Archive for the ‘Urban Entrepreneurs’ Category

Urban Entrepreneurs – Bound For You

I hope everyone had a great holiday break! We”re back today with the last Urban Entrepreneurs post of 2012, and it”s a great way to cap off the year.

I always find the best creative discoveries are when you combine two unexpected things. This formula seems to have worked out brilliantly for our newest Urban Entrepreneur Tara, the owner of etsy store Bound For You. Tara combined her new love of machine embroidery with a long held love of books and a new found talent for making them.

She joins us today to show us some of her creations and talk about her journey into this new crossroads of embroidery and bookmaking…

What started you into embroidery?

My mum bought the embroidery machine, and after having it sit in her closet for several years I decided it was time to give it a spin. I was so completely enthralled by its almost magical ability to turn thread into such amazing pieces of art that I became hooked.

Which came first, the bookmaking or the embroidery?

I’ve always been in love with books. The day I discovered I could actually make them, was a very happy day for me. It was actually around the same time that I started learning about embroidery, and I can remember thinking- wouldn’t it be amazing if I could fuse the very traditional art of Book binding, with the modern technology of embroidery and create something incredibly unique.

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

I came across is quite by accident, I’d googled embroidery design files, and was looking through the various websites, trying to find something that spoke to me/would jump out at me. Then I came across Urban Threads – and what a wonderful surprise that was.

Such fresh, beautiful, and sometimes creepy designs, a little left of center, it was just so perfect for me.

What made you take the plunge into starting your own business?

I started thinking, if I love these books so much, maybe there are other people who will love them too. I wanted to create something that was just as precious and long lasting, as the memories people make with them.

Tell us a bit about your shop Bound For You

I sell handmade Journals, Albums, Memory Books and Guest Books. Everything is handmade in my studio, from the hand cut paper, to the individually waxed threads that I sew each book with. I embellish some of my books with handmade monogrammed pendants, made from copper and silver, those I fire in my own kiln and the embroidery is done on my little machine, one spool at a time.

What makes my shop unique is that I combine several different arts together to create something individual and special for each person. My embroidery and metal craft allows me to really personalize my items.

What’s the biggest lesson you”ve learned since you began?

ORGANIZATION!!!

I’ve got two small girls, 10 months and 3 years, who keep me on my toes! In order to function competently (or at all really), I need to have excellent time management and organizational skills! I’m still mastering those, but I’ve learned that they are incredibly important. I also have an amazingly supportive husband and family, who keep me positive and motivated, and without which I couldn’t have gotten this far.

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

My main goal for the next year is to become a bit better known, really get my name out there and show people what I can do. I’ll be attending local boutique markets throughout the next 12 months, to showcase my work and give people an opportunity to see what I create up close.

More specifically, I want to create some wedding/engagement guest books and photo albums. The amazing theme’s that couples choose for their special day, opens up a whole world of artistic possibility’s, and to me, that’s really exciting.

Thank you so much Tara for sharing your creativity with us! This is a totally new way of using our designs and that”s always my favorite kind. If you want to check out Tara”s shop, visit Bound For You on etsy, or become a fan on facebook!

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Urban Entrepreneurs – Miss Delaney

Just because you’re a newcomer to the embroidery world doesn’t mean you can’t jump in head first! UT stitcher Rebekah, aka Miss Delaney, got her machine only four months ago, and has wasted no time in putting it to good use, and even starting an online Etsy store! She joins us today to share her unique kids’ creations and talk about how she got into the world of stitches…

What started you into embroidery?

I had been decorating ready-to-wear clothes using stencils and fabric paint. Then a friend of mine got an embroidery machine and I saw the cute things she was making with it.

I honestly thought that you had to buy cartridges with designs on them and had no idea that there were all these amazing designs online. Once I started looking into it I was hooked and knew I had to get an embroidery machine. I’ve had my machine for 4 months now and I’m officially addicted to it.

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

I found Urban Threads this summer when I was searching for some cool designs for my shop. I was struggling with whether or not to sell the same applique type designs that you see everywhere when that wasn’t really my style. I was desperately searching for something cool, something punk, and I really hit the jackpot with Urban Threads. I realized then that I could remain a niche store and not have to use designs just because they’re popular.

What made you take the plunge into starting your own business?

I left my job when we started a family 4 years ago and that really gave me more time to devote to my hobbies. I’ve always loved sewing, so when I was pregnant with my daughter I was making her baby leg warmers from knee high socks. Then it just made sense to start an Etsy store where I could make these and sell them and still stay at home with my kiddos.

