**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

Transcript
Speaker:

Welcome to the, bring your product ideas to life podcast,

Speaker:

practical advice, and inspiration to help you create and sell

Speaker:

your own physical products. Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

Speaker:

Hi, welcome to today's episode today. We're speaking to Dawn

Speaker:

Friday. So Dawn uses freehand machine embroidery to create stitch

Speaker:

keepsakes and gifts to capture memories in fabric under her

Speaker:

company, Girl Friday embroidery. So Dawn sells beautiful handmade products,

Speaker:

and she's going to talk to us today about that

Speaker:

business and how she got started. It's a fantastic conversation

Speaker:

and as always, I really hope you enjoy it. So

Speaker:

here's Dawn. Hi Dawn. Thank you so much for being

Speaker:

here. Could we start by you telling us a bit

Speaker:

about your business and what you sell please?

Speaker:

Yeah, of course. Hello and thanks for having me. So

Speaker:

my name is Dawn and I run a product business

Speaker:

called Girl Friday embroidery, and I've been working on the

Speaker:

business in my home studio for nearly six years now

Speaker:

and I make free hand embroidered PCs. And I had

Speaker:

only a few. What would sort of explain what free

Speaker:

hand embroidery is? Because a lot of people don't really

Speaker:

know. No, that's fine. So you've got sort of two

Speaker:

main types of embroidery. One is what you would see

Speaker:

on average, probably say like towels and bathrobes and things

Speaker:

like that. When you have maybe like monogramming done and

Speaker:

stuff that's done on like a computerized sort of program

Speaker:

machine free hand embroidery is where you use your needle

Speaker:

as the pen, basically.

Speaker:

So it is actually the other word. The other name

Speaker:

for it is drawing in stitches. And so you are

Speaker:

literally using the needle to draw on your fabric. I

Speaker:

think my drawing and my handwriting is a lot neater

Speaker:

on a sewing machine than it is with my actual

Speaker:

hand. But it's just one of those things. It takes

Speaker:

a bit of practice, but yeah, so I draw on

Speaker:

fabric. I create lots of pictures and keepsakes, home decorations,

Speaker:

all different bits and pieces or copy things. Yeah. And

Speaker:

that's basically what I do.

Speaker:

So how did you get started and doing that then

Speaker:

Dawn?

Speaker:

So actually I've never, I've always been creative and I've

Speaker:

always sort of loved to make things even as a

Speaker:

child. We were always crafting, especially with my mom. She's

Speaker:

always been very creative and I do remember growing up,

Speaker:

there were always so machines in the house and my

Speaker:

mom's a waist, my curtains and things like that for

Speaker:

the home. I have never been any good at sewing.

Speaker:

Did GCSE textile, not GCSE 3m. I think it was

Speaker:

year nine textile class. And we had to make a

Speaker:

skirt from a pattern and mine was so off. I

Speaker:

think it would have fit about four people. I don't

Speaker:

know what I'd done wrong.

Speaker:

My mum had always tried to get me interested in

Speaker:

sewing. It was something that I just was not interested

Speaker:

in, but yeah, I'd say I've always sort of had

Speaker:

that creative streak in me. And, and then when we

Speaker:

moved into the house that we live in currently, I

Speaker:

was all over Pinterest, as you do, I'm looking for

Speaker:

some ideas for my boys bedrooms. And I kept coming

Speaker:

back to this style I kept seeing, which I now

Speaker:

know is, is freehand. And I would see to have

Speaker:

a go at just making them some cushions. So I

Speaker:

borrowed the same machine from my mum and I was

Speaker:

trying to do it using a normal machine, which you

Speaker:

can do, but I didn't know that you have to

Speaker:

use a special fit to do the embroider rate.

Speaker:

So I almost broke her sewing machine by trying. And

Speaker:

then I sort of did a little bit more research

Speaker:

into it, ended up doing a course at a local

Speaker:

sort of craft place for three hours just to have

Speaker:

a go. And as soon as I started, I was

Speaker:

so I was just thrilled. I loved it. And I

Speaker:

knew that I just needed to keep doing it. So

Speaker:

I came home, I bought myself a sewing machine. I

Speaker:

think it was a Tesco's own it today. It was

Speaker:

like 60 pounds or something. I bought the embroidery third

Speaker:

and I started practicing and it's just kind of, I

Speaker:

know people say, Oh, it just evolved from there, but

Speaker:

it really did.

Speaker:

And at the time my youngest was only two. So

Speaker:

he was just starting preschool. So I didn't really have

Speaker:

time to actually build a business, but I started off

Speaker:

making a plea cakes items and making them into nappy

Speaker:

cakes, which I was sending to friends and family and

Speaker:

a few people did. So I started up a Facebook

Speaker:

page and I, I was doing that, but then I

Speaker:

was still trying to stay the embroidery and then I

Speaker:

just decided to stop doing the nappy cakes. Cause it

Speaker:

wasn't really, for me, I was just sort of enjoying

Speaker:

having something creative to really. Yeah. And then it, it

Speaker:

sort of went from there and it has as much

Speaker:

children have got older and my youngest artists go that

Speaker:

business has kind of taken on a life of its

Speaker:

own and grown and now I work full-time on it.

Speaker:

Oh, that's amazing. So how long was it that you

Speaker:

started sort of operation as a business?

