I am guilty of not posting last week but I intend to make up for it with a series of fabulous posts this week. And because it is Monday, I am happy to introduce you all to our Shop of the Week, Laughing Taffy Designs, a shop where you can find an assortment of home decor items like photo frames, decorative coat hooks, trinket organizers, gift tags and coasters.
Jennifer not only answered questions for us but also offered to giveaway two items from her shop: a set of coasters and a picture frame. Thanks Jen:) To enter the giveaway, just read the interview and leave a comment. (Pls. read details for additional entries below the interview.)
What’s the inspiration behind your shop’s name?
As silly as it might sound, my shop’s name, Laughing Taffy Designs
, came to me as I was watching my cat Taffy play. Taffy is a large, lovable cat who’s constantly happy and smiling and that’s where the “Laughing” part of the name came from.
Plus to me, laughing taffy conjures up images of fun,bright colors, whimsical scenes and people just having a good time. Hopefully that’s what my frames and home decor pieces bring into someone’s home, a sense of fun and color.
Taffy, the cat
How old is your shop?
Laughing Taffy Designs is a little over a year and a half old. It’s growing slowly and I am learning a lot along the way and growing with it.
What inspired you to start your own home business?
What inspired me, several things inspired me. One inspiration was finding Etsy. I was amazed to see everyone’s creations on there and to see similar items to the ones I made for my friends and family, and then amazed even more that those items were selling. But it was my boyfriend that really talked me into it. He had great confidence in my craft and what I did and pretty much forced me down at the computer to open up a shop on Etsy. I am so glad he did that!
Can you give us a peek on the creative process involved in your craft?
My creative juices start flowing when I see a fabulous pattern or bright colors on fabric or paper or take a single step into a craft store. When it comes to my frames or other decoupage items, I tend to start with a patterned paper I love. Then I look for a complimentary pattern or color that’s not quite as loud to go with the primary pattern. The paper is then cut down to size, placed on the object at hand and then all the edges are sanded down to give the piece a nice worn, loved look.
As for the coasters, I look for stamps that I can add something to to make it unique. As for the papers, I look for styles/patterns, that after going through the gel transfer process, allow for the character of the tile to show through the pattern of the paper.
When I get stuck and can’t think of anything to do or start to get a little bored, I try something new. That’s how I started making the coasters and handmade flowers. The new projects tend to spark my crafty side and I am no longer bored with any type of project.
Jennifer’s work station
What was the toughest challenge you faced so far?
After getting over the challenge of putting myself out there and seeing if people would actually like what I made, the toughest challenge has been finding the time and space to do what I love. I am a nanny full time for 3 great kids, which means almost 12 hours of my day, Monday through Friday, is devoted to the family that I work for.
I also live in the family’s home in what could be considered a studio apartment, so space is something that is very precious and comes at a high price for me. And it is space that I really need when working on my projects since I really like to lay everything out in front of me before putting it all together.
How did you get over it?
I have overcome these challenges though by coming up with creative solutions. I will do parts of a project when there is a little down time in the day’s schedule or I’ll get the kids involved and let them do a project for their parents or to sell at a craft show, while I am working on my project (they love that!).
I have found that there is always a way to find time, even if you don’t think there’s any left in the day. As for the space situation, I have had to think of alternate ways to store items, so they look nice and are easy to get to. The newest solution I came up with (just a few days ago) was keeping all my pads of paper in plate drying racks. Those racks have made a world of difference in storing my paper and making it super easy to see what I have.
the things you do when you’re not busy in your shop
Well when I’m not busy with my shop, I am usually being a nanny for 3 great kids, an 8yr boy, 15yr girl and a not so little soon to be 18yr boy 🙂 But when I’m not working in the shop or being a nanny, I can be found reading period based novels, playing with my two cats, hanging out with my boyfriend, going to movies, and really, just trying to relax.
stuff inside your bag you can’t leave home without
hmmm… the stuff I can’t leave home without are my cell phone, mints, dental floss, hair tie, kleenex, and the newest item I can’t leave home without is my new camera I just got, I love that thing! 🙂
your favorite shops
A couple of my favorite shops on Etsy are, Hadly Hutton, Mojo Spa Style, Maries Corner, Art Cult, and I could go on and on, but I’ll stop with those four.
your top 3 favorite picks from your shop
Asking me to choose my top 3 picks from my own shop is like asking me to choose between my two cats, they are all my favorites, I put love into each one. But if I had to choose it would be the Happy Birds-Set of 4 Coasters, the Lollipop Flower Frame, and A Sweet Trinket Chest.
What tips would you want to share for aspiring home based entrepreneurs like you?
I would say choose something you love doing and just go for it. It takes time, patience and a giant leap of faith, because no one ever got anywhere by just standing still. I would also say don’t get discouraged. If you believe in and stand by your product then others will too, it just takes some time. Networking is also huge in trying to get your name and items out there, and it’s something that I am still working on.
Any message to your customers and the people who support you?
To those that have been to my shop and stopped by my booth at craft shows, I thank you so much for your support. Meeting new people, making those connections at the shows and seeing the smiles my pieces give you makes the shows, running my Etsy shop and website so rewarding to me. And to my family, friends and especially my boyfriend, I really can’t thank you enough for all your support and really pushing me into doing something that I really love doing.
To enter the giveaway:
1. Leave a comment about the interview.
(irrelevant comments will not be counted) (1 entry)
2. Become a follower of my blog by clicking the FOLLOW button on the sidebar.
Leave a separate comment that you followed. (1 entry)
3. Twit or Facebook about this giveaway.
Leave a separate comment.
(if you Twit, please tag it as @theshopbug) (1 entry)
4 Blog about this giveaway.
Leave a separate comment with your blog’s URL. (1 entry)
The winner will be picked via Random generator and will be announced on Monday, September 20.
Thank you so much Jennifer for this great interview & giveaway!