Artwork for podcast Bring Your Product Ideas to Life
Selling handmade items on Etsy – with Dawn Friday
Episode 292nd October 2020 • Bring Your Product Ideas to Life • Vicki Weinberg
00:00:00 00:43:33

Share Episode

Shownotes

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

Dawn Friday uses freehand machine embroidery to create stitched keepsakes and gifts, capturing memories in fabric. She creates and sells beautiful, handmade items.

Listen in to hear Dawn share:

  • An introduction to her business and freehand embroidery (1:00)
  • How she got started and where her business is today (2:25)
  • How she manages making products to order (7:20)
  • Selling on Etsy - why it’s a great platform (10:52)
  • Top tips for selling on Etsy (14:05)
  • Her experience with Amazon Handmade (17:38)
  • Being part of the All By Mama network and the benefits (18:40)
  • Getting commissions through Instagram and Facebook (22:00)
  • Her NHS angels to give back to the NHS Charities Together (24:00)
  • Some of the challenges she’s overcome (30:22)
  • The benefits of being part of a network (34:00)
  • What she loves about running her business (37:50)
  • Her top piece of advice for other makers wanting 

USEFUL RESOURCES:

Girl Friday website

Girl Friday on Instagram

Girl Friday on Facebook

All By Mama membership community

NHS Charities together

LET’S CONNECT

Find me on Instagram

Work with me

Transcripts

tsy - with Dawn Friday INTRO (:

Welcome to the, bring your product ideas to life podcast, practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Hi, welcome to today's episode today. We're speaking to Dawn Friday. So Dawn uses freehand machine embroidery to create stitch keepsakes and gifts to capture memories in fabric under her company, Girl Friday embroidery. So Dawn sells beautiful handmade products, and she's going to talk to us today about that business and how she got started. It's a fantastic conversation and as always, I really hope you enjoy it. So here's Dawn. Hi Dawn. Thank you so much for being here. Could we start by you telling us a bit about your business and what you sell please?

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah, of course. Hello and thanks for having me. So my name is Dawn and I run a product business called Girl Friday embroidery, and I've been working on the business in my home studio for nearly six years now and I make free hand embroidered PCs. And I had only a few. What would sort of explain what free hand embroidery is? Because a lot of people don't really know. No, that's fine. So you've got sort of two main types of embroidery. One is what you would see on average, probably say like towels and bathrobes and things like that. When you have maybe like monogramming done and stuff that's done on like a computerized sort of program machine free hand embroidery is where you use your needle as the pen, basically.

Dawn Friday (:

So it is actually the other word. The other name for it is drawing in stitches. And so you are literally using the needle to draw on your fabric. I think my drawing and my handwriting is a lot neater on a sewing machine than it is with my actual hand. But it's just one of those things. It takes a bit of practice, but yeah, so I draw on fabric. I create lots of pictures and keepsakes, home decorations, all different bits and pieces or copy things. Yeah. And that's basically what I do.

Vicki (:

So how did you get started and doing that then Dawn?

Dawn Friday (:

So actually I've never, I've always been creative and I've always sort of loved to make things even as a child. We were always crafting, especially with my mom. She's always been very creative and I do remember growing up, there were always so machines in the house and my mom's a waist, my curtains and things like that for the home. I have never been any good at sewing. Did GCSE textile, not GCSE 3m. I think it was year nine textile class. And we had to make a skirt from a pattern and mine was so off. I think it would have fit about four people. I don't know what I'd done wrong.

Dawn Friday (:

My mum had always tried to get me interested in sewing. It was something that I just was not interested in, but yeah, I'd say I've always sort of had that creative streak in me. And, and then when we moved into the house that we live in currently, I was all over Pinterest, as you do, I'm looking for some ideas for my boys bedrooms. And I kept coming back to this style I kept seeing, which I now know is, is freehand. And I would see to have a go at just making them some cushions. So I borrowed the same machine from my mum and I was trying to do it using a normal machine, which you can do, but I didn't know that you have to use a special fit to do the embroider rate.

