Q & A – the shop

q&a

i’m answering your questions today about my shop!  if you want to catch up on this series, you can read about my house here, wiww and my blog here, and personal questions here.

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what tips can you give to people who want to open an online shop for the first time?

hmm, plan?  i started my shop without really doing any planning.  thankfully, i was able to start with fabric i already had in hand, then bought more with my earnings, and so on, so i was able to stay in the black since the beginning of my business.  i have made a lot of mistakes along the way, but the good thing about mistakes is that you learn from them!  i would definitely recommend a couple great books on the craft industry:  craft inc. and the handmade marketplace.  also, my friend maggie has a great blog that is packed with information about starting your own shop and chasing your dreams.

here’s a few of my own tips:

– do what you love.  don’t make things you hate making just because people will buy them.

– make a profit.  sounds silly, but so many handmade artists charge so little for their work.  they are barely covering their materials expense let alone paying themselves.  and when others don’t properly value their work, it devalues ours.

– find a handful of other artists to connect with.  find your community.  you need others to bounce ideas off of and to talk you off the ledge in the hard times.

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you can’t possibly do all the sewing for your shop by yourself, can you?? how much help do you have?

i don’t do it all.  after one crazy summer of my business expanding and working way too many hours, i realized that i needed to pass along the work i wasn’t passionate about and focus on what i loved.  letting go of any aspect of my business has been really hard, but so good for me as well.  being a good wife and mom is most important to me, so i have to make that a priority.  getting help makes that possible.  the first thing i let go of was shipping.  as much as i loved wrapping up each order nice and pretty, i realized that someone else could do that just as well while i designed more products.  as my business has grown, the “business” side of things has taken up most of my time, as well as blogging.  i have some sewing help, help with shipping, and help with customer service.  this allows me to spend most of my time designing and blogging – what i love!

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do you own and use a serger?

i own one but don’t use one!  its at the service shop now getting a tune-up, but i still haven’t figured out exactly how to use it.  the only product we use a serger on at this point are the reusable tote bags.

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will the e-reader case fit my iPad mini?

not all of the e-reader cases fit the mini.  the older styles were just about 1/4″ too narrow to fit it in, so i’ve made adjustments on my newer styles.

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when do you list new items in the shop? i always seem to miss getting the item i want.

all. the. time.  seriously, its at least a few days a week, whether its adding in a new product, or restocking an old one.  most mondays i do a shop update here on the blog, and i often tell about new products on facebook, instagram and twitter.  if there’s something you’re really looking for, follow me there!  unfortunately, i won’t be able to email you specifically when a certain item comes back in stock (hello, scrappy bunting?), so you just gotta keep checking in!  also, you can sign up to get my blog posts directly to you inbox so you don’t have to remember to check in – i’ll come right to you!  sign up on the top right side of my blog ^^ in the box that says “subscribe & connect”.

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will you be making any bible covers? I love your fabrics!

oh how i wish i did!  i made some awesome ones for my girls years ago, but i can’t do it for the shop.  did you know that almost every bible is a different size?  different height, width, and thickness.  and since i don’t take on custom orders, i can’t make one to fit everyone’s bible – sorry!  i still need to do a tutorial on that…

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where do you buy your fabric?

i used to only buy from local shops.  i loved to be able to touch the fabrics and match colors up in person.  but when my local shops started charging up to $11 a yard, i couldn’t do it anymore.  i buy most of my fabric at fabric.com and hawthorne threads.  i still buy a bit at local shops if i have a coupon, though.

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what type/ brand of sewing machine do you recommend?

i know there are some amazing work horse machines that are really high end, but i have been so happy with my $200 singers!  i have a singer confidence and a curvy and am totally happy with them.

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what kind of fabric are the infinity scarves made out of?

lots!  they are almost all some sort of jersey, but each one is a different mix of cotton, lycra, polyester, etc.

thats it for today!  next week i’ll wrap up this series answering a few questions about homeschool!

Comments

  1. 1

    I loved hearing more about your business. It’s refreshing to hear that you don’t need to get crazy with buying a ton of fabric & high end machines to get started. There are many businesses who seem to have machines, fabrics by the bolt and studio spaces right off the hop. It’s very encouraging to know that there are shops like yours that still make it happen with basic stuff :) Have a great weekend!

  2. 2

    I would LOVE a Bible cover tutorial!

  3. 3

    I love this series! Thanks for taking the time to answer so many questions. Ok, so it looks like you might be done with shop questions but I have one more if you have the time. I have had a busy Etsy shop for 2.5 yrs and just started a shop blog this year as an outlet and to support my shop so my question is, which came first for you? Did you blog or have a shop first and in the beginning which one did you put the most effort is? Ok, that was 2 questions. :)

    • 4

      i started as a blogger and then my shop grew from that. not sure if this makes sense, but my main focus is my shop, although the majority of my time is spent on my blog. i blog to support my shop since i drive most of my own traffic to my shop rather than depending on mush outside advertising. i hope that helps!

      • 5

        Yeah, it does. I think I’m the opposite…shop first and now blogging to drive business. Etsy still sends me almost all my traffic and I’m trying to build a blog readership so I can get away from etsy, if that makes sense. Feels like dragging a tractor uphill most days. :)

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