An interview with Kay Spallinger.
HER ROLE: Seamstress and Etsy shop owner.
1. What kinds of things do you make?
I make purses, diaper bags, computer bags. Iíve gotten into making aprons now. I did a his-and-her apron set for a shower gift, and since then Iíve made several more. I do jewelry travel bags. I recently started to make seat pillows for children. I sell them on Etsy since people are looking for them for vacation.
2. When did your sewing go from hobby to business?
Letís see, it started a few years ago. My daughter came home with a bag someone gave her. My daughter-in-law really liked it, and she said I could make that. She bought the material, so I made it. She wanted a bag for her cricket machine; she does a lot of scrapbooking. I sewed a lot, but I had never done anything without a pattern. So I made a pattern, and I made the bag, and it worked out. Other people saw and asked me to make them bags. It just blossomed from there.
3. How did you get started on Etsy?
My daughter-in-law Ė the same one I made the bag for Ė she told me about it. I opened a shop (online) a few years ago, and I sold some. I have been getting orders, not as many on Etsy as just word of mouth, but itís growing. I made bags for one woman in Australia and another woman in Great Britain. Mostly, I put down I will custom-make bags. That works best.
4. Can you explain how Etsy works?
Itís a website where people sell homemade or vintage things. Each person owns a shop on the Etsy site. A person can look randomly, or they can search for specific items. The site then pulls up all the shops that have that type of item. You can like a certain shop and follow it. Every time you post something to sell, it costs 20 cents. Itís no real expense for me. Of course, if someone buys an item, you have to repost it. Like if I sell one bag, even if it is custom made, I have to repost that item again in my shop.
5. What are the benefits of going through Etsy?
Well, itís easy for me if someone says they like an item, I can tell them to go to Etsy and order. Thatís especially helpful for those that donít live around here. My daughter has friends in Tennessee, and it makes it easy for them to order a bag. Most people want to know if you are online. Iím also on Facebook, and Etsy connects with Facebook.
6. Are there any drawbacks?
Not that I can tell so far. Itís very convenient and easier than setting up your own site, and you donít have the expense of maintaining your own website.
7. Whatís your advice to those whoíd like to sell their own handmade items?
My cousin makes quilts, and I suggested to her to do her own Etsy shop. Itís very easy.
8. How many items do you sell a month?
Itís picked up lately, so probably about three a week, so maybe 10 to 14 items a month. Some of the jewelry bags sold for Motherís Day on Etsy. Things a little cheaper sell faster on there.
9. How many hours a week do you work?
It depends on what Iím working on, but probably around 20 to 25 hours.
10. What do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy sewing, and I like the quick turnaround on these items and seeing the finished project. I enjoy making things people really enjoy. If you make a quilt, that takes a long time, but if I make a purse, I can have that done in maybe a day.