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