Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I am the wife of Dan. The mother of 4 grown children. The gramma of Ellie. My day job is Academic Specialist at an elementary school but as soon as I get home I start to sew whatever I can.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
In 2009 I learned to make a rag quilt and I fell in love with the whole process. I began making quilts for everyone in my family and then quilts for friends and friends of my kids. I just loved making quilts and I wondered if I could sell them. I listed a couple on Ebay but had no luck there. Right around that time I discovered Etsy and opened my shop in 2010 to try my quilts there. I loved how easy it was to sell there and I was actually selling to strangers all over the country.
Tell us a bit about your products.
I started making rag quilts exclusively but when I had my first grand baby I branched out to other baby items – burpies, bibs, fabric letters, minky blankets. I had made t-shirt quilts for my kids but I was afraid to offer t-shirt quilts to strangers because it was so personal. What if I made a mistake…? But I did it anyway and I take great care of any clothing people send me as if it were my own. From there I started making baby clothes/memory quilts.
My specialty is hanky and bandana quilts, both new and vintage. Lately I’ve been making book pocket pillows. I just love making those. The possibilities are endless. I always go back to my first love though – rag quilts.
What inspires your work?
My customers inspire my work definitely! They suggest things I would have never thought of. Sometimes I think that will never work but I end up loving the results. One customer wanted me to make a quilt out of her father’s silk pocket squares. Another wanted a quilt from her grandmother’s housecoats. I love the challenges!
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
My goal is always to sell more than I did last month or last year. I am the only one who does the buying, cutting, sewing so I can only do so much at a time. I am trying to supplement our household income with this little business since my husband has been laid off. My dream would be to work full-time making quilts and make enough to cover all our expenses. I am very lucky to have two jobs that I truly love – teaching and sewing.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
People always ask me how I get my seams so fluffy. I would say the look of my product, the quality of the fabrics I use and the care and love that I put into every single thing I make. I will not send a quilt to someone unless I am 100% sure it’s what they would want. I have taken a king size quilt completely apart and started over because I saw a mistake that maybe the customer would see too. I give great customer service.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I have a small sunny bedroom as my sewing room and when my third daughter moved out I took over her room as the “sewing room annex”. Truthfully, though, I have taken over every part of my house with this sewing factory. Luckily my family understands and accepts.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
I wish I had known how important good photos and tags were. I also wish I had weighed my quilts to get the right weight for shipping instead of guesstimating the cost. I think I’ve lost a lot of money due to shipping shortages.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Just do it. Don’t wait till you have enough inventory. And pictures are so important!!! I struggle with my pictures all the time. Look at your competitions photos to see what stands out. Study the best sellers in your category to see what they are doing right.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
What I like to do the most is sew so I sew whenever I can. When the weather is warm, gardening calls to me. Spending time with my kids and especially my grandbaby is the best!
What is your favorite quote?
Not sure if it’s my favorite but I probably say it everyday. “Slow and steady wins the race.”
Where can people find out more about your business?
People can find me on Facebook: Zeedlebeez.
They can follow me on Instagram: @zeedlebeez.
You can read my blog: zeedlebeezmom.
You can see my work on Pinterest: Zeedlebeez.
But the easiest way yo find me is on Etsy: ZeedleBeez.
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