Welcome to the first of my Making It interviews! So the deal is…I am running a weekly feature, here on my blog, showing off small and personal businesses started from the ground up by their owners, in the form of a feature interview, preempting the opening of my own little handmade shop in April! WOW -That was a mouthful.
I really love supporting small businesses and I cannot wait to join the community!
Today, I have the lovely Haylee B from Sugar Hi Studio, spilling the beans about her handmade business.
Why and when did you first decide to open a shop?
I decided to start selling things regularly about 6 months ago! Friends, family, and even strangers on the street kept complimenting the accessories I made and wore myself, and asked if I would be willing to sell them a copy! I’ve actually sold handmade things before, when I was 14 years old I sold beachy jewelry over the summer to raise some extra money.
Why did you choose the name ‘Sugar Hi Studio’?
It actually came about by accident. I’m a writer and a poet as a hobby, and I love word play. I once wrote ‘sugar high’ as ‘Sugar, Hi’ instead, as if it were a greeting, and I thought, that’s pretty cute and sweet, it’d be great for my brand name!
Where did you first decide to start selling your products, and why did you decide on that method?
I currently sell my items from-home to people who ask by word of mouth, and I travel with them to different events and parties. I do it this way right now because I can put my product out there for people to see in person, and I can actually only make up the amount I’ll need for the event. I plan to open an online store this year, soon, and start selling more items that way!
Where do you find that most of your buyers hear about you?
My blog, definitely, because I publicize it so well, and referrals. A lot of my friends wear pieces they’ve bought from me, and they tell everyone I made it!
What do you enjoy most about running your own shop?
I feel really proud when I see a big pile of things I crafted myself. I think, “Wow, that was all a bunch of fabric and buttons and whatnot before, but I turned it into something that will make someone feel very happy and beautiful.”
What is the least enjoyable thing?
The repetitiveness. Right now, trying to start an online store, I have to make several versions of the same item, which can get pretty exhausting since I currently sew everything by hand, and I mean quite literally by hand, since I don’t own a sewing machine!
What is your favourite item that you have in your shop right now?
The rosettes! Big flower clips are my favorite way to instantly feel prettier. On a bad or lazy hair day, I just clip one in and feel like a classy woman, I think any girl would!
Is there anything you would do differently if you started the whole process again?
I would worry less about trying to be perfect and trendy. Mistakes happen, and sometimes you don’t like a design. If you don’t like it, people can tell, and you should make what you like, after all, it’s your shop!
Do you have any advice for those following in your footsteps?
Be true to yourself. Don’t just try to copy what you see other people doing. I started making my own accessories because no one was selling what I wanted. Go with what inspires you! Write things down, cut out pictures, sketch, draw, create your own style. No matter what you’re making or selling, come up with something new. Trust me, people are looking for what you have. Don’t drive yourself crazy comparing yourself to others. We all have our strengths, and yours is no less powerful just because it’s different!
Thank you Haylee for your fab advice. I do worry that my items won’t sell as they aren’t similar to those I have seen around in the market, but I think I just have to trust myself and carry on creating!