(1) Who are you?
(2) What is your shop name and how did you come up with it?
The shop name, Maggie Sue Designs, came from an old nickname. In high school Spanish class there was no direct translation for Meredith so I was called Margarita instead. My middle name was Sue and somehow that was shortened to Maggie Sue. Some of my old friends still call me that!
(3) What do you create and sell?
Handmade handbags and accessories made with fabric. Items include cup cozies, key fobs, headbands and ponytail holders, wallets, coasters, tissue holders, fabric magnets, and more.
(4) What is your source for inspiration?
Really this whole endeavor is just a way to justify my fabric obsession. Maybe I should call it an "interest" rather than an obsession, I don't want to sound like I'm totally bonkers. I'm not sure I've truly been "inspired", maybe this is just a phase. Only time will tell...
(5) What is your favorite piece from your shop & why?
My current fave is this Vibrant Patchwork Bag and Key Fob set; I just love these bright Kaffe Fassett fabrics mixed together!
(6) Is running your shop your only job?
Running the household (which is a bit of a joke around here as I'm not the best cook or housekeeper) and being a mom and wife is my unpaid full-time job. Well, I get paid with hugs and kisses once in a while but no salary to speak of. I am a registered nurse but have not worked since our first child (we have two) was 9 months old.
(7) When did you start your business?
Sometime around the fall of 2005.
(8) How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Since April of 2006.
(9) Do you sell outside of Etsy?
I participate in 2 to 3 local craft shows each year but I really prefer to sell on-line. I don't really have that "inner salesperson" personality, I'm a people person but not when I have to toot my own horn. Then I get flustered and babble. Luckily the things I make can usually sell themselves in person, I just put them in pretty shopping bags and collect the money.
(10) What do you like best about Etsy?
The ease of both setting up shop and of selling are the top two. Also I really enjoy using Etsy's Pounce and Time Machine 2 features. That is how I find most of the shops I blog about. I do have fun curating treasury lists, but I refuse to stay up until 4am waiting for one to open so I only get a list once in a while if I happen to be logged in at the right time.
(11) Do you belong to any teams?
I'm a member of EtsyKids and CREST, the Capital Region Etsy Street Team for members from MD/VA/DC.
(12) Do you have more than one Etsy shop?
(13) What do you do to promote your shop(s)?
Word of mouth. I post in the forums IF if feel that I can add something of value to the thread. I rarely start my own topics there yet I know I've had some past sales just from chatting in the forums. I've recently put a few very inexpensive ad boxes on Project Wonderful but mostly I use free networking sites. I'm on Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and a bunch of ning.com sites like Indiepublic, Swanky Moms, We Love Etsy, Posh Mama and a few others. I have not been active on most of those in the past few months while I've been setting up my blog but I have had people contact me from some of these places in the past. I think once I get a few more blog followers I'll be able to offer some giveaways there which I hope will make people happy AND drive traffic to my shop.
(14) What do you do in your spare time?
I really enjoy reading fiction, hanging out with friends, having a cup of tea or a glass of white wine. I like the crostic puzzles on allstarpuzzles.com and we watch some movies and TV too. And I LOVE eating chocolate, can't forget that one! Which is why I go to Jazzercise, but luckily I enjoy that too.
(15) What is your blog or website url?
My shop can be found at http://maggiesuedesigns.etsy.com and I have a blog that I just started in October at http://www.maggiesuedesigns.com
(16) Are there any blogs you follow regularly?
I've gotten great marketing and selling advice from http://timothyadamdesigns.blogspot.com, and lately I've been checking giveaway sites like http://loveetsyfeedback.blogspot.com and http://etsygiveaways.blogspot.com I also just found http://ecoetsy.blogspot.com and http://www.designspongeonline.com
(17) Are there any particular Etsy shops you follow regularly?
There is a fair chance that if you are a fabric seller, your shop is in my favorites list!
(18) Any advice (business, or otherwise) for fellow sellers?
Strive to do what you enjoy, whether you do this to make a living or more as a hobby like me. There is no point in spending your time on something that is making you miserable. One thing I learned as a nurse is that life is short! If you need to work for the money, keep searching until you find a balance of what you like and what you can live on. I'm aware that it sounds easier than the reality of it, but working towards finding that place can be well worth the struggle. When we went from two full-time salaries down to one, it was interesting to see what we really could live without when necessary. Lower your heat setting and throw on two sweaters. Give up smoking!! Besides the fact that tobacco might kill you, you'll save a lot of money (FYI, I've never smoked~ this is just an example). Drink coffee from home instead of stopping at Starbucks. Try boxed wine once in a while, there are some decent ones out there. Make dinner instead of going out (I know, that one stinks!) But you get the idea :)