Dawn Friday (:

So I almost broke her sewing machine by trying. And then I sort of did a little bit more research into it, ended up doing a course at a local sort of craft place for three hours just to have a go. And as soon as I started, I was so I was just thrilled. I loved it. And I knew that I just needed to keep doing it. So I came home, I bought myself a sewing machine. I think it was a Tesco's own it today. It was like 60 pounds or something. I bought the embroidery third and I started practicing and it's just kind of, I know people say, Oh, it just evolved from there, but it really did.

Dawn Friday (:

And at the time my youngest was only two. So he was just starting preschool. So I didn't really have time to actually build a business, but I started off making a plea cakes items and making them into nappy cakes, which I was sending to friends and family and a few people did. So I started up a Facebook page and I, I was doing that, but then I was still trying to stay the embroidery and then I just decided to stop doing the nappy cakes. Cause it wasn't really, for me, I was just sort of enjoying having something creative to really. Yeah. And then it, it sort of went from there and it has as much children have got older and my youngest artists go that business has kind of taken on a life of its own and grown and now I work full-time on it.

Vicki (:

Oh, that's amazing. So how long was it that you started sort of operation as a business?

Dawn Friday (:

I think probably I I'd say I started doing it properly and when he started school and he's just gone into year four, so it's yeah, four years. This is my fifth year and I had a rebrand and because I was originally called baby cakes because I was making cakes for babies and then I had to rebrand and called myself go Friday. Friday's actually my surname. So that was how I came up with the name. But yeah. So it's, I think when he started school, I sort of thought, Oh, I'll probably do it two or three days a week, but yeah, that very quickly changed. And before I knew they always was working five days and around Christmas time, it's nearest effort, but not complaining.

Vicki (:

Oh, wow. So is that, so I've seen that you said a whole range of things. So what is it mostly it personalized items that you're selling now or is it 50 50 between the stuff that you've already made?

Dawn Friday (:

I'd say I don't really tend to hold any stock. Pretty much everything I make is to order only because I never really to find a block of time when I can build my stock up. And so the only time really that I would make any stock is when Isaacson Christmas fairs, which not sure if that's going to be happening this year anyway, but I normally spend like a couple of weeks, weekends and things just trying to get some stock together. But yeah, most of the items ID so are personalized. I've kind of, I tried to steer away from that a bit, but it's what I love doing. I really love creating the one-offs and that does seem to be the most popular.

Vicki (:

So how do you manage the logistics of that, of making everything to order?

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah, sometimes I don't. I spent, especially in the law school, which we are, we technically in at the moment, I feel like we're still like with Christmas, nobody wants to talk about it in September, unless you're actually a maker. In which case you've been thinking about it for a couple of months anyway. And then we kind of get into early October and I feel like we're on a roller coaster and you're sort of starting to head up to the top. And then as it gets towards me to vent to end of October, you just tip over and everything's sort of a bit free fall for the next sort of six weeks really. I mean, I try and plan as much as possible, obviously all of my work and my businesses is done around family life.

Dawn Friday (:

And so sometimes I I'll be honest ID find it really difficult and it is just me working on everything and everything is handmade. So it always takes longer even now, even sort of five years down the line. I still always think I'm going to get more done in a short window of school day than I actually do. So. Yeah, it's just kind of, I, I kind of

try and keep a check on my sort of Etsy inventory, how many orders are coming in. And then if I think that I'm getting to a point where I'm going to be keeping people waiting for too long, then I'll close my shop for a couple of days or a week or so just to try and catch up that either way, the only way to manage it or that I know of.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah.

Vicki (:

That does make stuff really does make sense because I guess as well, people is only so long people are going to want to wait as well.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean sometimes, and I'll get things out to people within a couple of days or a week, but most of the time it is a two to three week tournaments. And then obviously if people are ordering Christmas items sort of the end of September, then if it's a decorative item, then I know that they need to have it by early December because most people like to put their Christmas things up early don't need. But yeah, if not, I'll, I will, if, if I think it's going to be sort of four or five weeks, I know we'd always try and let the person know. And, and what you do tend to find is because it's handmade, people are quite happy to wait as long as they know that it's coming.

Vicki (:

Yeah. I think you're, I think that nobody really expects personalized any, you know, anything mates order. Nobody really expects that to come the next day or even next week.

