Archive for the ‘Urban Entrepreneurs’ Category

Urban Entrepreneurs – Magical Monk Bags

Welcome to the first post of 2012 for our Urban Entrepreneurs 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. Today embroidery takes a turn for the mystical, with the dark and crafty creations of Magical Monk Bags.

Magical Monk bags is the crafty business of owner Mk Beckley, who like many crafters, started it as a hobby but soon saw it grow into a business. Beckley’s designs often feature the dark, the mystical and the magical, all on handmade eco-friendly totes.

Read on to find out more about Beckley’s business…

What started you into embroidery? 

My mother, grandmother and great grandmother who were all crafty women; I’ve had needle and thread in my hand as long as I can remember.  I started out just stitching the outlines that my mother would trace on cloth for me.

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

In an email that a friend sent me in 2008, she wanted me to stitch a raven, I think, on a tote bag for her. I’ve been hooked on Urban Threads ever since.

Describe your shop. What kind of stuff does Magical Monk Bags offer?

I make eco-friendly, simple messenger bags. What makes them different are the kinds of embroidery and even  colors I use. I even make monk bags for men by special request.

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

Necessity as employment is hard to find these days; power bills need to be paid.  I’m happy to have found something that I can do to help my family!  What started as a hobby now pays the bills.

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

To have patience not only with myself but with my clients too. It can sometimes be challenging to work with clients going back and forth via emails, but some of my best work has been with custom orders.

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

I would be very happy if I could just double the amount of business for this year compared to 2011, and maybe do a few craft shows as well !

I love seeing the mystical side of embroidery come out, it’s not very common outside of Urban Threads, and it’s great to see a store that takes the magic and really runs with it! I would be very happy toting around one of Mk Beckley’s beautiful handmade bags. Wouldn’t you?

Check out these bags and more in her Etsy shop!

 

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 – Queen Kat Designs

A shiny new installment of Urban Entrepreneurs today, 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 a very special small biz owner today, to show us that you don’t need to get into embroidery to appreciate offbeat designs… Queen Kat Designs!

Vicki has taken the plunge into small business ownership, and instead of embroidery, has created a whole business around stamps! She’s used many Urban Threads designs and translated them into beautiful inked creations, perfect for scrapbooking and more. She shares with us today some of the creations she’s made from her line of UT stamps, and talks a little about what it’s like going into this unique industry.

What started you into stamps and this kind of work?

Well… I kind of fell into it, so to speak. I have been stamping and doing paper crafts for almost 20 years. I started as a home party consultant for a stamp company back in 2004. Then I was hit with “you need a business license to do that” so I said OK, I’m going to open my own scrapbook store online!

I quit my consultant job and opened a store in August 2005. Then in the fall of 2006 I was experimenting with ideas and things so I could quit my corporate job and do something I loved. I fell into making clear photopolymer stamps and released my line on November 19, 2006. It’s all been a whirlwind since then.

What kind of process goes into creating a stamp?

It’s a big undertaking if you ask me… but it’s quite fun. I work with world renowned artists who contribute art to me for stamps as well as the wonderful designs at Urban Threads by Niamh and the gang! I take that art and use my handy dandy new laser etching machine to make the rubber stamps. I switched from clear polymer stamps to blue rubber stamps in May 2010. I work with a few programs on the computer and the laser does the “hard work” of making the stamp.

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

Ooo good question! I was surfing around a craft site and saw an ad that was placed. And it’s all been downhill for my bank account since then. I’m totally addicted to the designs that are offered through Urban Threads.

Describe your shop for us. What do you offer?

In my shop, Queen Kat Designs, I offer un-mounted rubber stamps for  card making and scrapbooking. There you can find grab bags, stamp sets and single stamps as well as monthly kits that you can subscribe to.

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

Honestly? I was sick of getting up early in the morning and scraping snow off my truck to go into a job that really didn’t appeal to me and didn’t value my knowledge. I come from a long line of self starting business people so it was only fitting that I follow in their footsteps. My grandparents owned and operated a gun store and my father owned and operated a machine shop.

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

The biggest lesson… There are so many but I’d say the biggest would be… trust your gut. Nothing is as it seems and if the gut says run, then run. Whether it’s to run with an idea or run from something that smells bad, trust your FIRST instinct, it won’t lead you down the wrong path.

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

I would love to be able to exhibit at a large convention like Fairy Con or Dragon Con.. But honestly in this economy I would like to be where I am now and steadily growing. I was just able to move my business from my home to its own little one room office and that was a huge step for me. Onwards and upwards!

