Read on to find out how Tricia, of Handmade Whimzy, has put her seemingly endless talents to use while taking time off from her full-time career to be home with her son.
Tell us about yourself!
I am a 42 year old stay at home mom of 1 - a son who is 11 and started middle school this year. My "real" job is a critical care nurse but I’m putting my career on hold for awhile. I’ve been married for a hundred years and we have 1 dog and 1 cat. When my son is older, I hope to go back to school and get my Master’s and become a Nurse Practitioner.
What makes you unique as a woman?
I’m the only me there is!
What do you love about Kids?
They’re so much fun! Every stage of my son’s life has been filled with wonder. I love spending time with him and seeing the world through his eyes.
What are you currently doing besides your creative craft?
Right now, I’m working on some pincushions that I hope to enter in our county fair Arts and Crafts contest in September. I’m also hoping I can turn them into some cool Christmas tree ornaments that would make great teachers gifts when December rolls around.
What is the address for your Etsy shop?
What do you offer in your Etsy shop?
The main thing I’m working on now are the aprons that I just started selling this year. I have full and half aprons. I also make beaded and ribbon bookmarks, which have been very popular. I originally sold jewelry but I’m slowly fazing it out so that I can concentrate on my sewing.
Where do you create?
I’m lucky enough to have my own craft room. It’s the smallest room in the house but it’s all mine. I recently repainted and rearranged. You can see photos here on this blog post:
I painted the walls a light aqua/turquoisey color and rearranged everything so that I have more sewing/cutting room. I love it! I spend all of my free time in there – sometimes just watching TV.
Where do you find your inspiration?
The fabrics I use give me inspiration. I only buy what I like and I buy in small quantities so that I only make 2-3 aprons from each style. This keeps me motivated to finish one apron so that I can cut into the next gorgeous fabric.
How did you get started in your line of business?
I started selling jewelry on Etsy 3 years ago. But as any Etsy jewelry seller knows, it is a hard category to break into as there is sooooo much competition. I started sewing again on a regular basis a couple of years ago. Mostly just sewing skirts for myself. Then I decided to start making aprons. I made one as a "test" apron and got opinions on the design on my blog. After making several changes, I started listing them in my shop. Then I decided to just change the focus of my shop all together and let all the jewelry expire so that I could focus on my sewn items.
How do you promote your business?
Promoting is really hard for me. I use my blog to show new items and announce sales. I use Facebook also. I try to list or renew something in my shop everyday. I hand out lots of business cards when I do local craft shows.I’d say promoting is definitely an area that I need to work on.
What is one of your most important lessons you've learned since starting your business?
That my family comes first. At first, I became so focused on wanting to grow my business and really make a profit that I forgot the reason I’m a stay at home mom is so that I can be available for my son. I’m staying at home so that I can volunteer at his school, go on field trips, help with homework and just be there. He’s my main focus, not my business. I’ll only have a few more years with him at home but I can work or build a business for years after that.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Really research what you’re getting yourself into. If you’re just doing it to earn a few extra bucks while you’re staying home with your children, then keep that in mind. Don’t expect the sales to just come rolling in because you opened an internet store. To REALLY get a business started takes a lot of time and money and you have to be willing to put your all into it.
What are some of your favorite online shops on and off Etsy?
On Etsy I love to browse through card and soap shops. Those are my 2 favorite things to buy. I love the soap from sophiecls.etsy.com. She has my favorite – lemongrass scent.
I also love flandersfield.etsy.com and several other photography shops that I spend lots of time I don’t have clicking through and dreaming about where I would hang all the lovely pictures.
KathyPanton.etsy.com has been one of my favorites for a long time.
I also love browsing the handmade tote section and I always love the totes from PinkLemonadeBags.etsy.com.
I could go on and on about my favorites because there are some really great handmade things on etsy.
What are your other sites (i.e. Blogger, Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter)?
My blog is http://HandmadeWhimzy.blogspot.com
My facebook pages are:
Personal page - http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=100000426780198
HandmadeWhimzy page - http://www.facebook.com/pages/Tyler-TX/Handmade-Whimzy/107926789250020
Be sure to visit Tricia's Etsy Shop where she is offering you 15% off all purchases (excluding shipping)! The sale runs September 20th to September 26th. Just mention "EtsyMom team" in the notes to seller during checkout. And leave her a comment here telling her which item is your favorite.