Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am a SAHM of two boys, aged 10 and 6. My littlest one was diagnosed with Leukemia and we are in and out the hospital since April 2012. Since I have always been creative and crafty, I restarted making and selling friendship bracelets to contribute to my son’s medical bills and also the travel costs, and to take my mind off of my worries. I consider every knot of my bracelets a prayer for my son’s full recovery.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
I used to paint and decoupage and went to craft fairs before my son got sick, but when we got into hospital, I rediscovered my yarn stash and brought it everywhere with me. I opened my Etsy shop in 2012 when I already had a larger amount of friendship bracelets and I wanted to sell them to contribute to the cost of the medical bills and any other costs that appeared during this period in our lives.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My bracelets are handmade with love, and I dare to say they are all quality made. I use high quality embroidery thread, and since I always give 100% in everything I make, I never give anything away that doesn’t meet my (high) standards. Making them is also therapeutic.
What inspires your work?
I get inspired by a lot of things: my sons, my current mood, my surroundings…
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
This year has almost come to the end, and as always, during this time of the year, I hope to have enough sales to buy my son’s christmas gifts they will enjoy.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I make friendship bracelets for a cause, focus on their quality and always include handwritten notes along with my bracelets. I’m not sure I am standing out from other businesses, but I hope my bracelets will be worn proudly by anyone who purchases them.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a little space on my desk where I put my yarn and a notebook with my bracelet patterns and color combos. I am often packing them and caring them along with us to the hospital, the medical personal already knows, if I show up in the hospital with my son, so does my yarn stash. I knot where I can, on trains, in hospital rooms, in our room, and that’s all the separate space I need.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I’ve learned that making yourself seen and heard is hard. Marketing takes time, advertising takes time, and when you’re the only one person in a business, you have to be the maker, the publicist, the advertiser, the supply buyer, the delivery boy, (plus the wife, mom, maid, cook, etc..) and so much more, which takes precious time from creating. You have to have a perfect schedule to do it all, because they are all important things, and none can be left out if you want to have success in whatever you are making.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
I am still gathering advice myself, but I think besides offering quality products, you have to also present it with good pictures, because before even reading the product info, the photos are what draw or push the people away.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I only have a very little time for myself, but around the holidays I make Christmas decorations, decoupaged home decor and of course my bracelets, because they also are fun to do and I don’t consider them as working.
What is your favorite quote?
“You were given this life because you were strong enough to handle it.” I had other favorite quotes before, but lately this is my favorite, and I tell myself in the hard times that if God didn’t think me and my son wouldn’t be strong enough, he would never make us go trough such a hard period, and I thank for all the good days we have.
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I invite you to visit my shop!
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.