It’s a truly amazing feeling when you can make a job out of something you love doing. I work all the time and it never feels like work.

Tell us a bit about your shop. What kind of stuff do you do?

I focus on selling baby and toddler clothes. Right now it’s leg warmers, leggings and tops (onesies, shirts and dresses). I try to find really cool and off the wall designs. I love the punk and geek themes and I want to fill my shop up with those types of designs.

What’s are some of the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

I’ve learned that it’s okay to be a niche store. I don’t have to sell what everyone else is selling to get orders. I’ve learned to sell things that I personally love and realize that eventually someone somewhere will love them too.

Another thing is that I’ve learned to work all the time, even when I don’t have orders. I had a really slow start on Etsy. Then I put my store on vacation mode and killed my momentum and it took 6 months to recover. But I was working at my store every day. I was adding items, changing descriptions, taking new pictures and then when sales picked back up, I was ready for them.

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

In one year, I would like for my shop to be successful enough to keep me busy full time. I think both my kids will be in preschool and my whole goal is to have a full time job at home while still having a flexible schedule while the kids are in school. So I’d like to have my shop full of cool offbeat things that I love.

Hopefully one day I can learn digitizing and make my own designs. In the near future, I’m hoping to add pajama sets and maybe some minky blankets.

From newbie to etsy store owner in just a few short months, Miss Delaney is a fantastic example of what you can do when you find something you really love. Crafting for yourself is a great way to bring a unique spin on your store, you may just find that the things you love can find a new audience in your customers! I know it’s worked for me. ;)

Good luck, Rebekah, in all your adorable creations. When embroidery looks this cute, it’s hard to resist!

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of  Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Urban Entrepreneurs – Alert Wear

I’m always inspired when I see others turn their love of embroidery into something more. Sometimes it develops out of a love of a great hobby; sometimes it comes from somewhere completely unexpected. When I came across today’s Urban Entrepreneur, it was accompanied with the thought that I would have loved something like this as a kid, because like many kids all over the world, I had pretty bad food allergies when I was young.

You see, in the hands of Ann from Alert Wear, embroidery is not just decoration. It’s an important part of making sure information and medicide that allergy prone kids need is close at hand. Not only can embroidery convey allergy information or warnings to adults, it also serves the vitally important function of getting kids to willingly wear the very important but admittedly cumbersome holder for their meds. By giving what was once often hidden or dreadfully dull a bold new statement, kids can wear their packs with pride, and parents can know their life-saving meds are close at hand at all times.

Ann joins us today to talk about what started this amazing little company, and how embroidery fits in to what she does…

Explain how your store got started. What’s the story behind Alert Wear?

Like many businesses, I got my start by creating something my children needed. Both of my children have life threatening food allergies and asthma. When my daughter was little, I was petrified to take her anywhere or leave her in anyone’s care for fear that she might take food from someone. I searched for a product that would scream “I have food allergies DO NOT feed me.” When I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted, I started sewing. I wanted to create a smock with a huge medical alert symbol in the middle and “Do Not Feed Me – Food Allergies” around it.

My daughter, then a toddler, went with me to the embroiderers to drop off the smock. When I picked out the design, she let me know right away that she would not be wearing snakes. The idea to have kids design their own alert gear was born right there.

Our doctor advised us to have our kids’ meds with us at all times.  When my son started school, we dropped off the medications and assumed that they kept them with our son throughout the day.  On the last day of 1st grade for my son, I volunteered for field day.  We were a good two city blocks away from the nurse’s station and I asked the teacher where my son’s meds were.  They were back in the classroom and she saw no need for the meds to be with us since we were still on school grounds.  Anaphylaxis can kill quickly, so that was not acceptable to me.  That day, my son started wearing his medicine in a fanny pack. 

Everything was going well until 3rd grade when the kids started making fun of him for this big pack that hung on him.  It was then that I started making epi-pen cases that could be hidden under clothing, could hold 2 epi-pens and looked cool. The very first case I made was using a design from your site that my son picked out: Get Inked.  He still loves that design! 

How did you get into embroidery? Do you think it helps your product work better for your audience?

I have always loved personalized things but, had no clue how to embroider and did not have the money to invest in a fancy machine.  I had had numerous requests to make a smock like my daughter’s for others but, when I added what her smock cost with fabric, time and having a local professional embroider a design on it, no one would be willing to pay for it. 

So, I watched for a home embroidery machine on Craigslist and finally found a decent one for a great price.  It didn’t come with lessons or a manual and I didn’t have funds to invest in lessons so, I taught myself from online videos, just playing with the machine and lots of help from my friend Christy, from Chunky Monkey Diapers, who lives in another state. 