Dawn Friday (:

I th I do think Amazon has given us a bit of a, a tall order. I mean, you do get some people that message and say, Oh, I want this it's a customized them. It's it's I do a lot of copies of photographs, which obviously it's quite time consuming. And then someone will say, could you get it to me by the end of the week? And as much as I'd like to say yes, I can't then leap frog, everybody else that's in the queue. So sometimes you do have to say no, as much as it pains me.

Vicki (:

Yeah. I think saying no is a bit of a skill, isn't it? It's harder than you think. So you mentioned that you sell on Etsy, so we haven't as a platform. I haven't actually, I don't know that much about what haven't spoke. Okay. So yeah, it just be interesting to know how sort of, how you find selling on it and why that, I guess why that platform is a good place to start.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. And I think, see the appeal with Etsy or the purpose of Etsy is meant to be that it is all handmade. There are a lot of items on there that aren't, I don't think they police it that heavily, but that is kind of where you go. It is more of a marketplace for creative instead of say an eBay or Amazon. And I know Amazon has got their own handmade section now, but I think sometimes it can get a bit confused with just the Amazon prime. So people still expect things quite quickly, but yeah, with that C I use the app, which is great and it's really user friendly.

Dawn Friday (:

And I like the fact that it's very simple to put your products on. There are loads of different steps that you have to go through and then everything's uploaded instantly and you can split your shop into different sections. You can put your shop on holiday at any time, and the commission is quite high, but then to be honest, the other way that people would pay me if it's a direct order is through PayPal. And I think it's pretty

much comparative and the PayPal commission or the Etsy commission, if you sell for any kind of platform, you're going to have to pay some kind of fee on the transaction.

Dawn Friday (:

But yeah, obviously the, the only thing that, that sees you are competing with thousands and thousands of other sellers, but they do sometimes pick you out of the base and promote you if you're lucky and they do recognize best seller items you can pay to promote. I've never actually done that. I found that just having the link to my Etsy shops, it was quite widely available, was always done quite well. Yeah. I really know. I care. And also it makes, I know, I think some of the other like Shopify and things like that, did they say that the noise when you get a sale is not an old fashioned till which even now is just, it never fails to make my day, especially I, I made some items.

Dawn Friday (:

I'm sure we'll talk about that at some point, but at the start of lockdown and I put things on sale and they were going really, really quickly, I've never had that happen. I've never had a, like, things are on sale. And then it just snowballs. And I was sitting with my children and my phone was just going absolutely mad. It was just touching, touching to ding ding, because there were so many transactions going through. So yeah, whoever thought of that is a genius because it's a really good,

Vicki (:

I didn't know they did that, that, so it's really fun. We will come back and talk about the, I know the idea that you were selling in lockdown would definitely come back and talk about, so while we're on Etsy, do you have any sort of tips or anything you think that if someone was going to use that platform, something they think they should know?

Dawn Friday (:

And so on Facebook, I mean, there are absolutely loads of Etsy groups, which you can join. So if you are looking at setting up on Etsy, I would suggest maybe don't join nodes because as we faced with greasy, get a little bit, chat can get a bit overwhelming, but there are some really good ones to go and search out. Sometimes they're for your area, which is really helpful. So if you were to perhaps have a little Google or even join one of the generic ones and then ask someone should be able to direct you, because I think it's seems such a huge platform that there are so many people on there. So the wealth of knowledge available is, is wide there's so much.

Dawn Friday (:

But, and as I say that I've always found that app is to be really good and it's very user friendly. So to be honest, to set yourself up on the Etsy app, we need, doesn't take very long to set up an Etsy shop. What I would say is if you were thinking about doing it all your way, or I'll do it when I've got like 20 products or 30 products, and there is talk of this, Oh, the magic number. If you have a hundred listing on Etsy, then you get

seen to have a hundred products on any site is a law and you might not even have a hundred products. So I think there was that sort of mentality, but in the end, I think you just need to just go for it.

