Good Morning! Some of you may remember Chui from my week of Giveaways featuring her cute clutches from her Etsy store. Well today she is my Miss Independent!
All of the items in the Elephant is Love Etsy Shop are handmade by Chui, and she picks the cutest fabric prints to use! I am also amazed at the sewing talent this girl has, and she totally inspires me to try and dust off my own sewing machine.
1. What made you decide to start your own business?
Two years ago, I came to the U.S. with my husband. I quit my cushy job in Shanghai to follow him back home to finish school. The first few months, I was unemployed and had plenty of free time. I found new interests in birding and gardening, and renewed my passion for crafting.
My friend back home was also living in a foreign land. We started keeping in contact through our blogs. She started an Etsy store and that got my attention. Reading about her exciting forays into Etsy selling got me thinking about starting one myself! With a few words of encouragement, I took the plunge. Why waste time, sitting around, waiting for a job, when I could make use of this idle time to create, try new crafts and explore new techniques?
2. What was your biggest risk or fear about starting a business?
That nobody would buy what I made. Every time I list on Etsy, I put myself out there, something I took pains to design and make. All the effort in matching fabrics, choosing thread, reinforcing stitches, would be for nothing if nobody cared for it. Even if nobody buys them, a 'Like' or a 'Favorite' is SUPER encouraging. It refuels my passion for craft!
3. How did you know what you wanted to do?
When I was little, I aspired to be a fashion designer. My sisters were much younger than me, so I spent a good deal of my childhood playing alone. I drew and designed outfits and colored them in.
All of my life, I wanted to design and create and sew. I haven't been as advanced making my own outfits, but recently I've gotten my feet wet, making simple tops and skirts!
4. What support system do you have for your business to help you stay motivated?
I'm a pretty good motivator for myself. When I get started on a project, I will not stop until I finish. More and more, my attitude in life is not to waste a minute of my day. I get home from work during the week to plan projects and pick out fabrics. On the weekends, I sit down and execute these projects. No time to lose!
My family and friends play a very big part too. My mother is my biggest critic. She’s not afraid of hurting my feelings when she tells me what she thinks about what I've made. That’s great because I need that honest feedback. When I attended my first fair back home last year, my family was there in full force, helping with the sales pitch, running off to get food and water. Many of my friends came by to show their support and bought items from me as well. I sold almost ALL my items I brought to the fair!
5. What is your biggest challenge about running your own business?
To keep my Etsy shop stocked with new items. Given what I said before, I should be churning out items week after week. However, life is, well, life. Things happen every day, there's the grocery shopping, and the laundry, weeding the garden, hanging out with friends. The usual. I try my best though.
6. What is the best advice you have for someone wanting to start a business?
This is always true in whatever you do: Enjoy what you do and let your passion do the talking! Otherwise, what you do will only end up as a chore for you!
Isn't she darling? Chui also has a really great blog that keeps you updated on what she is working on, as well as what is happening in her garden. And because she is so sweet, she is offering 20% off to you guys (before shipping) on any item here with the discount code AVANTGARDE20
Happy Thursday Everyone, and thanks to Chui for Rockin Miss Independent today!!!