Mousewife Knits and Yarnables Interview

Hannah, or you may know her as Mousewife joined Etsy late October of 2008. She makes her home in Ontario Canada. She first found Etsy much the same way I did by wandering around the internet in search of fiber. Etsy presented itself as a great place for her to create her own shop where she sells hand-spun yarn and crocheted children's wear.

My personal favorite is this fantastic plushy looking blanket (sorry, she's keeping the bear). It wouild make a perfect babys first snuggle blanket at a petite 24 inches square.

Following is Hannahs interview:

Do you have a day job, if so what do you do?
Nope, this is it for me.

Where is your studio space?
I work anywhere and everywhere I go. I have a big purse that I can carry small crochet projects in, and little bits of crochet or knitting follow me around the house. Mostly, though, my spinning is done in the living room by the TV.

Do you belong to any Etsy teams?
Yes! I belong to the Etsy Fiber Arts Street Team

How did you begin creating?
I just did. Like everything I do, I decided I wanted to learn, sat down, and taught myself. I learn mostly from books. I have never taken a lesson in any of my crafts. I prefer to learn and practice until everything clicks and I get it.

Why do you enjoy creating?
I love the meditative quality of spinning. It's one of the most relaxing things I have ever learned. I get an amazing sense of accomplishment out of making things. That feeling is doubled, though, when I finish a skein of yarn. When that skein is done, it is wholley my creation. I took a piece raw, dirty fleece and turned it into something beautiful and knittable.

How long does it take you to create a piece?
It depends on the piece. Anywhere from an hour to a few days.

When do you do most of your creating?
I'm most productive mid-afternoon. However, I have a very portable art and so tend to be productive whenever I have to sit for more than 5 minutes at a stretch.

What is your most popular item in your shop?
I have a blue yarn that has a lot of views and a lot of favs.

Any tips or advice you can give others who are new to Etsy?
Be patient! Don't be surprised or upset if it takes a few weeks, or even a few months to get that first sale. The more people you talk to, the more you will realize that it really does take time.

What do you do to promote your shop?
I hang out in the chat rooms and join groups like the Awesome Chicks of Etsy. Also, I talk to people. I always have at least 10 business cards with me when I leave the house. People are inclined to notice and comment when you do your crafting (like knitting or crochet) in a public place. I usually get asked what I am making, and I will tell them, then tell them that it is for my store. That gets their interest and as we engage in conversation, out comes a business card.
Another way of promoting is to get into venues like craft fairs, fall sales, and mom-to-mom sales. Figure out who your audience is and find them in your community.

What is your favorite part of being a member of Etsy?
The people are wonderful. The look of my store has changed a bit as other members have so thoughtfully offered objective feedback on how it feels to them.
How do you balance your business work with creating and home life?
To-do lists. Every Sunday afternoon I make a plan for the coming week. Monday I will vacuum, Tuesday I do laundry, Wednesday is my bathroom-cleaning day, Thursday I do the kitchen, Friday is my day for me. I make a list of the non-business tasks that have to get done and assign them to a day. My social life goes on this list, too.

Any organization tips?
Not really. I'm not very organized. If you start out organized, though, it's easier to stay organized in the long run.

What inspires you?
Anything can inspire me. Right now, I am working on a series of hand-dyed yarn in honour of one of my favourite TV shows. There will be 9 different colours, each named after a character from the show.

Do you have any favorite Etsy shops other than your own?
A few. Feel free to check out my Favourites in my store.

What are some future goals that you have pertaining to your Etsy business?
I would like to earn enough this year to justify registering for some of the big (expensive) craft fairs in my area. The One-Of-A-Kind craft show is my ultimate goal. It may take me a few years to get there, though.
Thanks Hannah for being a member of the Awesome Chicks of Etsy. Hannah also has a blog at livejournal for everyone to check out, and she twitters too!


Diamondaj said...

That blanket looks so snuggly : )

Happy Cloud Moments said...

Looking at that yarn makes me wish I can knit!

JuliaA said...

i will keep repeating to myself...i am on a yarn diet. i have lots of yarn stash. oh yes i do.

because the yarn, it makes me drool.

mousewife, are you on ravelry? i've gotten a lot of business from there, and i sell earrings! the yarn sellers have a natural market there of knit and crochet addicts. besides marketing, it's a wonderful site overall, in far too many ways to list!

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