Embroidery is absolutely essential for my products because the designs and emergency information need to be very durable.  These items are expected to last a school year and yet are worn more consistently than any pair of tennis shoes or jeans.  And what kid *wants* to wear their medicine or smock? 

If they have a part in designing it, the fight to get them to wear these items is gone.  I have even gotten reports back from parents of kids sleeping with their medicine packs because they love what they created so much!

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

My good friend Christy tipped me off to your company a couple of years ago when I was looking for designs that would appeal to tweens. 

What kinds of folks are your customers? What makes what you offer unique?

My customers are mostly moms who have children with life-threatening food allergies like me.  I do get a few requests from parents of kids with other health issues as well.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

Oh I have learned many lessons!

Right now, I am learning to set office hours and better production time expectations.  I have been running myself ragged trying to fulfill orders and not spending as much time with my family.  I wouldn’t be doing this if it were not for them though.  I have also learned to include my family in the business as much as possible.  In addition, I have learned to really listen to my customers’ ideas.  Many of my of their ideas have ended up being some of my best sellers. 

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

I am really just trying to take it one day at a time right now.  Eventually, I would love to be able to employ others to help me.  And I do have a lot more product ideas I’d like to make.

Thank you so much for sharing your story and your amazing store with us, Ann. It just goes to show that embroidery as decoration doesn’t just mean it makes it pretty. It means it makes a essential item that otherwise may not be the most desirable to wear something fun and personal for kids. That might just mean the difference between having meds and not when the moment counts, and for me, that makes what you do really amazing. From one who had epi-pens as a kid in an ugly plastic case, kids of the next generation thank you! I wish all the best for this fantastic idea.

If you want to check out more or perhaps are interested in getting a case for your little one, check out Anne’s store, Alert Wear.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of  Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Urban Entrepreneurs – One 2 Stitcharoo

Back again for another edition of Urban Entrepreneurs!

Urban Entrepreneurs is where we feature sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz. We’re lucky today to be able to share our very first feature showcasing a hand embroiderer! Machine embroidery offers a lot of ease in speed and finish, but there’s nothing to beat the charm of a gorgeous hand embroidered piece, especially when they’re so darn adorable. One 2 Stitcharoo is that stitcher, and she’s here today to talk about what it’s like diving into a business as a stitcher who does all her work by hand…

What started you into embroidery?

I first started needlework when I was younger when my grandmother bought me my first cross stitch kit. The pattern had a very celestial sort of theme to it. You know… with a sun, moon and stars everywhere. Then some time after that, I took a stab at hand embroidery and thought this is easy-peasy! And the rest is history. 

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

It was back in February of this year, around Valentine’s day, and I did an image search for “Love/Valentine Embroidery patterns”. Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I went through hundreds of images of hearts, cupids, boxes of chocolates, you name it. When I was about to call it quits, I came across an image of a robot professing his love to a toaster, a pattern called Robot Love.

I clicked on it and that’s when my love/addiction to UT started. 

What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?

Well, I love, Love, LOVE to hand embroider. I love searching for patterns, picking the colors & I love the patience, time and effort myself (and other hand embroiderers) put into stitching each stitch. Well, I had stitched so many pieces, I had decided (on a whim) I wanted to share them with the world. I simply just thought, “I love doing it so there has to be people out there that would appreciate it.”

What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to? 

Being that my shop is very new, my recent customers consist of friends & family (Hi Mom!) But I hope to cater to anyone/everyone. I don’t want to have to choose who I stitch for. Embroidery is such a flexible craft, I don’t want to have to put any limitations on it.  

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began? 

1.) Write down your ideas as soon as you think of them! I’ve had so many stitchy ideas, brilliant stitchy ideas that I’m still trying to remember to this day. I swear it’s like trying to remember a dream you had the night before.

2.) Don’t get discouraged that you haven’t sold anything. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Everybody has said this but it’s so totally true. 

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

Oh geez, I haven’t really thought about where I would want my shop to be in a year. I’ll just say if it’s still open, I’ve made some sales and it’s still full of hand stitchy goodness, I would be happy. There’s so much I would like to try but I do have some things up my sleeve I would like to achieve in the future.

For the immediate future, I’m hoping to add some customizable items to the shop. 

Thank you so much Jennifer for letting us share your adorable work. The wit and humor you bring to each piece, and the extra added joy of the captions really brings them to life. It’s such an honor to feature the amazing work of hand embroidery along with our fellow machine stitching entrepreneurs. We wish you all the best for your shop, your stuff is so cute, we just know people will love it!

