Handmade In Keswick at Craftfest

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Stalking Success - Laura Howard - Lupin Handmade

In this week's instalment in the Stalking Success Series, we have Laura, who has a different approach to the 'product' in that she is flexible and moves her business along as likes and dislikes change.

Laura Howard

Hello! My name is Laura but lots of people call me Lupin. I’ve just turned 30 and have spent the past 6 years or so running an online business, Lupin Handmade. I sell handmade felt accessories I’ve designed & sewn myself, PDF patterns for people to sew their own creations, plus felt squares and other colourful craft supplies sourced from wholesalers. I’m also a crafts writer (writing tutorials for craft books) and I write a craft blog (bugsandfishes.blogspot.com) about all my crafty adventures, with fun things like free tutorials and crafty book reviews too.

Discovering The Product

I was one of those kids who grew up making stuff. When I left University I was unemployed due to ill health - I returned to my old crafty hobbies to keep myself from getting too bored, and really enjoyed it. I discovered Etsy at around the same time, and made it my New Year’s Resolution to open a shop the following year.

I started out selling my own work, then added craft supplies to my range and have very recently started selling PDF tutorials. I first started selling supplies because I wanted to order special colours from wholesalers and had some excess felt to sell off and they've been part of my range ever since. My tutorial-writing started out as a fun thing to share on my blog, and turned out to be something I really enjoyed doing.

Achieving Sales

One of the great benefits to being your own boss, and to selling online, is that you can be quite flexible and kind of go with the flow of what sells and what doesn’t, and with what you enjoy making/doing/selling and what you don’t. My creative style and interests have also evolved over the years, and my business has developed along with it.

Super-Cute Felt
I have my own online shop (lupin.bigcartel.com) and stores on Etsy (lupin.etsy.com) DaWanda (lupin.dawanda.com) and Folksy (lupin.folksy.com), and my book (Super-Cute Felt) was published last year. 

 Getting Known

At the end of my first year selling online, Etsy made me one of their Featured Sellers which made me feel like a superstar! It was the first time I’d really thought I could turn my little shop into a “proper” business.

I promote my work through my blog (bugsandfishes.blogspot.com), and I use Twitter and Facebook.

 Becoming Successful

I guess I knew I’d been successful at that when I quit my part time “day job” and became completely self-employed a few years ago.  

I think success is all about setting goals for yourself (whatever they may be) and reaching them. It can be super hard to judge your own “success” though, especially when you're self-employed as it’s natural to be constantly looking to the next project and how you can grow and improve your business.

As long as I can make stuff I love, and pay the rent, etc, while doing it I’m happy!

  I’m especially thankful to be running my business at a time when there are such great resources available online for small business owners -there are so many useful blogs and how to guides out there covering every aspect of selling online / running a business. I've learned a huge amount since I first set up shop, and it's very inspiring being part of a community of such amazingly creative people.

What a positive story Laura tells.

As usual, you would be the best reader if you would have a browse round Laura's shops, blog etc and tell her what you think.

And don't forget to comment on here too. 


Carolee Crafts said...

Lovely to read about your journey Laura and agree you have to love what you do and as makers we can have that luxury.

Thank you Lu

lu said...

Thanks Caroline

Mecki Madeit said...

Thanks for the inspiring read. It's easy to imagine that your good at writing tutorials. I was really surprised to read about the many online shops Laura uses instead of sticking with maybe just one or two ...
Thanks for the post, Lu. Have only just come across the series and intend to read the lot ;)

lu said...

Hi Mecki
I've noticed that some of the others in the series have only one shop, but some people seem to do well by spreading far and wide.
Hope you enjoy