Sunday, August 5, 2012

The Handmade Entrepreneur

I am so excited about this next post!! With it I am unveiling a new series of posts entitled "The Handmade Entrepreneur" that will profile crafty/handmade businesses and their owners. It's a project I have been thinking about doing for a while now and finally got around to making happen. I love hearing the stories behind people's creative endeavors and the lessons they learned along the way. In all honesty this series is just as much for my own edification as it is for my readers' enjoyment! ;)

First up is Kate Gabrielle from Flapperdoodle!! I fell in love with her flapper drawings and doodles when I discovered them on Etsy. Check out the interview below!! 

8x10 Print - Unlike Eloise, Ramona Has Mastered the Hula Hoop

1. What inspired you to start your craft/handmade business?

I wanted to be an artist ever since I was a little kid, scribbling with crayons and immersing myself in kids books about famous artists like Picasso and Pollock. Somewhere along the way I realized I have neither the talent, nor the stomach for constant rejection, to pursue a career as an honest-to-goodness artist, so I adapted my dreams a bit. Now I'm perfectly happy making a living selling my doodles and things with my doodles printed on them!

2. Is this a full time or part time endeavor for you and why?

This is my full time job, actually! It's so very wonderful to be able to do what you love for a living... I'm a lucky duck!

3. What financial advice would you give to those just starting their small business?

To each their own, but personally I wouldn't take out any loans unless you need some really expensive machinery or supplies that you couldn't afford otherwise. I've built my business on its own success... I never spend more than I bring in, and I've never used credit cards or loans. I also put aside a nice chunk of my income just in case my good luck comes to a sudden halt!

Customized Bridesmaid Pendant Keepsake

4. How do you keep yourself motivated during slow sales and setbacks?

Honestly, I fret about slow sales spurts more than I should. I try to use that time to create new products, take new photographs, draw, etc. but it can be really tough. When you have a handmade business, dry spells not only bruise your ego but they directly affect whether or not you can pay the bills. The main thing to remember is that dry spells are just that -- spells. They go away, sales come back and things get steady again. When things are bad I'll usually try to look at my sales statistics from the last few years, to remind myself that this has happened before and I usually bounce back.

5. Where do you work? An office/studio away from home? In home studio?
I work in my bedroom, actually! It's a small space -- 11 feet by 11 feet -- but it works for me!

Kate's gorgeous bedroom/studio. See more pics here.

6. What, in particular, do you love about your craft/product that drew you to begin producing it?
I've always loved drawing, and I've always had the urge to share when I draw something new. So I guess it was natural that I'd end up with an etsy shop after I started drawing my flappers! :) I really love every medium that I've tried so far, and I keep trying to incorporate all of that into my shop. Whether it's jewelry making, embroidery or painting, I keep getting that urge to share it!

7. What does running your own small business mean to you?
Honestly, the main reason that I love my business is that it lets me make my own schedule and spend more time with my cats. I have one cat, Hypatia, who isn't the healthiest of cats... and I'll always be grateful that my business has allowed me the opportunity to have her sitting by my side while I work, day after day. I know it's corny, but if I had a regular job I'd have to say goodbye to her for 8 hours a day and that would just break my heart!

8. Do you have any formal training or previous experience that helped you in establishing your handmade business?
I don't have any formal training, but my parents have owned their own business since the late 1970's, so I grew up in a small-business atmosphere. The idea of self-employment always appealed to me, since it's all I knew as a kid. 

2013 Wall Calendar

9. Anything else you'd like readers to know about your business? 
I can't think of anything else! :)

Check out Kate's Etsy shop and blog! She's got great taste and style!!

Thanks again Kate for being the first handmade entrepreneur in my little series!! 


  1. Kate is so talented! Love the Flapper Doodle shop! :)

  2. I love Kate's blog and her flapperdoodle designs! Great interview!

    the lemonade stand

  3. Loved reading through this interview. I'm excited about this series!
    Catherine Denton

  4. So glad you all enjoyed it!! Kate is indeed talented!!

  5. that was thoroughly inspiring. makes me wanna get creative!