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of  Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Urban Entrepreneurs – Ganz und Garn

We’ve got another international edition of Urban Entrepreneurs today, with another crafty stitcher from Germany.

Urban Entrepreneurs is our series where we feature sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz. It looks like embroidery fever is catching abroad, and Martina from Ganz und Garn is showing us that the international community (and right now, Germany especially… the rest of Europe has some catching up to do, wouldn’t you say?) can really rock an embroidery machine.

Martina joins us today to talk about her love of embroidery, and her decision to jump from the production world and transform into the self employed business woman she is today.

Me

You look like you’ve been sewing for awhile, but what started you into embroidery?

It was just the logical consequence. After sewing stuff, you have to embellish it in some way!

lunchbox mix

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

It was one of the first sites I found on the net after I bought my embroidery machine. I was looking for more cool and contemporary designs, most of the other ones are either old fashioned or for kids.

tablet cover

What made you take the plunge into starting your own business?

I am a creative person, and I found sewing and embroidery combined my love of materials, colours, pattern and structures. 

Originally I am an interior and production designer but it was getting more and more difficult to find interesting and challenging jobs in the corporate world and so I decided to jump in at the deep end and try my luck with my own business.

alice in wonderland 2

Tell us a bit about your shop, Ganz und Garn. What kind of stuff do you do?

My shop is always in flux and I am permanently searching for new ideas! My focus lies on making things for grown ups with the aim of creating everyday things off the beaten track.

Happy Camper

What kind of customer do you cater to?

As all my stuff is handmade, I care most about the customers who are not interested in mainstreams products and big brands and appreciate individual things made with love.

Egg cozys

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

Despite all the other lessons I learned and still learning, one of the most important thing is to realize that it needs time to be successful.

Even if my products not selling as much is I wish for, it is not necessarily that the idea is poor, it ‘s just more often the fact that my small bussiness is still unknown and I don’t have to get discouraged by that.

market

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?

I am always searching for new projects, nothing bores me more than sewing the same thing for the hundredth time!

I do have a lot of things in my head and I hope to achive some of that this year. I still want my business to grow, but I don’t want to lose the fun in it.

calender 5

If you want to check out more of Ganz und Garn’s amazing items, you can visit her DaWanda store, (kind of like a German etsy store… and yes, it is in German, but Google translate to the rescue!) and take a peek.

I just love how bright and bold everything she makes is, from all the patterns and colors in her fabric to the simple covers and cute designs she picks. It feels both whimsically traditional and contemporary all at once. All the best to you Martina, I’m sure armed with talent like this, Germany doesn’t stand a chance against the cuteness!

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of  Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Urban Entrepreneurs – Custom Wears by Claudia

Back again for another edition of Urban Entrepreneurs.

Urban Entrepreneurs is where we feature sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz.  Today’s feature takes us onto a delicious twist into the wilder side of the west, with Custom Wears by Claudia. Claudia specializes in vintage inspired gear with a decidedly modern twist, and she has me wishing for warmer weather and a good pair of cowboy boots.

Claudia joins us today to talk about the fateful PBR event that pushed her into the happy happenstance of modern western ware, and the cool customers she designs for…

How did you get into designing clothes?

My pink nylon quilted robe was the show stopper in the 9th grade fashion show, and when I was 14, I won the local, state and regional Singer Sewing Contests.  For the past nine years, I worked at Hancock Fabrics in Overland Park, Kansas, teaching sewing classes and garment construction, and also demonstrating sewing machines and techniques.

What started you into embroidery?

I started out just wanting to embroider things for my children, when they were small.  They are grown now and I still love embroidering their clothes!

Where did you first find Urban Threads?  

I did a google search looking for skull designs.

Ha! Yeah, that would certainly be a surefire way of finding us. So, what made you take the plunge into starting your own business?

I didn’t so much plunge as I was pushed!  

Custom Wears by Claudia launched in 2009 when my husband wore a shirt that I had used an Urban Threads design on and it was seen by the Pabst Blue Ribbon rep.  She asked if I could make a shirt for an event PBR was hosting and 42 shirts later I was in business!

Tell us a bit about your shop, Custom Wears by Claudia. What kind of stuff do you do?

I work out of my home doing mostly one of a kind, custom ordered and fit pieces.  I make the garments from scratch, so each piece is decorated for the individual customer and fit to them.

Folks are always asking me to bring my work and show it at their shop or their event but I don’t have any inventory; each garment is made just for that one customer! 

