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Friday, June 19, 2009

Meet BECKY from OrganicQuiltCompany

Organic Quilt Company is a fellow etsyBABY member…her things just look so cozy and wonderful I was extremely happy when she agreed to do an interview for my blog. I hope you enjoy meeting Becky! il_430xN_38447245

Tell me a little bit about your background in arts and crafts.
Hi, my name is Becky Stone and I run Organic Quilt Company. I began quilting thirteen years ago because I really wanted to own a quilt and couldn’t afford to buy one. My first attempt was a huge, very difficult quilt that I did finish (and did keep) but ‘primitive’ would be a very grand compliment for it. Fortunately I have learned a lot since then and my passion for quilting has only increased.


Colour and fabric have always been the main sources of my il_430xN_68419060inspiration. I am addicted to fabric and all of its tactile glory. A few years ago, as I became more aware of the impact the cotton and textile industries have on the environment, I began to feel less enamoured with conventional cottons and went in search of alternatives that would not compromise my environmental principles. Organic Quilt Company is the result of that search.


When did you first start creating things?
I am unable to remember a time in my life that I was not consumed with the need (compulsion?) to make something -- il_430xN_60971162whether it be a particularly intricate piece of appliqué, a pair of socks, or a life-sized replica of E.T. made with glitter, coat hangers, and paper bags (I think I was about 8 when I was at work on that particular project...). I have a very hard time sitting doing nothing. My hands always need to be busy (or I will tend to snack a bit too enthusiastically). So knitting and sewing has become a necessity in my life. My mother and grandmothers were key in teaching me many different crafting skills when I was young. But once the quilting bug bit me, there was no turning back!


What were the first things you created? and how did your creativity progress from there?
I started my business really as an excuse to make quilts. I figured that I would concentrate on baby quilts because people love to il_430xN_69993551buy beautiful things for babies – and there seems to be a natural fit between babies and organics. The blankets seemed like a natural complement to the quilts and they offered a more affordable price point for most people. I added the other baby accessories (bibs and hats) in response to customer requests.


Is this your only business or do you do other things as well?
My full time job is being a mom to E, E, and P (who are 9, 7, and 5 years old). Being a mom brings such great joy and purpose to my life – but it is also really nice to balance it with running a small business where I am not only someone’s mom! I also teach il_430xN_25186984quilting classes at the local quilt shop. My teaching brings a welcome change of pace and a fantastic source of inspiration – it is also a great excuse to get out of the basement and away from the computer, and talk to real (adult) people!


Do you still dream about making other things? If so, what?
Being a quilter means that I have a ‘life list’ of all of the quilts I still need to make stored in my head. There are many nights I lil_430xN_68742368ay awake thinking about the next quilt! But I would really like to develop and expand my offerings for toddlers, older children, and adults.


How did you come up with your shop name?
I chose my shop name because I thought it explained my product pretty well!


What are your favorite shops on etsy? Why do you like them?
Oh how to choose?!

il_430xN_64318941 I really love modernbird.etsy.com for its lovely designs and beautiful craftsmanship

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I have just found treehouse28.etsy.com and love the combination of comfy-looking clothing and clean lines

il_430xN_75890327The linens at linenme.etsy.com are amazing

il_430xN_59549125
And the work at waterrose.etsy.com is absolutely inspiring

il_430xN_75609919 I also love the teas and lotions at wildroot.etsy.com


How did you hear about Etsy?
I stumbled across Etsy one day when I was researching organic cottons. I realized it would make a fantastic venue for my work. But I never imagined HOW fantastic it would turn out to be!


Any words of advice to others?
Before I set up my Etsy shop I read every Storque article I could find and, as a result, learned a lot about pricing, creating and running a small business, merchandizing, photography, and customer care. The articles are well written, concise, entertaining, and directly applicable to Etsy. They are also far more interesting than most books on running a small business 41reG9m1HmL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_ (with, perhaps, the notable exception The Boss of You by Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears). The Etsy community is full of experts who are willing to share their knowledge and experience so learn as much as you can. Now that my shop is more established, I continue to read as many articles as I can. I am particularly fond of the Business section of the Forums and the “Quit your Day Job” series.

Other than that, be prepared to work hard and do good work because you will only get out of your business what you put into it.

Make sure you enjoy what you are doing (or else you will resent it and your work will suffer. Besides it is way more fun to do something that you actually like to do!).

Never be satisfied with the way your shop is right now – you can il_430xN_68376887always tweak something to make it a little better. Always, always, always treat your customers well – the way you would like to be treated.


It also helps to have a strong, unconditional support group behind you to encourage you when you are down and want to quit (because you probably will want to quit at some point) and celebrate your inevitable successes with you (because if you work hard enough, they will happen!).


How will the new law by CPSIA affect you and your shop?
As a small business owner/manufacturer, the new laws worry me but as a mother and consumer I appreciate what the CPSIA is trying to accomplish (in fact part of the reason I set up my business was to offer a product to consumers concerned about the chemicals hidden in so many of the products available in the marketplace). All of the cottons that I use are certified organic and as such are tested to ensure they are lead-free. To my understanding, all cotton is exempt from testing so I am hopeful that continue to run my business as usual! (It is so hard to keep on top of all of the modifications and regulations so if I am wrong about this – someone please let me know!)

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To read and learn even more about Becky from the Organic Quilt Company make sure you check out the featured seller article written by Etsy!

2 comments:

Waterrose said...

Oh one of my favorite shops! I love quilts! It's such an honor to be among Becky's favorites.

krissybizz said...

Very nice interview, Kim!
Kris (Bon Bons and More)

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