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How Do You Define Handmade Success?

DSC_0497Notebook from HEMA

Come share how you view handmade success in your life, in your business and in your projects. Get ready to inspire and be inspired!

Being successful is something we know other people are capable of but it is rarely a fact we apply to ourselves. It is a qualification we give from the image they reflect. Mostly online, the impression other craftsellers and entrepreneurs send is really made by us. From what we see and read, we think they are successful. We actually make them successful: by offering them our trust in their work (if we buy it or even just recommend it to our friends) or by considering their followers on social media as an indicator of success. Mainly we consider figures as a proof of success. Social media is therefore playing a huge role in this consideration: the number of followers, likes and comments one business shows can only be a sign of success and popularity. Audience statistics for a blog/website, sales figures or even favorites (for a shop on Etsy) are also other elements we tend to use to measure success.

Measuring success with numbers is a rational way to define it but as we all know: figures can be cheated and life can’t be summed up by it. Success should be approached with emotions and feelings. It is the result of continuous efforts and hard work. It is above all PERSONAL. Every body should therefore have their own definition of the word. What is success about for me? The answer won’t come with numbers but with hope. Running your own business is actually a huge success: you are achieving something other people are not capable of. Without trying to compare yourself with others, look at what makes you successful: what did you manage to achieve? All of that is your success!

We tend to think that others give success: music lovers will make singers successful by buying their albums, but without the artist, his work and creativity, his success couldn’t happen. So we could see the success as a combo of both: the meeting between the entrepreneur’s work and her/his audience. Sharing with others, exposing ourselves to the world, trying and failing with them could actually be the key to success.

This whole (and small) explanation could be seen as very philosophical, and really yes it is. Success is an idea and not a fact after all. But bear in mind that success won’t make you happy. Happiness is on the other hand what success should be about. So now what is happiness according to you?


Sophie Chapman — Ma Petite Valisette

Sophie Chapman lives in Normandy and has graduated 10 years ago from business school. As a mother of 3 franco-english kids (8y, 6y & 2 months old) and with a husband that travels a lot, Sophie decided to work from home by launching her online business. She worked at a famous Parisian ad agency before she became a professional trainer.

She now offers online courses for female entrepreneurs and craft sellers. You can find different downloads in her shop and you can also subscribe for online trainings and online entrepreneurship workshops. Most recently she also co-published a business book for french craft sellers. It was the first book in the french market that covered this topic.


Re-Defining Success Using the Third Metric


crusoeWhen starting a business, no matter how large or small it is, it often starts with a detailed business plan. That business plan outlines your short-term goals, long-term goals and the overall growth of the business. It is plan to gauge the success of your business. A business plan is then followed by a series of goals, whether it is monthly, quarterly or yearly, a series of checkpoints that are often financially driven.

Meeting or surpassing those financial checkpoints can create a major boost, both personally and professionally. But what happens when you don’t meet those goals, does that mean your business is not a success? And because it is your own business that you are creating literally from the ground up, that you are not a success either?

Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, created the Third Metric to complement the traditional metrics of success, power and money. It is a concept that she outlines in detail in her book, Thrive. The Third Metric defines success by a life filled with well-being, wisdom and wonder. I discovered the Third Metric earlier this month, as I was outlining my own goals, both business and personal, as part of the beginning of a new year as well as reflecting on the previous year. Much of my time is spent on how I can grow my jewelry business, when will the next collection launch, what store will I open next, etc. All of these activities feed into measuring the first two areas of success, power and money, but I failed to evaluate the Third Metric.

With the launch of my own business, many areas of my life have blossomed more than I ever expected. Crusoe Jewelry is created often in collaboration with my boyfriend, who has a strong design background. Also, my studio shares space with his wood-working shop. Working together in a creative capacity has created a new level in our relationship. The flexible schedule has allowed for me to deepen my yoga practice, taking as many as three classes a week. I control my time, so sometimes I work all weekend so I can spend the next weekend with my friends or family. I have explored new activities, including joining a book club that led me to exploring The Third Metric, as well as new friends and lots of laughs. Using The Third Metric, I am successful beyond my wildest dreams. It is a measuring system that I implore all to use to re-evaluate their own success.


