My Handmade Journey - Hippy Chic Threads
I can not believe how fast the holidays flew by this year but we are back in the swing of things at this office and working on one of our favorite series. This week for my handmade journey we Interviewed Amy from Hippy Chic Threads. Amy creates some of the cutest custom undies and cloth diapers for your little ones. She's even recently started a doll clothing line. If you have a little girl in your life then you know American Girl dolls are their lives. You have to check her out!
1) Tell us a little about yourself?
I am married with 4 children. I've always been a creative person. From art classes through school, a small craft show business in college, I've always felt happiest when I can create something.
2) What do you sell?
I mostly sell clothing for children & adults including hoodies, underwear, tanks, leggings, etc. I've recently launched a doll clothesline as well. My most popular items are custom undies.
3) Without giving away your secrets can you describe a little about your process or the time that goes into making an item?
The first step is choosing a fabric. I am a bit of a fabric snob and I won't use a print, no matter how cute, if it doesn't meet my standards for feel, durability, and overall appearance. For custom orders, the process involves messages back and forth and idea sketches until we design just the right piece. Then the fabric is cut and sewn into the final product. I'm a bit of a perfectionist and admittedly the cutting takes a little longer as I try to get just the right pattern placement for every item that leaves my shop. The time involved in sewing varies widely depending on the item. There are adult pieces that go together in 30 minutes and some doll outfits that can take 3 hours.
4) How long have you run your shop? Full time or Part time? If part-time when do you carve out time to dedicate to your shop?
I opened my shop in May of 2012. Originally it was a part-time job that I'd do in the evenings when kids were in bed or maybe sneak in during nap time. This has been my full-time job since early 2016.
5) Your favorite part of running your shop?
My customers. I love getting to work with individual customers, getting to know them as we design their custom clothing. I have several return customers that have been coming back over the years who have become friends.
6) What is your least favorite part of running your own shop?
Writing listing descriptions. I have these great ideas for descriptions in my head while making an item. However, when it comes time to sit down and put those ideas down in the listing, my mind tends to go blank. I struggle with trying to write the perfect description - engaging & interesting without being completely cheesy or being too pushy.
7) What inspired you to start your shop on Etsy? Did you have an inspiration or support that encouraged you to do it?
Originally, I only sold cloth diapers. When my 3rd child was born, I had already cloth diapered my second child (a girl) and I wanted to do the same with my new little boy. I had great difficulty finding cute diapers that were well made with fun boyish prints. So I decided to make my own. After making my own and testing them out on my in-house guinea pig for a year, my friends encouraged me to try making some to sell. The rest, as they say, is history.
8) What helps you to stay motivated and creating new products? Do you listen to podcasts or have any favorite Etsy guru’s you follow?
I have started doing a "That's New Tuesday" post in my facebook group weekly. This gives me the freedom to try out new patterns or test out a new fabric type/print each week. I enjoy everything I make, but it is nice to get outside the box every now and then and try something new.
I do listen to the occasional podcast while I work. While I have listened to several good ones, I can't say I have a true favorite.
9) Your best advice for someone thinking of opening a shop up on Etsy or for someone struggling with their current shop?
Price your work correctly. Know your target market. A large number of shops fail within the first year. The main reason is due to undervaluing products. People get into the rut of thinking they have to sell things inexpensively or they have to compete with places like Walmart and Target. That's by far the wrong assumption. As a handmade business, you cannot compete with your average chain store. As an individual shop owner, you are hands-on and you're involved in every step of the making of each product. Make sure your price reflects the time spent giving each piece that extra love and attention.
In addition to Etsy, Amy runs a facebook group. She gives credit to her facebook group for increased sales both directly as well as through Etsy. So pop over to her facebook group for weekly updates and new designs.
Thanks so much to Amy for taking the time to share with us her fabulous designs and how she started her handmade journey!
With new interviews on the way I'd love to hear from you what would you like to ask these artisans? What can we be asking our sellers that would be helpful in your journey?