Dawn Friday (:

Even if you start the shop and you've got five products on there, you'll still out there and the hosting is great and the fees are quite low. But yeah, I would say one thing, one tip is to research the tax. So when you upload a product on to Etsy, you have the option of putting 13 tags, which is things that people would search when they go into Etsy to try and find you. So, as I say, there's so many products on there, there's so many categories, so you need to try and be as specific as possible. So it's sort of putting yourself in the mindset of the customer, what they may well search for. Obviously for me, if I was to just have someone search embroidered artwork, there will be thousands of things come up.

Dawn Friday (:

So you do really need to be trying and quite specific. And so I know me try and do a little bit of research first just to see all taps and things in and see what comes up just to see if what I think is okay. Or if it is just way off. But yeah, that's kind of all really. I mean, they allow you eight photos, I think, per write-in. And then you pop in a tie to an, a product description, but you can set up your shipping categories and all things like that.

You can choose where you ship to. I don't ship anywhere, but the UK really for sort of postal tracking and insurance purposes and things like that.

Dawn Friday (:

But there's, there are so many options on there. So yeah, that's kind of what I'd say about it really, but yeah, very positive.

Vicki (:

Okay. If I spank you and I really like your advice to just get started. Cause I think you're right. It's too easy to say, Oh, I'll do this and I've got five products. I'll do it. And I've got actually, yeah, even if you've just got the one you might as well get it rather than waiting. Yeah. And to be honest, you don't even have to advertise your shop until you've got 38. But I think just that overwhelming task of doing anything times 30 compared to five, and it's just, just get buried with it. That's great advice. Thank you. So do you sell your products anywhere other than on it?

Dawn Friday (:

See, cause you mentioned Amazon handmade. Is that somewhere you've tried or not? Yeah. I did look at Amazon. It's very involved and I think a lot of people I, I did apply and then I got accepted when it all started off. And I know some people do really well on there, but I was slightly put off by the facts and there's a lot of legal jargon that comes with it. There was masses and masses of terms and conditions and things like that. And one of the things that slightly put me off was they said that you, they basically own the rights to your images and to your listings and everything wants their life, which didn't really sit well with me.

Dawn Friday (:

And I didn't want my stuff being moved around and special over Amazon if it wasn't really aware of it. So yeah, I decided that it wasn't for me. And I went through the process of setting it up and then just decided no, but yeah, I still with deal by mom and marketplace as you know, which, and I think with them since then, very, very beginning, I met Gemma at the handmade fair when they were first starting out and even they're promoting the marketplace and I joined, I think that must have been six years ago because I don't, I mean, he just started, but yeah, they're, they're great.

Dawn Friday (:

And I love the network that we're involved in. I think they're really good to, it's nice to have a group where everybody's kind of in the same boat and I know you're on the WhatsApp group, so we we've got a WhatsApp group going with the Allbymumma network. And I think there's quite a few people in there now and it feels nice supportive group as, so actually I'll actually link up for anyone who sort of is getting going. So I feel like it's a nice group to be part of, particularly if you're just starting out, because it is so much knowledge on there as well. I mean, I'm not very technical technical, but some of the, I know if I had a question, someone would be able to answer and say, yeah, and yeah, say I've set souls with Allbymumma for years and, and I will continue to sell with them because I have a really good platform and yeah, that's kind of, it really, I do have a website, but I don't currently have a shop on there.

Dawn Friday (:

The only reason is that I haven't set it up yet, but again, it's, as I say with the Etsy, I really need to take my own advice because it is that overwhelming. I'm starting from scratch again and that's why I haven't done it. Yeah. And I met later this week, actually, I'm going into a pop-up shop, which is local to where I live and it's actually in Chelmsford in Essex. So that's exciting because I've not done that I've sold in shops before, but this is actually on a high street. So yeah. I mentioned a shelf space and I've just been getting all the stuff together for that.

Dawn Friday (:

So exciting.

Vicki (:

That's really exciting.

Dawn Friday (:

I'm a bit nervous as well.

Vicki (:

Thank you. So will that be made or the products or product you already have made up?

Dawn Friday (:

I can't be quite that because obviously the turnaround would just be too slow. So yeah, I've made up actually some batches of different things and just to test the water and I will be there in the next couple of months or getting the run up to dare I say at Christmas. So yeah. We'll, we'll see how it goes, but fingers crossed.

