Monday, October 19, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Rachel from Kick Ass Crafts Shop

Today I have the pleasure of featuring Rachel from Kick Ass Crafts Shop (best name ever!)!  This mama has made Lemon's birthday posters for the past three years, I just love her designs!  I randomly found her on Etsy and I'm so happy we remained in touch over the years, she is awesome!

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you? 

My shop is Kick Ass Crafts Shop. I would say it all started with Pinterest - I would post photos of (in my opinion) "kick ass" crafts I had made, but wouldn't link them to anything, which turns out is not super helpful to others. So, I started a blog and would use it to detail what I created, and link to my Pinterest posts. Once I decided to open a shop, I continued on with the name; it made life a little easier!  You can also find me on Instagram and Facebook.  

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop. 

I design and sell printable/digital files, mostly for parties and events: invitations, thank you cards, first birthday posters, favor tags, banners, etc. Basically, anything you can upload and have printed at a local printing shop or at home I can design. I've done a lot of custom artwork matching different party themes, colors, and ideas that clients have. While I do a lot of work through Etsy, a significant amount of my orders also come word-of-mouth through my local community (read: mom-friends). 

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

When my good friend Meg's son was turning 1, she ordered a first birthday chalkboard poster from another shop online, but was nervous she wouldn't have it in time for his one-year photo shoot. I took a look at what she ordered and told her I would give it a shot, designing it myself, just in case it became crunch-time and was stuck. She did end up getting her poster on time, but she and I were pretty impressed with what I came up with on the spot. My friends pushed and supported me in taking the leap and opening up my own shop, and I'm thankful that they did.  

How long have you been in business?

Kick Ass Crafts Shop has been in business a little over two years. I designed Meg's son's poster in May of 2012. I continued to do some design work for friends and family for the next year, and then it wasn't until May of 2013 that I officially opened up shop. Business has continued to grow and I'm having a lot of fun with it!

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I went to The College of New Jersey, majored in Psychology and minored in Spanish. I was interested in the medical field, so all of my electives were in the sciences. My full-time job is with a private biotech company, and I've been with them for just about 11 years. Art and my creative side always showed in my hobbies (scrapbooking, taking photos, interior decorating, crocheting, painting, etc.) so opening the shop helps off-set the technical and scientific side of my daily routine at work.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

My husband and I have known each other 13 years, married for 3, and we have two little ones: Brayden is 6, just started Kindergarten and Brooklyn is 1, she is in daycare. The two of them are pretty adorable together: he is a big helper with his sister for the most part, unless it has anything to do with sharing his toys!

How does this company help your family?  Or you?

Having a little side business certainly helps with all of the extracurricular activities with the kids. Not so much Brooklyn right now since she's still young, but if Brayden had his way he'd be signed up for every sports league in town. So financially, it definitely helps the family.

But for me, I really enjoy designing and making the items. Clients are so thrilled with what they purchased and a lot of times will come back to tell me how their parties went and share photos - so I really enjoy that positive feedback. Having kids, so much of your life's focus becomes centered around them so it's nice to have a little niche of my own that's just for me.

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?

I don't think I ever pictured this shop exactly, but I always knew I'd do something in the creative arts field - even if it was just for fun. I grew up with my mom creating, drawing, sewing, etc. so it just comes natural to have that type of environment for my children as well. 

Does anyone help you with your shop?

I design all the items in my shop. I don't have anyone working under me or anything like that. With all of my items being digital files, I don't have to worry about the shipping aspect of the shop. The turn-over process is fairly quick. Depending on the number of orders I have going on at once I can usually have a proof turned around within a few days, if not sooner. 

I do however have a group of supportive friends that are pushing and promoting my shop, and I'll also run some new designs by them to see their thoughts before posting to the shop. 

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 

When the kids are in bed for the night, or down for naps - I'll break out the laptop and design. Working off a laptop, I can usually squeeze in design work anywhere. So, there is not a set schedule for me - if I find 15 minutes throughout the day, I'm using it!

What do you love about this businesses?

I love what I know the products are being used for - I'm big on entertaining and throwing parties. It's a time for friends and loved ones to get together, spend some real face-to-face time together, and make memories. So, when someone buys a party invitation, some favor tags, etc. I am excited for them to throw this party and I'm helping to make it special. Same with the birthday chalkboard posters; most people will have them displayed at their child's party, but then they also keep them in their little one's baby book or framed on their bedroom wall: I love that! 

What is the most challenging part of this business?

I think the most challenging part of the business is time management and how to prioritize your time. My family comes first, and sometimes that means a completely full schedule on the weekends. At the same time, I want to be able to turn around orders quickly. So, sometimes it just takes some ability to be flexible and moving things around to get it all done.

Where do you see your shop in the future?

I see myself continuing with the shop, creating new designs and working with customers and their specific needs. I'm also open to some freelance design work, which I've done in the past and had some positive experience with.

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

The first item I ever added to the shop was the First Birthday Chalkboard Poster, and because of that it will always be my favorite. It's special to the client, it's fun to design, and it's a keepsake. 
Generally speaking though, my most favorite thing to design is custom work. Once I design, for example, an invite for the shop, it becomes a template where I can just switch out party info. With custom work I can start from scratch, using some info from the customer (colors, theme, etc.) and create something new and fresh. 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

If you are creating items in your spare time or have a great idea for something to make and sell, by all means - open a shop! Opening a shop on Etsy was so easy, honestly anyone could do it - and there are so many places to find answers to any questions you have. I happened to know someone else who had an Etsy shop, and just after chatting with her for a bit I got a feel for what to do. I have yet to meet a fellow mom-entrepreneur that is not super helpful, so be sure to network and pick their brains!

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?

If I see someone on Instagram promoting a shop, I'm interested. I'll check out what they're making, their followers, etc. and will most likely buy something just to show support - I know how hard it can be.

Of the shops I have ordered from, I really like:
Homemade dolls from Sew DarlingAshley made an adorable custom doll to look like Brooklyn for Christmas. Brookie loves it!

Custom bridesmaids robes from Silk and More, I ordered these in all different colors for my bridal party and all the women attending my destination wedding. I still use mine and cherish it! The selection of fabrics to choose from is quite extensive. 

Flower lace crowns from Brooke Lynn Collections (formerly Olivia Ann Collections), Brooklyn wore the Royalty crown with pink flowers for her first birthday. It came in an adorable little box in which I can save it. 

Shirts from Sevenly, for every purchase made, a donation is made to a designated charity. I wear my "Be-You-Tiful" shirt all the time; it's SO soft and comfortable. 

Thank you Rachel, I loved learning more about you and your shop!

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