Maya Ahluwalia – Crusoe Jewelry

Maya Ahluwalia is the designer behind Crusoe Jewelry, a fashion jewelry line inspired by nautical motifs, but interpreted into stylish designs. Crusoe Jewelry is created for the fashion-forward consumer with an appreciation for quality with an artisanal approach. Each design is hand-crafted in her Brooklyn-based studio.

In addition to creating Crusoe Jewelry, Maya is a marketing consultant with expertise in jewelry, fashion and luxury. Clients include Michael Aram Jewelry, Shawn Ames Fine Jewelry, Wells House Bed & Breakfast, and the LOU Lookbook

MadeFreshly + Handmade Success: Sweet Threads Interview


As an online destination for new and vintage children’s clothing collections, Sweet Threads was born out of a love for hand-selected pieces. Getting their online start through Etsy, and now with a brick and mortar location (as well as a MadeFreshly shop!), this company is a unique, one-of-a-kind boutique business that has capitalized on social media and online marketing. With features in Apartment Therapy, Long Beach Business Journal, My Cakies and more, you’ll want to learn more about Sweet Threads below. Sweet Threads is a proud MadeFreshly shop, and one that we’re very excited to share.

Read more as Shella Garcia, an entrepreneur and MadeFreshly store owner, shares her story.


Tell us about your business and the types of products you sell.

Sweet Threads is an online destination for NEW + VINTAGE Children’s collection of clothing, shoes and accessories. Vintage pieces and brands are carefully hand picked and curated with the idea of offering the market with unique kids fashions we would want to wear ourselves yet still playful.

WHERE WE GET OUR VINTAGE – Our vintage is carefully selected and hand picked from our obsessive thrift trips, estate sale hunting, and yard sale treasures. We are in it for the hunt and we love that we can share our gems with you! Each piece is hand washed or dry cleaned as best we can. Vintage means PreLoved and will have normal wear and slight imperfections which is expected and to be enjoyed.

Why did you start Sweet Threads and what is the story behind it?

Sweet threads was created from the ideas of two friends. While one friend had the idea of children’s fashions, while the other had a love for vintage, collaborated their ideas and developed a Vintage Children’s Fashion business.  As soon as we found our niche, we were obsessed with the idea. We later brought in the “NEW” designer brands as this is a reflection of how we dress. We like to mix it up. I may wear a vintage skirt, but my t shirt is store bought. We couldn’t wait to share our vision to the world.


How do you get past fears and self doubt to share your awesomeness with the world?

By just doing it. I think it’s fear of not achieving my dreams that drives me and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever completely got rid of all my fears, but I just knew if I wanted to get from point A to point B there was no other way of getting there but by just doing it. So I had took that risk and decided to not look back. Just keep going forward.

What inspires you be an entrepreneur?

I’ve always been a creative person and thought I was good at being a creative but at the same time I had a lot of self doubt or fear of rejection. It was until I introduced our idea to social media that I started to realize I had something special. The positive responses from others sparked something in me. Knowing that our ideas were being enjoyed by other people than myself made me proud. So proud,  I knew I had to share it and the only way to nurture this idea was to become an entrepreneur.


Where do you sell your products both online and offline?

We sell our products online at and offline at our brick + mortar shop in Long Beach, CA.

How do you manage a brick and mortar store, online store, and an Etsy store?

By having a brick + mortar, it allows me to work on the online store, Etsy and Ebay when there is downtime. I am also always on my phone which isn’t necessarily a good thing, but that’s the way I am able to give great customer service by responding in a very quick manner.

The way I manage inventory at the moment is when I list NEW + VINTAGE products on our main website and any vintage items posted that week will also list on Etsy and Ebay. Anytime a product sells in any of these 4 places, I immediately remove it.


How did you make the transition from part time to full time?

