Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spotlight on Jen's Tangled Threads

Today we meet Jen of Jen’s Tangled Threads. She makes all sorts of things from crocheting but she makes one thing that is so cool, you’ll be scrambling to her shop to get your own! But more on that later..
I give you:

(Doctor Who epicness!!!!!!)

I'm a single mom, with the sweetest son any mom could want. He's a dancer, which led me to my Flip-Furs.More on that later. I'm a paralegal by day, which can be very stressful.

After my divorce, I moved back home. I was always the type who couldn't just sit in front of the tv or at the movies. I have to be doing something with my hands. I learned how to cross-stitch, but I'm not enough of an artist to be able to make my own patterns.

I learned to crochet because of a book series. I'm one of the biggest geeks you will ever meet. I read this one series, The Wheel of Time. The women in this series have these elaborate shawls, vine and leaf and flower embroidered. I wanted one, but I didn't have the patience to learn to sew from my mom. So, I learned to crochet and within a few weeks I was making my first lace shawl. 

(My boyfriend and I love that series! I love this shawl too!)

I opened my Etsy shop to sell these shawls, which was a bad idea. They are geared towards a very specific clientele, which wasn't going to help me sell them. So I left the shop for a long time. I kept crocheting, finding different things to make.

As I said before, my son is a dancer. He has been competing for 4 years, and will start his 5th year in the fall. We go to these competitions at different venues and I see these girls walking around these arenas and schools with little to nothing on their feet. They go into the bathrooms this way. I'm a bit of a germaphobe, so this just makes me ill. The girls my son dances with often have half-ballet shoes on (leaving the heels bare) or have full-footed tights, so thong flip-flops are out of the question. I thought about the sandals a lot of the baseball players or soccer players wear so they don't ruin their cleats. And the girls wouldn't wear them unless they were 'girlie"
(I competed before my hip injury, I can atest to this. I wish I had had something cute to wear over my lyrical shoes, or foot thongs as we called them)

So, I created the Flip-Fur, which is the love child between a slipper and a flip-flop. They are an indoor shoe, but they are furry and fun. The Flip-Fur is completely customizable, from the colors, to the size to what gets put on the bottom. I use a super secret product (puffy paint) to make them non-slippery, because we can't have dancers having accidents with them on.

(Aren't these AWESOME!!!!!!)

What inspires my creative process? Need. I started making the Flip-Furs in the colors of my son's dance studio, then started making them in other colors. Whatever looks good. I will be working this fall on NFL team inspired Flip-Furs and Hockey, and Baseball. Any team, I can make a color palette for them.

My favorite thing I have made. I will have to wait until I get home to send you the image for this. I made a shawl for the book series that I have hanging in my apartment. Also, my favorite team is the Green Bay Packers, so I was rather proud to make a color scheme for them.

Advice for other Etsians? If you don't know how to do something, either ask someone how to do it, or pay someone to do it. I'm not a graphic designer by any means. I had an idea for my shop banner, and I paid someone to do it here on Etsy. I didn't know or understand how to do SEO and product descriptions that would bring me traffic, so I paid someone to do 5 product descriptions for me. I use those 5 in nearly every product I have. But, do your research. Look for those sellers who have the experience and who have positive feedback.

Etsy is changing. Sellers are frustrated because their products aren't being found. Find something you can make really well. Something unique. Yes, you can find a lot of crocheted and knitted and felted slippers out there. But mine have eyelash yarn, and you can have your name written on the bottom. They are inexpensive for a custom made product. If I can find the color you want, I will make your Flip-furs.

Don't sell yourself short just to get sales. Use good quality materials, and make sure you charge for your time. Your time is important. I will never be able to quit my day job and just make flip-furs. Not unless I charge $100 a pair and sell at least 2 pairs a day. But people aren't going to buy them for $100 a pair unless I use baby alpaca yarn (which is very expensive) and have gel insoles (which are also expensive). So I compromised, but I made sure my time is paid for. I'm happy with the price I have now. If I get very popular, I might raise the price again.

Have fun. If you aren't having fun crafting or making things, why are you doing it?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know Jen and her fabulous Flip-Furs! Want a pair of your own now, I thought you would! Here’s the link to her shop, go get them! =)

I want these so bad! But in purple and black, lol! =)

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