Speaker:

I think probably I I'd say I started doing it

Speaker:

properly and when he started school and he's just gone

Speaker:

into year four, so it's yeah, four years. This is

Speaker:

my fifth year and I had a rebrand and because

Speaker:

I was originally called baby cakes because I was making

Speaker:

cakes for babies and then I had to rebrand and

Speaker:

called myself go Friday. Friday's actually my surname. So that

Speaker:

was how I came up with the name. But yeah.

Speaker:

So it's, I think when he started school, I sort

Speaker:

of thought, Oh, I'll probably do it two or three

Speaker:

days a week, but yeah, that very quickly changed. And

Speaker:

before I knew they always was working five days and

Speaker:

around Christmas time, it's nearest effort, but not complaining.

Speaker:

Oh, wow. So is that, so I've seen that you

Speaker:

said a whole range of things. So what is it

Speaker:

mostly it personalized items that you're selling now or is

Speaker:

it 50 50 between the stuff that you've already made?

Speaker:

I'd say I don't really tend to hold any stock.

Speaker:

Pretty much everything I make is to order only because

Speaker:

I never really to find a block of time when

Speaker:

I can build my stock up. And so the only

Speaker:

time really that I would make any stock is when

Speaker:

Isaacson Christmas fairs, which not sure if that's going to

Speaker:

be happening this year anyway, but I normally spend like

Speaker:

a couple of weeks, weekends and things just trying to

Speaker:

get some stock together. But yeah, most of the items

Speaker:

ID so are personalized. I've kind of, I tried to

Speaker:

steer away from that a bit, but it's what I

Speaker:

love doing. I really love creating the one-offs and that

Speaker:

does seem to be the most popular.

Speaker:

So how do you manage the logistics of that, of

Speaker:

making everything to order?

Speaker:

Yeah, sometimes I don't. I spent, especially in the law

Speaker:

school, which we are, we technically in at the moment,

Speaker:

I feel like we're still like with Christmas, nobody wants

Speaker:

to talk about it in September, unless you're actually a

Speaker:

maker. In which case you've been thinking about it for

Speaker:

a couple of months anyway. And then we kind of

Speaker:

get into early October and I feel like we're on

Speaker:

a roller coaster and you're sort of starting to head

Speaker:

up to the top. And then as it gets towards

Speaker:

me to vent to end of October, you just tip

Speaker:

over and everything's sort of a bit free fall for

Speaker:

the next sort of six weeks really. I mean, I

Speaker:

try and plan as much as possible, obviously all of

Speaker:

my work and my businesses is done around family life.

Speaker:

And so sometimes I I'll be honest ID find it

Speaker:

really difficult and it is just me working on everything

Speaker:

and everything is handmade. So it always takes longer even

Speaker:

now, even sort of five years down the line. I

Speaker:

still always think I'm going to get more done in

Speaker:

a short window of school day than I actually do.

Speaker:

So. Yeah, it's just kind of, I, I kind of

Speaker:

try and keep a check on my sort of Etsy

Speaker:

inventory, how many orders are coming in. And then if

Speaker:

I think that I'm getting to a point where I'm

Speaker:

going to be keeping people waiting for too long, then

Speaker:

I'll close my shop for a couple of days or

Speaker:

a week or so just to try and catch up

Speaker:

that either way, the only way to manage it or

Speaker:

that I know of.

Speaker:

Yeah.

Speaker:

That does make stuff really does make sense because I

Speaker:

guess as well, people is only so long people are

Speaker:

going to want to wait as well.

Speaker:

Yeah. Yeah. I mean sometimes, and I'll get things out

Speaker:

to people within a couple of days or a week,

Speaker:

but most of the time it is a two to

Speaker:

three week tournaments. And then obviously if people are ordering

Speaker:

Christmas items sort of the end of September, then if

Speaker:

it's a decorative item, then I know that they need

Speaker:

to have it by early December because most people like

Speaker:

to put their Christmas things up early don't need. But

Speaker:

yeah, if not, I'll, I will, if, if I think

Speaker:

it's going to be sort of four or five weeks,

Speaker:

I know we'd always try and let the person know.

Speaker:

And, and what you do tend to find is because

Speaker:

it's handmade, people are quite happy to wait as long

Speaker:

as they know that it's coming.

Speaker:

Yeah. I think you're, I think that nobody really expects

Speaker:

personalized any, you know, anything mates order. Nobody really expects

Speaker:

that to come the next day or even next week.

Speaker:

I th I do think Amazon has given us a

Speaker:

bit of a, a tall order. I mean, you do

Speaker:

get some people that message and say, Oh, I want

Speaker:

this it's a customized them. It's it's I do a

Speaker:

lot of copies of photographs, which obviously it's quite time

Speaker:

consuming. And then someone will say, could you get it

Speaker:

to me by the end of the week? And as

Speaker:

much as I'd like to say yes, I can't then

Speaker:

leap frog, everybody else that's in the queue. So sometimes

Speaker:

you do have to say no, as much as it

Speaker:

pains me.

Speaker:

Yeah. I think saying no is a bit of a

Speaker:

skill, isn't it? It's harder than you think. So you

Speaker:

mentioned that you sell on Etsy, so we haven't as

Speaker:

a platform. I haven't actually, I don't know that much

Speaker:

about what haven't spoke. Okay. So yeah, it just be

Speaker:

interesting to know how sort of, how you find selling

Speaker:

on it and why that, I guess why that platform

Speaker:

is a good place to start.

