Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Feature: North Country Crochet

This week's feature is Darcy from North Country Crochet.

Tell us about yourself:
I am a 36 year old stay at home mom with a wonderful husband and two beautiful girls. I did work outside the home until my first daughter was about 6 months old. Being away from her was a huge struggle for me and although I theoretically wanted to use my college degree and I loved my employers, I knew the "right" thing for me was to be home. We decided to take our chances and be a one income family and although it is a struggle at times, we have built a life that is so wonderful I almost feel guilty at times!

Tell us about your shop:
My shop is full of hats, scarves, photo prop sets and some novelty items.

When did you start creating? Why?
My children are both school age now and we weren't ready as a family for me to go back out into the workforce so I found myself with some extra time on my hands. Knowing that seeing my youngest off to kindergarten would send my usual daily "mommy routine" into a tailspin, I knew I needed something to occupy my mind and some of my time. I decided to rediscover crocheting, which my Grandmother had taught me at around 7 years old. I had not done it in 25 or more years so I was a little skeptical about my skill level. I did however, immediately pick it back up. I was so excited that I kept buying new yarns and trying new patterns. Eventually every storage space I had was pouring out yarn, everyone had hats (even the dolls!) and I was going broke buying patterns and yarn. My mother had been encouraging me to start an Etsy shop so I decided it was time to step out of my comfort zone and give it a try. I went into this venture thinking it would be a struggle to make sales and I was ok with that. I was surprised that just a few days after opening I had a sale--how exciting and motivating! The sales starting coming pretty regularly and just 6 months in I have hit 75 sales. I am thrilled and love the Etsy community.


What goals do you have for your shop? Is is a hobby, major source of income, or somewhere in between?
My goal for my shop is just to be able to enjoy creating something personal for someone I've never met and hoping they love it and smile when they see it. At the end of the day, I want my shop to generate enough revenue to pay for my materials, Etsy bills, shipping and maybe just a little left over for something fun for my family. I also would love to buy birthday and Fathers Day gifts for my husband without using his own money!

What has been the most rewarding?
The most rewarding thing I have taken from this whole experience has been communicating with the wonderful people who utilize Etsy and hearing from a customer that they love the item I sent them.

How do you balance your business with your family?

Because I can create during the day when my kids are at school or after bedtimes, or even just while I'm chatting with my kids after school, it has not really proven to be a balancing act. I am so thankful for that. My family are my biggest cheerleaders and they are all so supportive. My daughters get so excited when they hear my Etsy app cash register sound go off on my phone indicating a new order.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
The only tip I have for moms with small home businesses or looking to start one up is to always be willing to step outside your comfort zone. The greatest risks reap the greatest rewards.

 Thanks, Darcy! 
You can find Darcy and her creations at her Etsy store:

Friday, June 21, 2013

Friday Feature: Inspired By Mollie

 This week's Feature is Angela of Inspired By Mollie. 

Tell us about yourself.
I am a stay at home/ work at home mommy to my beautiful one year old daughter. We reside in Pittsburgh, PA. I recently graduated college with a bachelors degree in music (vocal performance).

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
My shop is a collection of things ranging from bows, to tutus, to crocheted baby items, all of which were inspired by my daughter- hence the name of my shop Inspired By Mollie.

When did you start creating? Why?
I have always been a creative person, from the time I was in daisy girl scouts doing different crafts and activities with my mother. I picked up crocheting in the fourth grade and immediately fell in love. It was so relaxing to me! I could sit and crochet for hours upon hours. In the eighth grade, I finished my first "real" project- a purple blanket with white seashell borders.

When I got pregnant and found out it was a girl, I was so excited! I wanted to buy her fun little girl things such as headbands, bows, pretty little blankets, and little shoes. They had the cutest things for little girls! Then I noticed the prices of things! That's when I realized I could use my creative side to make her the things I wanted to buy. It was cost efficient, gave me something to do while I was too big to do anything else, and she had unique items.

What goals do you have for your shop? Is it a hobby, major source of income, or somewhere in between?
I would really love to see my shop take off! It is not a major source of income yet, but I hope one day it will be. It is something I enjoy doing, and I always wanted to do something for a living that I enjoyed,

How do you balance your business with your family?
I have a really great support system. If I get overwhelmed with things, I have a wonderful mother who is right there to help me out. Also, naps and early bedtimes work miracles when you are busy!

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a mommy with a small business?
Finding time for myself!

What has been the most rewarding?
Seeing my creations come to life! Since I have a little girl, I get to make her things similar or the same as the items in my shop.

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Enjoy what you are doing! It makes things a lot easier and you do a better job when you enjoy your work!

Thanks for joining us this week! If you would like to see more, you can find Inspired by Mollie at the following sites:

Instagram: Inspired_by_mollie

Monday, June 17, 2013

4 Marketing Tips for a Small Business

One of the greatest mistakes any business can make, especially small businesses, is to fail to allocate time and resources to marketing. After all, no matter how good your product is no one will buy it unless they know about your product. Marketing your product is how people learn who you are and what you offer. 

