Okay, i am beyond excited about Meg's animal clutches!! Meg's shoppe, Tsurbride is where she sells her sweet leather animal bags and wallets. Her husband is also an artist, so make sure to check out his Etsy too!!
*How long have you been crafting?
My mom first taught me how to sew when I was 7 years old, so it's been about 20 years now. I started by making some pretty terrible looking clothes for my Barbie dolls. Eventually, after much guidance I got better and ended up going to college for fashion design. Since I graduated I've been working a technical designer for various fashion brands (it's sort of like being an engineer but for clothes). Once I started working I put my sewing on the back burner, but my step-daughter got my going again when she asked me to make some clothes for her Bratz dolls. Once I started back up I couldn't stop!
*Did you always craft in this genre?
Pretty much. I always like to dabble in different things though such as photography, painting, and even jewelry making - my mother-in-law taught me how, and it was with the jewelry I made that I first started my Etsy store. I have a blog where I like to post the crafty things my husband and I get up to: www.tsurubride.com.
*Who or what inspires you?
I come from a very artistic family. Both my grandmothers were big sewers, my brother and I would always draw cartoons or build things growing up, and my mother has always inspired me through her endless encouragement. Now my husband inspires me too. He was the one who really pushed me into started my own business and is always doing what he can to help me out. Coco Chanel was one of my early inspiration, her start as a millener to one of the greatest fashion houses - a real rag to riches story - and while my aspirations have never been that lofty, it can't help but move you and make you try your best.
*What defining moment made you decide to turn your hobby into a business?
As I started above, my husband was always encouraging me to grown my hobby. With the purses, they just kinda started taking off on their own. First one friend wanted one, then another. I would go out on the town on the weekends, and people would ask me where I got my purse from, and after enough requests I realized that maybe I could expand my hobby into more. It's been a gradual transition, starting the business as made to order, but now I'm trying to create stock and apply to some craft shows.
*What changes were made to your regular schedule to make this go from a hobby to a business?
I still work full time but my nights and weekends have definitely gotten busier! Some of the steps I can do just chilling out watching TV, like tracing out patterns and cutting out fabric, and then I try to set aside some nights and weekend hours to just sewing. Things are moving at a good pace for me though: time to work, time to craft, and time to relax. It's a healthy balance.
* You have an amazing talent, with great product! What do you find is the best way to market yourself?
Thanks so much! I'm still starting out so my marketing will need to continue to grow as I do. Word of mouth is still a big part of my business, my blog attracts some traffic, and every now and then I'll buy a showcase on Etsy. My biggest marketing force is my husband. He also has a blog that talks about music (www.tsururadio.com) and he gets a lot of traffic. He has a ad for my blog, and he always talks about me in posts, and he's also a member of a number of forums that he uses to pimp out my shop. He's a marvel. I also find always carrying my product is a simple and free form of marketing. Whether I'm out during the week with my tote, or out at night with a clutch, you never know who might stop you and ask you where you got it. I always carry business cards, just in case. I've also just joined an Etsy Street Team for Columbus, who are all about cross-promoting, and who are also just a great group of people.
*What challenges have you found while taking your craft into the business world?
I think the hardest thing is having people place value on the idea of something being homemade. People don't always realize the time that goes into something, and so they expect to be able to get your product on the cheap. I have had a couple offers for wholesale, but the asking rate is so low that it would just cover my cost of materials, and forget about labor! There's also cold calling on stores, asking if they're interested in your product, it's never an easy thing to do, and I can get stage fright sometimes.
*If someone from out of town were visitng you, what key places would you bring them to?
(galleries, coffee shops, parks, museums, etc)
The Short North area for sure. It's just North of the downtown core and filled with great galleries, restaurants and shops. I've always lived close by the area since I moved to Columbus and whether I'm walking there or biking there I love having such a great little area close by. I also love the Topiary Garden - they're sculptures are a representation of Georges Seurat's painting "A Sunday On The Island Of La Grande Jatte" -- makes for some great photos!
Whether your an animal fan or not, you'll surely love these fun bags! So head over to Meg's etsy to see her sweet treats!