Sunday, July 19, 2015

Organic baby carrier drool pads = Etsy madness!

You may recall that I posted a couple of months ago about my very first Etsy sale. My friend Lindsay had ordered a custom essential oil zip pouch, which finally gave me the motivation to get off my butt and cross off one of my 2015 goals: to open my Etsy shop. I've been sewing and selling things here and there for years, but never through any formal channels. It's always been friends or friends-of-friends who know that I quilt and sew, and ask if I can make x, y, or z for them. I've been commissioned to sew baby quilts, t-shirt quilts, memory quilts, Easter baskets, custom crib bumper pads, crib chew guards... the list goes on. If it's made from fabric, chances are I've been asked to sew it. But I've always meant to set up an Etsy shop, at least so that when people ask if I have any quilts in stock I'll have somewhere to direct them with photos, ordering info, etc.

So - since Lindsay lives in Toronto and I'd have to ship her bag anyway, I figured she might as well pay me through Etsy and be my first official customer. That was on May 1. Once I had my shop set up, a friend of hers ordered a similar bag: two sales! Then, I added something I'd sewn for myself and found useful, that I thought maybe a handful of other people might like, too: organic cotton drool pads for baby carriers (such as Ergobaby, Lillebaby, Tula, Beco...). And... BOOM! - commence Etsy shop madness. I listed my first set of drool pads on May 30, and just over a month later I'd averaged a sale a day. Everything I've made for my shop has sold out, and I've also had a ton of custom orders, including for organic cotton drool pads, drool bibs for Lillebaby and Beco carriers, organic cotton and wood teething rings... and I've even sold one quilt with a custom order for a second. With life getting busy this summer, I've had to put my shop on "Vacation Mode" to catch up on orders and have a bit of a break!

Organic baby carrier drool pads and matching organic cotton and wood teething ring

Honestly, I had zero expectations that anybody would find my shop or listings on Etsy and buy them out of the blue. As I said, I'd imagined that my Etsy shop could serve as an online storefront for people that I knew or local customers who heard about me through word-of-mouth. And I've heard that it can be really tough to break into the Etsy marketplace without doing some serious hustling, which just isn't my style. So I've been pleasantly shocked and totally humbled that anybody wants to buy things from my little shop!

I think my favourite part of Etsy Madness 2015 has been connecting with customers from all over North America - most often mamas like myself - and helping them choose exactly what they're looking for, and then hearing that they're happy with what I've made for them. Every one of my customers has been incredibly lovely!

Organic cotton drool pads lined with super soft unbleached organic cotton flannel

In just over a month of Etsy selling I've already learned a few things (with much more still to learn). When I open up my shop again (in early August) I'm going to adjust the ratio of custom listings to ready-to-ship items. While I love offering custom listings, it also stresses me out just a bit when a custom order comes in and I have to make it right away. Even though I state a production time of 1-2 weeks, it's just my personality that if I have an order, it'll bug me until I get it done. With lots of custom orders coming in, that means a bit of stress and frantic sewing to get them all fulfilled. If I stick with more ready-to-ship items than custom, I'll get to sew when I have time and feel excited instead of stressed when I get an order.

Organic drool pads in action on my Ergobaby carrier (with a sweet little curly-haired model along for the ride!)

So... what are drool pads, you ask? I use mine on my Ergobaby carrier every day - they are an essential babywearing accessory, in my experience. They keep the straps of my carrier clean and protect them from the inevitable drool that comes when baby chews and sucks on them (why does every baby chew on their carrier straps?). When they're wet or drooly, I just snap them off and toss them in the wash, and voila - clean carrier, no need to wash it, and something fresh and clean for baby to chew on. I have two sets on the go at all times: one on my carrier and one in the wash! They give her something safe, clean, and organic to chew on, and give me peace of mind. Plus, don't they look cute? I just love the organic cotton fabrics that I've been able to buy to sew these.

Organic cotton drool pads for sale in my Etsy shop

I've always said that I'll only make and sell things that I would make and use myself, and these organic drool pads are a perfect example. I love mine, and so I'm thrilled to be able to make these fun little accessories to make babywearing easier and more fun for mamas (and dads) everywhere. As Etsy Madness continues, I'll be sure to update on lessons learned and new items on offer!
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