Speaker:

Yeah. And I think, see the appeal with Etsy or

Speaker:

the purpose of Etsy is meant to be that it

Speaker:

is all handmade. There are a lot of items on

Speaker:

there that aren't, I don't think they police it that

Speaker:

heavily, but that is kind of where you go. It

Speaker:

is more of a marketplace for creative instead of say

Speaker:

an eBay or Amazon. And I know Amazon has got

Speaker:

their own handmade section now, but I think sometimes it

Speaker:

can get a bit confused with just the Amazon prime.

Speaker:

So people still expect things quite quickly, but yeah, with

Speaker:

that C I use the app, which is great and

Speaker:

it's really user friendly.

Speaker:

And I like the fact that it's very simple to

Speaker:

put your products on. There are loads of different steps

Speaker:

that you have to go through and then everything's uploaded

Speaker:

instantly and you can split your shop into different sections.

Speaker:

You can put your shop on holiday at any time,

Speaker:

and the commission is quite high, but then to be

Speaker:

honest, the other way that people would pay me if

Speaker:

it's a direct order is through PayPal. And I think

Speaker:

it's pretty much comparative and the PayPal commission or the

Speaker:

Etsy commission, if you sell for any kind of platform,

Speaker:

you're going to have to pay some kind of fee

Speaker:

on the transaction.

Speaker:

But yeah, obviously the, the only thing that, that sees

Speaker:

you are competing with thousands and thousands of other sellers,

Speaker:

but they do sometimes pick you out of the base

Speaker:

and promote you if you're lucky and they do recognize

Speaker:

best seller items you can pay to promote. I've never

Speaker:

actually done that. I found that just having the link

Speaker:

to my Etsy shops, it was quite widely available, was

Speaker:

always done quite well. Yeah. I really know. I care.

Speaker:

And also it makes, I know, I think some of

Speaker:

the other like Shopify and things like that, did they

Speaker:

say that the noise when you get a sale is

Speaker:

not an old fashioned till which even now is just,

Speaker:

it never fails to make my day, especially I, I

Speaker:

made some items.

Speaker:

I'm sure we'll talk about that at some point, but

Speaker:

at the start of lockdown and I put things on

Speaker:

sale and they were going really, really quickly, I've never

Speaker:

had that happen. I've never had a, like, things are

Speaker:

on sale. And then it just snowballs. And I was

Speaker:

sitting with my children and my phone was just going

Speaker:

absolutely mad. It was just touching, touching to ding ding,

Speaker:

because there were so many transactions going through. So yeah,

Speaker:

whoever thought of that is a genius because it's a

Speaker:

really good,

Speaker:

I didn't know they did that, that, so it's really

Speaker:

fun. We will come back and talk about the, I

Speaker:

know the idea that you were selling in lockdown would

Speaker:

definitely come back and talk about, so while we're on

Speaker:

Etsy, do you have any sort of tips or anything

Speaker:

you think that if someone was going to use that

Speaker:

platform, something they think they should know?

Speaker:

And so on Facebook, I mean, there are absolutely loads

Speaker:

of Etsy groups, which you can join. So if you

Speaker:

are looking at setting up on Etsy, I would suggest

Speaker:

maybe don't join nodes because as we faced with greasy,

Speaker:

get a little bit, chat can get a bit overwhelming,

Speaker:

but there are some really good ones to go and

Speaker:

search out. Sometimes they're for your area, which is really

Speaker:

helpful. So if you were to perhaps have a little

Speaker:

Google or even join one of the generic ones and

Speaker:

then ask someone should be able to direct you, because

Speaker:

I think it's seems such a huge platform that there

Speaker:

are so many people on there. So the wealth of

Speaker:

knowledge available is, is wide there's so much.

Speaker:

But, and as I say that I've always found that

Speaker:

app is to be really good and it's very user

Speaker:

friendly. So to be honest, to set yourself up on

Speaker:

the Etsy app, we need, doesn't take very long to

Speaker:

set up an Etsy shop. What I would say is

Speaker:

if you were thinking about doing it all your way,

Speaker:

or I'll do it when I've got like 20 products

Speaker:

or 30 products, and there is talk of this, Oh,

Speaker:

the magic number. If you have a hundred listing on

Speaker:

Etsy, then you get seen to have a hundred products

Speaker:

on any site is a law and you might not

Speaker:

even have a hundred products. So I think there was

Speaker:

that sort of mentality, but in the end, I think

Speaker:

you just need to just go for it.

Speaker:

Even if you start the shop and you've got five

Speaker:

products on there, you'll still out there and the hosting

Speaker:

is great and the fees are quite low. But yeah,

Speaker:

I would say one thing, one tip is to research

Speaker:

the tax. So when you upload a product on to

Speaker:

Etsy, you have the option of putting 13 tags, which

Speaker:

is things that people would search when they go into

Speaker:

Etsy to try and find you. So, as I say,

Speaker:

there's so many products on there, there's so many categories,

Speaker:

so you need to try and be as specific as

Speaker:

possible. So it's sort of putting yourself in the mindset

Speaker:

of the customer, what they may well search for. Obviously

Speaker:

for me, if I was to just have someone search

Speaker:

embroidered artwork, there will be thousands of things come up.

Speaker:

So you do really need to be trying and quite

Speaker:

specific. And so I know me try and do a

Speaker:

little bit of research first just to see all taps

Speaker:

and things in and see what comes up just to

Speaker:

see if what I think is okay. Or if it

Speaker:

is just way off. But yeah, that's kind of all

Speaker:

really. I mean, they allow you eight photos, I think,

Speaker:

per write-in. And then you pop in a tie to

Speaker:

an, a product description, but you can set up your

Speaker:

shipping categories and all things like that. You can choose

Speaker:

where you ship to. I don't ship anywhere, but the

Speaker:

UK really for sort of postal tracking and insurance purposes

Speaker:

and things like that.

