Contributor post by Alexandra of EyeLoveKnots
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Robyn. I am married to Bruce and we have three wonderful teenage sons. We also have a little dog named Pipi. We live about 60 kilometers east of Perth, Western Australia on a large bush block in Gidgegannup. I was born in New Zealand, but moved to Australia 30 years ago. I spent 11 years in Darwin, Northern Territory where I completed an apprenticeship in tropical horticulture. From this comes my love for anything floral.
When did you open your business, and what made you decide to do so?
My Mum and sister suggested selling my bags at the markets, which I found pretty hard going with the boys’ weekend sporting commitments and a fly-in fly-out husband. I was already buying supplies through Etsy when eventually the thought came to me to open a shop online, and so I did in February of 2014.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I make all sorts of bags – cross body, handbags, clutches, totes, hobo’s, beach and shopping bags. I mainly use cotton quilting and home decor fabrics. I also make tea cosies and soft toys. Lately, I have been making coasters in the shape of caravans and VW’s. I have other ideas in mind also!
What inspires your work?
I am inspired by retro style, my garden and of course bright colour. Ideas usually come to me when I’m trying to get to sleep at night.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My goals are to get more involved with social media. I love Instagram, but need to start using other platforms. At the same time, I need to try to balance social media with crafting. Ultimately, the big dream for my business – to be known as ‘the’ place people come to for quirky, original, one of a kind, functional pieces.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
I think my products stand apart because they are so colourful. They are certainly not made to blend, rather they are the bold accessories to add that bit of a pop!
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
Because I’ve always been a crafter, when we built our house, we made sure I had my own craft room. I’m an early riser, so my room is well away from the bedrooms so I can sew away happily in the early hours. I can also close the door and hide the mess when visitors arrive.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Don’t expect instant sales the day or weeks following the opening of your shop, it takes time. I used to worry when I had no sales for a while. Now, I know there are quiet times and things pick up again. Oh, and don’t store your finished bags in new plastic bins, they pick up a chemical musty smell. I now use linen laundry baskets.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
If you are a new seller, my advice to you would be take the best photos you can to show off your work. I know I have a few I need to redo. Also, join a team. Not only do they help you to get seen, but they are very supporting, knowledgeable and friendly.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I like to spend time with my family, whether that be talking around the table or going for bike rides, playing golf, squash, ping pong, frisbee or watching movies. I like to keep active through kick boxing, which I do with one of my boys. I also like gardening. While driving (at least two hours a day) I love to sing along to the radio and embarrass my kids with the lyrics I get wrong.
What is your favorite quote?
“To the world you just may be one person, but to one person you just may be the world.” – Unknown.
Where can people find out more about your business?
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I also have an Etsy shop called the Berry Road Boutique.
My old high school motto which I live by and share with you “Keep on striving”.
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.