I recently met Mary on my Etsy Quiltsy Team when I asked if anyone wanted to help my blog by doing an interview. She graciously volunteered to answer my interview questions. She has a lovely shop full of delightful fuzzy quilts. Just the kind I'd love for my kids! Check it out: Frayed Fuzzies. Let's indulge ourselves and see what Mary has to say about my favorite subject...quilting!
What originally gave you the idea to create such an interesting Etsy shop?
I have a friend who would make crochet hats and other crochet items and she would post photos of them on Facebook with the caption “anybody want this before I list it on Etsy?” I had no idea what Etsy was at the time, so I visited the site. I was hooked! I thought having an Etsy shop would be a fun way to pass the time while I was laid off, and thought that rag quilts would be a cute idea. And viola! Frayed Fuzzies was born!
Ideas are often so hard to implement—tell us a bit about how you started and what were your first steps in creating your niche in the Etsy and handmade community.
Once I decided to focus on rag quilts, I did a lot of research. How big was the market on Etsy? What were the price points of other sellers? What kinds of items were other sellers making, and how much different and unique could I make mine to stand out? From there, it was a lot of trial and error. Lots of error—ha! But we learn from our mistakes, don’t we?
Could you share some tips on how someone would go about growing an Etsy shop or online presence?
Add as many items as you can to your shop. The more you have, the more visible you will be in search. Use all the free social networking sites to your advantage: start a Facebook fan page, tweet, blog, join Pinterest or Stumbleupon, post photos to Flikr or Photobucket. Make sure you have backlinks to everything (where allowed) pointing people back to your Etsy shop.
What is your main hurdle in running your Etsy site to date?
Not enough hours in the day! Having enough time to balance my day jobs (yes, I said jobs, plural—student loans are a pain, ha!), a personal/social life, and have enough time to create new items, custom items, and promote online. Online promoting is where the ball gets dropped a lot of the time. I really wish I had just one or two more hours a day where I could do that.
Tell us about the most interesting item you’ve ever made.
Hmmm…the most interesting item I’ve ever made? I once had a custom order for a T-shirt quilt where half the T-shirts were heavy metal bands, and the other half were Johnny Cash. I found that to be a very dynamic combination!
How do you promote your business? Facebook, Twitter, blogging, or other?
I have a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/frayedfuzzies
A seasonal newsletter: http://eepurl.com/cwDLD (get a 15% off coupon for my Etsy shop just for signing up!)
And I just launched a blog: www.frayedfuzzies.wordpress.com
Describe the process of creating one of your handmade items.
For my T-shirt quilts, it all starts with a box of shirts saved up and sent to me by my customer. I carefully cut each shirt into a square, and stabilize it with interfacing. As each block is usually fairly large, I do most of the quilting before I put the blocks together. After I sew the blocks together in a grid, I plop down in front of the TV and put on an episode of a favorite show or a movie and start clipping to get that great, fuzzy edge look. From there its into the wash so that the edges will start to fray or rag. After doing one last quality check, it gets packaged up and sent back to the customer.
What do you love most about making your products?
I love digging through my stash or the rows of fabric at the store to find fun and unique color combinations and mixing patterns. I especially love mixing bold patterns with the classic form of rag quilting to create a fun, modern look.
List 3 adjectives that describe you.
Fun-loving, passionate, caring
What is your favorite food?
Just about anything Italian, but especially lasagna.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be? Why?
I would be a cat. I’m very independent and strong-willed. I was raised to be a strong woman and to be able to stand on my own. I am easily amused (oh, look a little red dot!) and love to play and hang out with friends and family. However, if you rub me the wrong way, I do have a temper and will defend myself, friends and family with tooth an nail.
I must say, Mary sounds like someone I'd like to quilt with, hang out with, or have a long lunch on a deck. You can't say that about everyone. Hope you enjoy looking through her shop, or reading her new blog. I'm going to check it out for sure!