Vicki (:

Oh, I hope it goes well. And that sounds like a really good day. Cause I know a lot of markets and things, obviously this year were canceled, so yeah. Yeah. It sounds like a nice way of getting your products actually in front of people. Cause I find that sometimes it's nice to just people can see and pick up the things that well maybe now maybe we don't want to pick them up. So it's nice when people can see the Marlins in a picture on the screen.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. And to be honest, I get a lot of them direct commissions through Instagram and Facebook. And so I've got a Facebook page as well. I'd say Instagram is where I do most of my sort of chat and my daily work and Facebook I find is quite a struggle now, unless she wants to pay to boost your posts and things, people just don't see them. The, the days of when Facebook used to show your page to everybody just don't exist anymore, in my opinion. But yeah, so I do get a lot of messages through Instagram of people asking to commission things and yeah, it's again, that's a nice way to be in touch with people.

Vicki (:

Yeah. That is going to show up on Instagram or Facebook. Or do you just link for you to Etsy store?

Dawn Friday (:

No, I just think treats my Etsy store. Yeah.

Vicki (:

That's really nice as well. So you don't have duplicate and everything as well.

Dawn Friday (:

As I say, I'm a bit of a technophobe and when they did the shoppable tags, when that all came out, I tried to set up my Facebook shops so that it can link through to my Instagram and it just didn't work. And Facebook then just Instagram just to remove the function from my profile. And it's only just come back. I think this was about a year ago when I tried to do it. It's only just a pair back on my Instagram profiles. I've got absolutely

no idea how to do it now. And to be honest, I've given up, it was a couple of days of stress and there was nothing at the end of it. So, well, you know, if you're getting commissioned through there anyway, that it's probably not a big deal.

Dawn Friday (:

Cause I think no, so much we could be doing to sell them products about, I think it sounds like that might be something that, you know, you're doing well anyway. Why? Yeah. Hopefully. Yeah. Yeah, definitely can't do it all.

Vicki (:

So if you don't mind just going to change, I'd love to talk a little bit about where we sort of hinted this earlier. The products you created at the beginning of the lockdown in the UK, because I was following you. I feel you, they literally just flew off the shelves. Didn't they say we loved it.

Dawn Friday (:

I mean, to be honest, I've never had anything like that happen before in the last five years. And it was on the Allbymumma group where I floated the idea. I don't know if you were, and so I had had a couple of people. This was right back at the end of March. So we were literally a weekend. So look down and a couple of friends who were nurses who were not spending any time with their children and the children were quite obviously distressed because they were either living apart from them or they just weren't able to be with them. Not because they were at work and I've made little, I call them little people, but I've made like little school children since I'd made fairies and things like that Christmas time.

Dawn Friday (:

And someone said to me, could you make me a little version of a nurse with my hair color and my name on it so that my daughter can keep it. So I said, yes. Okay, I'll do that for you. And then I thought, okay, this seems like it could be something that other people may want, but I think I can not a lot of other businesses right back at the start. I remember watching Holly Tucker, she was doing the SME broadcast daily and a lot of people were quite nervous about keeping their business going because they felt like they shouldn't be, I do know some people that did up for a couple of months because they felt that they shouldn't be trying to promote products at a time when obviously terrible things were happening.

Dawn Friday (:

So I really wasn't sure how I felt about it because I didn't want to seem like I was trying to make money out of a horrible situation. So I made up some samples, put the pictures on the allbymumma immigrate because I think that it's quite a good group for feedback. And, and everybody said, no, you should just go for it. So I thought, okay, I will. So I put them in the shop, hadn't shared the Matilda, my Instagram feed, like North Seattle and an ID story a lot as well. And I'd not put them on there. So nobody knew anything about them. And I put them all in. And when often I was actually on a zoom call with some friends and I was like, what's going on with my phone?

