Friday, October 30, 2009

Holiday Shopping Guide - Eco Chic Hand Knits

 Eco Chic Hand Knits was recently featured on the front page of Etsy!  Barbara's beautiful hand knit bowls and facial scrubbies would make the perfect gift, especially for those hard to shop for friends.  All of the yarn used in her products is 100% cotton, and environmentally friendly.  In fact, even her packaging, business cards, and thank you cards are made from recycled materials. 

How did you get started crafting?
I have always loved crafting ever since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories were that I would always sleep over my aunts house and each time we would do a different craft (actually the same at my grandmothers as well). In my family on our birthdays we always got to choose one store we wanted to go to...mine was ALWAYS the craft store. I loved the fact that I could create things myself. I've tried many different crafts over the years and still love finding new ones! I started knitting about 6 years ago now, teach myself from a book and some help from the internet. Soon after that I learned crocheting as well (again from a book/internet) and I've really enjoyed them the most, although I still do other crafts frequently.

Why did you decide on Eco Chic Hand Knits for your business?

In my store I only use 100% organic cotton yarn. I have been trying to adopt a greener way of life and when I started my store I knew I really wanted to stick to that philosophy as well. In addition to the organic yarn (I am also looking into a wonderful yarn that's made recycled cotton) all of my packaging material, business and thank you cards are made from recycled materials hence the Eco part of the name. As far as chic I think my items are, do you? And even though at the moment all of my items are crocheted, I have a lot of other products that I want to add as well some of which will be hand knit and I thought hand knits sounded better then hand crochets.

Do you have a muse?
I would say my muse is just that I create my items based on things that I need to use and want and also focus on replacing things that can be thrown away with those that can be reused. After I get some more bowls on my site I plan to start making some coster sets (rather then using a napkin under your drink) as well as some washcloths (replacing paper towels) and face scrubbies (replacing cotton balls/tissues/etc.) just to start with. I feel as though I cant crochet/knit fast enough for all of my ideas right now.

Do you take custom orders?
I am very enthusiastic to welcome any and all custom orders or special requests. There are many different color combinations that I can create with the organic yarns I use (currently 14 different colors which can be seen in the chart in the welcome section of my store), and it is almost impossible for me to create listings for all of them. I also love hearing ideas that customers have for other products, etc. These are the people I am aiming to please and I think its very important to listen to their voices.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I usually wake up a couple of times during the night because I'm not a good sleeper and check my IPhone each time to see if I have any new sales or convos. I am still very new to Etsy and I would say I stalk my store a little bit haha. When I actually wake up for the day I check my store on the computer (even if I had checked it an hour ago while still in bed). I work as a secretary with my mom for my parent's family owned business so I get up and get dressed and head off to work. My laptop comes with me and I actually get to check out my store and the forums a little while I'm at work. I always try to get back to customers as soon as I can. 

After work I come home (sometimes I run to the store before this if I need some more yarn) and get started making my bowls. My store has only been open about a month so far and I'm really working hard at getting my inventory up and creating/listing bowls in all of the colors I have to offer so that people can actually see them photographed and not just as a color chip. My boyfriend usually comes home soon after and gives me that look like ahhh more bowls!!! I think he gets a little jealous at times but he has actually been really supportive and puts up very well with the non stop Etying and crocheting. I usually do this as well as promote on the forums and return convos until I can't stay awake anymore and wake up the next morning to do it all again. Of course there are exceptions, I go out and spend time with friends and family, grab dinner and drinks, etc. but most days this is what I do.

Where would you like to go with your business?
I would LOVE to have a steady stream of orders and customers to keep me very busy, and to keep expanding my product line as mentioned and think of even more products in the future.

What is one strange or funny thing you'd like to share with us?
Hmm...this is tough. I think this is quite funny. The very first set of these bowls that I made was for my mother as a birthday present in the beginning of September. I had made her the large and small size nesting bowls but never the medium. I ran out of time before her birthday (I also made her 3 batches of cookies from scratch that took much longer then I thought), but needless to say is now almost November and I've sold a bunch of sets to customers and she still hasn't gotten that bowl haha. I'm hoping to find some time between now and Christmas ; )

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