Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a veteran married to an Air Force Pilot. We have 2 beautiful children, a daughter that is 2 years old and a son who is 4 months old. Due to my wife’s career choice, I have chosen to be a stay-at-home dad to take care of our children and the household. I enjoy spending the days with my kids. And unlike some men, I have no issues with my wife being the provider for our family.
However, I still wanted a way to make some extra money to help out. A little extra cash could provide extracurricular activities for the kiddos. So, Farrally Manmade was created. I still enjoy spending time with my kids, wife, dog and gaming and hanging out with friends.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened shop March of this year. And as mentioned above, I wanted a way to help out by making a little extra cash. My wife and I thought long and hard about what I could bring to the table. She also sells on Etsy so she automatically went to that and asked about hobbies or anything I might like to create. I remembered making paracord bracelets back in Basic Training. So, we decided I could try that out and that we’ll expand into the leather cord fashion eventually as well. Though, my initial intent was to gear my pieces towards men, I have expanded products to women, children and pets.
Tell us a bit about your products.
Currently I sell paracord survival bracelets. They’re not only fashionable, but also functional. 550 Paracord has a strength of 550lbs and contains 7 inner strands. Paracord was used by the military in parachutes in World War 2 and used to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. It is still a favorite among military professionals and outdoorsmen. It can be used to repair equipment, set traps, build shelter and more. The inner strands can be used as fishing line or dental floss. We have expanded our paracord products into various designs to match all types of personality. There’s something for the hipster, urban, preppy, survivalist, hunter, military, girly and more. We plan to open up into the Leather Cord fashion industry soon as well, which will include necklaces for men, and leather wrap bracelets for all.
What inspires your work?
I make bracelets for my daughter, so I have to say she’s a part of my inspiration! My wife also likes to come up with ideas for the more girly type bracelets. Then, the rest of my creativity comes from ideas I have seen online or in stores. A lot of the times, while trying to make a piece, it’ll take a different turn in the making. The ideas just come to me while I’m in creating mode.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I plan to open up my product line to include leather cord necklaces and wrap bracelets. This should be added real soon. I’m also looking to expand into the physical world by renting space in a handmade shop.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I make sure our customer service excels. I ensure quality materials. And, I am constantly striving to come up with new, fresh ideas that could appeal to my customers. I like to listen to what my customers want.
By purchasing my products at wholesale, I’m able to also provide competitive pricing.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I currently don’t have a studio. My wife actually has the studio and maybe someday she’ll give me a section of her space for me. I currently store all my materials in a closet and work from the couch where I can watch my kids play and still tend to them as needed. We have a large table set out that I use as needed. We’re hoping to build up our studio space when we move into our next house.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I had planned out certain color combos first. My first order of paracord was literally every color I could find at that moment because I hadn’t decided what colors I would want to use or what I wanted to create at first.
Now, I have some I haven’t touched yet. I’m sure I’ll come up with ideas for them eventually. And, its nice to have them on hand for custom orders. I also wish I knew more about purchasing beads and such when I made that first order. I didn’t think about hole size or planning a design either. I guess you could say I was impulse buying! So, I’ve had to list some supplies on my store that wasn’t going to work for me after I received them.
But, now I have huge wholesale lots of these items, that I can’t use!
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Well, don’t be an impulse buyer like I was on your initial material orders! LOL On a serious note, plan out what you want to sell, figure out your audience, plan out some pieces and start creating. I made sure I had 10 items ready to list before I listed anything in my shop. I wanted people who came to my store-front to see that I was serious about my store and that they can expect to see items added on a regular basis. I know I’m more reluctant to buy from a shop that only has a couple of items listed because I’m not sure if they’re still running, if they’re serious about their business or if it’s an actual working store! Also, be able to adjust. I started off my store with a certain audience in mind, but it’s since change and grown. So, I had to adjust my marketing. Try to keep your store cohesive and provide GOOD QUALITY PHOTOS! I messed up on my first few photos (you can probably pick out which ones these were when viewing my store!). So, they’ve thrown off my cohesiveness some. Also, customer service is important.
Customers want someone who is approachable, works with them, and is friendly.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
My hobbies are hanging out with my children, family and friends. I also like to game at night when the family is in bed. We watch movies and tv shows. And, every once in a while I’ll find a book that catches my attention.
What is your favorite quote?
I don’t really know what my “Favorite” quote is…but this one is good…
“Faith is like Wi-Fi, it’s invisible but it has the power to connect you to what you need.”
Where can people find out more about your business?
Right now, my etsy store and my social media outlets are the main places to find out information about my business. We’re working on a website and blog that will open maybe later this year.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
One of my favorite parts of the job, are custom orders! I like to see what people come up with.
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