This post is an interview I had with Alexa Clauson of the Etsy Shop, Spindle and Rose. Alexa is collaborating with me on my Video Course series, providing a coupon code for her beautiful fabric for those of you who watch the video course! I’ve really enjoyed getting to know Alexa and I’m very excited to be working with her.
1) What sparked you interest in the handmade market, and how did you decide to make the leap to sell things yourself?
I have always loved to cut and paste and sew and paint – get messy and make things with my hands! I have sold handmade items on a couple different Etsy shops I’ve tried over the years. There was a time I was making vinyl purses with an industrial sewing machine (that sadly got destroyed in a flood!) and had an Etsy shop for those and I also sold some illustrations I drew. I’ve always had a connection with crafters and sewists, so I wanted to be in the loop with like-minded individuals and Etsy is a wonderful world for that. I was doing a lot of different odd jobs in production from baking cherry pies to screen printing tee shirts and I kept missing my favorite job, which was working with and selling fabric for a really cool quilting company here in Colorado. My wonderful husband kept encouraging me to start my own business and has helped me combine my love of textiles with connecting with the crafting community.
2) Where did you get the idea for your shop name?
I just spent a day brainstorming a sort of “brand” name I could feel inspired by and get excited about. I wanted to combine the sort of “raw” beginnings of sewing with an image that represented design and art. I remember coming up with a bunch of names that weren’t quite the right fit and tossing and turning in bed that night – words just buzzing in my head. I love fairy tales and for some reason, Sleeping Beauty kept coming into my head. I thought about the peasant-princess entering the castle to find an old wooden spinning wheel – the only one left in the kingdom – and being drawn to the spinning wheel and silver needle. I think the spell of the spindle, working a material into something new and beautiful is – simply – like magic. Just as my mom creating princess dresses for me and my sister when we were kids out of fabric we picked was amazing! The rose was not only another symbol in fairy tales, but a symbol of design and organic beauty. The thorns remind me of the sewing needle, sharp –but creating beautiful things. The rose represents, to me, the amazing art and design that is now produced on cotton. I am constantly blown away by the new fabric designs coming out by artists all over the world. So inspiring to want to sew, make something. Limitless. Spindle and Rose ~
3) Tell me a little about yourself
I am an artist and writer from a very loving and creative family. I live in beautiful Colorado with very fortunate views of the mountains and my amazing husband, our youngest son, and our sweet old dog Mishka –aka Mouse J I spend most of my time working on my fabric business and get a lot of creative inspiration from my super skilled and artistic customers! I wish I could sew what they sew!! I spend my spare time having adventures with my hubby, trying not to order more fabric than budgeted!! and writing, in bits and teeny tiny little pieces, a fantasy novel.
4) What does your creative space look like?
I am so fortunate to have an amazing space in our little loft upstairs. We are quickly growing out of it, but my husband’s built shelves into basically every available nook and cranny for me – and I’ve come right behind him to fill them all with bolts of fabric. He also built a really cool cutting table for me from a design he found online with just a big plank of wood and metal shelves with tons of storage space for packaging, thread, ribbon… I have a large window view of the mountains off in the distance and just a really wonderful space for cutting orders and sewing as well. There’s a plastic deer head hanging in one corner, a white board for ideas, some drawings I sketch here and there, usually a cup of tea or coffee (or a glass of wine) and a good sound system for music, too.
5) What are some time management tips that you utilize in your business?
I get really antsy in the morning to get going on orders. I always have plenty of time, but I want to make sure I fill all the orders that came in the day before – shipping as soon as possible is really important to me. Then I usually have the afternoons to work on social media and blog ideas. I have typed up a schedule of posts I want to be sure to do and keep ideas for blog projects on a Pinterest board. Honestly, my husband and I spend even our weekends working on the website, our Etsy shop, and different ideas to reach more people, so right now, I really try to remember to take some time off as well J It helps to gain some perspective on the business if I step back once in a while.
6) Where do you fit in your “me time” and what interests do you have outside of your business?
On Saturdays, my husband helps me get orders out by noon when the post office closest to us closes. Then, I usually call it a day and take the rest of Saturday to have fun! I’ve recently found that daily exercise – even just 30 minutes, really helps me center and focus. I’m still trying to figure out how to fit in my novel.
7) Do you ever sell at craft shows? If so, do you have any tips for that?
I have helped friends sell at craft shows, and I have sold purses at some festivals. I recently met a really sweet and artistic woman who just moved near me who sews wonderful unique baby items in her Etsy shop Banana Hen Goods and she has encouraged me to do some craft shows with her. It really helps to have a friend who can share booth expenses and set up/tear down before and after, too. This is not necessary, of course, but it is just nice to have a fellow crafter with you!! When selling my fabrics, I just want to be as organized as possible. I’m going to create fat quarter bundles wrapped in really pretty ribbon with cards to my shop attached. I think it helps to have a discount offered on your cards so customers are encouraged to visit your shop online as well. This particular show is for a good cause, too. The proceeds go to help a family adopt a baby, so it is extra special when you get opportunities to reach the community and introduce your business in a helpful, charitable way. When you’re a small business, you can’t always afford to donate as much as you’d like, so small local opportunities like this are really worth it. I have to thank Erica with Banana Hen Goods for setting this craft show up. Also, I can be shy, but I did learn a long time ago, people really want to know about you and what you’ve created. It is really important to stay positive and excited about your “product.” You know you have passion, you’re kind, and care about what you’re selling so don’t be afraid to share that passion with others who come up to your booth. It is a great way to connect with fellow artists and crafters out there who also share that passion. The “networking” and friendships that can develop from craft shows can be surprising and incredibly rewarding when you put yourself out there.
Tune in to my How to Crochet for Beginners Video Series on You Tube to get the coupon code for 10% off some beautiful fabric!
My You Tube Channel: thewheelandspindle https://youtu.be/yXnM8qdOCFw
Check out Alexa’s Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/SpindleandRose?ref=l2-shopheader-name