Tips for Marketing on a Low or No Budget

1. Social Media. Even if you don’t currently use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Wanelo, now is the time. Read about each and start with one. As you feel more and more comfortable with one of them, you will expand to more online social media sites. Remember, marketing through any of these avenues is free, just costs you time. 

2. MomsPack. MomsPack is a free networking group for moms who own a business. Members offer to distribute your coupons or samples to their customers for free. Visit for more information. 

3. Blogs. Find blogs or join a blog group on Etsy (if you are sell on Etsy) and make friends. Many bloggers will do a spot on your products with photographs and some will offer to do a free review of your products. Many bloggers ask for a free sample of what you sell in exchange. Up to you if you think the review and free press is worth the cost of a product you sell. 

4. Build a Website. Having your own website is not as hard as you believe. We just built our website on without knowing any code. Sure it takes time, but depending on your needs, your website can be absolutely free. See our website as an example, 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Friday Feature: KnitCraftSew

Goodness, I don't know where time goes, but it sure seems to go quickly. It is Friday and once again time for our Featured Mom with a Small Business. This week we will meet up with Jennifer of KnitCraftSew.

Tell us about yourself.
I'm a 33 year old working mom who is a social worker by day and crafter for my etsy shop at night.

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
My shop is KnitCraftSew. A mod podge of knitting, crafting and sewing (and a little crochet) :) I mainly sell products intended for use as photo props, however, I do also sell some simple things such as key fobs and crayon roll ups.

When did you start creating? Why?
I learned to sew while I was pregnant with my son (6 years ago) because I wanted to make all kinds of things for the new baby. The love of creating fell to the wayside quickly though because he was into everything and I really didn't have the time I needed to create! However, in November of 2011, my little man had become more independent and I was able to launch KnitCraftSew.

What inspires you?
Lots of things inspire me. Color, Vintage pieces my grandmother has passed down, beautiful photography, my son and the list could go on and on. I think we can find inspiration in the littlest things if we look hard enough.
How do you balance your business with your family?
My family will always come first so I try to always meet those needs first. Crafting, creating, selling usually takes place in the late evening and early morning hours!

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?

Balancing Work, Home Life and taking care of a child while making sure that I run a smooth and successful business. I always want to make sure that my customers are completely happy. I tend to second guess myself a lot.


What has been the most rewarding?
Seeing my work in gorgeous photography and knowing that I made it with my two hands!

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Take it day by day. You can't grow as big as you want over night. Pace yourself!

Great advice. Thanks for joining us, Jennifer! If you would like to learn more, you can find KnitCraftSew at the following sites:
Shop -
Facebook -

See you next week!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Kid's Say the Darndest Things

Hi all you “MOMMY’S SMALL BUSINESS” entrepreneurs. I met Amanda Doster when she posted on our etsy street team’s (castteam) weekly blog blitz. I offered to do a “guest post” for the MOMMY’S SMALL BUSINESS BLOG to encourage ya’ll to keep a journal of the funny things your kids say. The logic and immature reasonings, conclusions and conceptualization of your small children are so totally precious, I would hate for you to risk those memories dimming by the passage of time. They grow out of this sweet innocence so quickly as they develop and become wise in the ways of the world.
When my children were small, they were comedians (unknowingly). When they said something precious, I would reach for the closest piece of paper I could find. Sometimes it was the back of an envelope, other times, it might have been a napkin in a restaurant. I had a keepsake box where I stashed all these scraps of paper. However, lots of times those scraps got lost before I could carefully place them into the keepsake box and other times the scraps suffered much wear and tear in my wallet, pocket or purse before seeing the inside of that box.
Now that I’m I’m a grammy, I have developed a much safer process. I thought of this when my grandson Sean began making these hysterically funny statements that I just couldn’t bear to forget. I bought myself a blank, spiral notebook. It has a kid friendly cover and colorful neon blank pages inside. I began to fill those pages with Sean’s funny anecdotes. I thought there would never be another kid on earth as entertaining as Sean but I was wrong – along came his sister, Melissa.
Of course, if you’re a grammy, you are going to have to depend on your grown child to relate those experiences to you so you can preserve them. But if you’re a babysitting grammy, you can be sure that they’ll pronounce  some stunning observations right in your hearing, which you can then transfer to the journal.
Because their parents know that I keep this journal, they have been faithful to supply me with fodder for my journal. In addition, I get mail.  I receive all kinds of greeting cards made by my darlings, their report cards, school honors, etc. The journal was bursting at the seams. I had to get myself a box.
One of the best perks of keeping this journal, is those very same kids, grow up so fast, now love to look at it, especially when they’re all together (cousins event), laughing over their own childhood antics now that they are sophisticated teens or twenty somethings.
I encourage you, before it’s too late – make yourself a “KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS” journal and fill it with the priceless sayings of your little children.

