Boutique Clothing Craft Series- Lilly Pie Creations

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 with Katie Demicelli of Lilly Pie Creations, LLC.

Founder Name: Katie Demicelli

Years in Business: 2.5 years

Product Description: Customs children’s apparel, embroidery and applique clothing, dresses, tutus, and custom embroidery designs

Website URL: www.facebook.com/lillypiecreations and http://www.etsy.com/shop/LillyPieCreations.

Contact Information: lillypiecreations@hotmail.com

Katie, how did you get started in the clothing craft business? When the Saints made it to the Superbowl in 2010 I decided that my daughter (who was 8 months old at the time) needed something to wear for the big game. I looked all around our small town for something cute for her to wear and only found a cheerleaders outfit. I saw a few professional pictures of babies wearing tutus and decided that would be the perfect thing for her to wear. After I made a black and gold tutu, I posted a few pictures of my daughter modeling it on facebook and immediately had 2 friends order them for their children. After a month or two of making tutus I decided I needed a name for my little business, I decided upon Lilly Pie Creation, my daughters name is Lilly and my husband and I have always called her “Lilly Pie”. Not long after naming my business I decided to dust off my old sewing machine and make a dress, then I received an embroidery machine for Christmas and my “creations” have just grown from there.

Your tutus are absolutely adorable! It’s crazy how people get started doing things like this!

Where do you find the inspiration to come up with these embellishments? My daughters, they are 3 and 1. I started making outfits for my older daughter, because I just didn’t want to buy something I could make. I loved being able to say, “I made that” when somebody commented about a dress or shirt my daughter was wearing. Now that I embroider and digitize a lot of my own designs, my daughter requests me to put certain designs on her clothing. (I think she believes all mommy’s sew their kids clothing). And my younger daughter is only 15 months old so she doesn’t really have much of an opinion yet, she is my guinea pig, I like to test out new patterns on her. My kids are my best customers!

That is so cute that your daughter believes all mommies make their kids clothes. Its good to have “customers” that live at home, they are your own personal mannequin!

How long does it take, on average, for you to complete a typical project? From the time an order is placed to the time I mail or deliver it, it normally takes me a week. A lot of time is spent going back and forth with a customer figuring out colors, fabric and embroidery designs. If I am digitizing a new applique it may take a little longer. I am the sole employee of my business and a stay at home mom, so I pretty much work only during naptime and after my girls go to bed.

How do you manage to stand out from the competition? My goal is to treat my customers the way I want to be treated as a consumer. I want to be upfront and honest with my customers, I do not charge more than I am willing to pay for an item elsewhere. Also everything I make is custom, if I have a picture of something on my website it is just an example of what that item can look like. Everything can be changed down to the thread color!

That is a very good way of looking at how you charge per item. That is a very smart business tactic, its also good that you are willing to change you ideas for people’s needs like the color of the thread, fabrics etc.

Are there any “milestone moments” that you’d like to share with us? I recently purchased a new, larger embroidery machine, I outgrew my previous machine in a little over a year.

What would you say has been the biggest challenge for your business-so far? Expanding my customer base. I relied solely on word of mouth for a long time, but now I am looking into selling things at some local stores and possibly adding my own website.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing clothing craft businesses? There are so many clothing craft businesses that sell the same type of items, it is very hard to stand out without under pricing your items.

What’s the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone considering taking the plunge and starting their own clothing craft business? Research! Research the market, research blanks (if you are embroidering), research your target customer, how much can they spend, research the business and tax laws in your state and find people (either online or in real life) who share the same creating passion as you do. I say passion because you need to really love doing what you do to create a business, I spend a lot of of my spare time “working”. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, I love what I do and that’s why I say “working” because I really doesn’t feel like I’m working.

That is some really good advice, because people do need to understand what they are really going into when they are starting up their own business, from the laws and regulations and the time it takes to actually make it happen and work.

We would like to thank you, Katie with Lilly Pie Creations, 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 feature in Rock Bottom T-shirts Boutique Clothing Craft Series, please let us know on our Facebook page!