I just love seeing what crazy and creative endeavours people come up with using UT designs. I never would have thought of stamps, but seeing these, man I want one! I think my favorite might be that top “Ruler of All I Survey” skull design. I’d stamp that on everything.

It just goes to show, all you need to start a business is a great product, some good design, and a little gusto. Cheers to you, Vicki, and happy stamping!

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 – Stitchfork

Welcome to a shiny new installment of Urban Entrepreneurs, stitchy sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz. They’re here to tell us a little bit of what it’s like to make a living in embroidery.

This week is a little different from our usual Etsy-based sellers, as Cathy from Stitchfork did things her own way with her own website. She works pretty much exclusively on custom designs, monograms and logos, and collaborates with clients to give them one-of-a-kind embroidered results. Her special talent seems to be taking designs and adding a twist to make them her own unique creations, and she’s here with us today to show us her unique take on customizing designs and what it’s like working in the world of embroidery for a living.

She also has one of my favorite stories ever on why you should never embroider while tired. Curious? Keep on reading…

What started you into embroidery?

After the umpteenth time of shouting asking the ultimate mom question, “Who left their wet towel on the bathroom floor??” I started having everyone’s name embroidered on their towels. 

The light bulb over my head lit up and shone on a way for me to combine my love of embroidery, techie gadgets, and art.

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

You found me!

When the ‘UT evil genius’ first started creating designs, I was on the mailing list that introduced UT to the embroidery world.  I’ve been with you from the start, and you’re stuck with me!

Describe your shop. What kind of stuff does Stitchfork offer?

Out-of-the-box, quirky, unique, traditional with a twist, are all descriptions that have been applied to Stitchfork.

My favorite projects are changing up standard monograms.  I create custom works for clients looking for personalized embroidery. You’re unique, and your monogram should be as well.

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

I am a rule follower.  Don’t run with scissors; never eat more than you can lift; if your sleeve rips, put on a sweater; and so on…

THEN, I sat down in my sewing space and rules/schmules!  I tossed those monogramming rules right out the window next to me.  I discovered I gleefully enjoy breaking some embroidery rules, and enticing others to follow along.  The requests came in, and Stitchfork plunged into business.

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

Never stitch late at night when tired.

I have a Christmas tea towel I use in my kitchen that says “elgnij”. A design I mistakenly mirrored, instead of flipping, on my computer screen.  (“jingle” backwards)

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

My goal is to continue to meet fascinating people who’ll allow me to gleefully rearrange their monograms, and create designs just for them!

As you can see, no Urban Threads design is safe from a little extra embellishment when Cathy gets ahold of them. I love how she mixes things up! Plus, that takes some mad software skills to get the kind of beautiful combinations she does. Thanks so much for sharing your work with us Cathy.

Cathy is a great example of taking an embroidery biz and literally building it from the ground up, with your own website and everything. Etsy and other online sites are a very popular way of starting off, but it just goes to show you, there are all different kinds of ways you can jump into your own entrepreneurship.

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 – Storied Threads

Welcome to a shiny new installment of Urban Entrepreneurs! What, you might ask, is an Urban Entrepreneur?

Urban Entrepreneurs are stitchy sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz! Ever wondered what it would be like using your mad crafty skills in an everyday job? These folks are the ones who can tell you what it’s like to take the plunge.

Joining us today are the swashbuckling stylings of Storied Threads!

Veronica of Storied Threads and her trusty & adorable Beatrix
                                                                                                              Photo: Michael Bailey

What started you into embroidery?

It was almost a whim, actually. A super expensive whim, but a whim nonetheless.

I was already making and selling garb and accessories at Renaissance Faires, and I wanted a way to make my stuff really stand out from the crowd — embroidery seemed like a good way to do that. When I bought my machine, I wasn’t even sure exactly what I’d do — I thought I might put cool piratey designs on the ends of pirate sashes, but didn’t really have a clear idea of how very AWESOME machine embroidery was going to be.

                                                                                                             Photo: Michael Bailey

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

Google! Once I had the machine, I needed good designs. For what I was doing, the design packs they sold at my local sewing machine store just weren’t going to cut it. So, I started poking the internet, and bookmarking places that sold designs.  

Urban Threads was one of the first ones I found, and was my immediate favorite — the quirky, off-beat designs perfectly meshed with my own personality, and with the kinds of things I wanted to be able to give my customers. 

                                                                              Model: Mzz Boston      Photo: Ed King

Describe your shop and kinds of things you offer.

