Saturday, December 4, 2010

Am I trying to do too much?

"Am I trying to do too much?"  is something we've all said before.  Maybe you've got a jewelry line out but recently found out how much you like papercutting.  Or you have a shop full of cutesy items and decided you want to make stuff "for him."  This is a question I ask myself all the time.  I've always tried to fit a ton onto my plate, and I oftentimes worry that the quality of my work will suffer.  Of course, right now I'm not working, so it's manageable to keep up with everything.  But I am running two businesses, one with my husband and this one.  And within those businesses we have a lot going on. 

I'm going to focus on YesterEra for the sake of this post.  When I started, I envisioned a women's clothing line and nothing more.  Well, it hasn't quite turned out that way.  I've added Cordelia's Adornments (my hair accessories) and Estelle's Trousseau (my wedding line).  So is that too much? 

I try to keep the vintage look in what I do as much as possible.  It really comes down to being cohesive.   My husband and I do a lot of craft shows, and what we've noticed is this:  most people do more than one type of craft.  We see people do t-shirts and art prints, plushies and papercraft, clothes and coffee warmers, jewelry and knitting, and the list can go on and on.  It's good to be diverse.  It gives people more options, and reaches out to a wider audience.  Plus, a smart businessperson knows to have several price brackets.  Don't worry about having vastly different items, either, because you have your own style that should show through all your work.

I started the hair accessories for several reasons:  A lot of scrap fabric and vintage buttons, a love of hair decorations, and the knowledge that they would be quicker to make and easier to sell.  Not everyone can afford custom made clothes, not everyone is into my style, and a lot of people are nervous to buy clothes on line.  I realized all this, and so decided I needed more in my shop. 

The wedding line came about by accident.  I had a friend getting married who knew that I had made my veil and asked me to make hers.   From there, more people inquired about it and I realized that not only did I really enjoy making them, the market needs more people selling good quality veils at reasonable prices.  I toyed with the idea of having a shop only for wedding veils, but thought it would be too much to keep up with, so I try to use vintage and antique lace when I can, and create different styles of hairpieces. Again, keeping things under the umbrella of "vintage style".

So the answer to the big question is no, I don't think I'm trying to do too much.  It partially depends on how much time you have to put into your business, but I would advise most other crafters and designers to have more than one line and more than one price bracket.  Think of who your target market is and expand out from there.  Just be smart about it; don't overwhelm yourself and don't compromise the quality of your work. 

Next time:  Getting your designs into stores


  1. Good, solid points. I think as long as we can make sure that the quality of our work isn't suffering, it's helpful to diversify - but it's really good to hear it from someone with as much as experience as you've gotten, cause I know I worry about having two completely different things that I sell.

    Have you considered expanding the wedding line to more than veils?

    Can't wait for next time! Definitely a topic I've had on my mind. :)

  2. Thanks! I do make some garters and bridal hair accessories, but I don't really care to do much more than that in the bridal world. I def. don't want to start doing dresses or anything.