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Pumpkin Carving Ideas!

For those who enjoy carving pumpkins as much as we do, sometimes you can’t always think of something cool to carve! Well we have found a few images that would be fun and easy to do! We all know that pumpkin carving can get messy, don’t forget to get all your t-shirts from Rock Bottom T-shirts!

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Need more fun ideas? Get some templates to make your carving the best in the neighborhood.

Let us know know what you think and if you carve any pumpkins this year, post some pics on our Facebook page. We’d love to see what you come up with!

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Filed under craft, crafts, Crafts/Projects, Fall, Halloween, How To

Boutique Clothing Craft Series – Twinspirations

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 Tracy Badeer with Twinspirations!

Founder Name : Tracy Badeer

Years in Business: 2.5 years

Products Description: Personalized and custom infant, baby and toddler clothing

Website URL: www.etsy.com/shop/twinspirations

Contact Information: Through Etsy or tracy.badeer@gmail.com or www.facebook.com/twinspirations.by.tracy

1. How did you get started in the clothing craft business?
I have twin daughters and to start out, I had the desire to create personalized items for them.  Partly to help folks tell who was who, and partly because we gave them unique names (Ariana and Cordelia) and believe it or not, there’s not a lot out there with those names on it.  Shortly after, my desire grew to share my products with others and I decided to start my own little Etsy shop.

2. Where do you find the inspiration to come up with these embellishments?
A lot of my designs come from things my girls love…animals like my giraffes or dinosaurs…or things my friend or myself love, like John Deere tractors and Husker football. I usually test things on my girls, if they love it or want one, I know I’ve done a good job.

That is such a smart idea, to try them out on your girls before making something people may not be interested in.

 3. How long does it take, on average, for you to complete a typical project?
Depends on the length of the child’s name or complexity of the design…any given project from start to finish (cutting to attaching to hand stitching) can take 2-3 hours or more.

I would consider that a pretty quick turn around. I bet your customers love that about you!

4. How do you manage to stand out from the competition?
I feel I stand out on three fronts, 1: Quality of the Product.  I strive to deliver a product that I not only love but am SURE my customer will as well. This means starting with a high quality shirt and building from there.  2: Communication.  I feel it’s IMPERATIVE, especially in a custom shop…I email/convo (Etsy’s email) to make sure customers can see their fabric choices, or color combinations, together. It is a small thing yes, but it’s really important to make the item PERFECT for the customer and to make SURE my customers are very happy.  3: Hand Stitching.  I LOVE the look that hand stitching adds to my pieces AND it adds to the quality and security of the product.  I don’t want my customers to worry about how to care for their items. I strive to make products you can wash and wear without worrying if it’s going to look the same once it comes out of the dryer.

It sounds like you have all the knowledge and the qualities to thrive and have a very successful business!

 5. Are there any “milestone moments” that you’d like to share with us?
The biggest milestone I think for me so far has been within the last year.  I added personalized layettes to my shop, thanks to a good friend pushing.  They have been a HUGE hit and have really added a depth to my shop I didn’t know before and have really pushed my sales in a new direction.

6. What would you say has been the biggest challenge for your business-so far?
Keeping balance to be a good wife and mom and still do the things I love in the shop, that’s been hard…and I don’t claim to have found the perfect balance yet. 

It sounds like you are on the right track, you’ll get there!

7. What would you say is the biggest challenge facing clothing craft businesses?
Standing out in the crowd.  Making a product that isn’t what everyone else has or is doing is a real challenge, but it’s a lot of fun too to try design new and different things you don’t see every day.

8. What’s the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone considering taking the plunge and starting their own clothing craft business?
Play.  Really figure out what your niche is.  Take the time to explore and figure out what works and doesn’t work for your product and find what will make your product really stand out.  I think a good chunk of my first year or two of my shop was figuring out what worked for me…what I really LOVED working on and what made my shop/product me.  Once you figure that out…the rest is a whole lot of fun.

