Well, I promised more info on our new business, and here it is!
Like I said in my last post, Mom has been embroidering things for about ten years now, and I've been pretty hooked on it for the last two. She tried to get me interested in it for years but the interest just wasn't ever there until after I had Katie Wynn. Then I wanted to be able to make cute clothes for her all the time! Mom taught me the basics, I googled tutorials and watched YouTube videos, and I've monogrammed everything since. :)
We began seriously talking about getting a bigger machine after Thomas was born. Mom had already upgraded machines once (or twice?) over the years but now we were talking about a real upgrade - moving up from a single needle to a multi-needle, which is a pretty big deal in the embroidery world. After lots of talking and dreaming about it, we finally pulled the trigger in late October and our new machine arrived on Halloween!
These machines aren't exactly what I'd call cheap - there's now a monthly payment that needs to be met - so we threw around the idea of starting a business to help offset our expenses. It was late in the year so our decision was to spend the rest of the year taking orders from friends while learning the machine and then officially open for business in the new year. And that's where we are now!
We did a lot of brainstorming before settling on our name, Mint Tulip. Mom was stuck on using "tulip" somehow since they're a favorite flower of both of ours. Tulip Lane was a runner up name. I liked Mint Tulip because of the play off Mint Julep and that it was catchy and flowed well. We wanted a name that was generic and not embroidery specific in case our business ever grows into something bigger (I have big dreams - but that's a post for another day!). We'll drop the "Custom Embroidery" tagline if those dreams ever come true. :)
Our logo (above) was designed by Matt Washburn. He's the best.
In January, we got busy making things official - finalizing the logo, opening a bank account, registering our business. We formed a joint partnership...I really hope Mom doesn't try to screw me. :)
Because the machine weighs 90+ pounds (!!), we've set up shop upstairs in my old bedroom. We used to just work in Mom's kitchen but this thing needed a permanent home - it's way too heavy to get out and put away every day! Right now, the bed is still set up in the room but we have plans to move it to the playroom and bring all the toys into our new sewing room...the kids always want to be in the same room with us anyway so it'll work out perfectly. Most days, if I'm not sewing with a kid in my lap, then I'm having to share my chair with the dog!
I'm happy to say that just a couple months in, we've already had quite a few orders! Of course, we'd welcome even more business. I have created an Instagram account to advertise and have just posted picture on my Facebook page. I haven't created our own Facebook page yet because, to be honest, I'm kinda scared. I'm so nervous to put myself out there for criticism. It seems safer when I stick to just local friends and family members! I'm sure at some point a page will be created, and maybe even a website (I know which designer I'll hit up!), but for now I'll just keep posting pictures on Instagram and hoping for more followers. (Follow us: @mint__tulip!)
Scroll through the gallery below to see some examples of things we've already done. We are loving our new machine and how much faster we are able to crank designs out!
I can't decide if my kids now have more or less personalized clothing than before. On the one hand, I don't have as much time since I'm fulfilling orders for others, but on the other hand, I like to try out new designs on them first to make sure they look ok. It's probably safe to continue calling Katie Wynn my little "walking monogram" for a little while longer. She loves modeling the clothes that her Mama and Mimi make for her. :)
Two-ish months in, I'd say our biggest struggle is actually charging for our services! We are so used to just doing things for fun for friends that it's hard create invoices. Of course, we're business-minded enough to know that not charging our customers does not a successful business make, so we'll have to work on this.
Our timing for starting this adventure is not necessarily the best, either. It's a pretty saturated market...everyone is getting their hands on embroidery machines of their own. So we're trying to do what we can to set ourselves apart. Obviously Mom's sewing skills come in handy but she's not necessarily itching to sit behind the sewing machine working for other people every day. We're scouring the web looking for wholesale vendors we can buy from to offer unique products to our customers. Like I said, it's all very exciting but nerve-wracking too!
So that's the new biz. If you need anything personalized - clothes, towels, bags, handkerchiefs, hats, koozies, swimsuits, shoes, whatever! - please let us know. We'd be happy to do something for you! :)