Monthly Archives: April 2011

Featured Etsy Shop: GreenerRoute

It’s earth day!  Celebrate by purchasing reusable bags from this week’s featured Etsy shop, GreenerRoute!

Tell me a little about your shop.  I opened my shop to extend my love of being green to others. I offer currently reusable snack bags and sandwich bags and market bags. I also do custom napkins on request. I am hoping to add insulated lunch bags soon and offer a lunch bag set with reusable bags and a napkin to take care of the whole green lunch.

When did you first become interested in sewing? I just recently picked back up my love for sewing. I started when I was young around the age of 7-8. I was involved in 4-H and my friends and I sewed for the county fair and made clothes to be in the fashion runway.

Why is living an ecofriendly life important to you?  I feel we have a duty to be conscious of our actions. In today’s world we all hear the research and damage that other generations and even our current generations are doing to the world. I feel everyone can start making a difference even if it is a small change.

Who or what inspires you? I started about a year ago. I was first inspired to make my own napkins because I was tired of throwing my money in the trash can. Last winter I was then inspired to make resuable bags for the same reason. Being frugal and green can really go hand in hand.


Tell me about your workspace.  My work space is ever evolving but is full of fabric. I have a large table that doubles as my craft vendor table and a large desk for my sewing machine. The radio is always on to keep me entertained while I sew. I have a huge closet (thank goodness) and it is filled with lots of differnte materials I may need.


Which of your products do you use the most? What is your best seller?  The reusable bags are the used everyday in my house and my napkins as well. We have a basket on the kitchen table filled with napkins and they are easily accessed by the family. We haven’t bought paper napkins in over 2 years!  My best sellers are the sets of snack and sandwich bags.

How are you celebrating Earth Day?  My boys will be off of school that day. I will be preparing to do a Go Green vendor fair in a local city the next day. On that following Monday a few friends are getting together to pick up trash at a local park.

Where else can our readers find you or your products (do you sell at craft fairs? Local shops? Have a facebook page, etc)?  I have a website which I update occassionally thegreenerroute.com. Most of my selling right now is on etsy.com. I have a fan page on facebook.com/thegreenerroute. I do put on coupon code on that site regularly. I am in a few upcoming craft fairs in the Maryland, Central Pennsylvania area and am hoping to get featured in local shops soon.


What are your hobbies? Isn’t great when your business is your hobby? I love to sew, be green by gardening, composting, I like to teach coupon classes and LOVE to read.

Do you have any advice for people interested in “greening” their lifestyle?  I think just like any new habit, just start small. I do offer some tips on greening your life on my website. Try making your own chemical free cleaners, recycle as much as you can, use metal spoons in lunches instead of plastic. A lot of ways to green will also save you money in the long run.

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Featured Etsy Shop: BobalooKids

Sam, from Bobaloo!, is quickly becoming one of my favorite Etsians.  Check out her beautiful items, grab the exclusive coupon for Bluesblossom readers, and head over to her Etsy shop!

Tell me about your shop name.  Bobaloo is my three-year-old daughter’s nickname (her name is Bridget).  We have no clue where it came from – we just somehow started calling her that and it stuck.  I was trying to come up with a name for my business one day and when I called for her to come downstairs, it clicked!

When did you first take an interest in sewing?  My mom taught me how to sew when I was really little.  I was an Apparel Merchandising major for a few years in college and took a lot of sewing classes, which really pushed me into making more complicated stuff, especially clothes for me.  As I got older and my friends and I started having babies, I discovered that I really love making gifts for baby showers and kids’ biirthdays.  When I got the urge to start my own business I knew that was what I wanted to make.

How long have you been in business and where are you located?
I opened my Etsy shop in September of 2010 and started selling through two local stores in the late fall.  I also started a blog around the same time to document the whole complicated process of starting a small handmade business.  I stay home with my two kids (I also have an 18 month old son) and run my business out of a big room in our house that used to be the game room.  Much to my husband’s dismay, the pool table is now a giant cutting table!

