Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Colombo with my aunt, whom I call my mother. She was a dressmaker, hence I learnt to sew by watching her. She fashioned beautiful ball-gowns from which I learnt to admire the beauty of embroidery. Although hand embroidery is my first love I learnt machine embroidery as well at a local sewing school. This also gave me the opportunity to learn about fabrics and fashion. Sewing, embroidery and fashion have been my passion since then. In 1996 I migrated to Australia after my marriage in 1995. In 2002, my husband underwent brain surgery to remove a benign brain tumour, which was one of the lowest points in my life. Due to my husband’s surgery, and since I had to care for my baby son, I could not return to work, and this eroded my confidence. In 2007 I returned to work but my family did not cope with it hence I decided to quit again and be a stay-at-home mum until 2013.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
In 2013 I decided to return to work however due to GFC I was unable to find suitable work. It was then a friend who knew my passion for sewing recommended Etsy and my family encouraged me to open a shop. At first, I was hesitant because making handmade items for friends and family is one thing but selling is another. However, now, I am glad that I did because thanks to Etsy I am able to pursue my passion and be with like-minded people. Also thanks to all those who bought my items and left positive feedback, I have decided to work full-time this year.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My products are all about injecting energy to people’s’ wardrobes and their homes with tastefully designed colourful accessories, bags, and home decor. Colour equals energy hence it is a great mood lifter. Especially in winter when it is grey and gloomy adding a touch of colour can enhance our outfits. Add a few colourful pillow covers to your living room and it will give an instant lift and create an inviting place where you will want to relax and unwind after a hard day’s work. A drab outfit can turn glamorous by adding a touch of colour. Such is the power of colour. I also like to add embroidery to enhance the beauty of an item. Embroidery turns an ordinary item into something special. Embroidery is time-consuming, but I find it therapeutic.
What inspires your work?
I take my inspiration from the nature, from what I see on TV and from what I read. I love history and I am a big fan of the elaborately embroidered gowns of the queens and the princesses. Whilst we may not wear such clothing these days I like to capture some of that beauty in the items I make. Also the feedback I have received from my customers and the beauty of the finished product inspires me to keep going.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
The goal for this year is to add more items, work on my photographs and promote my shop. As for the future, I would love to see my products hit shelves of the leading department stores one day. I would also like to see more people appreciate the beauty of handmade items, especially those with embroidery. I want to make this business successful so that my son can be proud of his mum.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
Whilst my products have a great finish and quality they are tastefully designed colourful items. One of the most popular comments I’ve received from fellow sellers and buyers alike is that my shop is very colourful. One customer said that the items in my shop our so beautiful, she wishes she could buy the entire shop.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
Since my husband is sensitive to noise I decided to give him the study and turn one of the dining rooms into my studio. This dining room is part of the living room hence I am forced to keep it tidy. I also get to admire my rose garden from where I work so it is nice.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Wish I knew that it takes a long time to become successful on Etsy. Anyone who decides to open a shop needs lots of patients. Just having a great item alone does not make you successful. They also need to learn the basic skills in photography and editing before opening a shop. It is all about presentation. I also knew nothing about treasuries and tags so it has been a huge learning curve for me. However once you master these and if you are willing to work hard it is rewarding.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Etsy is not just an outlet to make extra cash like eBay. It is a real business and you should be willing to work hard and most of all you got to have patients. Always willing to learn from others and be willing to help other sellers as well. If not for the several teams that I am a member of I would have quit Etsy by now.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love gardening, listening to music, bird watching, reading and playing WII games with my son. Most of my items have a floral theme because I love flowers.
What is your favorite quote?
“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”- Prof. Stephen Hawking
Where can people find out more about your business?
You can learn more about me from my shop ‘About Page’ and from my various social media pages. Connect with me via all or either of these pages to stay updated about new items and specials. Thanks and love to see you there!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I can personalize your items with hand embroidery on custom orders. So if you want to make that gift extra special by personalizing it, please feel free to contact me. I do not charge extra for designing.
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.