Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Please join us in welcoming Wendy of WoodNotions, our featured member!
Tell us about yourself.
I’m happily married with two amazing, adult children. I love the great outdoors which is all around us here in Bend, OR.
I’ve spent most of my life getting a good education and working in research and development, so it has been enjoyable to spend my past few years designing and developing products for my own shops.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
WoodNotions, which is my second etsy shop opened April 1, 2014. I opened this shop to help clean up my branding and image created with my first shop– www.CardNotions.etsy.com . My original shop sold pop-up and paper-cut cards for all occasions, paper tags, wooden ornaments, and wooden jewelry supplies. I had run out of categories and thought I had enough items to populate two separate shops, so on April fools day! I opened a second shop and began moving all of my ornaments and wooden jewelry supplies into it.
The hope was to establish WoodNotions well before Christmas, since I had anticipated that most of my ornament sales would come at that time. I also wanted to grow my wholesale ornament business, so I applied to the etsy wholesale program and was accepted shortly after opening. I had tried without success, almost a year earlier, to get CardNotions accepted into the program, but at that time I believe my original shop just wasn’t focused enough.
So WoodNotions actually started out as an experiment, to see if splitting my original shop would help to increase sales. I am happy to say that my revenue from the two shops in 2014 was almost double that of 2013.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My ornaments are my own original designs and I laser cut them myself. This is one of my first designs:
Because I do everything myself, it allows me to customize these designs upon request, as well as create new ones for weddings, organizations, wholesale, etc.
This past year, I started offering variations in materials to include Baltic birch, Solid Cherry and Solid Maple. This was a huge success, based on sales and feedback.
I also make woodcut/stained glass decorations:
I’ve always loved art glass, so this has been a very satisfying marriage of beautiful art glass with laser cut solid wood.
What inspires your work?
I am most inspired by nature and animals. I also get many new ideas for designs from my family and customers.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
WoodNotions has surpassed my expectations this past year, which sets the standards high for 2015. Last year I doubled my manufacturing capacity in order to get through the holidays. This year, I would like to see my sales double again, but I need to figure out how to handle it.
I would like to reduce the time it takes to package and ship. I’m thinking of using small gift boxes that can be slipped inside a bubble mailer. I’ve been very happy with etsy’s shipping labels and the way it handles and closes orders; on the other hand, I wish etsy would come up with a better order receipt, so that I won’t need to make my own.
But my main goal this year is to continue developing new items to add to my shops and for wholesale. I’ve never been very good at promoting my shops and have made few advances with social networking, so I believe my growing sales come from the number of items I have in my shops. My wholesale orders have grown and continue to make up about half of my revenue.
My dream for my businesses has always been to be respectable/successful. I know everyone has a different idea of what that is, but for me, I feel it is now well within reach.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
WoodNotions sells unique items that I design myself. You won’t find any stock designs.
Where else can you find a motorcycle guy ornament? Complete with skull and crossbones leather jacket and a detailed 1960’s Harley motorcycle.
Most of my customers are impressed by the details and clean lines as well as the sweet smell of laser cut wood.
All of the wood used in my standard shop items is treated with a food-safe finish which strengthens and beautifies the wood surface. The solid Cherry and Maple are particularly beautiful when finished, creating a semi-gloss surface.
I am always happy to work with a customer on a custom design or to add a child’s or pet’s name to an ornament.
I make sure all orders are shipped ASAP.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have an office in a spare bedroom of our house. It’s comfortable and has good natural light. I’ve added shelving and storage racks for supplies and finished ornaments. My equipment for cutting ornaments is in a downstairs den. I’ve also expanded into our garage to do some woodworking. It’s a good thing our kids have grown and moved out and I only need to share my space with them a few times a year.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known beforehand?
They can get high quality, one of kind items, customized for their needs. They also get good, personal customer service from a shop owner that knows their stuff!
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love to trail run. I do my best thinking while running and find myself smiling most of the time. I also love spending time with my husband and family, traveling, eating good food, hiking….
I’ve pretty much turned my hobbies into my businesses and still really enjoy them.
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.