Another one that inspires me that I have yet to meet. We actually connected over music, 4dasoul was our virtual hangout, LOL do you remember that Carla? Anyway imagine my surprise when I learned we have yarn in common too. She was so very helpful when it came time for me to start my Etsy shop. I can never thank her enough. I swear I want to be like her when I grow up. Here I go again, let me close my trap and let this beauty talk to you.
So here are the questions I asked:
1. How long have you been crocheting and/or knitting?
2. Who taught you to crochet/knit?
3. Do you create your own designs?
4. What would you say are the keys to your success?
5. What challenges have you faced?
6. What advice would you give to someone just starting an Etsy shop?
7. What impact has social media had on your success?
and she said…..
I’ve been crocheting since 1998 and knitting since 2013.
When I was a girl, my mother taught me to knit and sew. My grandmother was a seamstress in a sweat shop so crafting was a normal part of the day. I never really caught on to knitting back then because I didn’t practice or see the need to develop my ‘craftiness’. But last January, I picked up a pair of pencils and started playing around with what I remembered. Eventually, I got sick of the lead getting all over the yarn, so I switched to knitting needles. The rest was history. 🙂
As for crocheting, when my son was born, I began making blankets using pattern books and anything I could get my hands on, until I got bored with recreating other people’s designs. I picked up the skills I needed to do the basics and then started developing patterns from ideas in my head that I thought would look pretty in yarn. I prefer to be an original, instead of doing what everyone else is doing.
I’m not sure I’d say I’m a success just yet because I consider myself and Caheez works in progress. Some things I’ve learned along the way are to work really hard at perfecting the craft, especially when I don’t feel like it. There is always something that can be improved so when a critique or complaint comes along, I try to separate my emotions and the negativity from the information I’m being given and glean what I can to make a better product. I also try to respond to questions and requests immediately because great customer service is key in every business, no matter the size.
Life can be challenging sometimes. Besides my business, I’m a full time mother, wife and domestic engineer. I also am involved in several community theater shows every year (which is like a part time job on its own) and occasionally lead worship at our church. It’s a balancing act and sometimes it gets overwhelming because I put a ton of pressure on myself to perform at 100% all of the time. I also get down on myself sometimes because I’m learning this whole business thing from the ground up. Unfortunately, I don’t have a degree to fall back on or to even help guide my direction for my business. I often have to remind myself that I’ve accomplished a LOT with the grace of God and the part of my personality that is relentless despite not having a degree. I also try to schedule fun things and down time on the weekends so I don’t burn out. Now that Caheez has picked up, I try to find time to relax so I continue to love what I’m doing. The last thing I need to get overwhelmed doing what I love so I try to protect it, even from my own need to keep knitting when my fingers are numb. lol And most of all, having a great family that supports me really helps make things easier. For example, we haven’t seen the floor of our guest room since August, 2013 and we only get home cooked meals about twice a week now, but no one is complaining. I guess it’s hard to complain when you’re eating take out Chinese or pizza, which just happen to be your favorite meals, on a regular basis. 🙂
Etsy is a wonderful place to start. My advice is to find an active and influential team you can connect with and read, read, read their forums. From marketing to setting up the best shop policies, to branching out into craft fairs and more, you can learn everything you need to know in those threads. Of course, having a great product really makes things easier. And if there is a need for that product you make, all the better!
My entire business has been marketed on social media. It’s a Godsend and so very necessary. Finding the right outlet for your shop/product is the key to spreading the word. I’m not an expert, but I have wonderful clients, who help spread the word about what I do. I’m incredibly grateful to them because they keep me afloat and their support has been amazing. I’d say 99% of my business comes from social media – specifically, Instagram. Everyone loves a good selfie, and if they include one of my hats, I’m more than happy to repost them and even put them on my website gallery. It’s a visual testimony of how beautiful they are an the craftsmanship I put into my products. Win/win!
Wow, can you see why she inspires me? This satin lined hat that she makes is EVERYTHING..check it out below
Carla can be found all over social media, here is a link to her—-> Blog she is on Instagram or you can shop with her here you can tweet her too. So you pick the route you take, just make sure you take it. I am telling you she is bad!