When my business began five and a half years ago, I started with Etsy. At the time, I was very drawn to vintage textiles (still am!) and when I started out, I sold some vintage items on Etsy.
I soon moved on to designing fabrics and to designing and making quilts, sometimes using the fabrics I had designed.
I even designed quilts that used some of the precious vintage pieces I had so loved.
One of the vintage pieces was used to make a photographic style print fabric design ‘Lace’.
Etsy grew a long way from its beginnings as a market-place for handmade products. However, it does seem that it is returning in some measure to its roots. At the beginning of April, it launched a ‘Stand with Small’ campaign, in support of small businesses like mine.
Take a look at the Etsy ‘#Stand with Small’ video here
My business is not just small, it’s tiny. The smart phrase to use is ‘micro-business’ but it means the same thing. Everything you see: the website, the two hundred and fifty or so blog-posts, the twenty-five monthly newsletters, the one hundred and fifteen fabric designs (here), the thirty-eight quilt and sewing patterns – plus a cut-and-sew kit (here), the eleven YouTube videos (here) have all been made by one person, bit by bit, piece by piece, day by day over five and a half years. The ideas have been drawn out of me, pencil line after pencil line (pun intended) and stitch after stitch.
When I began, I worked at home on the landing using a ‘desk’ that was actually a wooden door, liberated (with permission) from a skip. You can see it in action below.
I stayed on the landing for over four years (you can see a post about it included a short video here ). In February 2019, I took a studio in an historic building a mile from my home (and wrote about it here).
Now, due to Covid-19, the building is closed and I am back working from home (on the dining room table at the moment) as I reported in the blog post here.
I have been working hard during this period, adding extra patterns to my Etsy shop and designing and making new quilts (like the ‘Bears and Squares’ one mentioned here). I am passionate about helping others to be creative: making things with fabric is engaging, relaxing and life-enhancing.
Micro-businesses typically do not have the budget for expensive marketing and advertising. They try to interest, engage, inform and entertain their prospective customers – and try to get to know them, too. Although Amanda Jane Textiles is almost exclusively an e-commerce business, meeting people when I teach courses in person, plus occasional appearances at craft fairs etc, is enjoyable and useful: every conversation sparks ideas, helps hone what I can offer and shapes the business.
It’s a unique proposition. Are you interested in supporting a small business and in buying something that is original? Would you like to make something from fabric, even though you are inexperienced? Helping beginners is one of the main aims of Amanda Jane Textiles
This second Etsy film has been added more recently, click here to see it.
What do you think?