Rock Bottom T-Shirts would like to welcome a new small business owner to the Rock Bottom T-Shirts Boutique Clothing Craft Series where we recognize the accomplishments of small businesses in the clothing craft industry.Today we are talking to Annie Hulsey of A Stitch Upon A Star.
Years in Business: 1 year
Product Description: Custom children’s tees with hand-stitched appliques for birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday
How did you get started in the clothing craft business? I have a passion for Disney vacation planning and party planning. Just after my second son was born, I was researching for our next Disney trip and came across a few cute tee shirts and outfits for girls. Having two boys, I’ve always found it frustrating that there’s such a limited selection of boutique clothing for boys, and it was no different when I began to search for some Disney trip outfits. So, I decided to start making my own.
It is very hard to find those “specialty” outfits for boys, it seems so easy to dress up a little girl.
Where do you find the inspiration to come up with these embellishments? My shirts are mostly inspired by my boys and classic Disney characters and colors. I also get many ideas from clients who want a custom design for a birthday party or who want to customize a shirt that I’ve already designed to fit their child’s taste or interests.
How long does it take, on average, for you to complete a typical project? The shirts that are already designed typically take 1.5 to 3 hours to assemble and stitch. A new shirt design may take an hour or two more to create in my computer program.
That is a fast turn around! I am sure that you customers love that about you!
How do you manage to stand out from the competition? Before opening my shop, I tried to find something that I knew would be fairly popular (birthday and vacation shirts), but also to do something a bit different from the typical embroidery machine applique, since there are so many shops offering that now. I also do my best to provide excellent communication and customer service with each order.
Having good communication with you customers is key to having a thriving business.
Are there any “milestone moments” that you’d like to share with us? I haven’t had a major milestone moment yet! I have stayed steadily busy since opening, which feels like a great first year success.
What would you say has been the biggest challenge for your business-so far? The biggest challenge is the unpredictability and time management since I am a stay-at-home mom with two active boys. I’ve had a week where I had 28 shirt orders and a week where I didn’t have any, so sometimes it’s a challenge to balance everything not knowing how much time I will need to devote to creating shirts.
What’s the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone considering taking the plunge and starting their own clothing craft business? Do your research before beginning. Find something that you can offer that is unique, then practice, practice, practice before selling anything to a customer.
That is some really great advice. People need to fully understand what it will take to make such a huge commitment.
We would like to thank you, Annie with A Stitch Upon a Star, for taking the time out of your day to answer a few of our questions! I am sure that you answered a lot for others as well.
If you know someone that you think should be featured in Rock Bottom T-shirts Boutique Clothing Craft Series, please let us know on our Facebook page!