What inspires you?  I read a lot of design and fashion blogs and magazines for inspiration.  I’m usually inspired by non-kid-related imagery – like couture fashion or modern interior design – and I love to translate that into fun products for kids.  For instance, I saw this amazing tailored women’s jacket with a knife-pleated ruffle trim that ended up turning into the Ruffle Bibs sold in my Etsy shop.

Where else can our readers find your products?  I sold at quite a few fairs and festivals last year and am in the process of signing up for this year’s shows.  You can check the “Where to find bobaloo!” page on my blog to stay up-to-date on which shows I’ll be at this year.  I decided to apply to juried shows this year and have a couple of applications in, so hopefully I’ll be announcing those dates soon!

Locally, a lot of my line is available at a great kid’s shop called the Little Green Bean Boutique on the east side of Indy.  I also sell a few handmade accessories at the Irvington Iris Tea Room


You use such bright, beautiful fabrics! Do you have a favorite fabric shop?  I mostly shop for fabrics online and am a serious fabric junkie.  I buy a lot from fabric.com, Quilt Home, and Fat Quarter Shop.  I also buy fabric from a lot of Etsy sellers – my favorite is the Fabric Shoppe.  I’m finally at a production level that justifies buying wholesale fabric straight from the manufacturer and I absolutely cannot wait to have bolts of fabric on hand!  Luckily I mostly use cotton fabric and it is just astonishing the number of awesome prints that are available.

What kind of sewing machine do you use? Do you have a favorite notion that you couldn’t live without? I use two sewing machines and a serger.  I mainly use my Brother SE-400 for business sewing, but I have my old Brother CS6000i as a backup.  My serger is a Brother 1034D.  Can you tell I have a favorite sewing machine brand?
 
I have piles and piles of gadgets, but one notion I use every day is my tube turner.  It’s such a cheap tool – my set of three sizes was around $7 – but it makes things SO MUCH easier.  I use it to turn the little straps on my bibs and bunny arms and legs, plus it’s great for poking out the little corners on burp cloths and blankets.  Buy one, you won’t regret it!

What are your hobbies?  I am a big reader – I can’t fall asleep at night without reading something, from fiction to chick lit to business books.  I also really like to cook and occasionally bake.  Thanks to my kiddos I’ve recently discovered a new love of paint-with-water books – I’m always trying to talk them into painting with me!

Do you have any advice for people interested in starting their own Etsy business?  Concentrate on making a unique, well-made product and try not to worry about sales numbers (easier said than done, I know!).  Really do your homework on marketing your product so you can get the word out about your shop.  Etsy may provide a venue and a big pool of buyers, but it’s up to you to get those buyers to come to your store.  I have a degree in marketing, but I’m constantly reading books and blogs about marketing and small business growth.  Two great books to read if you’re considering starting your own handmade business are Craft, Inc. by Meg Mateo Ilasco and Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin – both are PACKED with great info!  Also, if you have a SCORE office nearby it’s a great resource for free business advice.

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?  If you’re on the fence about making the jump into starting your own Etsy shop, just do it!  The worst thing that can happen is you’ll be out the cost of your supplies.  Etsy is such an inexpensive way to test the waters of selling your own creations, and you’ll never know how successful you can be until you try!

Bobaloo! is offering a coupon to Bluesblossom readers for 20%! through April 30th.    The coupon code is Blossom2011. 

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Featured Etsy Shop: CustomComix

This shop is unique and fantastic and I just know that you’re going to love it as much as I do. 🙂 

Tell me about your shop.  My shop is best described as Colorful Organized Chaos. CustomComix is run by a boyfriend and girlfriend duo, Holly and Ryan. We smother and cover interesting pieces with upcycled vintage comic books. So far we are focusing on the smaller things like jewelery, frames and coasters because low shipping costs help to make more sales. Perhaps one day we will drop in a coffee table or large mirror we have covered to see how it does in this market. We enjoy, no.. LOVE comics! We decided to create wearable and useable pieces of art MADE with comics so we can all enjoy them every day rather than only when we pull one of them off of the shelf!