What kind of customer do you cater to?

I do a lot of work for folks in bands.  I digitize their artwork and put it on a custom made shirt, dress, etc. I do my best to make sure my work fits properly, is comfortable, and is a reflection of the person wearing it. 

I love how tickled folks are when they try on a finished piece and they love that the vintage-inspired garments offer a modern spin. Folks like that the designs look vintage but aren’t rotten under the arms and hard to care for.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?  

To trust myself in my ability to bring a customers idea to realization on their garment. I love the challenge of making difficult items. I want to learn something new each time I make a new piece.

Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future? 

I just bought a 15 needle single head embroidery machine so that is a huge step up from my home embroidery machine.  It provides a giant leap not only in the size of design but in the time and quality of the stitch outs.  

I am learning so much about it and the new software that I also purchased so I guess the old adage of ‘bigger and better’ holds very true for me!

Aren’t you just dying to get a hold of a western steampunk raygun duster? If you weren’t before I bet you are now.

You can find more examples of Claudia’s work on her awesome website, and see just what she can cook you up with her shiny new machine. Just make sure you bring the attitude to match, because with clothes as awesome as these, you better have the swagger to back em’ up.

Hats off to you Claudia, for creating such an awesome blend of old and new, western and punk. Can’t wait to see what you whip up next.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of  Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!

Urban Entrepreneurs – Nadine Hößrich Design

It’s that time again… time for another crafty edition of Urban Entrepreneurs! Urban Entrepreneurs is where we feature sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz. We have our first international Urban Entrepreneur today, with Nadine from Germany!

With a little help in translation, Nadine tells us all about her growing business and dreams of selling awesome embroidery abroad…

What started you into embroidery?

I stared my own business in September 2010. At that time, I often dreamed about owning an embroidery machine. I saw all those nice motifs available, and I especially liked American vendors because of their variety, and customers were asking me more and more frequently for personalized embroidery like names and such on their orders.

In December, right before Christmas, my husband drove with me “just to look” at machines at a Brother store. That evening, I took home my Innov-is 1500.

How did you first find Urban Threads?

Good question… I think it was a link on facebook, but I’m not sure. When I found it, it was love at first sight. I sat there and devoured the whole shop! :D

Describe your shop. What kind of products do you offer?

I mainly sew bags, and many orders are special requests. I let my customers choose their favorite fabrics/colors, closures, length of handles, lining and - of course – embroidery designs! In addition I sometimes  “pimp” a small assortment of ready sewn bags, with new fabric covers, ribbons, bows – and embroidery designs too! I also sew accessories like wallets, personalized key tags and scarves.

What made you take the plunge into starting your own business?

We live in the countryside, so jobs are hard to find. I think my early education in sewing was the best thing that could have happened to me (beside my husband). I hadn’t tried it in awhile, but one day in 2009 I took it up again and loved it more than ever! Starting out my skills were a little rusty, but I kept practicing, and the feedback I was getting got better and bigger. Eventually I took the plunge into starting my own business.

embroidered  pillowcases

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?

Customer contact is very important! And can be quite interesting too.

I love getting feedback, and my contact with the customers is always friendly but respectful. I want to be respected, so I respect my customers. Sometimes it’s hard, but the fruits of this labor are so juicy and sweet!

The second thing I’ve learned: You can’t be everybody’s darling! If you love what you do, then just do what you really love.

Mini-Messenger

Where would you like to see your shop in one year?

I wanna try many new things! Maybe more than I ever can handle ;)

I would like to get customers from abroad. Germany is a great place for handmade products, but there are so many more great countries out there. Not to grow super big, just for the chance at sharing my work. I have more than enough to do and I’ll keep making my products by myself, for as long as possible.

I also hope to get my etsy shop fully set-up sometime… this will be the first step for me to sell my stuff abroad!

Nadine’s beautiful hand-stitched bags and self proclaimed “pimped” pre-made bags shine with personality that hopefully with make it overseas soon, but at least all the lucky folks in Germany get to enjoy them now.  Do you want to check them out? You can have a peek at her website (in German) and buy stuff from her store (also in German, but don’t let that stop you!).

I have to say, Germany seems to be all over the cool embroidery scene. I’ve seen UT designs pop up on all kinds of awesome German blogs (thank goodness for google translate!) and they all seem to have fabulous taste. Best of luck to you, Nadine, in all your embroidery adventures!

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here and join our gang of  Urban Entrepreneurs? Send us an e-mail at blog@urbanthreads.com with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!