Speaker:

But there's, there are so many options on there. So

Speaker:

yeah, that's kind of what I'd say about it really,

Speaker:

but yeah, very positive.

Speaker:

Okay. If I spank you and I really like your

Speaker:

advice to just get started. Cause I think you're right.

Speaker:

It's too easy to say, Oh, I'll do this and

Speaker:

I've got five products. I'll do it. And I've got

Speaker:

actually, yeah, even if you've just got the one you

Speaker:

might as well get it rather than waiting. Yeah. And

Speaker:

to be honest, you don't even have to advertise your

Speaker:

shop until you've got 38. But I think just that

Speaker:

overwhelming task of doing anything times 30 compared to five,

Speaker:

and it's just, just get buried with it. That's great

Speaker:

advice. Thank you. So do you sell your products anywhere

Speaker:

other than on it?

Speaker:

See, cause you mentioned Amazon handmade. Is that somewhere you've

Speaker:

tried or not? Yeah. I did look at Amazon. It's

Speaker:

very involved and I think a lot of people I,

Speaker:

I did apply and then I got accepted when it

Speaker:

all started off. And I know some people do really

Speaker:

well on there, but I was slightly put off by

Speaker:

the facts and there's a lot of legal jargon that

Speaker:

comes with it. There was masses and masses of terms

Speaker:

and conditions and things like that. And one of the

Speaker:

things that slightly put me off was they said that

Speaker:

you, they basically own the rights to your images and

Speaker:

to your listings and everything wants their life, which didn't

Speaker:

really sit well with me.

Speaker:

And I didn't want my stuff being moved around and

Speaker:

special over Amazon if it wasn't really aware of it.

Speaker:

So yeah, I decided that it wasn't for me. And

Speaker:

I went through the process of setting it up and

Speaker:

then just decided no, but yeah, I still with deal

Speaker:

by mom and marketplace as you know, which, and I

Speaker:

think with them since then, very, very beginning, I met

Speaker:

Gemma at the handmade fair when they were first starting

Speaker:

out and even they're promoting the marketplace and I joined,

Speaker:

I think that must have been six years ago because

Speaker:

I don't, I mean, he just started, but yeah, they're,

Speaker:

they're great.

Speaker:

And I love the network that we're involved in. I

Speaker:

think they're really good to, it's nice to have a

Speaker:

group where everybody's kind of in the same boat and

Speaker:

I know you're on the WhatsApp group, so we we've

Speaker:

got a WhatsApp group going with the Allbymumma network. And

Speaker:

I think there's quite a few people in there now

Speaker:

and it feels nice supportive group as, so actually I'll

Speaker:

actually link up for anyone who sort of is getting

Speaker:

going. So I feel like it's a nice group to

Speaker:

be part of, particularly if you're just starting out, because

Speaker:

it is so much knowledge on there as well. I

Speaker:

mean, I'm not very technical technical, but some of the,

Speaker:

I know if I had a question, someone would be

Speaker:

able to answer and say, yeah, and yeah, say I've

Speaker:

set souls with Allbymumma for years and, and I will

Speaker:

continue to sell with them because I have a really

Speaker:

good platform and yeah, that's kind of, it really, I

Speaker:

do have a website, but I don't currently have a

Speaker:

shop on there.

Speaker:

The only reason is that I haven't set it up

Speaker:

yet, but again, it's, as I say with the Etsy,

Speaker:

I really need to take my own advice because it

Speaker:

is that overwhelming. I'm starting from scratch again and that's

Speaker:

why I haven't done it. Yeah. And I met later

Speaker:

this week, actually, I'm going into a pop-up shop, which

Speaker:

is local to where I live and it's actually in

Speaker:

Chelmsford in Essex. So that's exciting because I've not done

Speaker:

that I've sold in shops before, but this is actually

Speaker:

on a high street. So yeah. I mentioned a shelf

Speaker:

space and I've just been getting all the stuff together

Speaker:

for that.

Speaker:

So exciting.

Speaker:

That's really exciting.

Speaker:

I'm a bit nervous as well.

Speaker:

Thank you. So will that be made or the products

Speaker:

or product you already have made up?

Speaker:

I can't be quite that because obviously the turnaround would

Speaker:

just be too slow. So yeah, I've made up actually

Speaker:

some batches of different things and just to test the

Speaker:

water and I will be there in the next couple

Speaker:

of months or getting the run up to dare I

Speaker:

say at Christmas. So yeah. We'll, we'll see how it

Speaker:

goes, but fingers crossed.

Speaker:

Oh, I hope it goes well. And that sounds like

Speaker:

a really good day. Cause I know a lot of

Speaker:

markets and things, obviously this year were canceled, so yeah.

Speaker:

Yeah. It sounds like a nice way of getting your

Speaker:

products actually in front of people. Cause I find that

Speaker:

sometimes it's nice to just people can see and pick

Speaker:

up the things that well maybe now maybe we don't

Speaker:

want to pick them up. So it's nice when people

Speaker:

can see the Marlins in a picture on the screen.

Speaker:

Yeah, that's right. Yeah. And to be honest, I get

Speaker:

a lot of them direct commissions through Instagram and Facebook.

