For my third showcase this month I interviewed Jaime Collins. Jaime, aged 29, owns Sweet Peony Boutique based in Maryland USA.
Here is a short statement from Jaime about Sweet Peony Boutique:
“Currently I “specialize” in onesies, kid’s shirts and mugs with vinyl designs. I like to advertise my business as being completely open to customization and “bringing your ideas to life”, so I’ve done a lot of adult shirts as well. All custom orders that I do not turn into Etsy listings are photographed and shown under a photo album on my Facebook page.”
Here is my interview with Jaime.
When did you start your business?
I started Sweet Peony Boutique on March 1st, 2016!
What made you decide to set up your business?
Honestly, it was a silly New Year’s Resolution to “open an Etsy shop by the end of 2016”. And somehow it just happened very early on in 2016. I’ve always been “crafty” and been told so many times that I should start an Etsy shop but needed to hone in on one craft that I really loved to do. I love the computer designing part of my process even more than the actual work. It’s so rewarding to dream something up, create a design, and then bring it to life in an actual product.
What do you do and what products do you sell?
I currently sell onesies, shirts, mugs and tumblers. I come up with the graphic designs and use my machine to cut the vinyl and either apply it to a mug or heat-press it to a shirt. My Etsy listings are focused on pretty mugs and baby/toddler shirts, but I’ve done a ton of custom shirts in all sizes through 3X adult.
What products seem to be your best sellers?
My ‘World’s Okayest Mom’ mug has actually been called “the prettiest on Etsy” by one buyer… and I’ve sold a lot of those.
Who are your biggest competitors?
The vinyl market is extremely popular, so there is a lot of “competition”, but I choose to not look at them as competitors and just do my own thing. A LOT of sellers who work with vinyl use purchased files for their designs. I actually just love to create my own designs. I’m not an artist, so some aspects of the graphics are typically purchased or are free to use commercially. However, the overall design is my vision and my work. I check for trademarks before designing and I don’t sell Disney (or other stuff like that) because it is copyrighted and I don’t have the rights. I know that may be a hindrance in sales sometimes, but I’m committed to the integrity of my business in that aspect.
How do you advertise your business?
Currently, I advertise mostly via Instagram posts, and I’m slowly building a following there. I have a ton of friends and acquaintances interested in what I sell (because we all have young kids!), so I post things on my personal Facebook page once in a while. I’m definitely not at my full potential for advertising right now but I am also a busy mama with a part-time job, so I am still figuring out what my business capacity is.
How would you recommend your business to potential customers?
I’m interested in making the customer extremely happy with either the designs I have to offer or something completely custom. I will message back and forth 100x with someone on Etsy until the designs are exactly what they are looking for. I actually tell them to nit-pick my work, and I appreciate all of their feedback!
Did you have any problems when starting your business? If so, how did you overcome them?
Thanks to the Facebook group “WAHM Tax Group”, I didn’t have any huge problems other than needing to front some personal funds to have some inventory getting started. I was actually gifted a Visa gift card from a mysterious someone from my church, and my husband and I decided that we would put some of that towards my business funds. It was a huge blessing!
How do you decide on your designs?
My daughter is my main inspiration for designs. She just turned 2, so moms of young toddlers like her are my main market! My very first (and most popular) shirt design was her “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made” tee. I posted it on my personal Facebook page before I ever began my business, and I had SO many people liking and commenting on it that it really fuelled me to move forward in opening up shop. I just try to think of onesies or shirts that I would want to put on Paige and that is how I start working on a design.
What has been your favourite piece to work on?
My favorite two pieces that I sell are my Start Each Day With A Grateful Heart mug, and Fearfully & Wonderfully Made shirt/onesie. I honestly haven’t even sold too many of each of them, but I have them both for myself and I absolutely adore them. When my daughter outgrows her shirt I will be making it again for her in a bigger size.
Are there any offers on your products running at the moment?
For 10% off, use codeSWEETPEA10.
What has the experience of owning a business been like for you?
Empowering? It has made me realize some of my own worth and potential for being a businesswoman where I was selling myself short for a long time before this and not believing that I could actually do it. Though most days I go back and forth 10x between feeling excited/empowered and completely discouraged.
Where do you see your business in the future? What dreams do you have for your business?
I see businesses similar to mine who have really made a name and brand for themselves. I would love if that were the future for Sweet Peony, but even if it is not the ideal outcome is that I can do the designing and creating that I love to do, while “staying home” with my daughter and any future children we may have.
Below you can find the Sweet Peony Boutique store and social media links:
Thank you for answering my questions, Jaime. It has been a pleasure interviewing and getting to know you. I wish you well in your business venture.