How long have you been in business and where are you located? We have officially been in business a little over a month. We started the Etsy shop 01/25/2011 and hope to keep it going for a long, long time. We’re new, so we have a lot of fun competition here in the geekery, but we are definitely up for a challenge. We are located in “Sin City”-Las Vegas, Nevada.

When did you first start crafting? Ryan is a very creative fellow.  He can paint, draw, decoupage, build, fix… Pretty much anything he touches oozes creativity. He has been crafting EVERYTHING since I can remember. Me on the other hand have been struggling to find my creative side with failed attempts of latch-hooking (it even comes with directions!) and helping Ryan paint and what not. Finally, we decided to go with something we are both truely passionate about, Geekery. I found my place in the crafting world once I discovered how to make creations using materials I connect with and having a supportive community!I have been making decoupaged creations for a few months now, and have definately found my craft of choice!


Do you have a favorite comic book series? Which is your most popular?  I like to work with comics that have a lot of action. The Avengers have a large group of popular characters doing what they do best. Kicking tail and taking names. I LOVE to work on creative custom orders that have me pulling unpredictable comics off the shelf to be made into something someone will look at everyday and appreciate. I love the challenge of a custom order! –My most popular character is a two-way tie. Wonderwoman and Catwoman are definitely neck in neck in this race. I get a LOT of Wonder Woman custom orders, and my Cat Woman premade pieces fly off the shelves like no tomorrow.

Why do you think people love comic books so much?  Comics are SO much fun! There is a story line there to sink your teeth into and help you get submerged into another world after a long crappy day at work. There is a LOT of love put into each and every comic book page as well. Look at ALL the artwork. I can’t draw a stick figure to SAVE MY LIFE let alone draw a whole series of the worlds most iconic heroes known to man! Each comic features a little part of history. Who can resist a little Batman or Superman every once in a while?

Where else can our readers find you or your products? You can find us in several places. We do have a Facebook but to be honest I’m NEVER on it updating. There is too much going on to be whoring out a page all day 😉 We run a team here on Etsy called Moms Basement. That team as grown to become a blog as well. We have a few writers on that blog that help promote other geekery items around the web as well as keep everyone informed about what we love most.. Geekery. We are going to be attending our first craft fair on March 20th as well as our 2nd on April 9th! I have yet to see what the crowds are like at local fairs so cross your fingers they are welcoming to a bunch of geekery crafters. I hope to be seen at ComicCons in the future!

 

What are your hobbies? Hobbies.. We have a daughter that is 9 months old, so she is basically our main hobby right now 😉 As we speak I can see her slamming some very expensive toy into the just as expensive wood floors and laughing her butt off.. Oh the joys of parenting! Also, we love to go to thrift stores and search for buried treasuries. I’ve weened the family off of World of Warcraft, but that’s probably not going to last long! haha!

Do you have any advice for people interested in starting their own Etsy business?  Etsy is full of SELLERS. We are on here looking to make some quick money and there are many of us. So, what do you do when you are swimming in a pool saturated with people trying to do the same thing as you? You MUST branch out! You HAVE to get your name out there. If you just sit there and hope that sales come rolling in, you will be sadly mistaken. If you are interested in starting a business all I can say is be dedicated, keep your head up, and NETWORK. Your business can’t thrive if you only give half the effort to it. Keep your head up- It is NOT going to be all roses during your store’s lifespan. You have to be able to receive criticism and dry patches of NO sales. But if you NETWORK and get your name out there OUTSIDE of Etsy, you should be able to do fine. Like I said, Etsy is saturated with LOTS OF SELLERS and in order for you to find your target audience, you must branch out and find that audience and say HEY! Lookie here, I have what you are looking for.. I know you want some!

Is there anything else you would like our readers to know?  Momsbasement.org has a new blog schedule and will be posting new fun geekery articles EVERY day of the week. =)