Speaker:

And so I've got a Facebook page as well. I'd

Speaker:

say Instagram is where I do most of my sort

Speaker:

of chat and my daily work and Facebook I find

Speaker:

is quite a struggle now, unless she wants to pay

Speaker:

to boost your posts and things, people just don't see

Speaker:

them. The, the days of when Facebook used to show

Speaker:

your page to everybody just don't exist anymore, in my

Speaker:

opinion. But yeah, so I do get a lot of

Speaker:

messages through Instagram of people asking to commission things and

Speaker:

yeah, it's again, that's a nice way to be in

Speaker:

touch with people.

Speaker:

Yeah. That is going to show up on Instagram or

Speaker:

Facebook. Or do you just link for you to Etsy

Speaker:

store?

Speaker:

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

Speaker:

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

Speaker:

and everything as well.

Speaker:

As I say, I'm a bit of a technophobe and

Speaker:

when they did the shoppable tags, when that all came

Speaker:

out, I tried to set up my Facebook shops so

Speaker:

that it can link through to my Instagram and it

Speaker:

just didn't work. And Facebook then just Instagram just to

Speaker:

remove the function from my profile. And it's only just

Speaker:

come back. I think this was about a year ago

Speaker:

when I tried to do it. It's only just a

Speaker:

pair back on my Instagram profiles. I've got absolutely no

Speaker:

idea how to do it now. And to be honest,

Speaker:

I've given up, it was a couple of days of

Speaker:

stress and there was nothing at the end of it.

Speaker:

So, well, you know, if you're getting commissioned through there

Speaker:

anyway, that it's probably not a big deal.

Speaker:

Cause I think no, so much we could be doing

Speaker:

to sell them products about, I think it sounds like

Speaker:

that might be something that, you know, you're doing well

Speaker:

anyway. Why? Yeah. Hopefully. Yeah. Yeah, definitely can't do it

Speaker:

all.

Speaker:

So if you don't mind just going to change, I'd

Speaker:

love to talk a little bit about where we sort

Speaker:

of hinted this earlier. The products you created at the

Speaker:

beginning of the lockdown in the UK, because I was

Speaker:

following you. I feel you, they literally just flew off

Speaker:

the shelves. Didn't they say we loved it.

Speaker:

I mean, to be honest, I've never had anything like

Speaker:

that happen before in the last five years. And it

Speaker:

was on the Allbymumma group where I floated the idea.

Speaker:

I don't know if you were, and so I had

Speaker:

had a couple of people. This was right back at

Speaker:

the end of March. So we were literally a weekend.

Speaker:

So look down and a couple of friends who were

Speaker:

nurses who were not spending any time with their children

Speaker:

and the children were quite obviously distressed because they were

Speaker:

either living apart from them or they just weren't able

Speaker:

to be with them. Not because they were at work

Speaker:

and I've made little, I call them little people, but

Speaker:

I've made like little school children since I'd made fairies

Speaker:

and things like that Christmas time.

Speaker:

And someone said to me, could you make me a

Speaker:

little version of a nurse with my hair color and

Speaker:

my name on it so that my daughter can keep

Speaker:

it. So I said, yes. Okay, I'll do that for

Speaker:

you. And then I thought, okay, this seems like it

Speaker:

could be something that other people may want, but I

Speaker:

think I can not a lot of other businesses right

Speaker:

back at the start. I remember watching Holly Tucker, she

Speaker:

was doing the SME broadcast daily and a lot of

Speaker:

people were quite nervous about keeping their business going because

Speaker:

they felt like they shouldn't be, I do know some

Speaker:

people that did up for a couple of months because

Speaker:

they felt that they shouldn't be trying to promote products

Speaker:

at a time when obviously terrible things were happening.

Speaker:

So I really wasn't sure how I felt about it

Speaker:

because I didn't want to seem like I was trying

Speaker:

to make money out of a horrible situation. So I

Speaker:

made up some samples, put the pictures on the allbymumma

Speaker:

immigrate because I think that it's quite a good group

Speaker:

for feedback. And, and everybody said, no, you should just

Speaker:

go for it. So I thought, okay, I will. So

Speaker:

I put them in the shop, hadn't shared the Matilda,

Speaker:

my Instagram feed, like North Seattle and an ID story

Speaker:

a lot as well. And I'd not put them on

Speaker:

there. So nobody knew anything about them. And I put

Speaker:

them all in. And when often I was actually on

Speaker:

a zoom call with some friends and I was like,

Speaker:

what's going on with my phone?

Speaker:

And I had so many messages and so many comments

Speaker:

and things on this one post that I'd put out.

Speaker:

I don't think I've ever had so many likes and

Speaker:

comments on one post. And I'd said that they were

Speaker:

going on sale the following evening. And yeah, it just

Speaker:

went completely crazy. I had so many shares. And so

Speaker:

what I did was I created, and originally it was

Speaker:

a paramedic and a nurse and a doctor and you

Speaker:

could buy them as a male or female and then

Speaker:

you could change their hair color. And I did have

Speaker:

some requests for uniform and things like different color scrubs

Speaker:

and stuff. And then you could put a name on

Speaker:

them if you on CT. And they were the three

Speaker:

that I put out and I donated from the sale

Speaker:

of each one, three pounds to the NHS charities, direct

Speaker:

who support NHS workers by paying for hospital parking.