At the time we were working demanding full-time jobs. So we started off small by opening up an Etsy store in December 2011 selling only vintage children’s fashions. About half a year selling there, we decided to continue online to gain an online presence and decided to open up our own official website in April 2012 selling NEW and VINTAGE Children’s fashions.

This was all around the same time when mobile boutiques were gaining momentum and thought it was a great opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with our customers and sell on weekends. Bought a VW bus and pimped out the vehicle with uber cute graphics and colors to resemble an ice cream truck. Took baby steps and decided the Rose Bowl Flea Market in September 2012 would be the best place to debut our new ride and business. It so happened that on our very first flea market experience, we met the customer who we knew could help us. They always say it’s who you know to break into an industry. We met one of the top baby bloggers, Ashley Jenner from As corny as it sounds, life works in funny ways and I do believe we were destined to meet her that very day.

She wrote about us and featured our vintage children’s fashions on her blog. She was a real supporter from the beginning by using her creative outlet to let others have the opportunity to learn about our business. We continued selling monthly at the flea markets for almost a year before we decided to open a brick + mortar. By this time, we had gained a following on social media and when we found the spot in March 2013 we are in now, we decided it was time. We were ready to leave our day jobs to pursue our dreams. We officially opened our doors in July 2013.


What made you decide to create your own online store?

We were selling vintage children’s fashions on Etsy and felt it was too competitive. When we decided we wanted to sell NEW Designer brands we felt it was the perfect opportunity to not only open our own online store but to also start gaining an online presence.

Share your experience with using MadeFreshly.

I really enjoy using MadeFreshly as they make it easy to create your own website by choosing pre-designed templates but still having the option to make design changes.

What is your favorite feature of your MadeFreshly store?

The SEO Keyword feature helps us be found within Google.

What has been your biggest success with Sweet Threads?

The biggest success to date is that we opened up a brick and mortar store in Long Beach, CA. Opening up a brick and mortar gave us an opportunity to meet our customers and interact with them to explore our customers needs.


What has been the biggest hurdle when you created your business?

Obtaining a following and letting people know that we’re out there. We knew there was a following for vintage children’s clothes but we weren’t sure how find them.

How did you overcome it?

The power of social media. Our favorite social media tool we love to utilize is Instagram. Instagram has helped our business tremendously as it helped us find our customers and obtain a following and maintain communication with our customers from all over the world.


What do you love most about working on your business?

Best part is being able to bring happiness to our customers when they come into our store or see something on social media that triggers a memory. It’s very nostalgic for them to be able to bring happy childhood memories which is priceless to us. What also makes us happy is that we become friends with some of our customers based on their experience.

What success tips can you give to someone wanting to start their own online store with MadeFreshly?

Patience. It takes time to build anything and it can’t be done overnight.  The main thing that helped us out was creating that following to let people know who we are and where we can be found. Your biggest free resource is social media which is something anyone can build as long as you put passion into it.


As with any business, Sweet Threads has had it’s share of successes and challenges. Learning patience, capitalizing on resources available and using online and offline business solutions has helped Sweet Threads become the success story that it is today. Are you interested in launching your online store, just like Sweet Threads? Creating your business with MadeFreshly is easy. Start by downloading our planner and get selling in as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Editor’s note: Thank you MadeFreshly for this fab interview and thank you Sweet Threads for being a part of our Shop Local Directory! Remember, if you decide to upgrade from the Starter Free Plan be sure to use the discount code “handmadesuccess” to receive 25% of your first 3 months!!!

Success is…

successIShandmade2When Kerry asked me to do something fun as part of her celebration of The Declaration of You, I immediately knew I wanted to make an art print that you all could use!

Following on from yesterday’s post and printable which is full of colour and words & phrases that are keys to success, this print has a more general message that can be applied to both your creative biz and in everyday life.

As we found out yesterday, success means different things to different people, but I have found that most people (myself included) feel pretty successful when they experience a triumph, however little, when they bounce back from a failure, however big, by having just a little bit of patience, however trying and by learning to accept things that they cannot change, however difficult.

print_downloadSo, print yours out today to hang up as a reminder or gift it to someone you think might just need it!


