June 01, 2011

Lucky Penny Make

Tell us your name, the name of your shop and what it is that you do here on Etsy.
My name is Barbara and my shop is luckypennymake (luckypennymake.etsy.com). I sell sewing and craft patterns, including my two most popular, a children's backpack pattern and felt dress-up doll patterns.

What is your family life like? (i.e. how many children, their ages, names, are you a single mom? Are they supportive of what they do and so forth?)
I am the lucky wife of an incredibly supportive, wonderful man, Jason, who works very hard outside our home so I can stay home with our two littles, Junah and Ezra. Junah is our sweet, spirited, four-year old daughter and Ezra is our active, cuddly, fun, twenty-month old son.

Do you have another job outside of Etsy and outside of the home?
Nope, just kids, home and etsy!

How do you balance home life, Etsy and work?
Home life is my priority, so I fit Etsy in around the edges. I'm fortunate to have a very supportive husband who helps me make time to work on projects. Since I sell PDF patterns, I don't have to keep creating stock the way someone who sells physical items needs to, but new patterns do take quite a bit of time to prepare. I work on my craft as much as I can and as much as I need to in order to feed my creative spirit!

What made you decide to sell on Etsy?
When my daughter was a baby I started designing and making clothes for her, and people kept encouraging me to sell items made from my designs. I started an etsy shop to do just that but soon gave it up because keeping items in stock, taking photos, and all of the other things that go along with etsy was just too much for me at that time. I gave it up, always with the intention of coming back to etsy with patterns for my designs. I was able to do that a year ago, and it was definitely the right decision!

Do you feel pretty successful in your Etsy shop or is there room to grow? If you feel successful is there a secret you'd like to share with us?
I do feel successful because I have several patterns that customers just love and have given me great feedback on. But, there is definitely room to grow. I'm always working on new patterns, and have more ideas than I have time to execute them! I keep reminding myself that I've accomplished a lot with two young children at home, and that, as my kids grow, I'll have more time to work on my business. I don't have a secret to success, but do recommend that people take that age old advice and do what they love. I really enjoy coming up with new designs and creating patterns that are unique. The joy that I get from this work is what keeps me going and helps me bring great patterns to my customers.

What do you feel makes your shop special and unique?
The quality of my patterns would be the number one thing that makes my shop special and unique, I'd say. Before having children I was a drafter and I use that skill in making my patterns. My patterns are all computer drafted with computer illustrations (rather than photos) in the instructions. The illustrations take much longer to produce, but in the end, provide my customers with a professional quality sewing pattern that is easy to understand and follow.

As Moms, things get chaotic and find it hard to stay focused, how do you stay focused and motivated?
I stay focused by taking it one day at a time and giving myself a break when I need to. Here too producing patterns is an advantage; I only list patterns that are ready to be sent out. So, on a hectic day, the only thing I absolutely have to do is send out patterns via e-mail. If I don't have time to work on new patterns, well, I take a deep breath and put it off for another day!

Staying motivated isn't hard for me, I expend so much energy taking care of others, and crafting is a way that I take care of myself. Doing creative things refuels me and gives me the energy I need to attend to all other aspects of my life.

The hardest aspect of etsy, for me, is the social networking (teams, facebook, twitter, etc.). The possiblities are endless and it can all seems really overwhelming sometimes.

Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Somedays I don't have time for big craft projects so I squeeze in bits of time here and there to write (my love before I found sewing!). I share my writing (and sometimes free patterns!) on my blog (www.luckypennymake.com).


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