Speaker:

They give them vouchers for meals and things like that,

Speaker:

support families. And I just thought it would be a

Speaker:

nice way for me to kind of give back because

Speaker:

obviously at that time we all felt a little bit

Speaker:

helpless and yeah, and the first batch on sale and

Speaker:

I didn't actually put a maximum number. So normally I'll

Speaker:

put something on it. So you have like a constitute

Speaker:

of 20 and then at some point they'll go and

Speaker:

I got in a panic in the end because also

Speaker:

I think it was 150 in the first batch within

Speaker:

like 20 minutes. So I just quickly close my Etsy

Speaker:

shop and then had a little cry and then went,

Speaker:

Oh my God, how am I going to make movies?

Speaker:

Because my children are at home and we're trying to

Speaker:

just go and my husband's here working. And I just

Speaker:

wasn't expecting that level of, of uptake really. But yeah,

Speaker:

we got through it and I'm still sending now I

Speaker:

still get a couple of orders a week for them.

Speaker:

But since then I added in a school teacher and

Speaker:

a postman and a police officer. So yeah, th the

Speaker:

little people were still going strong. I think I did

Speaker:

three batch sales of them throughout sort of April or

Speaker:

may. And I think there might've been one in early

Speaker:

June where I literally left it four weeks in between

Speaker:

each one, put them on sale.

Speaker:

And exactly the same thing happens every time. It was

Speaker:

just crazy. And I think in total Einstein, 19 about

Speaker:

1900 pounds, teeny NHS charities, which was brilliant. So yes,

Speaker:

a bit of a mad moment.

Speaker:

That's amazing. They well done. Well, I know it's a

Speaker:

give back and great way as well to like, do

Speaker:

something different with your business. You're in a really hard

Speaker:

time, because as you say, people were shutting down their

Speaker:

businesses and yeah. People were, but that's a really good

Speaker:

example of how you pivoted your business and how you

Speaker:

managed it with homeschool as well.

Speaker:

So I don't mean there were a lot of tears

Speaker:

I wrote to my mum and say, help me cut.

Speaker:

So bless my mum. She was cutting out hundreds of

Speaker:

pairs of fairy wings at a time and covering her

Speaker:

house in glitter because they're made out of like a

Speaker:

gold glitter fabric. That goes absolutely everywhere. Oh yeah.

Speaker:

That's really important.

Speaker:

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. I don't know if that is actually

Speaker:

a weakness. I'm really not very good at asking for

Speaker:

help, but I did get point and I mean, no

Speaker:

one else could say them, but yeah, my mum was

Speaker:

like, let me help you. Let me help at least

Speaker:

cut them out when I was in a weeping mess

Speaker:

in the floor, so, and teach math.

Speaker:

So you got through it so glad you're really proud

Speaker:

of yourself cause you should have been.

Speaker:

Yeah. Thank you.

Speaker:

That was fantastic. So just to change tack a little

Speaker:

bit, we've got just a few more questions to finish

Speaker:

up if that's okay. So I think you've sort of

Speaker:

covered this, but what, are there any challenges that you've

Speaker:

encountered along the way? I mean, you've just shared a

Speaker:

pretty big one.

Speaker:

I mean, I, I mean, I would have said up

Speaker:

until March this year, that really my most challenging period

Speaker:

every year is the run-up to Christmas because you know,

Speaker:

life as a family is busy and we have a

Speaker:

lot of school stuff going on and I'm also trying

Speaker:

to organize my own life. And no matter how organized

Speaker:

you try and be every year, I get myself into

Speaker:

a massive stress about how much I've still got to

Speaker:

achieve. And when it wants to get it sends out

Speaker:

by, and it normally ends up with my husband sitting

Speaker:

me down, if you mean all to say, and it's

Speaker:

not as bad as it seems.

Speaker:

And yeah, I can do it. I can do it.

Speaker:

But get, obviously this year has thrown us through a

Speaker:

massive curve ball and never ever did. I think that

Speaker:

I would have my children at home for nearly six

Speaker:

months and for like four months of those be trying

Speaker:

to do school work with them. And my boys are

Speaker:

eight and 10. So some of it was quite challenging.

Speaker:

I hold my hands up and admit that, especially in

Speaker:

the math, I don't know how they teach them now,

Speaker:

but it's not how I learned. So that was a

Speaker:

bit of a question Mark, but yeah, it was just,

Speaker:

it was just the juggle of everything. Just permanently being

Speaker:

exhausted and I'm trying to work and keep the kids

Speaker:

happy and not live in a mess, which to be

Speaker:

honest in the end, I didn't really worry about, and

Speaker:

it was only once people could come back in your

Speaker:

house.

Speaker:

I suddenly went, Oh my God, I haven't tied it

Speaker:

up in treatments. But yeah, I think generally things that

Speaker:

I do find quite tricky sometimes obviously when you work

Speaker:

on your own, sometimes it's quite hard to know if

Speaker:

you're getting it right. I had a wobble couple of

Speaker:

days ago because I've made a load of new products

Speaker:

and I might like them, but it doesn't mean that

Speaker:

anybody else is going to light them, that I find

Speaker:

really hard. And I think it's just judging how the

Speaker:

year's going to go. It's really hard to predict, especially

Speaker:

with handmade.

Speaker:

You never quite know who's got all the when

Speaker:

and especially now, I guess as well, because this year

Speaker:

has been something that nobody could have predicted. Yeah. The

Speaker:

person it's made me feel much more uncertain about the

Speaker:

future. Like nothing's a certainty anymore feeling. Yeah. Hopefully that

Speaker:

feeling will go, but it definitely feels now like anything

Speaker:

could happen.

