Ethereal Zen: Lessons from making products by hand

Luna Williams displays her handmade creations in her home in Sacramento, California

Luna Williams displays her handmade creations in her home in Sacramento, California

Jordan Stead

How cancer and brain aneurysm survivor Luna Williams shared her healing process with a wider audience.

After a bout with cancer, followed by a brain aneurysm, Luna Williams felt disconnected. While visiting a family member’s home near Napa Valley, she found herself drawn to lush gardens. Soon after, Luna began collecting stems and trimmings from plants, herbs, and trees, and creating smudge bundles to burn as incense. When she shared her work on social media, the positive reaction led to the creation of her company, Ethereal Zen Creations.

“I wasn’t trying to make a business,” Luna says. “I just wanted to make beautiful things that people liked. I shared [my creations on social media]. People liked them and it just grew. I’ve been doing this since like 2015.”

Two printed images of Luna, one with her uncle and the other with her children, surrounded by her smudge bundles of flowers.

Smudge bundles surround photos of Luna and members of her family.

Jordan Stead

Luna also curates handmade products—floral cleansing bundles, crystal candles, and crystals—to inspire healing and beauty for both herself and others to enjoy.

Initially, Luna sold her creations primarily through her own website and social media. Then, she learned about Amazon Handmade, an online community where artisans share their wares with the world.

“I had nowhere for people to buy other than directly through me,” Luna says. “And that was not exactly a very streamlined process, especially in the early days. I need people who aren’t just on my Instagram to be able to find me.”

Luna shares three tips that helped her grow a small business and find success selling online.

1. Be patient and believe in yourself

Luna advises new business owners to borrow a leaf from nature and keep the big picture in mind.

“Go outside and watch a tree [grow]. It takes time,” Luna says. “In my case, it took years, and that’s okay. The idea of overnight success is not realistic. And those of us who are successful did not achieve it overnight. We spent a lot of time self-doubting, and a lot of time unsure if what we were doing would even be something that would create a career for us. But over time, as long as you stick true to it and provide something of value, it’s going to be okay.”

2. Start slow

Luna funded her whole business from the start. That meant she had to find ways to source the least expensive materials when creating her bundles and gift sets.

“It didn’t matter if I had to first start driving an hour to where I knew roses were, and gather them, drive them home another hour, with bugs in the car,” Luna says. “I think a lot of people have high hopes that it’s going to be immediately successful. I would’ve probably been in a lot of trouble financially if I had thought that.”

She recalls her excitement when she started receiving enough orders to warrant a $500 wholesale order of packaging and boxes.

Smoke rises from a bundle that a Luna Williams holds in front of her.

Luna burns one of her handmade smudge bundles.

Jordan Stead

“[The business] was very different looking than what it looks like now,” Luna says. “I was so excited that I had enough product and enough [demand] that I could spend $500. I had to buy the cheapest ribbon to go around my boxes. It’s important to remember that.”

3. Take advantage of ecommerce resources

Luna recommends that once your business is seeing steady growth, start exploring more ways to get the word out to potential customers.

“I truly believe that once you reach a certain level, and if you can afford it, [invest] in advertising,” Luna says. “I think it’s worth it.”

Amazon sellers can improve visibility of products and boost brand awareness by advertising in search results and on product detail pages through Amazon Ads. Luna also loves having the ability to offer deals and promotions, as well as coupons to discount products and encourage purchases.

Additionally, Luna attends webinars on topics like providing good customer service and Fulfillment by Amazon, a resource for Amazon sellers who want to send products into Amazon’s fulfillment network.

“It’s appealing to me that Amazon will help,” Luna says. “Just because we have great [product] ideas does not always mean we know how to do customer service.”

Did you know?
Seller University provides free training from Amazon
Seller University courses, videos, and webinars answer your questions about selling in the Amazon store with step-by-step explanations and strategies to grow your business. The catalog is updated regularly by a dedicated team of Amazon learning professionals.

Find Seller University in your Seller Central account by hovering over Learn in the main menu, or check out the Seller University YouTube channel.

When passion turns into profit

For Luna, the focus is on having fun and doing what brings you happiness.

“You can have perfect SEO, high-quality photos, and topnotch marketing but none of that will compare to the love and drive that people will see when they hear you speak about your products,” Luna says.

Do you want to make a living with your own handcrafted goods? Check out Amazon Handmade and other custom selling options for small businesses. You can also find more inspiration from these stories of successful sellers.

Learn more and join Amazon Handmade

Lola Okusami
Lola Okusami
Sr. Creative Writer
Camille Cherry
Camille Cherry
Camille is a Content Manager & Producer who loves learning about sellers, their small businesses, and why they ditched their 9 to 5 to become their own boss. Previously, she worked in communications at the Pentagon and as a promotions producer for news affiliates in Washington, DC and Virginia. Camille is a happy supporter of the arts and musical theater.