Here’s where you can find sammysgrammy:

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Feature: All Because Of Claire

Our feature this week is Sarah of All Because of Claire.

Tell us about yourself.
I am a mom of two amazing kids. I have a 9 year old son and a 1 year old daughter named, Claire. I started this side business because of her! I work full time as a kindergarten teacher, I am in my 10th year teaching. I also am a Thirty-One Consultant in my spare time (there isn't much of it). I like to be creative and making headbands/clip helps me do that!

Tell us about your shop. What do you sell?
My shop, ABC-All Because Of Claire specializes in headbands, clips and bows for every day wear or your special occasion. I want the products to be functional and pretty for your child.

How did you come up with the name?
When I started making headband for my daughter and friends, I decided to make a Facebook page for me to show what I made and take orders from friends. I asked my Facebook friends, "If I were to sell these, what would you name my business?" I got a lot of great suggestions, but ABC-All Because of Claire was a popular idea. Everyone liked that ABC was an acronym.

When did you start creating? Why?
I started creating last July when my daughter was a few months old. I was spending a lot of money on headbands for her and decided to try my hand at a few ideas that I found on Pinterest. I then started making them for my friends and their children as well. From there, it went crazy! I had the summer off from teaching and so I had the time to invest in trying out some ideas that I saw. Once school started, I thought I would stop, but I got so many holiday requests and did some craft fairs so here I am, still going almost a year later.

What goals do you have for your shop?  Is it a hobby, major source of income, or somewhere in between? I have no goals for my shop other than to start making more money than I am spending on supplies :) It is a hobby, but a busy one, I would like to see it become more since I am selling so much, but it is hard to find the time with working full time to fully launch it as a major business.

How do you balance your business with your family?
I am still working on that! I am lucky that my daughter goes to bed early and sleeps really well. I can work after she goes to bed. My son is also busy with his own activities, homework, games, etc and goes to bed at a decent time. So, I reserve after bed time for working. I also use nap times on the weekends or days off of school to catch up. My husband is great about helping me out with packaging if I need it. If anything, it just has affected my unwinding from my day time and I do miss that some. Things get a little hectic at times and I have thrown "me time" out the window.

How do you keep everything organized? Do you have a workspace?
I used to work on my dining room table when I was a smaller business, but when my daughter started crawling and my supply space needs got larger, I moved up to the guest bedroom. We took a lot out to put some storage in for me to work. It is a mess! I won't let customers see it when they come for home appointments! I am definitely working on getting more organized in all areas!

What has been the most difficult aspect of being a Mommy with a Small Business?
Honestly, the organization and the shipping! I don't mind taking time out to be creative, but I hate invoices, shipping, paper work, etc.

What has been the most rewarding?
Getting photos of happy customers for sure! I love seeing photos from photographers when they use my products also. I also have the luxury of working at a school with kids, some of whom have bought items from me and I like walking down the hall and spotting the ones that I have made!

Do you have any tips for other moms with a small/home business?
Try to carve out "me time", I am still working on that. Come up with a system for orders (then share it with me! Ha ;) Take time for your family or else you will get burnt out, and you will regret making this leap into small business!

Thanks, Sarah!

If you liked what you see here, be sure to catch up with All Because of Claire at the following sites:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Cookies and Cream Rice Crispy Treats

Who doesn't like cookies and cream? Marshmallow cream that is. Today I am giving you my spin on the old standby, rice crispy treats.

Here's what you will need:
  • 1/2 c butter (This can be reduced...but they won't be nearly as soft and gooey. I never said this was a health recipe!)
  • 8 c crisp rice cereal (off brand works just as well as name brand)
  • 8 c mini marshmallows (If you don't have minis and don't want to stand at the stove for an hour while the big ones melt, spray a pair of kitchen scissors with cooking spray and then snip larger marshmallows down to size! I actually used the GIANT campfire marshmallows when I made this because that was what I had on hand.)
  • 2 c coarsely chopped oreos (Call me weird, but I like to take the filling out and discard it...but it certainly won't hurt to keep it in)

From here, it is basic marshmallow treat making technique. Melt your butter in a large, two handled pan. Add the marshmallows. Stir until it is one semi-fluid, ooey-gooey fluff. Remove from heat. Stir in the cereal and cookies. Simple.

Pour into a greased 9x13. Rub a little cooking spray on your hand and then press into an even layer. Wait for it to cool for about 5 minutes and then cut into 2x2 inch squares.

Peanut-butter: Reduce butter to 1/4 c. Add 1/3 c peanut butter when you add the marshmallows.
Chocolate lovers: Stir in a 1/2c of your favorite chocolate chips right before pouring into the pan. Or melt them and drizzle on top. Either way, YUM!


This post was brought to you by Amanda Doster and the Cedar Tree Family.