Today's Blog Feature on Lil Lollipop... a another Fellow Etsykids Member that makes Beautiful Clothing, Tutu's and so much more...
1)How did you first hear about Etsy?: A childhood friend of mine saw the designs I was sewing for my girls and mentioned that I should sell them on Etsy. I fell in LOVE with Etsy and became an Etsy addict.
2)Tell us about a little about yourself and your favorite craft/art!: I am a stay at home mom. My husband is a doctor in the Army. I am a musician; I sing and write music. I went to college for music and theatre. I also write children's books, paint, make and design jewelry, design and make lil ones clothes, and act. I CAN NOT DANCE!!! I can't say what is my favorite. I LOVE ALL ARTS! I would say music and designing clothes are neck and neck. I am hoping that once my kids are a bit older this coming fall and we move to Massachusetts, I can go to school for deisgn, since I am self taught.
3)How did you get started as a designer? 5 years ago after 10+ years of marriage, I had my first baby girl. She is my miracle baby. She has a rare form of Spina Bifida. You would never know it as she walks, runs and has no brain issues. Then 22 months later, I had my second. I always say...God gave me one physically challenging one and one emotionally challenging one. haha My second was VERY high maintenance and I had my hands full.
Before I had kids, I was a Praise Leader/Music Minister at a church in Hawaii. I wrote and recorded a Christian Contemporary album while there called Conversations. I toured all over Hawaii and California where I grew up. Once we had the kids and then moved to Savannah, GA, I realized more and more that the traveling around and singing was getting less and less. It was hard to be gone from my family on weekends and evenings. I loved singing jazz, but that meant being gone at night to sing at a bar or restaurant. I am one of those people who are up all hours of the night. I am an insomniac by choice, since my creativity consumes me. Once I had kids, I could still write music at night, but it was so hard to be quiet with that and not wake them up. I had to cut back on my music quite a bit, in order to be there more for my kids. I still lead worship. I currently am on the praise team here at the biggest church in Savannah, but I am not the Music Minister and I help lead twice a month.
I love to shop...what woman doesn't right? I remember going to these adorable boutique shops and seeing these ADORABLE outfits for my girls. I bought a few and then would take them home and think..."These are soooo expensive! Why are they so expensive?!" and then "I could make these!" I started to figure out how to recreate some things all on my own without patterns. Then I found ICANMAKETHIS.COM and that gave me more ideas. I had taught myself how to sew WAY back in high school trying to make punky outfits for myself. I had not used a sewing machine since then. So, I got out the old dusty machine and away I went. (I have a much nicer machine now! ) I LOVED it and more importantly my girls LOVED what I made. I remember one day my oldest daughter said, "Mom, can you make me a gameboy?" HAHAH They figured I could make everything else. Afterall, I painted murals in their rooms and pictures, made clothes, wrote music, made food....of course I could make a gameboy!!! lol
The things I made for my girls got so many compliments and then a friend suggested Etsy. I was hooked. I was so inspired by all the talent on there. My shop started to take off. Then I opened a jewelry shop too Jesuisamoureux.etsy.com, but not doing as well as Lil Lollipop because it seems like EVERYONE makes jewelry, but check my shop out if you would like! :)
4)What inspires you to create?: I have to say my girls...since they are my models and were my first inspirations. I am also inspired by color and pattern. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE going to the fabric stores and craft stores. I still have yet to net a profit because I buy so many "supplies" from the stores that I love to hang out in! Adult seasonal trends inspire me. Like this Fall when capes were so popular. I created some lil girl wool capelets. Period fashions inspire me too. Recently I have aquired lots of French fashion magazines from the 1800s and early 1900s. I am framing them to put them up in my studio as inspirations.
5)How do you get the word out about your shop and Etsy?: Facebook, my blog, twitter, word of mouth and business cards. On Etsy I make TONS of treasuries, which I also love to do. I find that it brings a lot of people my way to my shop. I have done some advertising in Modern Handmade Child and here through Etsy Kids. I used to buy spots on Etsy to promote, but nothing ever came out of those. For me, they were not worth my money. I have more Facebook fans than blog followers. I am not sure why that is, but it is.
6)Any advice you would give to aspiring designers?: Oh where do I begin!!! Well here are two things I have learned that may help you.
1. DON'T LOW BALL YOURSELF!!! When I first started I was like my own sweat shop as my husband used to say. I would quickly figure out in my head what it cost to make the item and then add 10.00 or 15.00 more dollars to the price. I still have not mastered this completely. I still low ball myself on a lot of things. But, for example, the Madison dress (picture included) with ruffles down the back. It takes about 10 hours for me to make. I was first selling them for 24.99. I think I was getting paid like two dollars an hour!!! Now I sell them for 59.99. I am not getting as many sales for them since raising the price, but I have to be fair to myself and the time I put in. Also, check the market. Go on Etsy and use it as research too. Type in what you are going to sell and see what other shops are selling a similar item for.
2. WHERE THERE IS FEAR THERE IS NO CREATIVITY. There is no fear in art. Don't over think things, just do. Artists feel and react. Second guessing yourself well end up in you not doing anything for fear of a mistake. In art (design) there are no mistakes. The worst that could happen...you don't like it...start again. That is all part of the creative process. Sometimes your best work will come out of something you are not sure will work, but you take the chance and it is AMAZING!!!
Check out her shop for more of her Adorable Items: