Monday, November 26, 2012

Lessons From a Handmade Business Owner

Hello everyone! My name is Kelly Burr and I am the founder of my little craft business on Etsy, Firenzi

I have many stories to tell about my journey, and I feel like I've grown so much from when I first started crafting! You might be wondering where to start with your own store, or you may just want to read something inspiring. Here is a little of both!

I'll admit it: Originally, I got into crafting because I wanted to impress people. Someone. Anyone. I wanted to be known for something and get some attention. I started brainstorming in the fall of 2011. Newly-married and on a tight budget, feeling dissatisfied and under-valued with substitute teaching for the third year in a row, and BORED, I went for it. 

We've all seen something decorative that we've admired immensely, whether it be in a store or on Pinterest. For me, wreaths initially piqued my interest. I saw so many over those few months, and had a thought: I could make that! So, I did.

February 2012 - my first finished wreath
I posted this picture on Facebook, and many of my friends exclaimed over it. Someone immediately wanted to buy it, full price. I was elated.

I slowly branched out and experimented with more wreaths, jewelry, and baby headbands. Guess what? It all sat there. For months. Here is why:
  • Lesson 1: Just because you post it does NOT mean it'll sell right away. Give shoppers the opportunity to search for your type of item. Use Etsy's statistical data to see if your search terms are helping or hindering your post's visibility.
  • Lesson 2: Do your homework first. Just because you think something will sell, doesn't mean someone else hasn't thought of it before you. I went into baby headbands because it was inexpensive and easy, and I naively thought, This stuff will sell so fast, it'll be awesome. Not. I had no idea how many types of baby headbands there are. And, no surprise, they were much cuter than my ideas were!
So, this "experiment" of playing around with crafts went on for a few more months. I made about one sale per month, which I thought was really lame. How was I supposed to get noticed if hardly anyone liked my stuff? Then, it REALLY hit me square in the face:

I didn't like most of what I made either. I wouldn't have bought it from myself.

  • Lesson 3 (the best of all): Above all else, make what you love!

I've realized that if I make what I love, even if no one buys it, I'll still be happy. Sure, I still like to have my crafts noticed. But at my core, I need to be true to myself and just make what I would appreciate around my own home. And guess what? Business has exploded.

I've fallen in love with fabric! Learning to sew and getting over my fear of sewing machines has been extremely rewarding.

The name "Firenzi" is a play on the words 'frenzy' and 'Firenze' (Florence, Italy, in Italian). My crafts contribute to a frenzy of fun in life, and Firenze is where my ancestors are from. I like to think I am more connected to them through doing what feels natural to me.

Daryl, thank you so much for featuring me! I hope you all have found something meaningful in the piece of me that I've shared :) Come check out Firenzi on Etsy and on Facebook and you'll love what you see!



Gill said...

Great post and so true! Do what you love no matter what...and let's hope we can make a buck or two from it ;)

Kelly Burr said...

That is definitely part of the hope :) helps keep us afloat!


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