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
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!