We would like to thank you, Tracy with Twinspirations, for taking the time our of your day to answer a few of your questions! I am sure that you answered a lot for others as well!

If you know someone who you think we could feature in Rock Bottom T-shirts Boutique Clothing Craft Series, please let us know on our Facebook page

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Boutique Clothing Craft Series- A Stitch Upon A Star

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.

Founder Name: Annie Hulsey

Years in Business: 1 year

Product Description: Custom children’s tees with hand-stitched appliques for birthdays, vacations, holidays, and everyday

Website URL: http://astitchuponastar.etsy.com/ and Facebook

Contact Information: astitchuponastar@gmail.com

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.

I bet it is hard trying to chase the boys around and work on the business at the same time, it’s like working at two different jobs at the same time!

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!

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DIY Fun Halloween Costumes

We know everyone is on a budget these days and the last thing you want to do is spend money on a costume that your kids are only going to wear once. So we have found a couple of solutions for you!

Add Some Color!

Our first idea is perfect for multiples going to a party or trick or treating together. They could all dress up as crayons! This costume is inexpensive and easy to do!

To start with all you need are solid long sleeve shirts or sweatshirts and matching colored pants. In the how-to instructions it says to use adhesive-backed felt but you could use regular felt and use either iron on hem tape or fabric glue if adhesive-backed felt is too expensive. A few more things you need are scissors, a ruler, and party hats for the tip of the crayon. Here is the link on how to make these fun yet easy costumes: Colorful Crayon Costume

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s.. SUPER BABY!!! 

All you need is a layette or a baby bodysuit, some felt, a small piece of fabric and some Velcro™. You can make this one faster than a speeding train! Here is the link on how to make this adorable flying baby! Super Baby Costume

If you have any other ideas or if you choose to make one of these costumes, please share with us on our Facebook page! We look forward to seeing what you came up with!

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Filed under activity, Babies, budget, children, craft, crafts, Crafts/Projects, Fall, Halloween, holiday, How To, last minute, Uncategorized

Boutique Clothing Craft Series-Carolyn’s Custom Creations

We are pleased to bring you a brand new 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 speaking to Carolyn Kyker of Carolyn’s Custom Creations.

Founder Name: Carolyn Kyker

Years in Business: 3 years

Product Description: Appliquéd & Monogrammed Children’s & Adult’s Clothing as well as Personalized Gifts

Website URL: www.CarolynsCustomCreations.net

Contact Information: CarolynsCustomCreations@gmail.com

Carolyn, What got you started in the clothing craft business? Believe it or not, I didn’t even know how to sew a straight line until 2008.  I skipped home economics due to my family moving across the country and so I missed sewing class!  I’d always wanted to learn to sew so I decided to take some classes.  You should see the first skirt I made – I keep it to remind myself how far I’ve come!!  I started with a regular sewing machine that we’d gotten at our wedding but after several moves of our own it wasn’t working properly.  I decided to replace it with a combination sewing/embroidery machine.  I totally taught myself how to embroider (thank goodness for Google!).  I began by appliqueing clothing for my toddler son – I was so frustrated with the lack of cute boy’s clothing options.  But the hobby was quickly turning into an obsession – an expensive one at that!  So in December 2009 I offered several Christmas designs to just my friends.  I got over 75 orders!!!  I took that as a sign from God that it was time to go into business!

I cannot believe that you started out by just making things for your son!

Where did you find the inspiration to come up with these embellishments? We are lucky to have a wide variety of good quality digitizers who make fantastic embroidery designs.  I mainly just scour their websites and come up with shirts based on those designs.  But most of my creations come from my customer’s needs – I do a lot of birthday shirts where the customer contacts me with their child’s age and the type of birthday party they are going to have, and I create a shirt based on that. I also utilize Pinterest for new ideas!

We often look through Pinterest for ideas to put in our craft blogs!