Dawn Friday (:

And I had so many messages and so many comments and things on this one post that I'd put out. I don't

think I've ever had so many likes and comments on one post. And I'd said that they were going on sale the following evening. And yeah, it just went completely crazy. I had so many shares. And so what I did was I created, and originally it was a paramedic and a nurse and a doctor and you could buy them as a male or female and then you could change their hair color. And I did have some requests for uniform and things like different color scrubs and stuff. And then you could put a name on them if you on CT. And they were the three that I put out and I donated from the sale of each one, three pounds to the NHS charities, direct who support NHS workers by paying for hospital parking.

Dawn Friday (:

They give them vouchers for meals and things like that, support families. And I just thought it would be a nice way for me to kind of give back because obviously at that time we all felt a little bit helpless and yeah, and the first batch on sale and I didn't actually put a maximum number. So normally I'll put something on it. So you have like a constitute of 20 and then at some point they'll go and I got in a panic in the end because also I think it was 150 in the first batch within like 20 minutes. So I just quickly close my Etsy shop and then had a little cry and then went, Oh my God, how am I going to make movies?

Dawn Friday (:

Because my children are at home and we're trying to just go and my husband's here working. And I just wasn't expecting that level of, of uptake really. But yeah, we got through it and I'm still sending now I still get a couple of orders a week for them. But since then I added in a school teacher and a postman and a police officer. So yeah, th the little people were still going strong. I think I did three batch sales of them throughout sort of April or may. And I think there might've been one in early June where I literally left it four weeks in between each one, put them on sale.

Dawn Friday (:

And exactly the same thing happens every time. It was just crazy. And I think in total Einstein, 19 about 1900 pounds, teeny NHS charities, which was brilliant. So yes, a bit of a mad moment.

Vicki (:

That's amazing. They well done. Well, I know it's a give back and great way as well to like, do something different with your business. You're in a really hard time, because as you say, people were shutting down their businesses and yeah. People were, but that's a really good example of how you pivoted your business and how you managed it with homeschool as well.

Dawn Friday (:

So I don't mean there were a lot of tears I wrote to my mum and say, help me cut. So bless my mum. She was cutting out hundreds of pairs of fairy wings at a time and covering her house in glitter because they're made out of like a gold glitter fabric. That goes absolutely everywhere. Oh yeah.

Vicki (:

That's really important.

Dawn Friday (:

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if that is actually a weakness. I'm really not very good at asking for help, but I did get point and I mean, no one else could say them, but yeah, my mum was like, let me help you. Let me help at least cut them out when I was in a weeping mess in the floor, so, and teach math.

Vicki (:

So you got through it so glad you're really proud of yourself cause you should have been.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. Thank you.

Vicki (:

That was fantastic. So just to change tack a little bit, we've got just a few more questions to finish up if that's okay. So I think you've sort of covered this, but what, are there any challenges that you've encountered along the way? I mean, you've just shared a pretty big one.

Dawn Friday (:

I mean, I, I mean, I would have said up until March this year, that really my most challenging period every year is the run-up to Christmas because you know, life as a family is busy and we have a lot of school stuff going on and I'm also trying to organize my own life. And no matter how organized you try and be every year, I get myself into a massive stress about how much I've still got to achieve. And when it wants to get it sends out by, and it normally ends up with my husband sitting me down, if you mean all to say, and it's not as bad as it seems.

Dawn Friday (:

And yeah, I can do it. I can do it. But get, obviously this year has thrown us through a massive curve ball and never ever did. I think that I would have my children at home for nearly six months and for like four months of those be trying to do school work with them. And my boys are eight and 10. So some of it was quite challenging. I hold my hands up and admit that, especially in the math, I don't know how they teach them now, but it's not how I learned. So that was a bit of a question Mark, but yeah, it was just, it was just the juggle of everything. Just permanently being exhausted and I'm trying to work and keep the kids happy and not live in a mess, which to be honest in the end, I didn't really worry about, and it was only once people could come back in your house.

Dawn Friday (:

I suddenly went, Oh my God, I haven't tied it up in treatments. But yeah, I think generally things that I do find

quite tricky sometimes obviously when you work on your own, sometimes it's quite hard to know if you're getting it right. I had a wobble couple of days ago because I've made a load of new products and I might like them, but it doesn't mean that anybody else is going to light them, that I find really hard. And I think it's just judging how the year's going to go. It's really hard to predict, especially with handmade.

