The first day of March! I hope today is finding you well! Spring is just around the corner and for me it can't get here fast enough!
Today, I am featuring Etsy Shop Donna Designed!
American Girl Doll Clothes
Donna Gividen is from Columbus, IN, USA.
She is a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and grandma. And an amazing crafter!!
I am very excited to get to know her and her shop. When I looked inside her shop I couldn't help but smile! The first thing I noticed was her American Girl Doll Clothes. My mother would have flipped seeing all these doll outfits! My mom was a collector of dolls and had over 800 dolls in her collection. Oh, how I wish she could have taken a peek at what Donna has to offer!
Get comfy and let's get to know all about Donna!
Tell us about all the goodies in your shop
I have in my shop 18 inch doll clothes for girl and boy dolls, purses, wristlets, totes and lanyards, hand warmers, counted cross stitched items such as bookmarks and ornaments, hair accessories, patterns and pattern books and some vintage items such as children's books.
How did you get started with Etsy?
Several years ago I made a purse for myself. I didn't use a pattern and thought it was my original idea but since then have seen some like it for sale. I started getting lots of compliments on it and family members asked me to make them one. Soon after that my granddaughter got an American Girl doll and I began making doll clothes for her doll. People began saying, "You should be selling those." when they would see my purses or doll clothes. My son mentioned Etsy first but I was and am quite computer challenged so I ignored that. I thought it would be too hard for me. Then more people began mentioning Etsy so I decided to give it a try. I did a craft show with my niece and knew that I would probably have things left to sell since I made a huge amount of things so that seemed a good time to get an online presence.
Boy Doll Clothes
When did you get interested in making your Art/Craft?
I guess a need got me started in making most of my things: a purse for myself and doll clothes for my granddaughter. I always thought I could make things as good or better than what you find in most stores and make them to please my tastes.
Where does your inspiration come from?
It's funny. My son is a hair stylist and any time I was with him, he would be looking at people's hair. I found when I began sewing items to sell, that I was looking at the purses that people were carrying not to copy them but just to see what is in style. And I find myself noticing what little girls and boys are wearing to get inspiration for doll clothes.
Who taught you or how did you learn your art form?
My mom taught me to sew. The summer between 6th and 7th grade I made my first skirt and from then on made many of my clothes, including my wedding dress.
Where do you see your Shop in 5 years from now?
I don't see my shop as a hobby really. I want to make a profit and for it to be a worthwhile endeavor for me. But I also don't really want a full time job at this point in my life. So while I hope that my shop will have an increase in sales in the next 5 years, I also want it to remain something I enjoy, something manageable. I can control that on Etsy but only offering what I am able to make.
How do you manage your time between Etsy and the rest of your life?
Family comes first. So when my daughter, (who is married, has 4 kids, is in college, and has a part time job) needs my help, I will drop everything and help her. (I tell them that they are going to take care of me when I am old.) When my son is in town, the shop is also on a back burner and when the grandkids are here, I do not sew. I also do volunteer work one day a week which comes before my shop. But I try to devote at least one day a week wholly to my shop and also to work on it a little every day. Actually the computer part is an every day thing and I try to ship orders when they come in so part of every day is devoted to my shop.
How did you come up with the name of your shop?
I asked advice when choosing a name. I asked my husband and my daughter. My daughter suggested something that rhymes or alliteration, using words that begin with a D since my name begins with D. She thought this would make my name more memorable. Very little rhymes with Donna so I went with alliteration. Even that was hard because so many names are already taken.
Yellow Korker Bow Hair Clip
Do you make or stock items you love, or what will sell?
I love to create new designs and make things I love so I do some of that. However I've found it is best for my shop to make what sells and make the same item over and over. It's not my favorite thing to do but it does make sense. Also I take into consideration what customers ask me to do. I had a customer ask me to make boy doll clothes. She specified what she wanted and I did what she asked. They became really good sellers so I have begun adding a line of boy doll clothes to my shop.
Where else can we find you online?
Did you always want to have your own business?
I think I always thought it would be cool to be selling my items somewhere but I always thought of a consignment shop or something like that and never pursued it. I never thought about opening a shop on my own.
Rice Hand Warmer
Cross Stitched Bookmark
Were you over the age of 45 when you started your shop?
I was 61 when I opened my shop.
How do you think your age has helped you in your business?
I think my age has helped me because I am very open to advice and suggestions from others. I know that even though someone may be younger than I, they very well may know more than I do about selling and selling on Etsy. Also I have funds available to me to use to purchase supplies that I would not have had when I was younger and I don't see this as becoming a 'living' for me so I am not stressed about it. It's something I enjoy that earns me some money.
Cross Stitch Ornament
Any other thoughts you want to share with us?
The only thing I might add is that while an Etsy shop is fun and a great opportunity, it is work. You can't just put items in a shop and expect that they will sell. Usually that doesn't work. And if you are a seller, my best advice would be to accept the advice of sellers who have been on Etsy longer than you have. I have gotten so much valuable help from other Etsy sellers. I was actually surprised at how willing to help the other sellers are.
Thank you Donna for sharing with us!
Thank you all for stopping in and reading!