Speaker:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, I've had some amazing things

Speaker:

happen this year, but also it's been really hard. So

Speaker:

yeah. I don't know. I personally am feeling quite nervous

Speaker:

about the Christmas season and more so than normal, but

Speaker:

having spoken to lots of maker, friends, everybody else is

Speaker:

like, Oh, I think it's going to be amazing, but

Speaker:

I don't know. I'm, I'm still a little bit skeptical.

Speaker:

I just think so many people have got other things

Speaker:

going on and now we have all these new restrictions

Speaker:

and everything that none of us are quite sure what

Speaker:

Christmas is going to look like this year. But yeah,

Speaker:

but we can only do what we can do.

Speaker:

I'll just keep Savage.

Speaker:

That's a good idea. And I do think people, whatever

Speaker:

happens, however, Christmas looks this year, I do think people

Speaker:

will still be buying.

Speaker:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker:

I think it's one. Yeah. When you, you type that,

Speaker:

that will continue your point about sort of creating new

Speaker:

products, not knowing what they're like. I think that's one

Speaker:

of the benefits of being part of a network as

Speaker:

you was talking about the age is having people to,

Speaker:

whether it's a network like that, or like you were

Speaker:

saying about that, see Facebook groups or whatever, but having

Speaker:

people that you can sort of say, what do you

Speaker:

think of this is really good? Because I think even

Speaker:

if you're, so I think this applies to makers and

Speaker:

people who perhaps source their products is it's really easy

Speaker:

to think that something's great because you like it. And

Speaker:

then actually you're the only one or you've cleansed the

Speaker:

Mark on something.

Speaker:

So yeah. Having people to share your ideas with is,

Speaker:

is brilliant and something, I personally recommend that everyone has

Speaker:

people that can use this.

Speaker:

And I think also it's important to have people that

Speaker:

aren't your friends and family, because they will always say,

Speaker:

Oh, that's lovely, but that's not actually always helpful because

Speaker:

sometimes it isn't, but they just wouldn't want to say

Speaker:

that. So I think it is good to, to have

Speaker:

other people, especially people that do the same sorts of

Speaker:

things as you, that you can talk about.

Speaker:

Yeah, definitely. Cause I think you do need a bit

Speaker:

of constructive criticism and as you say, like I'm, I,

Speaker:

I could look at something you'd produce and say, well,

Speaker:

that looks really good, but I wouldn't know if the

Speaker:

stitching was good or anything like that. So having people

Speaker:

who sort of picked something similar makes it make sense.

Speaker:

I know. So I think just he runs small businesses

Speaker:

because obviously, I mean, most of my friends are employed

Speaker:

by other people. So when it's just, you, sometimes people

Speaker:

don't really understand how stressful it can be when you're

Speaker:

trying to do everything. And the making part sometimes ends

Speaker:

up being quite a small part of it. It's everything

Speaker:

else. And you have to be good at everything unless

Speaker:

you go into ourselves, which I don't currently. So I

Speaker:

do my own accounts and all those things had to

Speaker:

learn how to do so. Yeah. Sometimes it can be

Speaker:

a bit stressful. Yeah.

Speaker:

And the buck stops with you as well. I think

Speaker:

that's something I found when I first started being self-employed

Speaker:

or do something a bit different. I was teaching yoga,

Speaker:

but I found it really tricky being the person who

Speaker:

had to make all the decisions, because when you're employed,

Speaker:

you don't actually often get to make that many decisions,

Speaker:

but suddenly you're making all of the decisions.

Speaker:

Yeah. And also you're one who has to motivate yourself

Speaker:

to do your job, because if you don't do it,

Speaker:

it doesn't get done. So, I mean, I used to

Speaker:

be a PA and there were days when I used

Speaker:

to, I sat in a team of people and we'd

Speaker:

all be sitting, having a chat. And when he'd done

Speaker:

that much work today, but it didn't really matter. Whereas

Speaker:

now, or like my time is precious. And I know

Speaker:

I did put that pressure on myself, but when the

Speaker:

kids are at school, I need to get on with

Speaker:

it. And I need to put the phone down, get

Speaker:

off of Instagram, which is, I know we all do

Speaker:

it. Stop scrolling. And yeah, I think my husband's discovered

Speaker:

from working at home over the last six months, how

Speaker:

much I do talk to myself as well, because normally

Speaker:

there's no one here.

Speaker:

So I'm always giving myself a token to put your

Speaker:

phone down and go, Oh, your work.

Speaker:

Well, as you say, you need to be the person

Speaker:

to do that day. And you ask your husband to

Speaker:

tell you that from time to time.

Speaker:

Yeah. He's not allowed.

Speaker:

I mind my Niva no, I can. I completely can

Speaker:

tell Dawn from this whole conversation, how much you love,

Speaker:

what you do, it's really coming across. So w what

Speaker:

is it that you love about running your own business,

Speaker:

about making your own products? Tell us some of the

Speaker:

things you enjoy.

Speaker:

So I would say, and the chance to be creative

Speaker:

on the occasions when I am not working. So it

Speaker:

did get to a point doing lockdown. And I think

Speaker:

it was the end of June when I made the

Speaker:

decision to close the business for a couple of months,

Speaker:

because I was just too stressed out. I was fed

Speaker:

up with not really doing anything very well, but trying

Speaker:

to do everything. And so I just shut my shop

Speaker:

for a while. I still took on the yields, your

Speaker:

parents there, it, people were emailing me, asking me to

Speaker:

make things, but I didn't actually advertise that I was

Speaker:

doing that.

