Back again for another edition of Urban Entrepreneurs, 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 crafty seller is the lovely Paulette, a machine embroiderer working in New York City and owner of Etsy store Dahlia Soleil. Paulette has been working to expand the embroidery market for African American people so she can see more images and designs that reflect her and her daughter, a gap she found in the stitchy world that she intends to fill.
She’s constantly honing her digitizing skills creating her own embroidery designs as well as using Urban Threads in her work. As a rare mix of classic UT stitcher and self-made digitizer, we decided we had to share some of her work as well as the awesome things she’s made using Urban Threads. She joined us to share a little of what her journey has been like…
What started you into embroidery?
I started in machine embroidery because it seemed like a niche market. Not many people were doing it so it seemed like a great field to jump into and create some unique products.
Where did you first find Urban Threads?
Back in 2009 I was searching for cool designs and Urban Threads was the only embroidery designs website that seemed cool and modern and creative!
What made you take the plunge into starting your own store?
I was selling my creations at outdoor markets in New York City and a lot of tourists from overseas and other US states wanted another way to continue to buy from me. Selling online was the best way for me to offer them my work in a setting that was easy to view and buy and ship to them.
What kinds of folks are your customers? Who do you hope to cater to?
My customers are mostly women or men buying gifts for the women in their lives. I hope to fill the hole missing in the embroidery world of images of black/African/African-American people.
I want my daughter Dahlia to see an image that looks like her and myself in the embroidery world. My store is special because it combines crocheting and embroidery … two crafts that are timeless and beautiful. Passed on from generation to generation.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since you began?
The biggest lessons I’ve learned since I began selling online is … great photographs matter!
Since the customer cannot reach out and touch my embroidered pieces, taking a great photograph is the next best thing. And I’ve learned that people really appreciate artists and want to support small businesses like mine.
Where would you like to see your shop in one year? Any fun stuff planned for the future?
In one year I plan to buy another embroidery machine and I hope my shop has about 1000 items in it. I’m really excited to go back to college this year to get a bachelor’s degree in business management. It’s important for us artists to master the art of making things AND the art of running a business.
It’s inspiring to see a crafter spot a gap in the market and work hard to try and fill it. It’s exactly how Urban Threads got started! With Paulette’s determination and crafty skill I know Dahlia Soleil will continue to craft up great things, and find a whole new market for the world of machine embroidery.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with a link to your store/website or attach sample photos, and you could be featured!