July 20, 2011

Ivy and Otis

Tell us your name, the name of your shop and what it is that you do here on Etsy.

My name is Ivy and my shop is Ivy and Otis (www.etsy.com/shop/IvyandOtis.)
I sell mostly Wee Caps, reversible child-sized cycling caps. I have some adult sizes too. I also sometimes post the odd teeshirt, accessory, or toy and I am just now perfecting a design for a Wee Bonnet, reversible cycling bonnet. All of my products are boutique quality and either entirely upcycled or sustainable produced. I have a commitment to reducing waste, reusing things and buying organic.

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 a single mother. My son is Otis and he just turned two. I like to call this age 'the terrific twos' as opposed to 'terrible' because I think its important to keep a positive outlook. Most of my designs have stemmed from some kind of parenting-related need. I designed the Wee Cap because I wanted to get Otis out on the bike right away but couldn't find anyone selling baby sized bike hats and most other baby hats don't fit under a helmet. In reality, Otis is the inspiration for everything that I do.

Do you have another job outside of Etsy and outside of the home?

I work now and again as a rigger for a theatrical union. It is a tough job and has weird hours so it is hard to find childcare and I can get burnt out really easily. I make things for Etsy in my spare time so I can hopefully one day do that job less and less. I may also go in to a teacher training program because the more time I spend with Otis, the more I realize how fun it is to teach children about the world.

How do you balance home life, Etsy and work?

Sometimes I don't do a very good job balancing things. I just graduated from college which was certainly a balancing act as Otis was born during my junior year. It can get really tough at times but I just try to always do my best. In fact, that is one of my mottos for parents to keep them optimistic about parenting, "Just do the best you can."

What made you decide to sell on Etsy?

I love the whole idea of Etsy. I love artists and creative people. Also, I saw that what I was making wasn't being made by many other people and thought maybe there would be a market for it. I do sell some of my stuff at retail stores, but having to pay the 50% commission makes that ar less lucrative.

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?

My shop is just getting started. I opened it a while back but didn't start posting things until this month. So far I have had just 4 sales, but I was featured in the Esty finds newsletter and a local store in my area called Oaklandish found my shop and asked for a consignment deal so I am feeling optimistic. As for feeling successful, whether I am getting sales or not, I feel successful as long as I still love what I'm making. When I finish making a new style or come up with a new design and take a step back and say, "yeah, that's awesome," then I feel successful. Taking pride in your work is really the secret to success.

What do you feel makes your shop special and unique?

I put a lot of love into my work. For me, it's not just about selling things and making money. I really want to promote a way of life where people think about the choices they make on a daily basis. I want to encourage parents not to be afraid to ride their bike with their kids, and I want to promote environmental consciousness, which is why all of my products are either upcycled, repurposed or orgainc/ sustainably produced. There is a lot of extra work that goes in to sourcing these materials and because of the limitations of this process, the end results are usually one-of-a-kind.

As Mom's, things get chaotic and find it hard to stay focused, how do you stay focused and motivated?

When things get crazy, I put my focus back to Otis. He is like a mirror of my energy field. In his behavior I can see exactly what kind of energy I'm putting out and then make adjustments. If he is going crazy and tearing the house apart, I know that I need to relax and give the computer or my sewing machine a break and go for a walk on the beach.

Is there anything else you'd like the readers to know?

As I said, I am just getting started on Etsy, so I can use all of the help I can get promoting my store. I really believe in the quality of what Im making. I just think people need to see it. All my info is below. Please check out my Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter and Heart, Like and Tweet about me. I may also be starting a blog about sustainable motherhood, so keep checking in with me if you are interested in idealism in parenting. Thanks for reading.

We Love You. Ride Safe. --Ivy and Otis


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