Community Interview: Lynn Minney Designs
What is your business name and what kind of products do you sell?
I am Lynn of Lynn Minney Designs. I repurpose clothing and vintage fabrics into one-of-a-kind accessories like purses, scarves, headbands, brooches, laptop sleeves and more.
How did you get started in your business?
I found a magazine article that showed how to make purses out of wool sweaters and I made one as a birthday gift for my sister. It didn’t turn out very nice, but I didn’t give up. I started to experiment with different styles of purses and what would work well with the wool.
Where do you sell your products both online and offline?
I sell my creations in my Etsy store and also in person at local art & craft festivals. I also do many custom orders for people that see my work & love the style, but want a different color or size. I also just started to do consignment and want to dive further into it!
How do you use recycled materials in your work?
Nothing is off limits as long as my sewing machine can sew through it! I am always on the lookout for cool vintage prints, sweaters, jeans, etc. I often buy items without a purpose in mind just because I like the color or texure. I typically use sweaters for purses, denim for tote bags & hair accessories and any other type of clothing for lining and flowers.
What marketing tips and strategies have you found effective?
Tell your story
I think people really want to buy into your product as well as the story behind it. I have a blog where I share more about my work behind the scenes, my life and inspiration, success and failures (lynnminneydesigns.com) I don’t think I’m a good writer, but I am an honest, straightforward, passionate and goofy type of gal, and I want people to know that side me.
I think my Facebook page gets the most attention because it’s convenient for people to use. I schedule a lot of Facebook posts through Hootsuite because it’s huge time saver.
Have you found your niche? Did you have a process of doing this?
This is the one of the most difficult things I’ve had to figure out. I answered some questions about my products and the type of customer that would appreciate my them. I also try to relate the common characteristics between my past customers. Once I answered them I tried to figure out where they would buy my products and where they would hang out online.
Any tips on how to stand out from other crafters?
Get inspiration from others, but do not copy them.
Find the common thread that makes your work stand out as a whole and run with it. It could be materials, color, design, etc. Keep repeating those elements until people know you as the recycled sweater purse lady
Did you make the transition from part time to full time? If yes, how?
I haven’t made the transition yet. I work as a full-time graphic designer. I started my business 3 years ago and am hoping to take that leap someday, but a lot of things have to fall into place first!
Do you have tips or tricks in regards to running your business that you learned the hard way?
Don’t be afraid of failure
It’s okay to fail as long as you learn something from it and keep it in the back of your mind for future use .
Keep track of your numbers
I highly recommend keeping track of all business expenses, inventory, sales, etc. from the beginning. Use a business bank account and keep everything separate from your personal banking. Find software that suits your needs and let it help you.
Invest your money wisely
I bought a used sewing machine when I first started out. What a big mistake that was. I lost all of the money I put into it because it was a lemon. After that I researched machines and bought an expensive heavy duty machine. I’ve never regretted it.
Take care of yourself
I injured my back very badly last year. It got so bad that I had to stop exercising, gained a bunch of weight and had to go through months of physical therapy. I’m still trying to get back to normal, but if I didn’t put so much pressure on myself to do everything then I would’ve avoided a lot of the mess that I created.
How do you get past fears and self doubt to share your awesomeness with the world?
I surround myself with loving & encouraging people. I think they have an easier time seeing my potential when I let self-doubt take over. I like to remind myself of how far I’ve come by looking at my old product photos.
I also write down my goals at the beginning of every year. Some are pretty big and others are small. I start with the small goals and once I’ve achieved them I feel more confident to take on bigger ones.
What is your schedule like on a typical work day?
I get up around 5:15 every morning and get ready for work. Once I’ve got my little one ready for school and I’ve eaten breakfast I answer emails, check Facebook and do a little sewing. I try to bring things I can hand sew or write with me to the office. Then I’m off to my day job. After my little one is off in dreamland I fire up my sewing machine or laptop to squeeze in some more time for my business.
How has your business changed over the years?
I started out only wanting to sell sweater purses on etsy, but that was not getting me very far. I was really scared to start doing craft shows and didn’t want to spend a lot of time away from my family, but I also knew it was the way to grow my business. I did my first craft fair last November at a local high school and only 4 fairs later I’m doing one of the largest shows in the area. It’s really exciting!
What are your hopes and aspirations for your business and where do you see yourself going from here?
My hope is to one day be able to work for myself full-time. My plan is to keep doing shows that are in my niche, growing my brand and developing new products. I would also like to be able to find more time to spend on my website.
Lynn Minney Designs
Editor’s note: I have gotten to know Lynn through this blog, Twitter and Facebook and I am so happy to be sharing her story with you! I hope you find inspiration, gain insight, and enjoy discovering another artist like yourself.Share on Facebook