Dawn Friday (:

You never quite know who's got all the when

Vicki (:

and especially now, I guess as well, because this year has been something that nobody could have predicted. Yeah. The person it's made me feel much more uncertain about the future. Like nothing's a certainty anymore feeling. Yeah. Hopefully that feeling will go, but it definitely feels now like anything could happen.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, I've had some amazing things happen this year, but also it's been really hard. So yeah. I don't know. I personally am feeling quite nervous about the Christmas season and more so than normal, but having spoken to lots of maker, friends, everybody else is like, Oh, I think it's going to be amazing, but I don't know. I'm, I'm still a little bit skeptical. I just think so many people have got other things going on and now we have all these new restrictions and everything that none of us are quite sure what Christmas is going to look like this year. But yeah, but we can only do what we can do.

Dawn Friday (:

I'll just keep Savage.

Vicki (:

That's a good idea. And I do think people, whatever happens, however, Christmas looks this year, I do think people will still be buying.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Vicki (:

I think it's one. Yeah. When you, you type that, that will continue your point about sort of creating new products, not knowing what they're like. I think that's one of the benefits of being part of a network as you was talking about the age is having people to, whether it's a network like that, or like you were saying about that, see Facebook groups or whatever, but having people that you can sort of say, what do you think of this is really good? Because I think even if you're, so I think this applies to makers and people who perhaps source their products is it's really easy to think that something's great because you like it. And then actually

you're the only one or you've cleansed the Mark on something.

Vicki (:

So yeah. Having people to share your ideas with is, is brilliant and something, I personally recommend that everyone has people that can use this.

Dawn Friday (:

And I think also it's important to have people that aren't your friends and family, because they will always say, Oh, that's lovely, but that's not actually always helpful because sometimes it isn't, but they just wouldn't want to say that. So I think it is good to, to have other people, especially people that do the same sorts of things as you, that you can talk about.

Vicki (:

Yeah, definitely. Cause I think you do need a bit of constructive criticism and as you say, like I'm, I, I could look at something you'd produce and say, well, that looks really good, but I wouldn't know if the stitching was good or anything like that. So having people who sort of picked something similar makes it make sense.

Dawn Friday (:

I know. So I think just he runs small businesses because obviously, I mean, most of my friends are employed by other people. So when it's just, you, sometimes people don't really understand how stressful it can be when you're trying to do everything. And the making part sometimes ends up being quite a small part of it. It's everything else. And you have to be good at everything unless you go into ourselves, which I don't currently. So I do my own accounts and all those things had to learn how to do so. Yeah. Sometimes it can be a bit stressful. Yeah.

Vicki (:

And the buck stops with you as well. I think that's something I found when I first started being self-employed or do something a bit different. I was teaching yoga, but I found it really tricky being the person who had to make all the decisions, because when you're employed, you don't actually often get to make that many decisions, but suddenly you're making all of the decisions.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. And also you're one who has to motivate yourself to do your job, because if you don't do it, it doesn't get done. So, I mean, I used to be a PA and there were days when I used to, I sat in a team of people and we'd all be sitting, having a chat. And when he'd done that much work today, but it didn't really matter. Whereas now, or like my time is precious. And I know I did put that pressure on myself, but when the kids are at school, I need to get on with it. And I need to put the phone down, get off of Instagram, which is, I know we all do it. Stop scrolling. And yeah, I think my husband's discovered from working at home over the last six months, how much I do talk to myself as well, because normally there's no one here.

Dawn Friday (:

So I'm always giving myself a token to put your phone down and go, Oh, your work.

Vicki (:

Well, as you say, you need to be the person to do that day. And you ask your husband to tell you that from time to time.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. He's not allowed.

Vicki (:

I mind my Niva no, I can. I completely can tell Dawn from this whole conversation, how much you love, what you do, it's really coming across. So w what is it that you love about running your own business, about making your own products? Tell us some of the things you enjoy.

Dawn Friday (:

So I would say, and the chance to be creative on the occasions when I am not working. So it did get to a point doing lockdown. And I think it was the end of June when I made the decision to close the business for a couple of months, because I was just too stressed out. I was fed up with not really doing anything very well, but trying to do everything. And so I just shut my shop for a while. I still took on the yields, your parents there, it, people were emailing me, asking me to make things, but I didn't actually advertise that I was doing that.

