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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your store, website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!