I come from a long line of crafty and artistic people. My mom is a successful interior designer, my sister is an art director at a big ad agency and my grandmother was an amazing seamstress. Like them, I’ve never met a craft that I didn’t like. While I guess you could say I’m a “late bloomer” when it comes to sewing, I’ve always enjoyed and loved all things artistic and crafty, from painting and graphic design to woodworking and sculpting.
When did you first start creating things?
I started sewing not long after my daughter was born. I wanted to dress her in the fun and trendy things that I saw in the high end boutiques, but since I was no longer working full time, the income to buy all those things just wasn’t there anymore. So I said to myself, “how hard can these things be to make?” Famous last words! I bought a book on how to sew, a sewing machine, some designer fabric and a pattern and the rest is history. My husband thought I was crazy, but my mom knew it was “in the blood” and she was right.
Actually, one of the very first things I ever sewed (after I learned how to thread the machine) was a pinafore dress and a pair of those Robeez-like baby shoes, complete with leather soles for my daughter. People at my daughter’s daycare saw the dresses I made and asked if I would make them for their kids. Dresses evolved into other, easier-to-make baby products like burp clothes, bibs, binky clips and blankets. Before I knew it, a business was born and I had two shops on etsy!
Is this your only business or do you do other things as well?
I have two on-line shops: babycheeks which focuses on fun and fashionable accessories for baby including bibs, burp clothes, binky clips, changing pads and blankies, and The Trendy Tot which focuses on fun, modern dresses and apparel for toddlers and preschoolers. In addition to the two shops, I am a self-employed, part time consumer products marketing consultant and I help my husband with his law practice. I also have two children that keep me very busy—my five year-old and chief creative consultant for the Trendy Tot boy’s line and my mischievous 19-month daughter and primary baby model.
Do you still dream about making other things? If so, what?
Everyday! Since I’ve dropped down to working part time I’ve been going through a “crafty renaissance” of sorts. For so long I have ignored the artistic side of me and focused on my career in business and marketing. Now I feel like I can’t do enough crafty projects! It’s like a faucet that I can’t seem to turn off. Years of pent-up artistic energy exploding all over the place. I want to take a knitting class and learn how to knit. I’m fascinated with felting and all things felt and embroidery. Since I am a self-taught seamstress, I would like to take a sewing class to learn some tricks and techniques from the pros. Finally, I’m dying to resurrect my woodworking skills. I really want to make my daughter a doll house that looks like our house.
How did you hear about Etsy?
I found etsy in December of 2007 when I was looking for a soft, first baby doll for my little girl. I found BitofWhimsy through a search engine, saw her dolls and HAD to have one!
Any words of advice to others?
Since my background is in consumer products marketing, most of my advice centers around marketing:(1) Know Your Target Audience – This is a big one! Decide who your target consumer is and learn all about them. Everything starts here! You can’t design a product or advertise until you know who your target is and what their lifestyle, dreams and shopping habits are. For me, my target audience is gift givers and trendy moms looking for fashion-forward, unique baby items without paying trendy, brick-and-mortar baby boutique prices. That means only a small fraction of my consumers are on etsy, the rest of them have to be lead there.(2) Promotions and Coupons – Promotions and coupons are good, but they are only effective if people know about them. Advertise your promotions where you know your target audience will be. Make sure you have clear instructions on how to use them, state all exclusions (like shipping and taxes) and most importantly, have an expiration date.
How will the new law by CPSIA affect you and your shop?
Like many others, I will most likely go out of business if something isn’t done. Would you want to by a $2500 bib? Me neither, but that is what I would have to charge to cover the costs for lead and phthalate testing. In the meantime, I try to stay positive that this law will change and do everything I can to make that possible. I’m not going down without a fight!