Today we would like to introduce you to
Etsy shop Little Tadpole Designs
Little Tadpole Designs has been selling on Etsy since January 2011, she sell toddler belts, soft-soled baby slippers, custom mitten & MAM pacifier clips, crocheted toys & dolls all handmade in Canada! Today she is sharing a little about her shop and selling handmade items.
What motivated you to start your shop?
When my oldest child was about 6 months old, I found that I didn't care for or couldn't find a lot of the store-bought accessories that I really wanted. Being a do-it-yourself kind of person, I thought about what it would take to make something that fit perfectly for my needs... and then I made it. I made and sold a variety of items on a small scale while developing and testing my main product, my Snap! Belts for preschoolers, and once I had perfected the design the way I envisioned, I opened my shop here on Etsy! Since then, my shop has continued to grow, just as my family has.
What is the story behind your shop name?
When I was a child, my siblings and cousins and I had many fun hours in our grandparent's backyard where my grandpa had a lovely man-made pond and garden. In the spring, we would catch the tadpoles and watch over the days and weeks that they would turn into little toads. Those little things taught me a lot and it remains a very fond memory for me. I knew when I started my shop that my shop would grow and change as my children would... just like those little tadpoles.
What surprised you most about having your own craft / online shop?
I've been surprised by how much my shop has come to mean to me. I put a lot of time and pride into making each and every item I design, as I do with making my shop here on Etsy as professional as I'd want if I was one of my customers instead of the designer/creator! I didn't realize when I started out that I would still be going strong three years later, let alone could I have guessed that I would have taken some of the steps I have into expanding on my interests and skills into areas of design. I'm excited about what the future may bring!
What is your favourite creations from your shop?
This is a tough question... I love my Snap Belts so much because the design came from such a need that all three of my skinny little kids have and they have grown in that I am not designing the elastic that I use from them by hand by myself! I'm immensely proud of this achievement! In terms of fun though... my dolls are my favorite to create. I don't use a pattern when I make a doll and they sort of design themselves as I go, which is just so rewarding when the hours and hours that go into each doll result in a totally unique doll with it's own personality. I just love them!
What do you find most challenging about being an Etsy seller?
One of the most challenging things I find is pricing. I love to create, but it does all cost money and, for some items especially, also a great deal of time! By the time you consider your concrete costs like materials, fees, and shipping... it's hard to wrap your head around the more ambiguous costs including wage and profit. What about those business cards, or the time it takes to package the items? What about the cost of that yarn or thread that isn't so easy to judge how much has been used? And then there is the greater picture... how to price to show that you value yourself and your product as deserved, as well as fit properly in place with all the other items of similar quality or technique that are being created by others? In the end, it is about being confident and comfortable with how you've come up with your prices and how you know your items are worth as much or more than what they are priced at... but I still find this aspect very challenging and one of the areas of being an Etsy seller that I continually need to work on.
What do you do when you aren't working?
Well, with three kids under age 5... I'm usually cleaning up some sort of mess!