Dawn Friday (:

And I was so grumpy because I think I, I know I always tend to get this sort of over Christmas. I'll not do anything for a couple of weeks because everybody's at home and it was he having a nice time. But when it comes to starting up again, I then get the fear because I've not staged. I always get the fear about posting on Instagram. I know other people say that if you've had a break, but yeah, I, I do, if I don't make I'm really grumpy. So that's obviously something that I just need to do. So yeah, just being able to create daily, whether it's something that goes in the bin or doesn't ever see the light of day, I just like to have, be able to sort of have a fiddle around with the fabric and just have fun.

Dawn Friday (:

I love the fact that I can, most of the time lost six months excluded work around my family life because obviously that's the reason why I'm self employed. That's the reason why I run my own business and I don't work for somebody else because it is so flexible. And I also love, and the other side we were talking about this sort of Instagram side, I really love connecting with people and actually chatting to people and talking about what I've made and have people asking me to make something. And then knowing that they gifted it a

lot of the time things are made and then they've gifted. And that's quite special when someone actually chooses you and says, can you make these it's for, especially the occasion?

Dawn Friday (:

And I know that person's going to love it. And then it's always great when you get good feedback afterwards. And so I do always appreciate the good thing we see is people go back home. They don't have to, but they can once they purchase and they can leave a review. And when you get a really lovely review, honestly, it makes your week. So yeah, all of those things really, I can see all of that.

Vicki (:

And so one final question, if that's okay. So if you had to give one piece of advice to another maker who wanted to start selling their products, what would it be?

Dawn Friday (:

I would say be yourself and because it shines through in what you do and create your own style. And there are a lot of us on Instagram that freehand in Voyager, but we all do it in a different way. Our work all looks different. And I think you can tell when someone is trying to not copy, but when someone is trying to do something that isn't them. So yeah, I would say just, just find your own way, find your own style and don't overthink it, just do it, which is my message to myself most days. And as I said, you kind of faff about, and you, you think about things too much, but sometimes you're better off just having a go.

Dawn Friday (:

If I find particularly with products like yours creatives or things that people are making from hat, the same, many different styles, everyone has their own take.

Vicki (:

So I think that's brilliant advice because whatever you do, some people will like it. And some people won't and that's fine. And that goes for every seller on Etsy or any other platform, because it all comes down to what you, as an individual are looking for and what you like and what your taste is. Okay. That's great advice. And I think creating things that you like is probably a really good place to start.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think people can tell if you've made something and you love what you're doing, it does come across. And yeah. I mean, there are some things that I get asked to make, and I don't particularly like quad dumb, but I've followed the brief, but they're the things that won't tend to make it on some, my Instagram feed. So yeah. I already really share what I love.

Vicki (:

And I guess if the person, you know, the recipient loves it, then that's fantastic.

Dawn Friday (:

Yeah. I will.

Vicki (:

Thank you so much. Will you share Dawn say if he's like, come and have a look at your products, where's the best place for them to go?

Dawn Friday (:

So I would say if you are on Instagram, pop over and see me, and because I do share a lot of behind the scenes stuff on stories as well. I do love stories. And, and before I wasn't alone in the house and I used to be on there all the time, not so much when the kids were around. Cause I still find it quite weird that mommy, why are you talking to your phone? But yeah, so I'm always sharing new things over on Instagram and on Facebook, but mainly Instagram. And then my Etsy shop currently is, is where you can find everything.

Vicki (:

Perfect. Thank you. And I'll link to the phase in the show notes. People can easily. Well, thank you so much for your time daughter. It was lovely to talk to you. Thank you.

Dawn Friday (:

Thank you for having me.

Vicki (:

Okay. As always, I really hope you enjoyed the conversation with Dawn. I would love to know what you think, and maybe you can get in touch Vicki@tinychipmunk.com and do also go and take a look at Dawn's products over on Etsy as well. So thank you again for being here. If you have some time, please do remember to rate, review and subscribe to the show and I'm looking forward to talking to you again next week.

Links