Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
Hello. My name is Martina (or Gigi), I live in Dublin, Ireland. I work in accounts, but my passion is knitting all kinds of Christmas stockings.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I opened my Etsy shop in 2011. I heard about Etsy and it fascinated me. I thought I could just sell all my knitted items (in the beginning it was more about pillow cases, baby booties and socks).
Tell us a bit about your products.
Now I sell all kinds of knitted socks. There’s regular socks to wear which are very comfortable and warm, but not too thick to wear in shoes. My most popular items are personalized Christmas stockings that are made to order according to the customers wishes as for patterns, names, size, material. I knit from 10″ to 30″ long ones, in pure Irish wool, or easy care acrylic yarn, with patterns such as reindeer, snowmen, snowflakes, but also non-typical Christmas patterns, such as owls, cats (and kittens), dogs, winter skylines etc. I also sell knitting patterns now.
What inspires your work?
Usually I knit what was requested by the customer. When I’m between custom orders, I go back to my favorite designs and combine colors and patterns, or change from acrylic to pure wool. In the summer I created various sets of non-personalized ready to ship Christmas stockings with all the same colors, but different pattern.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
This year I just want to survive the busy Christmas season. I had to stop taking custom orders in mid-October. So now I have to get them all knitted and shipped. I would like all my customers to be happy about their order and recommend me to their friends. I have started a waiting list for 2016, so my next goal is to get people to sign up (no obligation for payment until I’m ready to start). This will keep me busy next year, until new orders start rolling in.
My dream for my business… Well, I don’t think I can ever make enough money to quit my day job. I’d love to create more knitting patterns, I like the passive income. Also, I wouldn’t decline some sort of teaching job, preferable on a cruise ship.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I offer more variations: my stockings can be acrylic or pure wool, I have at least 20 different patterns, I can create different sizes, I can knit different names on front and back, I send lots of photo updates. I offer out of season discounts. All variations (except the very small stockings) are one fixed price.
I’m not worried about competitors. The real hand knit Christmas stocking sellers seem to have the same problem as me: lots of orders from September to December, only 2 hands to knit. There’s enough business for everyone.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
There’s a mountain of wool in my living room. Please don’t ask for photos…
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I’m allowed to charge a fair price that also reflects the hours and hours of knitting and expertise that go into the work.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Just go for it, but don’t expect miracles. Focus on creating a great product, then take photos and list a lot to be seen.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I do enjoy knitting and the whole process of selling. I also like reading, music, watching netflix, travelling and going to concerts.
Where can people find out more about your business?
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.