her Etsy shop!

Today we’re sharing our interview with Michelle. Inside, she shares about how she started and grew Raw Opal as a business and gives us her 5 key tips for growing your Etsy shop too!

How did you get started with Raw Opal on Etsy? Did you sell Raw Opal jewelry somewhere before joining Etsy?

I had attempted opening Etsy shops three times previously in 2007, 2009, and again in 2011 when they were a young budding platform looking to expand maker awareness and artisan talent. I had made jewelry for myself and wanted really to put my craft and designs to task for others but was very discouraged by the other “big girl companies” who critiqued my shops harshly. I quickly realized with each failed attempt that my product wasn’t right and my ability to give the time needed to run and keep a business wasn’t enough.

Years later, during a heartbreaking divorce that left me with little time to be with my son, I was toggling commission painting, a seasonal bartending job, running a board game business, a kayaking outfitter and a florist apprenticeship and it was all too much. For what? I was bringing success to others and their small businesses and losing sight of my life and losing even more time with my son.

Etsy was the unobvious means for me to slowly start my own business while I was still working may many other positions. It was a low-risk, low-cost means to get eyes on an idea that I had been percolating over for months. After really a very embarrassingly obsessive amount of Etsy strategy research on YouTube, Etsy itself and various other forums, I decided THIS time would be THE time for me. Etsy had changed drastically over the decade I’d been away from it, and I knew more about social media, marketing, and promotional outreach as well as customer service over my many niched positions with the other companies I had run. I knew my idea was specific, high quality, not overpopulated, and special. I pulled ideas for my launch from only “Top Etsy Sellers” and not just in the jewelry sect, but all top sellers in any market.

After months of research, sourcing, development, prototyping, and photographing, I launched Raw Opal exclusively on Etsy in August 2018 and have yet to look back. To this day it is the backbone of R|O and pumps our heart with the revenue needed to cover our regulatory operating costs.

What’s your favorite thing(s) about the work that you do and the products you create?

I have been able to grow my company substantially over the past few years, and

Etsy is a foundational reason for this. The visibility alone that it afforded, and still affords us, has greatly impacted our reach and has in and of itself landed us quite a few prestigious partnerships. The first being the Philadelphia Art Museum which carries now quite a few designs of ours, our raw birthstone stud earrings line, and even a line of custom moonstone in moon earrings that they asked us to design specifically for them.

Working with other businesses and getting our pieces into other spaces is my favorite part right now. It has opened us up to curating exclusive raw gemstone palettes for specific retailers which have proven to be quite the draw for our alike clients. It has also been an immensely gratifying and unexpectedly creative process. Vetting and then massaging relationships with our stockist partners is a fun and exciting acquisition.

Having been a lone wolf operation until late 2020, my small team and I have our preferences for who makes what and who cuts which type of stone. It’s funny how everyone has their preference based on personal technique and bias. I personally love working with opal. It’s obvious given it’s our namesake, but working with welos, fire opals, and black-bodied specimens are really fun. We ethically vet our stone sources.

We only buy our parent rocks direct from the mine site or from fair trade prospecting groups whom I have a personal relationship with and trust. This makes taking in new stones for custom work a bit challenging, but always another fun part of the job. We recently sourced sunstone and rhodochrosite, both stones I had never worked with prior. Cutting into them atop our in-studio anvil for the first time was a very exciting moment for our team.

What are the 5 tips/pieces of advice you’d give someone who’s starting out? Or someone who’s been at it for a bit but is trying to boost sales?

First gem of advice I’d suggest for someone just getting going is to truly be objective when deciding what it is you will be making or providing. I knew I had a very specific but simple idea. I needed to ensure it was high quality, palatable and profitable. If you cannot be realistic with your product, and production for said product, you won’t be able to realistically sell your product. The same could easily be said for service based businesses or digital product based businesses. I would more specifically suggest to jewelers in particular to find one or two specific design aesthetics to really capture, and know exactly who it is you are appealing to with your pieces. If you, yourself don’t wear and love or use and appreciate your products, others won’t either. Authenticity is truly the heart of any business.

The second piece of advice I might give to someone starting out would be, should you be embracing the Etsy platform, really do your market research ON ETSY. Etsy is ever-evolving and so is their algorithm, but many assume it’s out of nowhere or changes on a dime. Etsy wants you to succeed so they succeed. They are constantly coming out with resources for makers and sellers alike to utilize so as to be found in-search. Find your relevant hashtags and use purposeful key terms for INDIVIDUAL products and specific to your listings. Using long-tail keywords is really key also. You don’t want your listings to be a drop in a bucket, you want them to be the handle, the standout. Be unafraid also to reach out to other sellers who are killin