Welcome back to the Rock Bottom T-Shirts Boutique Clothing Craft Series. Today marks our fourth installment of this series that recognizes the accomplishments of small businesses in the clothing craft industry.
- Founder Name(s): Gwen Davenport
- Business Name: Frills n’ Frogs
- Years in Business: Just over a year – 16 months
- Products Description: Birthday tshirts for kids and other personalized embroidered items
- Website URL(s): Frills n Frogs Website or Etsy
- Contact Information: frillsnfrogs-at-gmail dot com
1. What inspired you to start an online clothing boutique?
Most of what I do is custom work. It’s very difficult to go to a craft show and be successful. You have to take orders or try to make things on site – which can be very difficult. When at shows people want their items immediately.I also could not afford the overhead and start-up expenses of an actual storefront.
The best thing ever is an online business.Start-up costs are minimal, you can take orders and ship them when complete and best of all – your customer base is world-wide. You have access to so many more customers which results in more orders.
Another cool thing about an online business is you make “friends” all across the country. I have some repeat customers who I chat with online all of the time. I’ve made several things for them. I have formed several new friendships thousands of miles away through my online store.
2. How did you get started?
I’ve always had a creative bone and loved making things. As embroidery has become more and more popular I purchased a small embroidery machine and started making things for my 5-year old son and niece and nephew. I longed for a 6-needle embroidery machine – but knew that in order to purchase it, I’d have to make some money! There was no way I could pay for it otherwise.
A friend of mine recommended Etsy, so I started there and then developed my own private site. It took off! I have not used a penny of my “personal money” to buy my new embroidery machine! It has all come from the money I have made from my creations….and embroidery is an expensive hobby!
3. Are there any milestone moments that you’d like to share with us?
Making your first online sell is always a milestone. Then I remember I was so excited when I hit 100 orders on Etsy. Now, I’m nearing 1,000 orders. It’s crazy how things start rolling!
4. How long does it take, on average, for you to complete a typical project?
Usually about 20-30 minutes – depending on distractions…..remember, I do have a 5-year old little boy 🙂 and a husband!
5. Where do you find the inspiration to come up with these embellishments?
My son, niece and nephew are my inspirations! I love to make new creations and give it to them to wear.Also my customers. They come up with ideas and we work together to make the best looking, and possible-to-make designs. I love taking someone’s vision and making it come to “life”.
6. What would you say is the biggest challenge facing boutique clothing craft businesses?
I would say the biggest challenge is competing with the “big boys”. Making these items takes time and the equipment and supplies are not cheap. So to make it worth your while, you have to charge people.Lots of people think that custom boutique clothing is too expensive. That it should be less.
The bigger companies can charge less because of volume – the little guys can’t. But the little guys can offer customization, customer service and a personal touch that the larger companies cannot offer.
7. Is there any advice that you’d like to share with someone who may be considering starting one?
First and foremost, do your homework. Know what equipment and supplies you will need and how much it’s going to cost to get started. Also, look at other stores and figure out what’s popular and what sells.Find something that sets you apart.
Are you the best at customer service? Can you turn out rush orders really quickly? Do you have this awesome design that no one else has? What is your competitive advantage – figure that out and promote yourself using that advantage.Online is a must in today’s world. Even if you have a “brick and mortar” store – go online too.
You can reach so many more people and your sales will increase dramatically.Give your items away. This is one of the best marketing tools EVER. Give them as shower gifts or birthday gifts. People will see your product and ask who made it, and the next thing you know someone is calling you with an order. I live in a small town and word spreads!
Thank you for checking out the fourth installment of our Boutique Clothing Craft Series. If you know of someone that you think we should feature in this series please let us know by mentioning it on our Facebook Fan Page.