I vend at Renaissance Faires (as well as online), selling garb and accessories.  I make clothing ranging from Medieval to Colonial in period, with occasional ventures into Victorian and Steampunk. Waistcoats, hats, skirts, pirate sashes, vests, stuff like that.

Lately, I’ve been selling TONS of patches, though! I’ve found that the geekier you go on a patch, the more people will squeal over it — as a result, I make oodles of Doctor Who themed patches, along with absolutely tons of UT’s “Zombie Survival” patch. 

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

I had been involved with Ren Faires for quite a few years when I started. I started out as a cast member, and after a couple of years started doing the costume design for one of the companies I worked with.  I had costumed the King Arthur Faire, Robin Hood Faire, and Three Musketeers Faire several times when it dawned on me that designing and making clothing and garb was when I really felt happy and invigorated in my work.  

I did some polling around, asking other performers, “If I opened a shop, would you buy my stuff?” and they all said yes. (I mean sure,they were my friends, and they might have just been being nice…but I like to think that’s not the case.) Later that year, I signed up as a business with my town, built my first website, and I’ve been growing ever since.

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

Never think this business is predictable!

Remember those patches I sell oodles of? It never even occurred to me to use my embroidery machine for that purpose until I had somebody write to me. She had seen Urban Threads’ “Dirigible” design on my website on another item, and wanted to know if she could get a couple of patches with it for her Airship Crew. I read UT’s tutorial on patches, made myself a circle border, ran the patches off, and took a moment to wonder if other people might be interested in patches. Now, patches (using both UT’s designs and my own) account for easily 90% of my Etsy sales!

                                                             Model: Jenn Rykowski      Photo: Kyle Cassidy

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

Ooh, I’d LOVE to be self-sustaining. More realistically, though, I’d like to be doing enough business that I can switch to a part-time job. I think, especially in today’s economy, doing a more gradual transition from steady paycheck to living off my art is a good idea.  I’d also love to have a second embroidery machine, to be honest, to better keep up with the business I’m already getting!

                                                                                                             Photo: Michael Bailey

Steampunk sylings are definitively a hot ticket this year, but it’s not just the stitching that makes Storied Threads so fabulous, it’s what she puts it on! I mean, that steampunk raygun bag? Totally to die for. I would wear that thing everywhere.

I love Veronica’s advice that you can take this slow, gradually building you business until you feel it’s ready to take you to full time work. It’s great to do something you love for a living! These Urban Entrepreneurs are doing just that, one step at a time.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here? 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 – Just For Giggles

Welcome to our second edition of Urban Entrepreneurs! What, you might ask, is an Urban Entrepreneur?

Urban Entrepreneurs are stitchy sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz! They are Etsy sellers, Artfire users, custom embroiderers, or folks that use Urban Threads designs in some way that relates to their everyday business (you heard us, you can totally sell products using UT designs, just check out our machine embroidery licencing policy for details).

Ever wondered what it would be like using your mad crafty skills in an everyday job? These folks are the ones who can tell you. They’re here to show us what kind of unique things they’ve created for the handmade market, and what it’s like to take the plunge.

Joining us for a shiny new feature is the wonderfully lighthearted La Wanda, from Just For Giggles.

What started you into embroidery?

My parents retired out of Ellsworth Air Force Base and started a sewing and alterations shop.  After I left home for my first enlistment in the Army, they branched out into embroidery for the soldiers’ uniforms.  I was so proud of them.  They got so high-tech while I was away!

When I finished my time with Uncle Sam, I came home to work with the family.  I learned to embroider for the business but I had a nagging feeling that these machines could be used for SO much more… something AWESOME, but I just couldn’t figure out what until I saw an embroidered sugar skull and I knew I would wither and die of disappointment if I didn’t have the pattern for myself.

So how did you find Urban Threads and your sugar skull?

After I saw that skull I hunted for weeks and just could not find the right design.  I ached for it.  My mother threw me one of her embroidery magazines and THAT is how I found Urban Threads.

It changed our business, opened us up to a whole new market, and morphed me from an embroiderer to a creator of The-Most-Awesome-Stuffs-on-Earth!

SCORE!

Tell us a bit about your shop and the products you offer.

Just For Giggles- my baby- is a collection of purses, belt bags, embroidered plaques, Bible covers, guidons, and whatever else tickles my fancy.  There’s a lightheartedness to the lot of it that I believe reflects my personality but still speaks to the counterculture.

Yeah… that’d be you, fellow Urban Threadsters,  and your off-the-beaten-trail friends.

