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This Week’s Episode
I interviewed Alexandra Tavel, a crochet and knitting maker and designer. Alexandra owns the Etsy shop, Two of Wands. We met up in person in New York City (where we both live) to talk about how she launched her shop, how it became her full time income, and what she enjoys about the platform, as well as other topics related to owning a yarn-based business.
About Alexandra Tavel
Alexandra Tavel earned dual degrees in fashion design and costume construction technology from Indian University. After graduation, she moved to New York City with plans of entering the fashion industry, but she ended up working in a nonprofit organization for 8 years. In late 2013, a series of life changes led to her launching an Etsy shop, Two of Wands, where she sells her finished knit and crocheted projects as well as instant pattern downloads.
You can find Alexandra online at the Two of Wands Etsy shop, on Craftsy, Facebook, Instagram, Kollabora, and Ravelry. You can subscribe to her newsletter here. Additionally, Alexandra was recently profiled here as a Featured Shop on Etsy.
About the Interview
Alexandra talked about how she studyed Etsy’s blogs and newsletters before opening the Two of Wands Etsy shop to sell finished knit and crochet items in November, 2013.
Alexandra’s signature photographic style actually developed by happenstance. After Etsy launched digital downloads, Alexandra read an Etsy Quit Your Day Job post that inspired her to begin to sell her patterns in her shop as well. Alexandra’s designs started with simple design and construction so that she could easily create and finish finished items, but as she began to see her pattern sales allowing her business to scale, she is reconsidering this approach.
In this very conversational interview, we covered a variety of business topics including
- Selling patterns on other platforms, like Ravelry, and the target audiences available on different e-commerce platforms,
- Incorporating mainstream and pop culture ideas into your designs (and keywords) without infringing on the intellectual property of other businesses. (You can hear more about developing an “intellectual property mindset” in this interview with Danielle Chalson.),
- Optimizing workflows, dealing with seasonality, and creating passive income streams for handmade businesses,
- Providing customer service,
- Designing for children, and
- Analyzing website traffic and ordering trends, and using that information for planning.
Now, this interview was recorded several weeks ago before I interviewed Grace Dobush for Episode 28, read Grace’s article in WIRED, “How Etsy Alienated Its Crafters and Lost Its Soul,” and learned about Etsy’s announcement that it filed papers for an Initial Public Offering. If I had a time machine, I would have asked for Alexandra’s feedback on these issues.
My 31 Days to Pod Launch challenge is still going strong! I’ve been releasing an audio file, blog post, and YouTube video daily since March 1. This is my trial by fire on YouTube, and I plan to share what I’ve learned about video production in a future episode. In the meantime, I’d be thrilled if you would check out my new channel on YouTube and subscribe.
I will be presenting at the BlogHer ’15 Conference in New York City along with my friend and fellow solopreneur, Carlota Zimmerman from the Creativity Yenta (who was a guest on Episode 16 and Episode 22). We will be part of a workshop on Friday, July 17, 2015 called Social Media Bootcamp: Lightning Lessons in the Latest: LinkedIn, Google+ Hangouts On Air, and Twitter. If your blog is a major part of your business income (or, you’d like it to be), I hope to see you there! If you haven’t already registered, you can take advantage of our friends and family discount for 30% off the Blogger Rate by registering through this link.
Ijeoma Eleazu, host of the Etsy Conversations Podcast and a guest on Episode 9 of the Creative Yarn Entrepreneur Show, also highlighted the importance of reading the Etsy seller handbook before launching an Etsy shop. Ijeoma’s podcast was recently touted by Etsy as number one in their list of 10 Podcasts to Help Your Business Thrive. Congratulations, Ijeoma!
I’ll also be attending New Media Expo in Las Vegas from April 13-16, 2015. If you’ll be attending, too, let me know because I’d love to meet you there!
Where do you stand on using Etsy for your yarn-related business? Has your opinion changed since Etsy made its IPO announcement? Leave a comment below, Tweet me at @cyeshow, add me to your G+ circle and send me a note, or leave a message at 646-713-8973. (You can call me for free through the Contact page.)
If you enjoyed the show
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