Speaker:

And I was so grumpy because I think I, I

Speaker:

know I always tend to get this sort of over

Speaker:

Christmas. I'll not do anything for a couple of weeks

Speaker:

because everybody's at home and it was he having a

Speaker:

nice time. But when it comes to starting up again,

Speaker:

I then get the fear because I've not staged. I

Speaker:

always get the fear about posting on Instagram. I know

Speaker:

other people say that if you've had a break, but

Speaker:

yeah, I, I do, if I don't make I'm really

Speaker:

grumpy. So that's obviously something that I just need to

Speaker:

do. So yeah, just being able to create daily, whether

Speaker:

it's something that goes in the bin or doesn't ever

Speaker:

see the light of day, I just like to have,

Speaker:

be able to sort of have a fiddle around with

Speaker:

the fabric and just have fun.

Speaker:

I love the fact that I can, most of the

Speaker:

time lost six months excluded work around my family life

Speaker:

because obviously that's the reason why I'm self employed. That's

Speaker:

the reason why I run my own business and I

Speaker:

don't work for somebody else because it is so flexible.

Speaker:

And I also love, and the other side we were

Speaker:

talking about this sort of Instagram side, I really love

Speaker:

connecting with people and actually chatting to people and talking

Speaker:

about what I've made and have people asking me to

Speaker:

make something. And then knowing that they gifted it a

Speaker:

lot of the time things are made and then they've

Speaker:

gifted. And that's quite special when someone actually chooses you

Speaker:

and says, can you make these it's for, especially the

Speaker:

occasion?

Speaker:

And I know that person's going to love it. And

Speaker:

then it's always great when you get good feedback afterwards.

Speaker:

And so I do always appreciate the good thing we

Speaker:

see is people go back home. They don't have to,

Speaker:

but they can once they purchase and they can leave

Speaker:

a review. And when you get a really lovely review,

Speaker:

honestly, it makes your week. So yeah, all of those

Speaker:

things really, I can see all of that.

Speaker:

And so one final question, if that's okay. So if

Speaker:

you had to give one piece of advice to another

Speaker:

maker who wanted to start selling their products, what would

Speaker:

it be?

Speaker:

I would say be yourself and because it shines through

Speaker:

in what you do and create your own style. And

Speaker:

there are a lot of us on Instagram that freehand

Speaker:

in Voyager, but we all do it in a different

Speaker:

way. Our work all looks different. And I think you

Speaker:

can tell when someone is trying to not copy, but

Speaker:

when someone is trying to do something that isn't them.

Speaker:

So yeah, I would say just, just find your own

Speaker:

way, find your own style and don't overthink it, just

Speaker:

do it, which is my message to myself most days.

Speaker:

And as I said, you kind of faff about, and

Speaker:

you, you think about things too much, but sometimes you're

Speaker:

better off just having a go.

Speaker:

If I find particularly with products like yours creatives or

Speaker:

things that people are making from hat, the same, many

Speaker:

different styles, everyone has their own take.

Speaker:

So I think that's brilliant advice because whatever you do,

Speaker:

some people will like it. And some people won't and

Speaker:

that's fine. And that goes for every seller on Etsy

Speaker:

or any other platform, because it all comes down to

Speaker:

what you, as an individual are looking for and what

Speaker:

you like and what your taste is. Okay. That's great

Speaker:

advice. And I think creating things that you like is

Speaker:

probably a really good place to start.

Speaker:

Yeah. Yeah. And I think people can tell if you've

Speaker:

made something and you love what you're doing, it does

Speaker:

come across. And yeah. I mean, there are some things

Speaker:

that I get asked to make, and I don't particularly

Speaker:

like quad dumb, but I've followed the brief, but they're

Speaker:

the things that won't tend to make it on some,

Speaker:

my Instagram feed. So yeah. I already really share what

Speaker:

I love.

Speaker:

And I guess if the person, you know, the recipient

Speaker:

loves it, then that's fantastic.

Speaker:

Yeah. I will.

Speaker:

Thank you so much. Will you share Dawn say if

Speaker:

he's like, come and have a look at your products,

Speaker:

where's the best place for them to go?

Speaker:

So I would say if you are on Instagram, pop

Speaker:

over and see me, and because I do share a

Speaker:

lot of behind the scenes stuff on stories as well.

Speaker:

I do love stories. And, and before I wasn't alone

Speaker:

in the house and I used to be on there

Speaker:

all the time, not so much when the kids were

Speaker:

around. Cause I still find it quite weird that mommy,

Speaker:

why are you talking to your phone? But yeah, so

Speaker:

I'm always sharing new things over on Instagram and on

Speaker:

Facebook, but mainly Instagram. And then my Etsy shop currently

Speaker:

is, is where you can find everything.

Speaker:

Perfect. Thank you. And I'll link to the phase in

Speaker:

the show notes. People can easily. Well, thank you so

Speaker:

much for your time daughter. It was lovely to talk

Speaker:

to you. Thank you.

Speaker:

Thank you for having me.

Speaker:

Okay. As always, I really hope you enjoyed the conversation

Speaker:

with Dawn. I would love to know what you think,

Speaker:

and maybe you can get in touch Vicki@tinychipmunk.com and do

Speaker:

also go and take a look at Dawn's products over

Speaker:

on Etsy as well. So thank you again for being

Speaker:

here. If you have some time, please do remember to

Speaker:

rate, review and subscribe to the show and I'm looking

Speaker:

forward to talking to you again next week.