Contributor post by Alicia from AliciasFindings
Tell us about yourself.
Howdy! My name is Marijean. I’m a temporarily retired teacher and Texas transplant living on the gorgeous south Florida coast with my wonderful husband and two delightfully insane littles. I have a somewhat dark sense of humor, an attraction to coffee and Cuban food, and I love me some Jesus, (but I also sometimes cuss a little)www.etsy.com/listing/646837403 .
I’ve been designing and crafting for as long as I’ve been around. It’s in my DNA. Being that my mom is a crafter, there was never a shortage of supplies with which I could play and experiment. By the time I was about six years old, I already zeroed in on beads and charms as my go-to crafting supplies. In high school, I fell in love with all-things-scrapbooking and digital/graphic design. I never tired of special fonts, fancy scissors, luxe papers, and CD drive graphic packs. (Yes, CD drive graphics…the internet was still young, folks, so this was before you could hop on over to Creative Market and the likes for fly graphics and fonts.) I sometimes wonder how my life would have been different had washi tape been “a thing” back then, but in seriousness, it doesn’t keep me up at night.
When did you open your business and what made you decide to do so?
I opened up my shop http://www.marimartidesigns.etsy.com in late summer 2016 after being transplanted from TX for my husband’s work. I have been very blessed to be able to stay at home with our tiny humans since the move, and with a little extra time on my hands (just a little, the babes keep me hoppin’!) I started designing and creating items. When my craft room started overflowing with finished work, I decided it was time to share some of the love by opening an Etsy shop. I was already very familiar with Etsy as a shopper and I had watched my mom sell handmade hand-painted, custom curtains on Etsy (www.homespunheartofmine.etsy.com) for years with success (and lots of fun!) so I was very comfortable with the idea of opening up a shop and seeing what happened.
Tell us a bit about your products.
My products are designed for the woman who loves to plan and journal, but it wasn’t always so! It took me a little while to discover how much I love designing these products and designing FOR women who plan and journal. Planning and Journaling: It’s a whole beautiful world of beautiful people with beautiful –breathtakingly beautiful!– planners of various styles. My shop started out as jewelry and accessories, but once I fell in love with planning accessories and the communities that come together to plan, I quickly started moving my shop in that direction. My first planner accessories to bring to market on Etsy were planner tassels like these: www.etsy.com/listing/512708060 and www.etsy.com/listing/512706752 . Soon I was designing page clips and planner charms to add to the collection.
When you visit my shop, you’ll see a convergence of both minimalist glam and boho-chic style. I can’t get enough of upcycled sari silk ribbon (the COLORS, ya’all!) and I lovelovelove knowing that the recycled sari silk is a beautiful and socially conscious option for accessories as it keeps waste from sari production from contributing to landfills and empowers women by providing them work.
What inspires your work?
The style of my work is an unexpected but happy marriage of global eclectic meets late 60’s minimalism. Nature, an obsession with rich colors, cute animals, and the beautifully creative minds of women planner communities (just look up #bujo on IG and be amazed!) keep me constantly creating and inspired. I feel there is no end of planner accessories just waiting to be discovered, thought up, and designed. And the styles of accessories possible are as varied as the styles of women who love to plan!
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
This year I am working on:
-Preparing for a hefty re-branding of my shop going into the new year,
-Building up my Instagram following to 500 followers (www.instagram.com/therealmarimarti ),
-Setting up to launch my planner-of-the-month subscription club (coming February 2019!!), and
-Systematizing my work flows for more productivity and more time to spend with my wonderful family, cause really, those people are my favorite.
-Broaden the selection I offer for an amazing shopping experience.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
A sharp attention to detail and a focus on variety and creativity. My shop has the option to build your own sets of planner charms and clips to express your unique style and my planner tassels feature unique colors of sari silk ribbon that enhance the plans and journaling without taking away from the gorgeous spreads women create in their journals and planners.
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
I work at the same table where my preschooler practices drawing, cutting, and stringing beads. We usually come together a few times a week during the baby’s nap to work on creative projects at her “tall table”. We have fun laughing and creating together. It’s really fun for me to be able to bond with her through creating the same way my mother bonded with me growing up.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Etsy is work. There’s marketing, social media, taxes, SEO, branding, photography, and an ENDLESS list of hats to wear when you run your own Etsy shop. I think there’s this myth out there that you make it, you list it, it sells. But there’s a lot of mind and muscle that goes into it all behind the scenes. I feel like I am a perpetual student of all things Etsy and really, these things are all beneficial for ANY kind of online business presence. But I love to learn and am FASCINATED by all the facets of the business. The one thing I wish I knew beforehand (and have to keep reminding myself!) is to PACE MYSELF! Budget, time, and energy don’t always expand quickly enough for me make and list all the things my mind is constantly wanting to add to my shop. So, I have to be kind to myself and pace myself so that I don’t get burnout. Task batching has been VERY helpful in making the very most of time, budget, and energy as I roll out more and more exciting new products. It’s important to remember when I make or even imagine new products that there is an entire workflow that has to happen to bring the idea to market as a product. The process can be overwhelming if I don’t have my tasks batched and intentionally take time to chill out alone and with the family and focus on what matters most to me.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
Again, pace yourself and do some serious digging around online to discover what you can about task batching. Don’t think of tasks in terms of each listing. Batch like tasks into blocks of time to make the most of that time.
Also, Marmalead. (No affiliate here, just a true fan.) Marmalead has been SUCH a valuable business investment for helping me navigate the sometimes murky waters of Etsy SEO. This tool has taken out some guesswork for me.
Marketing on Social Media doesn’t have to be over-complicated. Just find your tribe online and try to grow followers organically through having a presence on social media. I made it over-complicated and overwhelming for too long and am finding now that it can be fun and natural once you find your shop’s niche and your fans.
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love cooking for my family, playing dance party with my kids, and watching international (Usually Spanish and Korean) films with my husband. I have a very inquisitive mind and love to read and research the question du jour.
What is your favorite quote?
Oh, gosh! SO many, but currently:
“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” -Annie Dillard
Where can people find out more about your business?
I’m most active on IG so follow me @therealmarimarti to stay up to date on sales, events, and launches!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I’ll be offering free shipping on all orders $25 and up from October 15, 2018 – November 1, 2018!
Find what makes you happy and what you’re good at. See how you can spread that into the world. Thanks for taking time to visit and I’ll see you in 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.