How long does it usually take, on average, to complete a typical project? I create in shifts.  I spend one day out of my week editing designs (putting names with the designs and changing thread colors in the computer if necessary), ordering shirts, and completing bookkeeping tasks.  Then I spend the rest of the days actually creating the projects.  My turn-around time is from 2-3 weeks.  I believe it takes time and patience to come up with a quality product.

It absolutely does take time and patience for quality product, and that is what people want these days!

How do you manage to stand out from the competition? I have a really loyal customer base and I think my items speak for themselves.  Most of my business comes from repeat customers – those who order shirts for every holiday & every birthday.  I believe I have a special calling – it is my privilege to know the names of the children that will be wearing my shirts and I pray for them by name as I complete their creations.  I feel like I know the children that are wearing my items!

Are there any “milestone moments” that you would like to share? I just had a big “A-HA” moment about a month ago.  In April my Mom passed away suddenly due to leukemia (she was diagnosed on a Monday and died on that Friday).  It was shocking and I couldn’t bring myself to create in the aftermath.  I was stressed out and depressed and I decided to shut down my business.  The customer support was amazing, everybody was truly saddened about the close of Carolyn’s Custom Creations, but I just couldn’t keep it going.  I began efforts to sell my 6-needle embroidery machine (whom I lovingly call “Buffalo”).  After advertising on Facebook and on Craigslist for 2 months at a very fair price I didn’t have any offers to purchase my machine.  In the meantime, I was becoming more and more depressed….and missing being creative more and more!  I also really missed my customers!  Then it hit me: I am meant to create and I am not supposed to sell my machine!  So after some business reorganization (like adding my husband to the team as my Business Manager) and some serious brainstorming about new products I re-opened at the beginning of July.  I’m so happy to be back at it but I’m also glad that I took those 2 months off.  Sometimes we just have to focus on ourselves for a bit in order to get re-energized for our customers!

What would you considering being your biggest challenge for your business so far? The biggest challenge is the money!  I was not meant to be a bookkeeper and I also have a fabric addiction!!  Those two things meant Carolyn’s Custom Creations wasn’t as profitable as it could have been.  That is why I decided to add my husband to the team – he is the official bookkeeper and Business Manager.  I feel much better knowing that he is overseeing those items – I can concentrate on creating.

What would you say is the biggest challenge facing clothing craft businesses? The biggest challenge facing businesses like mine is the competition.  With the introduction and affordability of embroidery machines, many appliqué & monogramming small businesses are popping up.  Consumers are looking for good prices which leads them to shop around.  Some of them even decide to take up the craft for themselves!  I always hope that the quality and durability of my items will attract and keep customers.

That is why it pays off having  good customer service skills to have those repeating customers that will then go and tell their family and friends about the great quality work that you do.

What’s the one piece of advice that you would give to anyone considering taking a plunge and starting their own clothing craft business? Be patient.  Be patient when you’re designing, be patient when you’re creating, and be patient as you wait for your business to grow.  If you have an innate need to create like I do, a creative small business provides the stability and balance that you need in your life!

We would like to thank Carolyn with Carolyn’s Custom Creations for taking the time out of her busy day to answer a few of our questions! 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.

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No Sew Applique? Yes!

Love the way applique looks but you wonder how can you can do it without sewing? For those of you that may be intimidated by sewing machines or just don’t have the time, we have found the easiest way to applique to fabric, no needle & thread necessary. All you need is Steam a Seam, a great idea, and you’re ready to go!

Check out this You Tube Video on how to use Steam a Seam.

Now you can create your own one of a kind t-shirts, bags, fabrics and more! You can get t-shirtstanksbaby bodysuits and so much more on Rock Bottom T-shirts to make your ideas a reality!

A Picture Perfect Birdy for a “Tweet” Little Girl

An Alligator Applique for Your Little Monster

A Beach Bag or Purse for Every Outfit

If you make anything using this technique, we’d love to see it! Let us know what you thought about it on our Facebook page, or comment below.

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Filed under activity, crafts, Crafts/Projects