Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I live in Northeast Pennsylvania with my husband of 30 years and my 2 fur babies, Lola and Baby. I have two amazing grown children. My family is the most important priority in my life and we recently are empty nesters. Although it’s quite an adjustment, my daughter lives and works in New York City and my son, who is in Nursing School at the university of Miami, I do miss them terribly but now have more time to focus on my designs, my business and other things I love to do. I love flowers and gardening and like my shop, my yard is filled with lots of flowers and color! We do get to travel more and enjoy visiting our children.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my shop in November 2010. It started out as just a hobby, making items for gifts for family and friends. I then started doing craft shows. My daughter actually encouraged me after she noticed how well I was doing at craft shows and locally with custom orders. She’s brilliant at marketing and introduced me to Etsy, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Craftori etc. There is no better feeling than being able to have a business, doing what you love to do!
Tell us a bit about your products.
I custom design year round holiday, seasonal and all occasion wreath, silk floral arrangements, swags, holiday trees, etc. I am all about using a lot of color in all my designs! I love creating my bows. I put them on just about every wreath. I feel they are unique and really compliment the pieces I design. My holiday and everyday wreaths are very full and very colorful. I only use shatterproof ornaments and high quality silk flowers.
My favorite pieces to design are my winter/holiday arrangements. I love a family theme whether it’s snowmen, animal critters, elves, gingerbread men etc.
Each one is so unique and very detailed. My most popular items are my table top pre-decorated Christmas trees. I can’t seem to make them fast enough The rest of the year I design seasonal silk floral arrangements, wreaths, etc. Also, I love designing custom anything!
What inspires your work?
The inspiration for my work came to me after my husband and I bought five pieces of artwork from artist Lynn Hays years ago… Her use of bright colors, mixing patterns and textures inspires me on every piece I design. I love creating pieces that represent the family. My winter arrangements always have a family theme in some way. For example, I’ve had a request for snowmen family with a Mom Dad and four little snowmen representing the children in a winter scene. Creating a special piece for a family just warms my heart.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My future goals for my business is to just continue to grow. One of my dreams I had, that is now a reality, is that I have recently expanded my business. I decorate homes and business’s for the four seasons and holidays. My ultimate dream would be to open my shop to the public. I just want to continue doing what I love to do … that is really my dream come true.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
There are so many talented designers that do such beautiful work, but what I think that makes my business stand out from others is that I am not afraid to take chances with my designs. My use of colors and textures are not always traditional in my holiday and everyday pieces. I also offer a variety of different design styles such as, Modern/Contemporary, Rustic, Tuscan Traditional, Cottage Chic, Country, Victorian and French Country. Sometimes its hard for someone to visualize, for example, bright orange and hot pink in a Christmas wreath but with my bows and wreaths, I mix colors that are unique and when put together create a beautiful piece. My novelty holiday arrangements are very different from anything I’ve seen and are one of a kind pieces.
I do pride myself on great customer service and communication. I will try to accommodate my customers in any way I can. I also work on my custom orders immediately and ship as soon as a piece is completed or purchased.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
My husband generously donated his entire bottom floor of his office for my shop and supplies close to home. I have a work room, where I create and two supply rooms, where I store all of my inventory. I also have a large display room where I display and store all my finished items that are ready to ship. I don’t know how I would’ve been able to do what I do without this space for all of my inventory and items. A great big “THANK YOU” to my husband!
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
The one very important one I learned is to “charge what you’re worth”. When I first started out I didn’t really realize that you have to take into consideration your time as well as your cost, shipping, the value of the services and quality and uniqueness of your product. I wish I realized that early on. My husband used to say, ” do you want this to be a hobby or a business”? When I finally realized how much time and cost etc. went into my work, I knew I had to change my way of thinking if I wanted this to be a serious business.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Ask yourself what makes your items stand out… value your product, your time etc. Have confidence in what you do your product and what you charge. Don’t give up and don’t be discouraged. Turning a hobby into a business takes time, building a clientele takes time and it will happen. Also, promote wherever you can, join teams, use any and all social media and most importantly, take great pictures. Starting my business on Etsy was the beginning of me being able to do what I love and turning my hobby into a legitimate business.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love to spend time with my family. We love baseball, going to games. We are die-hard Yankee fans. We also love to travel and visit my children in New York and Miami whenever we can. My favorite hobby is being in my garden, being out in my yard is so peaceful and relaxing. I just love spending time playing with my dogs, walking or just sitting by the pool on our swing.
What is your favorite quote?
I have several!
“Charge what you’re worth”
“Anything worthwhile takes time”
“Wish it, Dream it, Do it”
“Don’t worry, be happy”
“Look for the good in every day”
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Thanks so much for letting me share my story… I wish everyone the best of luck… enjoy loving what you do!
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