Member Feature: Mary’s Monkeys

Contributor post by Cindy Humphrey of Cynhumphrey

Please join us in welcoming Mary Braun of Mary’s Monkeys, our featured member!

Tell us about yourself.

As you can probably guess from my shop name, my name is Mary! I grew up in the Midwest, the middle child of a  very large family.  I worked a few jobs for far too long. When I found my job cut, I chose to leave and have never looked back.

My passion for sewing has been almost forever! I started sewing as a little girl. Being the Mom of two girls, made lots of clothes including doll dresses, prom dresses, Halloween costumes, but most memorably, sock monkeys!

When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?

I opened my shop in December 2009. After I left my job, I wanted to do something I enjoyed. When I was a child, my Aunt made me a sock monkey.  In turn, I made sock monkeys for both my girls when they were young which they still have. I guess you might call it “bringing it full circle.”   My younger daughter actually came up with the idea to create sock monkeys.

Tell us a bit about your products.

I started my shop with only sock monkeys. My sock monkeys range from the classic sock monkeys I grew up with to the hipper version like David Bowie and KISS.  My favorites are the many custom orders I do. The sky is the limit with these!

Recently, I’ve been trying my hand on the embroidery machine at creating pot holders, towel toppers and other embroidered items.

What inspires your work?

I really love making something personal for someone that I know will make them happy. It could be a gift from a spouse that captures a tattoo; it could be a wedding gift. My all time favorites are those that are going to someone with a special message in them. I recently did a sock monkey for three children that captured their Father’s personality. That’s the kind of gift you just can’t buy at the store. It’s a gift of love.

What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?

My goal is to continue creating things that will make people happy.

What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?

There are a lot of sock monkeys out there. My sock monkeys are very personal. I know they convey a message.

Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?

Yes, I do! I’ve taken over a room which is a converted attic space. Its bright and spacious! Everything I need is at my fingertips. I usually sew on the machine and embroider during the day. At night, I join my husband and watch a show or two while stuffing monkeys!

What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?

I love having my shop and wish I had done it sooner.

Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?

Do what you love and it will never be a job! You do need to be a self starter. There is no one around to tell you what or how to do things. If you have a good product go for it!

When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?

In the summer you can find my husband and myself at Wrigley Field. We are both avid Cubs fans. I love the atmosphere and love watching the games in person

Where can people find out more about your business?

Etsy –
Instagram – marysmonkeys
Facebook – marysmonkeys


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.

#CIJPopUpMarket #4 2017 – GusandOllie

Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium

#CIJPopUpMarket #4 Shop – Jessica from GusandOllie



1. What is the name of your shop and where do you look for inspiration?

The name of my Etsy shop is: Gus and Ollie.

I am inspired my love of children and the every day. Living abroad means something new around every corner.

2. How has your shop evolved over time?

Not only have my handmade toys become more polished over time, but I think their evolution has been matched by demand and suggestions from many of the friends, family and lovely customers.

Where I saw a need for safe toys for babies – I came up with my Taggy Giraffe, which is now a best seller.

3. What do you love most about your work?

I love that I can go to my studio every day and just disappear into my world of colour, design and creativity. I strive to make a high quality product that is also original, eye catching and full of character.

I love hearing from my customers, who often send me photos of their children with my toys – that they’ve immediately become firm favourites.

4. What motivating music do you listen to? Share your playlist that gets and keeps you going!        

My playlists are so eclectic, I think some would find them strange. I love listening on shuffle, so I never know what’s coming next. It ranges from 90’s funk & 60’s rock’n roll, to acoustic jams and movie soundtracks! Anything that gets my foot tapping along.

5. What book are you reading right now and where is your favorite place to read?

I have spent much of this year turning to a healthy lifestyle. I am currently reading “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, “You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life” by Bek Borucki and for my love of books “The Bookshop Book” by Jen Campbell. Bookshops are what I miss most about living in Germany. Bookshops filled with books in german just aren’t the same as the one’s at home.

My favourite places to read are by a window in a cosy cafe, with a perfect coffee and my notebook to take notes & draw ideas.

6. What are your social media sites?

Facebook: GusandOllieHamburg

Pinterest: GusandOllie

Twitter: GusandOllie

Blog: GusandOllie