Say hello to our SLC + San Diego workshop sponsor, Heartmade by Emily! This attorney-turned Etsy boss babe is sharing all about her experience start a successful small business + running with the Etsy crowd!
Can you tell us a little bit about Heartmade by Emily and how the company came to be?
Heartmade By Emily began in January 2016 as a hobby. The etsy shop sells crochet accessories – mostly crochet coffee cozies. We also sell beanies, bear cowls, and a few baby items and scarves on occasion. I’ve been crafting and crocheting my entire life. A friend of mine loved these coffee cozies I gave out last Christmas and jokingly said, “You should sell these!” I honestly didn’t give it much thought and opened my shop on a whim. Let’s just say it’s been a learning experience!
You started out as an attorney, what made you make the shift to the creative business?
Well I didn’t go from practicing law directly into crocheting coffee cozies. My husband and I were newly married and moved to Washington DC which was clear across the country from our roots in Seattle and Los Angeles. We had our amazing daughter in 2013 and decided it would be best for me to stay home with her. Throughout that first year, I loved being home with her, but I was really searching for something to do for myself as an individual. I did some legal research and legal consulting from home, but it just wasn’t for me. I did a lot of crochet as a hobby and it just sort of happened.
You’re a mom and a small business owner Do you have any tips for our audience for balancing both?
I’m a huge planner. I make lists and have multiple planners and calendars and feel lost without my iPhone or my watch. My biggest tip would be to make time and schedule time for work and more importantly for family and personal time. It can be so easy to get caught up with a growing business. Success is so exciting that it fuels your desire to keep going around the clock. That was me a few months ago when sales really started to pick up. I had to take a step back, prioritize everything, and make a plan. I scheduled chunks of time for work after we put our daughter to bed, and I am lucky that I get to include her in some of the processes – putting stickers on packages, playing with her own yarn and large plastic hook, interacting with the postal staff on mail run days. She will be starting preschool in January so that will allow for more time each day to focus on the business. We are expecting a baby boy in February though, so I’m really going to have to rework the existing schedule!
What is your favorite part of being a part of the small business community?
I love being a part of the small business community. I have made so many great friends since I opened Heartmade By Emily. There is so much support and reciprocity among other makers within the Etsy community especially. I have always been on Instagram, but when I started my business Instagram account, I was surprised by the support I received from other small business owners, especially mompreneurs. The amazing support is definitely my favorite part. We are all just trying to lift each other up and support and celebrate each other’s successes.
You sponsored our SLC workshop + gifted our Socialites some adorable coffee cozies. What is your process when you decide to craft a new product?
A lot of my motivation in the creative process is based on seasons and current trends. With regard to coffee cozies, there are so many different embellishment options, that the challenge is really limiting and choosing designs that I think my customers would like most. I’m most excited about Fall and Winter because it really screams cozy, warm, crochet items. Heartmade By Emily makes more than just coffee cozies; however, nobody wants to buy a slouch beanie in July. ;) I’m looking to expand this winter with more scarves, boot cuffs, and arm warmers.
How has social media had an influence on your business?
Social media has quite literally MADE my business. In the beginning, your support comes from family and friends and a lot of word of mouth marketing. After that, you really need to find a way to reach a wider range of potential customers that you normally would not have access to. My shop is only on two platforms – Facebook and Instagram. It’s a great way to spread the word about new products, specials, and sales. I follow a lot of instagram style bloggers as well and they provide a lot of inspiration as far as what accessories are trending and what styles would be popular with my customers.
Using social media has definitely been something I have to continue studying. I’ve really benefitted from some of Social Studio Shop’s tips with regard to hashtags and timing. Things are constantly changing so it’s become another aspect of small business that is vital but always a challenge.
What is your favorite way to connect with your audience through social media? Are there any platforms you love more than others for your business?
Definitely Insta!! I love Instagram. There is such an amazing community of makers, sellers, style bloggers, and mom bosses on Instagram. I like the visual aspect of it as well. Staging products and editing photos to convey a feeling about your product and brand are a fun and creative way to share your brand and a bit of who you are. I feel like there is an actual connection with others through this platform. Facebook has been great for personal use, but I haven’t really taken advantage of boosted postings or other features available for purchase through the site. I’m interested in starting a blog and I’m told Snapchat is where it’s at, but for now I’m very happy with Instagram and Facebook.
Is there anything that surprised along the way you as you grew your business that you weren’t expecting?
Nothing really sticks out to me as a big surprise along the way. I still consider myself to be growing my business, as this is just my first year. There have been a lot of changes and adjustments along the way, and I've tried to just roll with it and learn. It's been fun!
If you could go back and give yourself one piece of advice before launching your business, what would it be?
I would tell myself not to limit my potential. When I began the shop, I didn’t have a solid business plan. I had no real vision of what my brand was, what I was going to create and sell, how I was going to market it, and who my target customers were. I kept telling myself it was just a hobby and no big deal. I think when you start a business, however small you envision it to be, you have to be prepared to exceed your own expectations. You have to be prepared to handle the changes that come with a growing business.
Any exciting plans coming up for Heartmade by Emily that you can share with us?
We are heading into the busy season for crafters and online sellers. Heartmade By Emily has a few large-scale sales scheduled for the upcoming Holiday Season. After the New Year, I am looking to launch an independent website and blog. I’m still working through the details, but I’m very excited to create my own space to sell my products and share more about the shop. Very ambitious with a baby due in February!
Connect with Emily!