(1) Who are you?
I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a military spouse. And I am an artist and crafter. I enjoy time with my family, but enjoy my alone time a great deal as well.
(2) What is your shop name and how did you come up with it?
The Yarn Chick. My husband had always called me “chicky” so I combined that with my obsession (addiction) with yarn. Pretty simple!
(3) What do you create and sell?
I create modern crocheted accessories. Mostly hats just because I enjoy making them so much and I think they look so darn cute on my kids. I’ve also sold coffee cozies and wrist warmers.
(4) What is your source for inspiration?
My kids first of all, like I said. Next is color. I love every color of the rainbow and every color in between. I have favorites of course. I love coming up with color combinations. I also draw a lot of inspiration from texture. I’m one of those people who walks through a department store and can’t help poking my hand out every chance I get to feel different fabrics and textures. On products for sale of course, I don’t cross any personal space boundaries ;)
(5) What is your favorite piece from your shop & why?
This is such a hard question because I only sell things I love. If I don’t like it, it doesn’t go up in my shop. My monkey hat was completely inspired by my daughter, who I call “my li’l monkey” so that’s a top favorite. I also really love the slouchy caps I have right now. They’ve done really well and I wear one myself most days, they are so comfy.
(6) Is running your shop your only job?
No, I am a mom! But…I do not work outside of the home. J
(7) When did you start your business?
I started this shop in December of 2008. I registered the name in October, but didn’t start listing until December. I had listed some crocheted hats in my first Etsy shop since the summer of 2008, but when they started to take over the shop I opened a home of their own.
(8) How long have you been selling on Etsy?
Since February of 2008.
(9) Do you sell outside of Etsy?
Yes, I have a shop on 1000 Markets, same name. I have not done craft fairs yet, but am preparing to do a small one in the fall to get my feet wet and then hopefully a bigger one in the winter. I have a lot of inventory building to do for that. I do not put items in brick and mortar shops because being military we move around a lot. I’d want to be near to the shop and I’d hate to get going in one and then have to pull everything out to move.
(10) What do you like best about Etsy?
I love the variety of things you can find. It amazes me the talent of people. Their creativity and determination to create what they see in their head. I have spent way more money on Etsy than I have made!
(11) Do you belong to any teams?
Yes. I belong to one team. I have thought of joining others, but the team I am on is important to me. I like to have time for them and the events we hold. It’s the Homefront Team for military spouses. I love those girls. We also have a market on 1000 Markets that I help manage.
(12) Do you have more than one Etsy shop?
Yes! My other shop, and the first one I created is http://bethjt.etsy.com. I sell my artwork, prints, jewelry, and other gifts like magnets and other things that I feel like making. Most of my jewelry is made from seaglass, but I also like using crystals and beads. I work with mainly sterling silver.
(13) What do you do to promote your shop(s)?
I have a blog. I have tried out some paid advertising that went well. When I get a good amount of inventory built up again I will do that again. I also twitter. And being on an Etsy team is a great promotion tool. I also have a small decal pasted on both of our vehicles, that has brought me an amazing bit of traffic.
(14) What do you do in your spare time?
This IS what I do in my spare time. I crochet, I draw, I make jewelry, I hunt for seaglass, I take pictures, I doodle and brainstorm. My mind never seems to shut off. If I didn’t sell my creations I’d still be doing this, I enjoy it that much. Spending time with my family is the other thing.
(15) What is your blog or website url?
I have a blog where I ramble about whatever is going on or one my mind with my shop and the selling venues I am on. http://bethetsy.blogspot.com I also have a dotcom for my drawings, although I admittedly haven’t updated it in a while. http://www.thompsonportraits.com.
(16) Are there any blogs you follow regularly?
I follow my Etsy team’s blog http://www.homefrontartistryteam.blogspot.com/ There are also quite a few Homefront member blogs I follow. I also like to follow some blogs that regularly feature shops and do giveaways.
(17) Are there any particular Etsy shops you follow regularly?
Too many to list! I spend a LOT of time on Etsy, selling and shopping. I love bags, screen printed Ts, baby apparel and accessories, etc etc etc. There are just so many cool shops, I can’t think of just one to mention.
(18) Any advice (business, or otherwise) for fellow sellers?
Since I’m coming up on a year on Etsy, I guess I qualify to give a little advice. The first thing I consider important is customer service. Answering questions in a timely (and polite) manner is really important. While they are waiting for you to answer, they have time to find another shop to buy from. Take pride in your product and make it the best you can. Package it nicely and include a handwritten note. It is a turnoff for me to get a package in the mail to find my product just stuck inside and mailed off without a bit of personal touch. That personal touch is what I love about purchasing handmade.
I am a big believer in good quality product photos. When I stumble into a shop that hasn’t taken the time to take nice photos and I can’t tell what it really looks like or what the real color is supposed to be, I click right back out. It amazes me how many shops put up a blurry photo that tells me nothing about the product, then on top of that write two lines in the description. Won’t be spending my hard earned money there, sorry. If they won’t put the time and effort into their shop, then what does that say they will do with their product?
Don’t sit and wait for people to find you. Consider your shop a little corner of a really huge city of shops. If you don’t put up signs, tell people you are there, and rent billboards you are relying on a stray shopper to stumble in on their own accord. This happens, yes, but not as often as the people who come looking for you because they saw your link, or ad, or blog entry, or google search entry, or their friend who is friends with your friend who told them about it.
I could go on and on about the things I’ve learned and made mistakes doing on my own. But I’ll leave it at that. ;)