What is your Etsy shop name? Where are you located?
My Etsy shop name, and the name of my business is Harestree. The Hare’s Tree is a large oak on the top of a hill near to where I used to live in the countryside of East Anglia, England. If I was lucky, early mornings I could see the hares in the fields below it. The memory lasted, and resurfaced when I wanted to create ‘that feel’ for my shop. I’m currently located in Israel, where I live with my wife and 2 young boys.

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Summary of what your shop offers:
Harestree offers the finest in handcrafted wooden rings. My rings are unique statements for everyday wear, anniversaries, weddings, or just so you can enjoy the beauty that wood has to offer.

How long have you been practicing your craft?
I have been making wooden rings for about 2 and a half years now, but only recently opened my Etsy shop to start selling them as a result of interest from family and friends.

Have you had any formal training in it? Where did you learn your skills?
I don’t have any formal training in what I do, but since I was a young boy I have worked with wood. It’s an element that speaks to me. I have to be near, using and experiencing natural objects, and for me, wood epitomizes everything natural. I love the way that it’s beautiful in all it’s states from living tree to raw cut timber to finished works of art. I learned my skills, and a belief that anything is possible in this medium from my father. When he was alive we shared an appreciation of all things made from wood. When I was a child I remember my grandfather making wooden toys for me as well. I guess it’s not surprising that I have a desire to work with wood so much.

What made you decide to start an Etsy shop?
I started my Etsy shop mostly as a result of the interest my rings created in family and friends. The most commonly asked questions were ‘Where can people buy these?’. When they were told that I don’t sell them the next question was ‘Why not?!’ My wife Oshrat, has been a great source of encouragement in the whole process of setting up and starting to sell on Etsy.

What makes your Etsy shop stand out from all the others out there?
Harestree is all about getting back to basics, moving away from the usual and ordinary towards an expression of perfection in a natural product. If you’re like me and you share a memory or have a connection to the natural world, then it stands to reason that you want to keep that close to you. Wearing a piece of art that is stunning, unique and natural keeps that feeling close. I like to think that I bring a level of perfection to my rings that is hard to find. When you work with me, you work with an artist who understands what this ring means to you. When you purchase a ring from me, you hold a little bit of that memory in your hands.

What do you find to be the most fun and rewarding about having your own shop?
Making! Working with wood. I can’t think of a more enjoyable thing to do. It’s also quite a thrill to finish a ring, get the photography just right and then see the results of your work on your shop’s page.

What does customer service mean to you?
It’s as important as a perfect ring. I would only want a customer to come away from a transaction with Harestree and feel completely happy with their experience, their interaction with me and their purchase. That’s why you can ask as many questions as you like before you buy. I work with my customers to bring their ideas to life. I can offer my own experience of what works best and ensure that the finished product exceeds expectations. I want my customers to want to come back for more!

Where do you find your motivation and inspiration when sales are slow?
Harestree is very young. I’m still working through many, many ideas. At the moment I’m not lacking motivation!

What helps to inspire you when creating?
When I’m creating, bringing a new idea to reality, I have an image of that oak tree in the back of my mind. I’m also working on a series of technically difficult rings. I really want to push the boundaries of what is possible in this medium. What seemed impossible in my head often becomes a reality after a lot of experimentation. Bringing that sense of ‘Wow!’ to the shop inspires me a lot.

Where do you see your Etsy shop in a year? Or where would you like to see it?
Like everyone who has a business like this, I want to see it succeed. When someone thinks wooden rings, then I want them to think Harestree. I would like to bring all the ideas I currently have to fruition and to be able to offer them to my customers. There are so many niche markets that wooden rings appeal to, and if I can make some inroads into just a few of those then I would be happy.

What words of wisdom do you have for readers who are considering opening a shop on Etsy to sell their own handmade creations?
If you’re thinking of doing it, then you must go for it. Believe that you can. Before you go ahead though, make sure you’ve got a large enough inventory of items. Have your pricing and postage policies clear. Write a great introduction to your business and prepare your ‘About’ page and Shop Policies. Do all of these time consuming administrative tasks before you go live so that you don’t have to worry about them later.

Research some basic search engine optimization (SEO). It’s not as hard as it may seem. Start by finding out how your customers might find you on-line – look at tags used on similar items in successful shops with lots of views. Use the Etsy search suggestions to check variations of keywords and learn how to use Google Adwords. Write your product titles and descriptions with this in mind. Check out the Etsy forums – there’s tons of help on there.

Which item in your shop is your favorite?
Oh, that’s a hard question! I think it’s got to be my Ebony and Horse Chestnut wedding ring set. The depth to the ebony under the finish is amazing, and the two rings compliment each other perfectly.


Visit Harestree’s Etsy Shop here: http://Harestree.etsy.com

Crystal Ayres, MBA
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