Looking to find encouragement from another shop owner running a business part time and raising a family full time? Ashley from neauveau fiber art is joining us on the blog today to share about her experience running a Big Cartel shop and a blog and raising her son.
Tell us about yourself and shop
My name is Ashley Martineau and I’m a stay at home mom and fiber artist. I used to run my business full time, but have recently started running it part time as my son Sam requires my full time attention. I enjoy spinning yarn, dyeing fiber, and marketing – so playing with these hobbies during his naptimes helps me feel balanced. I don’t have any employees, just myself, and I currently sell fiber for other artists to spin into yarns, knitting patterns, and video tutorials.
You wrote a book about Spinning and Dyeing Yarn?
Writing a book was certainly an adventure! I started planning the outline when my husband was unemployed, started writing it a week after I found out we were pregnant, photographed the tutorials during my second trimester, and was wrapping up the final edits as I was in the hospital being hooked up to pitocin. It was exciting, stressful, exhilarating, and frustrating. I still have a hard time believing I’m a published author. I’ve gotten such a great response from the book, and I’m so pleased that it is helping other budding artisans explore a hobby that I love. I pre-ordered 100 books and sold them on Big Cartel. When I sold out I simply linked the book to the Amazon listing. Although I was paid to write the book, selling copies ended up not being very profitable (after I paid for the copy, plus shipping to me, plus taxes…I didn’t make that much) so it was fun to ship out 100 autographed copies – but from now on I’ll let Amazon do all that work.
How are you managing to marketing and attract customers?
I do a lot of marketing on Facebook. I also run a blog www.handspunartyarn.com where I post free patterns and tutorials to help educate the fiber community about different ideas I come up with for using art yarns. Right now I stay busy working on patterns and brainstorming new video tutorials. I have a YouTube channel where I upload my videos, and that is where most of my traffic comes from. I also have an ETSY shop where I sell just patterns and tutorials.
Running a business and a family, how do you manage your time and do you have any tips to share?
Setting goals is huge. If you’re thinking of starting a business you really should consider how much time you have to dedicate to it. It will take twice the time you think it will, and you’ll get paid half as much as you hope to get paid. But it’s very rewarding and fun and for a stay at home mom it can help you maintain part of your own identity. Network with other businesses that you enjoy, share as much information for free as possible. Blog about your tips and tricks. Share your creative story, and what you’re working on every week. I’m all about giving back to the creative community that inspires me so much. Don’t be greedy, and don’t consider any idea as your own original idea. The more you try to keep everything a trade secret, the more paranoid you will get and the less joy you will have. Make videos on how you craft, share videos that other people have made that you found helpful. Give stuff away. Be generous, teach others how to do what you do, and enjoy the thrill they get from creating. When you find yourself beginning to lose joy, give yourself a break and reorganize your thoughts.
Here is a very simple checklist for you to think about every week as you find a minute here or a naptime there to get stuff done:
- Share a helpful video tutorial or link on Facebook
- Make something for your shop
- List something in your shop
- Blog about something you’ve made
- Create an album of nature or fashion photos that inspire you
- Pinterest creative ideas to photograph or market your product
- Have a cup of coffee
- Look at other products like yours and see how people are marketing them
- Watch HSN or QVC. Seriously, those people can sell anything.
- Make a list of everything you would like to learn, and work on learning it this year
- Make a list of the projects you are working on and tackle each one at a time
- Simplify, don’t spread yourself too thin.
- Make a “Quit List” of things that are clogging up your creativity and quit them.
- Do what you love today
- Have a cupcake
Make sure to checkout Ashley’s shop and blog. If you found encouragement from this post please let us know in the comments below. And if you want to be featured on the blog in the future just let me know.