Tuesday, February 8, 2011

I contacted a fabulous Etsy artist, Corrie, of PuppyDogsNPolkaDots, to see if she would be open to an interview that I could pass on to all of you. She was!  Corrie is a  friendly person, and it was a pleasure talking to her. I have my sights set on buying this Camera Case. It is adorable!

Q #1: When did you start your handmade business and what inspired you to do so?

PuppyDogsNPolkaDots was started in August 2008. I was still attending school (University of Central Florida in Orlando) and was looking for a creative way to earn money while in college. I grew up around my mom sewing clothes, purses, etc. She showed me a website for making key fobs and told me if I wanted to give it a try she would buy me a starter set. So she bought about 15 dollars worth of supplies for me and sent me home with a few scraps of her fabric and then I got to work! 

Q #2: Do you have to balance your business with work, children, both? How do you do it?

I graduated from UCF December 2010, so until then I was balancing school and work on my etsy website, PuppyDogsNPolkaDots. I worked really hard to keep a good schedule and work on school work first thing in the morning and business work in the afternoons. Now that I have graduated I try to keep normal shop hours. My hours are similar to those of a normal office job, 9-5. At this point, we have no children, just a 90 pound loveable yellow lab Riley! 

Q #3: What is your usual work day like?

I wake up quite early and get everything organized for the day. I work until lunch and then make myself take a short break to keep some sanity! I continue to work after lunch and before the post office closes I usually stop by and drop all my orders off to be shipped out. And of course on the way back I stop by Sonic Drive In for the usual…a Diet Coke. 

One of her Key Fobs and her dog Riley. 

Q #4: What is your favorite thing about running your business?

I love having the independence of being able to set my own hours and love being at home to take care of my dog.

Q #5: What is your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge is keeping on track. I have a pretty set schedule but there is always the temptation to run out and shop during the middle of the day! 

Q #6: How do you market your business?

When I first started I created a blog and participated actively in other blog activities from others. I would host giveaways on my blog as well as others in order to get the word out about my business. Word of mouth was fantastic. Good customer service was also a priority of mine, after all having good customer service will create repeat customers. 

Q #7: What is one mistake you've made in your business that you've learned from?

I cannot think of a huge mistake but one issue would be photos. When I look back at photos of my products from when I started to now, I see a huge difference with the quality and look. I had to research and figure out how to make them “Pop”.

Q #8: What has been your biggest success and why do you think it's been so successful?

Happy repeat customers. I love to try to accommodate my customer needs. If they want an extra pocket on their case, a certain fabric or custom size that it what I will make. After all, custom orders are quite fun to make!

Q #9: What is the one thing you'd most like to tell someone just getting started?

I would like to tell them to take it seriously just as you would a normal job outside the house. If you only put half effort into the handmade business, it will be very difficult to be successful. It is hard at first, but eventually it will be routine for you. 

Q #10: What goals do you have for the future of your business?

My mom and I are trying to find the time to incorporate all of our business together. We currently help each other with each business, PuppyDogsNPolkaDots, KeetaCollection and we are trying to fill a new store, HouseAcrossTheStreet with home goods. Right now we work together on the Kindle/iPad sleeves and phone cases. When she has quite a few orders for purses from KeetaCollection, I help make those and when I have quite a few key fob orders she helps me make those. 

An Ipad Case

Q #11: Anything else you would like to tell the readers

Just a quick thank you to any readers and customers! I appreciate you all. 

Corrie has generously offered a coupon code you! To receive 20% off any item use the code: ETSYSTREASURES 

Thanks again Corrie!

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