Etsy Shops: http://divineblessing.etsy.com and http://divinepresents.etsy.com
Tell us about yourself.
I am a creator. I worked in the fashion industry for many years doing mainly bridal dresses. I am also a mother of 3 (22, 18 and 6) who loves traveling. Most times I take my bunch with me but as they are getting older I tend to take the smallest one. I love discovering new places and traditions; it inspires me. I tend to think how can I represent the richness of that particular culture - and that is the creative side of me which is always present.
What are you currently doing besides your creative craft?
I am an educator: I teach people how to sew and use their ideas to create new items; I also teach literacy - reading and writing. Both of these subjects I teach to adults. My teaching props up my creative craft though. Eventually I would like my creative craft to make its own stand.
What are the addresses for your Etsy shops?
I have 2 Etsy shops - Divine Blessings which sells children's special occasion clothes and items (http://divineblessing.etsy.com) and Divine Presents which sells fabrics, bags and other gift items (http://divinepresents.etsy.com) although I am currently still working on this one.
What do you offer in your Etsy shop(s)?
Children's special occassion clothing - baptism and naming, accessories - washcloths, blankets, booties and hairbands and cushions.
Where do you create?
I create all of my items in my home. I don't have a dedicated sewing space, just a corner in my bedroom.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration for my children's range comes from mixing , silks, linens and cottons and also Adinkra symbols which are used on the clothes and accessories. I love mixing tradditional baptism garments with Kente. Kente prints comes in such a wide range and it can inspire many ideas.
How did you get started in your line of business?
I wanted a creative outlet and I was doing a lot of orders for christening garments, so I decided that there was a gap in the market for creative baptism garments; hence the business was started and eventually I stumbled upon the idea of African meets European mainly because of an exhibition I attended and people were asking me if I had any black inspired baptism/naming garments.
How do you promote your business?
I promote my business by word-of-mouth, business cards, websites and facebook and participating in events.
What is one of your most important lessons you've learned since starting your business?
If you want your business to work you have to dedicate time to it - nurture it like a baby because it cannot function without you, it always needs your attention, strength and love.
What advice would you give someone just starting out?
Research your market, listen to advice and look for ways to always be in the headlines. When we first started out we had a in our local market; everyone loved our items but no-one wanted to pay the prices (our items we made of good quality silks) as they thought market = cheap. What we learned that a market wasn't the right place for our clothing and people in shops in that area copied our styles, we needed to be somewhere more upmarket. We started showing at baby shows and events and started selling.
What are some of your favorite online shops on and off Etsy?
In Etsy - the millenery shop, Splurge, tesoridamore, chunkyjkids, LilCrumbsnatchers and bonzie. Off Etsy - Amazon because of my love of books ad gadgets.
What are your other sites (i.e. Blogger, Wordpress, Facebook, Twitter)?
Facebook - Eileen 'divine blessing' Wedderburn and divineblessing (www.blessthechild.co.uk) which I am currently updating.
Congratulations, Eileen W. for being a featured artist.
Tune in on Friday for our next featured EAOC member!