The crafter known as Waterrose and I met online fairly recently (over at BenBarden‘s place, I think). The embroidery felt cuffs she sells in her online craft shop grabbed me right away! So of course I roped her in here to tell a bit about how she got started with her unique craft — and to share a few tips with others who may be thinking of starting a craft business. Enjoy! ~Jen
Waterrose Handcrafted Obsessions
That’s where it began.
I have loved embroidery since I was a little girl. I was taught by my mother, who was a master embroiderer, and I’ve found those moments that I spent with her to be some of my fondest memories. However, while I love embroidery, how many people are going to be interested in embroidered pillowcases or tablecloths covered with swimming swans and flowing, flowery southern belles?
While traveling last fall along the Pacific Coast Highway I stopped in a quilt shop and found the most beautiful wool felt. I had no clue what I was going to do with it, but it spoke to me. (So did a few other things, but we won’t go into that!) A couple of months later it all clicked. Cuffs. I began doodling out some designs, gathered my embroidery floss, and began experimenting.
My inspiration is all around me. It seems I no more than start embroidering my current cuff and an idea pops into my head for the next one. I have a list. I can think them up faster than I can create them!
I began filling my Etsy shop with cuffs and received a lot of nice comments. Those comments led me to blogging. I had resisted blogging for a while since all I could think of was, “Why do I want to share my life with a lot of strangers?”
But I began my Waterrose Handcrafted Obsessions blog and I am having so much fun with it. Initially I thought it would be filled mostly with my creations, but it has turned into a mixture of my life, my thoughts, and my craft.
I just created my website and had great fun working on it. When you visit my website you will see a button named, “Quilt”: I’m also a quilter and have plans to release a quilting book early next year. The “quilt” link will lead to a very special project that I can hardly wait to share…
And I have been fortunate to be one of a few artists to have their creations featured in Quilting Arts “gift” special edition. I was so excited to be asked to share my cuffs with everyone.
To those of you who are on the verge, but are hesitant or ask yourself, “Who would buy my stuff?” — just take the plunge! It isn’t easy and you spend a lot of time not only creating, but also marketing and promoting. Unless you have a product that just grabs people it will take a lot of hard work to get your creations in front of people and become recognized.
Tips on Starting a Craft Business
- Spread your marketing and promoting efforts around. You can’t just open an Etsy shop, or create a website and expect people to find you.
- Spend some time after you figure out what your product is and think about what your goals are. Create a business plan. Write down what you want to implement and by what dates and just start working your plan.
- Get feedback from people about your product. How you can improve it, make it more marketable, what consumers are looking for.
- Have fun!
The world of hand crafts and art is so exciting and people are beginning to appreciate the fact that they can purchase such beautiful, original creations. I believe the world is growing weary of mass produced, cheaply made products. Many of us are going green. We are turning to our past to create items that are something different, something handmade, something cherished.
Waterrose can be found at her lively and colourful blog (waterrosez.blogspot.com) — where she does great crafty interviews, by the way — or you can visit her website (www.waterrosedesign.com) and online shop (waterrose.etsy.com) to share the delightful obsession with handcrafted quilt and embroidery crafts.