Archive for the ‘Urban Entrepreneurs’ Category

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!

 

Urban Entrepreneurs – 13 Days Embroidery

Welcome to 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 an adorable new feature from 13 Days Embroidery today that will totally make you squee with joy.

Are you prepared for the cute overload?

13 Days Embroidery is the home biz of stay at home mum Kris, who discovered her love of embroidery after her little ones were born. Kris joins us today to talk a little bit about her growing business and how it all started…

                                                                                                                                      photos: Kimberly Card

What started you into embroidery?

When my daughter was born in 2007, I received a set of personalized, embroidered burp cloths from my sister.  That is how I discovered what machine embroidery was and that you could *gasp* get a home machine that could work this magic!  My friend and I bought one together and I just went with it, even though I had never sewn a thing in my life.

Several years later, my in-laws bought a commercial machine for use with their small advertising/promotional products business.  When I learned how to use it, I got stars in my eyes and the door of possibilities just opened up. 

Where did you first find Urban Threads?

I’m not exactly sure how I came across UT, it was probably a google search for goth-inspired embroidery designs.  But I do remember very clearly what a revelation it was.  I had quickly bored of the traditional monogramming and personalization type projects, and UT designs opened up a whole new world. 

They were like nothing I had ever seen on embroidery design sites.  The designs were modern and featured motifs and genres that were my style.  Behold, embroidery could be cool! 

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

I have been a stay at home mom since my oldest was born, and I have never liked any job that I have ever had.  There’s the saying “do what you love,” and I just didn’t know what I loved!  But I have always had an appreciation for art, yet no real artful ability, per se.  I discovered that this was my medium! 

I really enjoyed the rush of trying out something new, and it actually turning out good.  There is a creative art to embroidery … finding awesome images and interesting ways of displaying them.  And I really do love it! 

I had been personalizing and making gifts for my family and friends for several years, and have gotten a lot of great feedback.  Just this past summer, I decided to take some of the designs I liked the best, put them on sample items and create an etsy shop.   Sales have grown slowly but steadily since then.  It has been very exciting and fun for me!  The response has really pushed me forward and inspired me.  

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

My etsy shop right now is comprised mainly of items for babies.  My two little ones are my main inspiration, so it follows that when I see a cool design, I think, how would that look on a baby bodysuit or child’s shirt?  (Also, the little bodysuits are more readily available to me than anything else.)   But honestly, the designs I have used on baby items just seem to beg for it! 

As soon as I saw that spork image, I knew exactly what I would do with it!  To me, it is a no brainer.  I look for designs that I would buy on clothing for my own kids, and hope someone else would as well.  For most items, I also offer to personalize with a child’s name and many moms like that.  And I totally get it.  Mommies love to see their sweet angel’s name on things. 

Around the same time that I started my etsy shop, I started selling baby/child items in two different children’s consignment boutiques in my area.  I also do personalization on bags/purses, various designs on adult shirts, and have just started doing some commercial orders as well.  So my embroidery work is all over the board. 

A recent fun project was putting the Girl Power breast cancer ribbon UT image on some running shirts for some awesome ladies running in a breast cancer half marathon.  I love to be a part of things like that! 

 

I hear you have a good story behind your store name. Tell us a bit about it.

My husband and I were born 13 days apart in the same year, same hospital.  It just seems so serendipitous, that we both decided that if either one of us started a business, we would use the name.  I beat him to the punch! :)

What kind of customer do you cater to?

I think for now my target customers are moms from my generation that want to express an offbeat and modern type of style when dressing their child.  Because, let’s face it … until your child reaches a certain age, what they wear is an expression of your own personal style. I have found a bit of a niche with mommies of little boys, because there is a gap in availability of cute boutique type items for boys versus girls.  Considering my youngest is a boy, I am drawn to many boyish designs, and have received quite a response to them. 

But it’s hard to pick a specific market because one of the things I like best about embroidery is the completely customizable nature of it.  The ability to create something for virtually anyone!  I enjoy all the projects that fall in to my lap. 

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

There have been so many!  Keeping an eye on the machine is a big thing.  Making sure the design fits your hoop!  (which is a huge issue for me, considering the commercial machine does not have standard hoop sizes)  Picking images that are appropriate for the item you are using them on is a biggie as well. 

I have learned that delicate, simple images with a low stitch count are usually going to work best on baby clothing.  You don’t want images getting too stiff, instead you want them to move with the wearer.    I have also learned to accept challenging custom orders, because it will always be a learning experience. 

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

I would love to add more different types of items to my etsy shop for kids and adults.  My UT design collection is quite large and I have many ideas for them!  As of late, I am really into discovering and trying out “in the hoop” designs (the mustache photo props were so much fun!), so I would love to do more things like that.   Also, I plan to do several craft fairs in my area in the coming spring/summer months. 

I would love to learn how to use the digitizing software that came along with the commercial machine too, but that is further down the road.  Who knows where that could take me!  I honestly can’t wait to show myself what I can do. I just need more hours in the day to create and plan my world domination via embroidery.  But for now, etsy, boutique consignment shops, and a few craft fairs will do.

The ultimate goal is to create a career for myself – to “do what I love” and make a real income at it.  That’s the dream, right?! 

I think Kris has truly captured a magically playful side with her embroidery, and her models are just too cute! It shows you that embroidery can still be totally adorable yet modern. Who wouldn’t want a spork bib for their little one? I think it beats plain ol’ teddy bears any day.

Want to grab some goods for your kiddo? Check out her etsy shop for more fun!

 

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 – 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!