Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Cupcake envy

My Wednesday morning commute through Hammersmith station is best described as frenetic, as I put my head down, pull up my collar and battle my way through the swarms of people. Newspaper men try their best to thrust copies of freebie papers into commuters' hands as we rush past, usually with a muttered "no thanks" and a shifty look. This morning I took a brief glance at the front cover of Stylist, suprised myself with an uncharacteristic "Mmmmm!" and grabbed a copy. And this is what I saw:

Firstly, the cupcakes. Look at how tasty they are! Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, almond. I want to go out now and buy flour eggs and milk, make some butter cream, buy sugar roses... It's not even lunch yet and I'm fantasising about getting home and doing some baking.
Had I taken the time to eat a proper breakfast I might not have been so tempted by these lovely treats, but never mind. The headline also caught my attention. 'Turn your hobby into a business' was weirdly topical, as this is just what I was discussing with my friends over a glass of wine on Monday evening.
My etsy page has had only three sales so far... Three! In seven months! I often look at others' pages with envy - people with 200 or 300 sales - and wonder what I am doing wrong. How do they get out there and promote their wares? It must require a serious commitment: not only time but also money spent relisting their items. Not to mention the book keeping and accounting. I realised that making my accessories and selling them on etsy is still a hobby for me, but it's a great hobby.

Orchid Comb - Happy to make one, not one hundred

I still pleasure in making my individual items, enjoying the creative process and being proud of the finished product. If I had to make 20 of the same comb or clip the whole thing might lose it's appeal. I don't think I'm quite ready for the next step yet.
One last picture to keep us going til teatime:

Swirled strawberry & white chocolate cupcake courtesy of Lola's Kitchen

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

An interview with PrairieWindDesigns

This week I asked Misti from PrairieWindDesigns to tell me all about what inspires her to come up with the wonderful items on sale in her Etsy store. I've also picked out some of my favourite items to feature here on my blog.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself...

My name is Misti and I live in Frenchtown, MT with my husband and two adorable kids, ages 6 and 3 and our golden retiever, Prairie. I absolutely love living in Montana. From the mountains to the prairies, there is so much beauty in this "Last Best Place". I love the people who live here and the values that being a Montanan teach you. The drastic changes in weather and the vastness of the land remind you how small we as human beings are.

Olivia Clutch in Fresh Spring Colors

When and why did you start creating your lovely items and selling them on Etsy?

Growing up on a farm in Southwest Kansas, I learned the value of making something with my hands. My grandmother was the master of making something out of nothing - using whatever scraps she had to make needed items.

While I didn't take to sewing as a teenager, I found comfort in sitting at my machine those lonely nights while my husband was deployed. I learned to quilt while expecting our first child, and have been hooked on creating with fabric ever since!

I'm a stay at home mom and with that comes many sewing opportunities for little ones. I want to teach my children strong values and a good work ethic, so I started selling my wares at the local farmer's market where my son would make and sell pretzel sticks. He quickly learned how much work it was to make a dollar. Once winter hit and the farmer's markets were done for the season, I put my focus on my Etsy shop. I still involve my kids every chance I get. I bought a wall map and my son helps me mark the places where my items have been shipped. It serves as a great geography lesson for him and it serves as a reminder of my success and gives me inspiration to keep creating.

Which of your items do you most enjoy making?

I have a variety of items in my shop, all things I have created with fabric. I have a range of items from purses and diaper bags to barnyard coloring wallets for the little ones. I have many ecofriendly and upcycled items from reusable sandwich and snack bags, reusable grocery bags and toddler dresses that I upcycle from previously loved men's shirts.

I love creating something with my hands for someone else. I enjoying thinking about that person as I am creating each piece and when it is complete, I feel like I have given a piece of myself.

Reclaimed French Toile Eco-friendly Bag

I've just bought my first sewing machine and am trying to get creative. What advice can you give someone just starting out?

My advice for someone just starting to sew is to do what you love. Pick a fabric that you just love. That's where it starts. Start with simple patterns that can be completed rather quickly so you don't burn out. Reach out to others that sew in your community. I haven't yet met a quilter that doesn't want to share what they have learned. Most will even share notions, patterns and fabric to get you started.

Many thanks to Misti for sharing her creative process! Wishing her every success with her fabulous shop. Please take the time to have a look at some of her other wonderful items for sale: PrairieWindDesigns