Introducing Ali Bean Baby

Posted Thursday, May 24, 2012

Today We Introduce You To Kari from Ali Bean Baby

Q: What motivated you to start your shop?
2 ½ years ago, after living out of the country for 6 years, my husband and I were at a change-point and were both looking for work in a very changed economy. One of my daughter’s-in-law encouraged me to start making little girl dresses to sell on Etsy. It was something I could “do”, but I had “been there, done that” with a couple of sewing-based businesses, and I really wasn’t interested in sewing and selling. But then we went to visit our little grand-daughter for the 1st time and I made her two pillowcase dresses. Rachel, my DIL, and I looked for fabric together and I loved what we found and how they turned out! So I returned home and for the fun of it, and to satisfy Rachel, I opened an Etsy shop and listed them, and to my surprise and excitement they slowly started selling. The two original dresses continue to be good sellers, with the original photos of my grand-daughter when she was 7 months old!

Q: What is the story behind your shop name?
My grand-daughter’s name is Ali, and her mom and dad and brother call her “Beaner”. So AliBeanBaby was a perfect fit!

Q: Do you have a favorite Etsy Shop (non-child related)?
I don’t have a favorite one – but I love looking for shops that have unique items, or things my hubby and I can’t make. Examples would be the barefoot lace sandals from dachuksb7196’s shop in Latvia; and Me & the Boy, both their name and their bath items.

Q:W hat surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
I have had a few good surprises. One was that I was able to let AliBeanBaby develop bit by bit without feeling pressured to have it all in place before I started. Another was that one of my initial objections to starting this kind of business was that I didn’t want to make items just for the sake of selling them, but I wanted to make items FOR someone. And with an on-line shop I have been able to that, one order at a time. And, I don’t need a large inventory -- I can have as many or few fabrics and supplies on hand as I want, and can try something out and it if doesn’t sell I can try something different.

Q: What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
It is challenging not having consistency with sales. Sometimes it is crazy-busy and sometimes there are no sales at all. Initially this was more challenging, but now I have fun with the busy times, and use the slower times to work on new items. Or just take a break. Another challenge, which is also a good thing, is the size of Etsy, and finding how to connect a little more personally. That has happened somewhat with EtsyKids.

Q: What's your personal philosophy behind your shop / products?
I wanted to have clothes that were quality made, able to be custom fit, and affordable, and yet eye-catching and fun. That meant that the designs needed to be simple to make. I started sewing at a young age and didn’t like the way patterns were put together, and instructions always confused me so I started making my own patterns. Being able to do my own patterning has helped me to be able to keep the construction time down so that I can keep the items within the price range I want.

Q: How would someone (other then you) describe you?
I had no idea how to answer this, so asked a friend. Creative, multi-tasking, interested in many, many things, precise and thoughtful, not static.

Q: What music do you have on while you are creating?
Mostly I listen to contemporary Christian music and contemporary instrumental.

Q: What do you do when you aren't working?
I started working a 30-hour-a-week “job” in August so with that and AliBeanBaby I don’t have a much non-work time. I do enjoy cooking, it’s a great way for me to “center” when things are busy or chaotic, and both my hubby and I like a wide variety of foods, so we are always trying new things and have fun working together in the kitchen. We also spend the warmer months of the year finding new places to walk, being out in as much nature as we can find in the city. And, we love being with our grandkids when we can!

Q: Anything else you'd like to tell us or share?
I have 5 sons, and Ali was my 1st granddaughter, so I really didn’t have any experience in little girl’s fashion. My DIL Rachel’s input on styles and fabrics is really what has created AliBeanBaby’s “brand”. I don’t feel so un-experienced now, and do have input, but still rely heavily on her thoughts and ideas. We live in different parts of the country, so we have done it all long-distance – with a lot of skyping! It’s been great fun to work with her!

1 comment:

Kendra Shedenhelm said...

I really like your point about being able to "make items FOR someone."
Great post and great shop!

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