1. Tell us a little bit about your businesses
I have always been crafty/arty on some level. In grade school, I liked drawing and in my teens, I started making jewelry and writing for zines. In my early 20s, I kinda went through a dark space and did not make anything and slowly started crafting and learning new stuff like knitting. One night, my boyfriend and I went to a local indie craft show and a spark was ignited within me and I started crafting. My business has kinda revolved around what I am into at the moment. I like selling at different retail locations, and I like making store specific products for them. I finally put out my first zine last year and it was something I wanted to do since I was a teen!
2. How did you get into this business?
A push from my boyfriend — he told me to make stuff and I went with it. As a teen, I started writing for zines and beading jewelry for zine distros. In my 20s and now into my 30s, I find that the internet is such a supportive place to make business contacts and friends! Family and friends are what usually push us crafty people into making stuff for others!
3. What motivated you to start selling zines, bows, etc?
Seeing people do their thing! I started selling at local shops and then in the Bay Area. I started doing craft shows and each year just try to stay in the market. I have had some awesome support! Sarah Kramer wore a bow on the cover of the Canadian magazine Vegan News and I flipped out!
4. Is this a full-time gig, or something you do on the side, a hobby?
It really depends on the season. When it is the craft show season or someone places a large retail order, I am working hours a day on things. When things are slow I will try to get ideas/test recipes for my zine and just write. I am always creating though — I like doing mail art exchanges and making gifts for people.
5. How long have you been a member of the HH community?
I have been vegan for about 12 years, vegetarian 6 years before that. I got hooked on HH since the first cookbook came out!
6. What advice do you have for anyone interested in pursuing their dreams of opening an Etsy shop and selling their crafts? Any advice for those looking to sell bows, zines, and products similar to yours?
Be original! I have had to step away from bows recently (I only do them for retail and special occasions) because of people copying my layout and my style. I know that bows are not the most original thing, but I really tried to make mine stand out with special touches. Seeing past customers pick apart my bows and then copy and sell them really hurts. Being part of a crafty community or having friends that will support you is also a valuable tool. My boyfriend is my soundboard and I go to him for advice/to cry when I am frustrated/for layout help. Trying different venues for selling is also good! Some people hate craft shows — I like interacting with people so I find them fun. You might be shy, so setting up an online marketplace might be more your thing. Try a few things out!
7. What is the most rewarding part of your business/work?
Seeing people wear my stuff or positive reviews of my zine from the zine community!
8. What is the most challenging aspect?
Staying motivated. I suffer from depression and anxiety, and sometimes the littlest thing can set me in a funk for days. Pulling out of that dark space and creating is sometimes hard for me.
9. Does your business directly relate to your Herbie lifestyle?
Yup! My zines reflect the vegan lifestyle, my needlework often has me creating vegan/pro-veggie style patterns, and fabric/material choices have me finding cruelty-free materials and utilizing them in new ways!
10. Anything else you'd like to add or share?
Create because you have a passion to do so. Don't create because you want to become rich overnight — you will not. Give back to your community and the animals as much as you can! This should be your crafty mantra!
Check out Kendy's Etsy shop here.