Posted Wednesday, May 27, 2015
This week we meet Etsy sell DollQuiltShop. DollQuiltShop has been selling on Etsy since March 2014. DollQuiltShop carries quilts for all doll sizes. Today they are going to give us a little peak behind the scenes of their Etsy shop.
What motivated you to start your shop?
My father paid for me to have private sewing lessons the summer I was 12 years old. My teacher came once a week and at the end of the summer I was making easy dresses and skirts. My Mom had taught me to knit when I was 8. So you can see that both my parents valued handcrafts and I grew up getting lots of encouragement and appreciation for whatever I made. Recently I bought a brand new sew sewing machine got excited about quilting again. I discovered that making small doll sized quilts was extra fun because I got to buy lots of of different fabrics and I could finish one in 2 days. I taught myself to free-hand machine quilt and stipple and my little quilts are perfect for that. I have a blast making these doll quilts and the entire time I am working on one I imagine a child somewhere playing with it. My mother made all my doll clothes and still, to this day, I don't know how she sewed all those tiny seams on her sewing machine. They were Barbie doll clothes, so they were really small.
What is the story behind your shop name?
I chose a shop name that I thought would best explain what my shop is all about. I realize it is not very creative or cute, but I wanted it to be informative and I was a little afraid to go with something less descriptive. I have another shop I named “vermontsnuggery”, which is a nicer sounding name, but for this one I wanted it to be plain, easy to remember and all about the product. It sort of limits what I can put in the shop, but I have other places where I sell other kinds of things.
What surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
The most surprising I have found about my on-line shop is, and I don't really want to sound negative here, but it takes a tremendous amount of work to generate sales. If you look at my shop sales number is low. I think that is partly because doll quilts are not something people are routinely searching for. Unlike pot holders or diaper pants, "doll quilts" ranks very low in google search words. I utilize all 13 of my search words with all kinds of other words, like "table runners or toppers, changing pads, wall decor, etc.", and even though there is relatively low competition on Etsy in what I make, it is still hard going. I thought I had found a niche, like you are supposed to do, but still it is hard going to get a sale. I enjoy it so much, though, that I just keep going.
What is your favourite creations from your shop?
I really like my Civil War and Colonial Era quilts. I love anything really old, so that is my favorite kind of quilt to make. Even though I always think no one is going to like those quilts I am surprised when I realize that they have been one of my best selling categories. In my shop I don't try to compete with the modern, clean, spare sensibility that Etsy seems to like to promote. I can only do what comes from within, and that is more sort of cluttered and fussy. I try to keep it about the product, though, and not about me. I don't really think people are very interested in me as a person, although maybe they are.
What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
The most challenging thing for me is the social marketing. Keeping up with facebook, pinterest, twitter, my blog and learning more about other venues. I have to fit these tasks into my schedule whenever I have a few minutes, and since I really enjoy doing them, I do find the time to work on them. I also have found photography to be really difficult. I bought an expensive camera just for the purpose of photographing etsy items, learned to use complicated photo editing software, but still am not satisfied with the results. I have come to realize that a cell phone camera might take better pictures and be so much easier to use. I don't have a smart phone yet. so that is something for the future. (We have very spotty cell phone coverage here in the wilds of Vermont. Unbelievable, but true.
What's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
My personal motto is, “play every day.” This is the message I want to bring to the world. Adults forget to play. Play is good. Let yourself go. Play! My mission in life is to bring fun into the world, every day for everyone. I still love to do what I did in the first grade--color, cut and paste. I love paper dolls, doll furniture and doll clothes. It's not so much about the dolls, but about all the doll "stuff".
What do you do when you aren't working?
I am a RN and work part time in long term care and I really like my job. I was born with an undeniable, overwhelming drive to be creative and I get depressed if I can't do something creative every day. Ours is a multi-generational home and I love having my children and grandchildren around. We have worked out our “spaces” and times to be together and to not be together. I sing in a church choir, take piano lessons and read voraciously. My idea of cleaning my house is to rearrange everything and put out seasonal decorations. I am a native Vermonter and love all the seasons, including winter and mud-season. My husband and I take care of our 18 month old grandson 4 days a week, 12 hours a day. Our schedule works around his Mom's schedule and so he is always with one of us. It's a very busy life.
Anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
I have a blog called “Living and Knitting in Vermont”. You can find it at http://vermontknitting.blogspot.com/
I post treasuries and tiny articles about all sorts of things. I would love some new followers. I am on Ravely as wisewoman and would love more friends.