Tell us about the first steps you took in starting your business?
I’ve always loved to create and have always been self taught in any craft that has interested me. I have tried my hand at jewelry making (the beaded kind), knitting, painting and more recently crochet and cross stitch/hand embroidery. At the beginning of 2013, a few months after giving birth to my second son, I wanted to break into the business of handmade. I had just learnt to crochet and had a desire to create something that I loved and that I hoped other people would love too, and might like to buy. After a short stint back at work before being made redundant, I hoped that I might be able to contribute a small amount towards our weekly income and maybe be a stay-at-home mum just a bit longer (which has always been my desire).
I started selling my crocheted storage baskets, which I still love to this day! I set up a Big Cartel online store and created an Instagram account for my business, which was then called woolf&cotton (a little play on the fibres I was using to create my wares). The following Christmas, I created a pattern for a cross stitch family to stitch for my sister-in-laws Christmas gift. I instantly fell in love with cross stitching and quickly moved on to create one for my own family. While still promoting these via Instagram, I moved further away from crocheting baskets and was kept very busy the following year with orders for custom cross stitch family portraits. Enter the new year (this year!) and a big decision was made to change my business name to Thread Folk and focus solely on cross stitched and hand embroidered art.
What is a personal habit that you believe contributes to your success?
I have a customer service and administration background in my other, pre-kid life, which has given me rather high standards for how I try to present myself in the non-stitching side of my business. There are always circumstances in mum life that can cause the admin side of a small mum-run business to have delays, but when life is running to routine, I do try to keep on top of my emails and Instagram correspondence with a fairly regular turnaround.
Give us 3 tips on how to use Instagram to boost business
1. Be present. Comment on other peoples work that you admire. Share the love. Join in on the fun discussion.
2. Giveaways are a great way to get your name out there and grow followers.
3. If you create handmade goods, follow along with accounts whose sole purpose is to share the love and feature different talent (@craftsposure, @makersvillage, etc…). You can tag and use their hashtag on your images, giving you the chance to be noticed and reposted in their feed to many potential followers.
How do you balance #mumlife and business life?
With little sleep! 😉 In my situation, I can really only do my stitching while my kids are sleeping. Occasionally I will get an hour or two in on the weekend as well, when my husband is home. My kids are my number one priority, so I try to be present and not preoccupied with my stitching during their wakeful hours. Not to mention, those grubby hands and clean linens do NOT work well together! 😉
What one piece of actionable advice would you give someone just starting out?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It can be really nerve wracking shoving the work that you created, that you put your whole heart and hands into, out into that online, social media community. But do it! You will no doubt find the most wonderful, supportive, fun, lovely community of likeminded people and people that appreciate your work who will celebrate your successes and applaud you for doing what you love.
A Mum with Hustle you admire and why
Kel of Chief and Kewpie. I’ve loved watching the way she’s grown her business. She jumped on the weave train fairly early with just the most delicious, colour packed, pattern crazy weaves and is now sharing the love all over Australia through her weave school (which I can personally attest to being a super fun night out)! She’s gracious and sarcastic, a great teacher and super fun to hang out with.
Connect up with Thread Folk on:
Instagram – @threadfolk
Website – Thread Folk
As the founder and CEO of Mums With Hustle, I have the best day job in the world: teaching entrepreneurs how to grow their beautiful businesses online. When I started the business, that was everything I wanted, but since then, it has grown into something much bigger. Now, I get my joy from helping women find their zones of genius within a community that truly celebrates their success. I truly believe that when women choose to band together, we can do anything - and if you feel the same, there’s a place in the MWH community for you.
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