Besides the products I offer, I do run Wanda’s Giggles Embroidery Service.  My aim is always to see a customer walk away with that cat-that-caught-the-canary smile .

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

When I listed my first purse in my Etsy store  I thought, “I’m gonna try this just for giggles”… LOL!

That was as far as I thought it through in the very beginning, but I was approached by stores in my hometown and the purses started to move.  Then people came to me for embroidery.  The first time I paid my rent with my machine was the first time I realized I actually was an entrepreneur.  If the dream is doing what you love then I think I wandered into it.  I’m so grateful that I find myself getting a little leaky around the eyes when I think on it!

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

For the love of all that is good and decent, make sure your design actually fits in the hoop you’re using!  Nothing’ll make you cry like the crunch of a needle hitting that hard plastic.

But seriously, don’t give up on your dreams too easily! I see a lot of people start a little business and, when it doesn’t blow up overnight, they get discouraged.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  I sell well in person, but it’s taken a while to start getting a little attention online.

But that’s OK. I have faith.  It’s all about patience, positivity, and perseverance.  They’ll pay off in the end.

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

When all’s said and done, I see Just For Giggles being my full-time job and the go-to store for accessories for the fabulous ones who appreciate quality handmade goods.

Will I continue to run Wanda’s Giggles Embroidery Service?  Most Definitely! In case you can’t tell, I do love what I do.

I love the spirit with which Wanda took on this step, from learning a new craft to watching it grow into a business that suited her style. It sounds like entrepreneurship runs in the family too! Best of luck to you, and always keep your light-hearted attitude, lady. All embroidery should be as fun as you make it look!

Starting your own business may seem like a big step, but these days you don’t have to quit your day job and throw yourself into business school. You can start slow, open an online store, and who knows where you could go from there? These Urban Entrepreneurs will show you just what it’s like.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here? 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 – Fabulously Fierce

Today we’re kicking of a shiny new kind of feature on the blog called Urban Entrepreneurs.

Urban Entrepreneurs are stitchy sellers of any kind who have decided to take the plunge (with the help of some UT designs) and start their own small biz! They are Etsy sellers, Artfire users, custom embroiderers, or folks that use Urban Threads designs in some way that relates to their everyday business (you heard us, you can totally sell products using UT designs, just check out our machine embroidery licencing policy for details).

Ever wondered what it would be like using your mad embroidery skillz in an everyday job? These folks are the ones who can tell you. They’re here to show us what kind of unique things they’ve created for the handmade market, and what it’s like to take the plunge.

Joining us for our very first feature is the alternative stylings of Fabulously Fierce.

Miss Fabulously Fierce herself!

What started you into embroidery?

I came into embroidery kind of by accident. I had received a nice bonus from my day job and decided to buy a new sewing machine with it. When I got to my local shop, I became mesmerized by the embroidery machines and ended up buying one. After a lot of trial and error figuring out how to use it, I started embroidering anything I could get my hands on. It’s addicting!

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

Good old fashioned Google search :) I had seen the designs on Etsy, so knew they existed…it was just a matter of finding out where.

Describe your shop and the products you offer.

I like to describe my shop as alternative home decor, offering less mainstream options for people who dare to be different.  

I started the shop a few years ago making lampshades and then I ventured into pillow covers. Once I got my embroidery machine I started making decorative towels and pot holders. I have so many ideas for new items, I just need more hours in the day to work on them all!

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

I have always loved making things. When I was growing up my mother’s favorite saying when I saw something I wanted was “we can make that.” It kinda stuck with me. After doing it as a hobby and making gifts for friends, I decided to try my hand at selling some of it. Luckily I found Etsy through a friend and it was the perfect venue for my items.

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

Never ever walk away from your embroidery machine while it’s stitching a design!! Every time I do, something disastrous happens!

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

Bigger and better!

My ultimate goal is to have my items in a brick and mortar shop. Selling online is great, but pictures never truly grasp the quality of the items. I would love for potential customers to be able to see and feel my products, to be able to appreciate the craftmanship that goes into them first hand.

I’m loving the alternative style of Fabulously Fierce, she creates just the kind of things I love to decorate my kitchen in. I’m also thinking I really need a set of those Halloween hand towels right about now…

Starting your own business may seem like a big step, but these days with amazing sites like Etsy, Artfire and others, you don’t have to quit your day job and throw yourself into business school. You can start slow, open an online store, and who knows where you could go from there? These Urban Entrepreneurs will show you just what it’s like.

Do you use Urban Threads designs to create one of a kind products? Want to see your story or your store featured here? 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!