Sunday, October 6, 2013

Etsy Friends Sunday Spotlight

Taking a break from working on my taxes to feature another Etsy Friend's work this week. This week's featured shop is FolkandHound

1. How long have you been in business?
Folk and Hound has been an official shop for only about two months, since August 4th 2013. But I was in the planning stages for months. I wanted to find the best materials, from the best suppliers, at affordable prices. Finally I just had to start the shop and try to improve it as I went along.

2. How did you get started in this business?
I fell in love with a bracelet I saw at a WV State Park gift shop. I thought, “I could make that if I tried”. I started out making resin pendants just for myself. I was getting a lot of compliments. I then decided to try embedding photos in the resin. I am completely self-taught. These days you can teach yourself anything through books and internet tutorials. The internet has revolutionized the learning process. Then someone asked if I had any other pendants made, they wanted to buy one as a gift for their mother. I was so flattered. The planning began after that, a lot of planning.

3. Can you provide me with a description of your business?
Folk and Hound offers keepsake jewelry specializing in pets. I embed photos in sterling silver, silver plated pewter and other lead and nickel free pendants. I am also starting to offer vintage style dog breed pendants that are interchangeable as key chains or necklaces. I have about 44 different vintage style dog prints I plan to offer, it just takes time to get them all made and listed. They will also be customizable with your dog’s name. The jewelry ranges from inexpensive $20 items to nicer sterling silver bracelets and necklaces. Your photo keepsake doesn’t have to be a dog; my first sale was for a mouse! The picture can be a dog, cat, mouse, horse, any animal, (it can even be of a child or of children’s artwork), you name it.

4. How did you come up with the name of your business?
I spent months thinking about a name, the whole time I was in the planning stage. I had originally come up with other names, but they were already in use. I went to the etsy forum and complained a little about how hard it was to come up with a name that hadn’t already been taken. A kind person responded by saying I would come up with a name before the day was over. They were right! I guess I just needed a pep talk. I thought Folk and Hound had a nice ring to it. As I recall I even did a thesauruses check for other words for “people and animals”. I knew I wanted to involve animals. I have always loved animals. Up until a few years ago I was heavily involved with volunteering with Little Victories Animal Rescue. We started out as a group of people meeting together and discussing the need for a no-kill shelter in our area of WV. We didn’t even have a pamphlet or anything. It is now 10 years later and we have a wonderful facility that provides forever homes for cats and dogs. I now have 2 children and can’t volunteer like I would like to, so my way of contributing is to donate $2 from each of the sterling silver sales to the rescue. Every little bit helps.

5. Is this your only job?
It is the only job I get paid for. I am also a wife and mother of two toddlers. One son is in kindergarten and the other son is in preschool. Doing a good job at home is my top priority. But I have always worked so it is difficult for me not to be doing something.

6. Favorite part of owning your own business?
I really do love almost everything about it. I suppose the best part is knowing I am in control of my own destiny. In most 9 to 5 jobs you don’t get extra pay for working extra hard. But by being your own boss you have the potential to increase your earnings. I enjoy the hands on work with the resin, and the business side too. I was a finance major for a short time in college so I kind of like the economics part of owning an etsy shop too, not just doing a craft.

7. Least Favorite part?
Photography can be tricky when you don’t have a good camera so I would have to say taking the product pictures. I plan to invest in a camera that can take good macro shots by the end of the year. I have to compensate by making the most of lighting and taking lots of shots. Close ups can be difficult and with an Etsy shop having fantastic pictures is essential.

8. What has proven to be the best ways to market your business?
The verdict is still out on that one. I believe all my sales so far have been through etsy. I have already had repeat customers so hopefully word of mouth will help too. I am not a social media person, I don’t Facebook, twitter, or do Pinterest. I made myself start a Pinterest page recently. I have picked up some followers there. I figure I could increase sales with Facebook but I want to be true to myself and Facebook just isn’t my thing. Of course that could change in the future.

9. Your advice to someone just starting out?
Don’t over analyze your plan. I wanted everything to be perfect. Don’t get stuck in that mindset. Make a goal of how many products you will start with, or something like that. And jump in. I didn’t even tell my husband I had a shop until I made my first sale! You will always want to improve things, and you can. That is the beauty. You are the boss, if you want to change it, change it.

10. Anything else you'd like to share about yourself or your business?
I have known since I was in college I wanted to work for myself one day. With an etsy shop you are in total control. I think Etsy is a great starting place. I can’t wait to see where I go from here. I have so many ideas. I know I will always want to work with my hands. And I know I will always want animals in my life. If you are an animal person you know what I mean. We receive so much from them. Even if I can’t play with dogs all day, at least I can look at their photos. And this business gives me the opportunity to give back to them. Donating some of the revenue to Little Victories Animal Rescue is the least I can do since time is so tight. It is my way of giving back, and it helps advertise for them. It is a win-win for everyone.

Melanie Aldridge
Folk and Hound

Pet Memorial Necklace

Pet Memorial Bracelet 

Stop by and visit Melanie at FolkandHound and check out her beautiful memorial jewelry. 

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