I'm happy to report that we received a big baby shower gift order and I'm anxious to get started on it! My mom and I do 6-7 craft fairs a year to build the business (although we'd likely need to do upwards of 30 to make a real difference), and many people love our items. We get alot of enjoyment out of making customers happy even though when making the teddy bears, we sometimes want to throw the sewing machine out the window. :-) But it is always worth the effort when we receive compliments and repeat sales.
In October 2008, we opened an Etsy shop in hopes of generating sales from a larger customer base. Alas, our craft fair success has not translated into Etsy success just yet. I have a few thoughts on the reasons:
1) The Touch Factor - One cannot see and feel our products through a website. It is hard to convey a 'soft flannel' or see the actual large size of the panda and teddy bears. I think once seen in person, our customer feels comfortable that they are getting a quality product and then doesn't mind ordering post-fair or putting through a custom request.
2) Workmanship - Our teddy bears is a 23-piece pattern and requires alot of hand-stitching. We make our quilts with a double border, which many others forgo, and we hand-stitch parts of each one. Our burp-cloths have a full flannel back, accent ribbon, and applique that one does not see from the back.
3) Pictures - I need to take better pictures!! The outdoor shots convey color the best with the right sun exposure. I need to take advantage of 'good photography' days and get out there.
I'm hoping our little business can become a little bigger in 2009. Off to make a chenille quilt, teddy, and burp cloth set. I'll post a picture when completed - hopefully with good outdoor light. :-)