Geri Jewitt — The Languid Lion

Geri Jewitt is a designer gone rogue from Corporate who now owns The Languid Lion, handmaking eco-friendly invitations + stationery, paper decorations & illustrated art prints in her Paper Boutique as well as helping those who are in need of fresh design!  She is also the editor of The Lion’s Den, a blog where she writes about love, life, design, colour + handmade.

Success: Celebrating The Declaration of You + a Free Printable!

The Declaration of You, published by North Light Craft Books and available now, gives readers all the permission they’ve craved to step passionately into their lives, discover how they and their gifts are unique and uncover what they are meant to do! This post is part of The Declaration of You’s Blog Lovin’ Tour, which I’m thrilled to participate in alongside over 200 other creative bloggers. Learn more – and join us! – by clicking here.


I was thrilled when we were asked to write a post about succes for The Declaration of You BlogLovin’ tour with Jessica Swift and Michelle Ward! To get the post kickstarted I asked you how you define success. Here are some of the responses:

For me success is when people think I’m professional and competent in my job!

– Sara of FlowerLand

For me success is just ‘being’ and loving the work I do, being creative each day is inspirational, so being creative to me is my success.

– Caroline of Carolee Crafts

My husband and I have made the decision to send our kids to Catholic school. I will feel successful when I’m able to pay tuition with my earnings.

– Tatiana of Tat Made That

Success is knowing I’ve touched someone with my writing or crafts.

– Juliet of Crafty Green Poet

Whenever a client has an ‘A ha!’ moment. It’s incredibly rewarding and fulfilling to know I helped them on their journey to achieve their own definition of success.

– Julia of Pixel Frau

I feel successful when I have stuck to my goals, avoided distractions, being productive, then have turned off my computer, put away my tools, and spent the rest of my day with my family.
I feel un-successful when I have done the opposite, wasted time, not completed my goal, gotten distracted and then spend my ‘family time’ stressing to complete an order, or deadline.

– Virginie of A Nordic Rose

I feel successful when I complete a new item and when someone really appreciates my craft.

-Morgan of Morgaine LeFay

Repeat business makes me feel like I’ve actually made it.

– Megan of Megan’s Beaded Designs

Can you relate? Do these sound familiar? I know that all of you take time out of your day to read tips and advice to create your own personal success here, on other blogs and books too. So I wanted to create a printable that incorporated many of the words and phrases you have probably heard are the keys to success.


– Follow your passion! Do what you love!

– Have the courage to follow your dreams!

– Live your life with integrity. Be true to yourself!

– Expect rejection: this is how you find your target market!

– Focus on Happiness! You will truly feel successful when you do this!

– Innovate: let those little ideas become big ones that help you build your business!

– Listen to your authentic self and let it guide you to success!

– Create what you love!

– Persevere! Don’t listen to naysayers!

– Just Do It! Don’t wait for perfection!

– Cultivate your vison and create steps to get there!

– Build relationships that fulfill and inspire you! Don’t just network.

– Take the time to prepare; your work, your marketing, your mission!

– Follow your dreams with the determination that you feel in your heart!

– Commit to your goals and you will see amazing results!

– Volunteer your time and efforts to help you grow your business!

– Be persistent! You know what you are doing!!!

– Work hard to be excellent at what you do and in customer service!

– Tell those negative thoughts that you don’t need to think them and pursue the activities that give you confidence!

– Take risks! This is how dreams come true!

– Embrace failure! Every successful person has!

I hope you hang this where you can have a quick reminder that you are on the right path! I hope you check out this awesome book too. I just ordered mine yesterday! Cheers to your success!


I can’t wait to be a part of The Declaration of You’s Facebook party this Friday at 9:30-10a PST/11:30a-12p CST/12:30-1p EST. We’ll be chatting in real time about TOPIC over at Hope you can join us!