Creators big and small find success on Etsy


John Bosley

Bozz Prints store located in Des Moines.

Sophie Winkelpleck, Niche Editor

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include more of the artists work.

Whether it’s creating designs for fun to stay busy in the summer or creating and selling products as your full-time job, Etsy provides a way for anyone to get started selling goods. 

Lauren Tumey, recent Iowa State graduate, found inspiration to create and sell digital prints after watching a Tik Tok. Tumey created colorful prints of popular bars in Ames and posted them on Etsy on her account, LaurenMarieTPrints, available for digital download. 

“It was just something to keep me busy, something that was fun for me,” Tumey said. 

Tumey also posted her designs to her Tik Tok account, which amassed about 24,000 views. Despite making and posting the designs as a fun side-hobby, her designs gained popularity on campus. 

“I’ve seen them at random apartments,” Tumey said. “I have one friend who posted a picture and they were hanging on the wall, and I thought, ‘Well that’s cool, I was the one that made those.’”

John Bosley, however, got his start on Etsy in 2014 selling prints and T-shirts, and now owns Bozz Prints, a gift shop with products inspired by local and national landmarks located in West Des Moines’ Historic Valley Junction. Bosley started his business from humble beginnings out of the basement of his house using a press he made with his dad. 

“My dad helped me—in my basement right after we moved into our house—build a press, and it was trial by fire trying to figure out how to use it because I wasted a ton of paper and a ton of ink trying to even get my very first poster done,” Bosley said. 

From there, with six designs to his name, Bosley began selling prints and T-shirts out of his basement. Bosley explained why he chose Etsy and the success he had with it. 

“It seemed really intuitive and straightforward in terms of how to list a product and how to classify it, and their SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is really friendly too, so it’s really easy to get found,” Bosley said. 

After growth and success on Etsy, Bosley opened Bozz Prints in 2019 where they sell prints, T-shirts, magnets, stickers, postcards and other goods. Bosley creates all of the designs and finds inspiration from old national park and WPA posters. Out of all the responsibilities of owning a business, Bosley’s favorite part of what he does is designing. 

“It’s hands down designing and drawing,” Bosley said. “I’m definitely more of a right-brained, creative type of person.”

Prior to starting Bozz Prints, Bosley worked full-time at RAYGUN, a popular screen printing company, where he learned everything he knows about screen printing and the patience it requires. 

“Screen printing is a labor of love, and it took forever to figure out the best way to do it once we had built a press because it seems like there’s a thousand ways to do it wrong and maybe only one or two ways to do it right,” Bosley said. 

John Bosley

Bosley has grown Bozz Prints from selling out of his basement on Etsy to having a physical store and retailers across the country. Bosley grew Bozz Prints organically and explained his philosophy for success.

“I’ve always been of the mindset to just produce good work, get it out there, and people will see it and good things will happen,” Bosley said.