How I got started on ETSY! A Creative Groom!
Updated: Jun 5, 2019
An introduction to how I started my Etsy shop and why I make the products that I do!
My journey with my Etsy shop 'Ducks Fly Together' began exactly 5 years ago, although little did I know it at the time!
On 13th May 2015 I had put all necessary plans in motion to put my girlfriend, a ring, the blessings of her parents and I all together in a beautiful location of sentimental significance. After a suitably calamitous proposal my beautiful partner, Charlotte, said yes and the wheels aligned themselves on our new path!
After a lot of planning and nerves I was absolutely delighted to wake up the following day with a full heart and a fiancé! We were very lucky to be in her dad’s lovely villa out in Cyprus and after a relaxed morning and an insatiable smugness of circumstances I treated myself to a dip in the pool.
My gorgeous fiancé chucked in the rubber ring and I could float around basking in sunshine and happiness! As if I needed any other proof that Charlotte was the perfect woman for me she appeared with a lovely cold beer. There I was in beautiful Cyprus, floating around the pool, sipping contentedly on a beer, safe in the knowledge that the woman of my dreams was as happy as I was at the prospect of our lives together. Bliss.
It was in this moment of complete joy that Charlotte reappeared in the doorway. She was stood in a very familiar pose armed with a notepad and pen. She had a plan.
“I just thought it’d be fun while you’re feeling so relaxed if we started thinking about the wedding.”
Oh right, OK, well, I mean we’ve only just got engaged; we’re on holiday and have opted against sharing our news straight away through the social media monster so there’s no pressure, but sure why not?
“We’ll just jot down some ideas, it’ll be fun.”
It’s amazing how a rubber ring in a swimming pool can become instantly so encaging when your fiancé marches around the edge asking questions you have no concept of how to answer!
Charlotte and I are both creative people and met working as actors in theatre. Our ideas were weird and wonderful, and we were excited to create an occasion that told a story and was an experience for our guests! I like to think I have a “can do” attitude and with the confidence of a newly engaged man, a couple of beers and a rubber ring I was agreeing to all sorts!
We wanted to have really personal touches all around our wedding and consequently after the guest list was set a ‘to-do’ list was formed! We created a post box, signs, ring box, framed quotes, vintage ladder displays, a rustic carpet walkway, individually stamped place cards, wooden centre pieces and so many more Pinterest inspired pieces! I loved making these items and felt so connected to them with the spirit of the day.
From my rubber ring I also answered the easiest question of them all: who will you ask to be your groomsmen? I am blessed to have incredible friends and family, and legitimately could have had several more groomsmen from the amazing people I am lucky to call my friends, however I was set on a party of 3. My brother would be my Best Man, a no brainer for me. My two groomsmen would be my two best friends who grew up in the houses next door to me and with whom I have shared so many adventures through the years.
This created a beautiful moment for me. I am a sentimental sod and I hope that my friends always know how much I love and appreciate them but what a lovely opportunity to produce such open demonstration of that friendship. I knew that marrying Charlotte would be the greatest day of my life but the thought that I’d have those boys by my side lifted that feeling even higher.
Months later the plans forged in that rubber ring were all progressing. I had asked the lads in fairly low key but meaningful ways. Knowing the wedding and Etsy world as I do now I probably would go for novelty groomsmen request cards, gifts, beers the whole lot, but alas my voyage over those waters had not yet set sail! Charlotte and I were however at the stage of getting our bridal party gifts for the day. Charlotte had picked up so nice personalised gifts for her incredible group of bridesmaids, we had found lovely gifts for our mums and I hadn’t even realised getting something for the dads and a groomsmen was a thing!!!
I knew this was an opportunity to give a gift to the lads that would be heartfelt and sentimental, because they weren’t allowed to take the piss too much on my wedding day right?! I really wanted to get something that told a story of our friendships; a gift that would be uniform between them but would have flourishes that catered specifically to the individuals. As is often the case for a wedding we had double cuff shirts so I set my stall out to find cufflinks that would answer my needs.
I scoured the Internet for my request and even landed on Etsy for the first time. I found some amazing items but nothing that fully matched my now very specific needs! I was almost resolved to settle for something more generic when I came across an article about making your own cufflinks. Reading up on it I realised I could do this with the right resources and a bit of flair. I found the necessary tools and went about designing each cufflink.
My father always read us Winnie the Pooh stories as kids and one of his favourite poems features a line about a son telling his father that he loved him, so his two cufflinks bore an image from the Winnie the Pooh stories and that line of poetry.
My father in law to be had got on board with our obscure Wind and the Willows theme for our wedding (we met on a theatre production of story), and had in turn read those stories to Charlotte when she was young. He is also a rower and consequently “messing about in boats” suits him down to the ground. His cufflinks bore a fun image of Mr Toad and another of Ratty and Mole rowing!
I had so many different ideas for my brothers cufflinks but settled on an image of our family crest on one cufflink and a picture of Stan and Kyle from South Park on the other!! Trix, my brother, and I had cuddly toys of the two characters and as the two characters were best friends through thick and thin we took these toys became strangely representative of our bond! Totally obscure but that is what I love about creating these gifts, they are so specific and so thought out that the item itself tells a story.
Andy and Ben, my groomsmen, neighbours, best friends, got very similar sets. As we had all grown up within a stone throw of each other (sometimes literally!) and many of our adventures had centred around the village we lived in I wanted each of their cufflinks to represent that place. I used vintage maps of our village to show the timelessness of our friendships that will always be rooted in that location.
There other wrist would bear the design that created the shop! As kids we played roller hockey on the cul-de-sac we grow up on. We spent hours skating around reenacting the 90’s classic Mighty Ducks trilogy. The heartfelt narrative about a ragtag bunch of outsiders overcoming the odds through friendship and teamwork was the stuff that dreams were made of! The motto of that group of friends, who regardless of where they went in life would always find each other when needed: DUCKS FLY TOGETHER.
After the wedding I wanted to share my creation with other couples and the shop was born. I sold a number of the signs and decorations from our wedding and set up my first ever listing on Etsy for personalised cufflinks – designed as the perfect gift for your grooms party.