by Carey Dunne
Alicia Shaffer’s business, ThreeBirdNest, makes $80,000 a month selling handmade legwarmers, scarves, and headbands on Etsy. Here’s how.
Knitting socks, scarves, and headbands doesn’t have much in common with performing orthopedic surgery or governing a country. But this crafty hobby earns mother-of-three Alicia Shaffer’s business $80,000 a month, in part via her Etsy shop—which adds up to an annual revenue of $960,000, she claims. That’s about as much as top orthopedic surgeons make, and more than twice as much as the United States president makes.
Shaffer, based in Livermore, California, sells her knitted wares on Etsy in the online craft marketplace’s second most successful handmade goods shop. (The first most successful shop sells “buttons like the ones they wear at TGI Fridays,” Shaffer says.) Called ThreeBirdNest, it’s named after Shaffer’s bird’s nest tattoo, honoring her three kids.
Through its independent website and Etsy shop, ThreeBirdNest receives an average of 150 orders per day, with most orders consisting of three items. Around the holidays, that number goes up to 700 to 1,200 orders per day. This January, the business raked in a total of $128,000 in sales. In the three years since its launch, it has made 100,000 sales on Etsy alone, Shaffer says.