Hello handmade fans! Today we are bringing you an in depth interview with the talented maker behind AbbyChicCo – maker of hand painted wooden signs, shirts, and a brand new line of gorgeous tote bags with colorful tassels. Her amazing online store is on Etsy at http://etsy.com/abbychicco, and trust me when I tell you that you are going to want to go take a look!
Here’s a part of our conversation with Abby.
Q: Tell us about @mrsabbychic. What do you do, and how does your work reflect who you are?
Abby Chic has been the most fun adventure. I make hand painted signs, wooden shapes (states, painted pinwheels) and hand lettered shirts. I have never taken an art class so I honestly am figuring it out as I go. The shirts are my favorite because they are all something I love! I would wear them every day if it was acceptable. They reflect me in their simplicity and in their phrases. The bible verses are bold, strong but are written in a fun and whimsy way.
Q: How did you get started?
Abby Chic has been such a fun happy accident. My husband and a friend suggested I start selling random things I made at a local market. To make a long story short I realized I absolutely HATED making what I was making. I randomly decided to paint a sign and here we are! That makes it seem way easier that it really was. I spent every Saturday at that local market for five months and it was some long Saturdays with maybe a single sale but it struck a passion in me. More than anything I loved the people I met and trying new projects each week. I decided the market scene wasn’t the best choice for our family and I opened my online shop a year ago on May 25th. I have streamlined the shop to all things painted and hand lettered. I do primarily painted signs, wooden shapes, hand lettered clothing and a new line of tote bags.
Q: Where and how do you work? Do you have a studio? Do you have a set schedule every day or is your work more fluid?
I’m a bit of a mess when it comes to working. I wish to be type A and scheduled but with two little boys still at home that isn’t my reality. I try to do most of my work at night when they are in bed. I just recently put my kiddos in the same room and that gave me a studio!!! Yay for my own space. I am slowly adding shiplap to the walls and making the space my own. Even with my own space, my current projects end up all over the house. My family is very gracious.
Q: You mentioned that you started selling at farmer’s markets and moved into online from there. What do you find that is different about selling on Etsy compared to selling in person? Do you have a preference?
I LOVE selling in person! The shows are SO SO SO MUCH work but I love it! The interactions with my customers are the best part of my job. I feel like the online shop with occasional shows is the perfect balance. Selling online allows me to stay available to my customers without being away from my family.
Q: What are you currently reading, listening to, or looking at to fuel your creativity?
I have dreams of being a reader! I have a pile of 8 books sitting on my nightstand that I hope to read someday. They are a mixture of wellness, spiritual and fiction. I love podcasts for creative inspiration. The stories of others inspire me more than I realize. I love the Jaime Ivy podcast and I finished S-town in less than 24 hours. I think I prefer podcasts because it’s like someone reading for me.
I get most of my best ideas in church. You will not see me without a notebook and pencils in hand on Sunday mornings. I even have a little custom made bag that holds all my pens and pencils. Ha. I look like a total dweeb when I pull it out. The music, sermon series, or scripture references speak to me or lead me to something else that inspires. It’s a great no pressure time. Just me, Jesus, and a pencil. I can make mistakes, erase, scratch through or trash but it is just a carefree time of creating with no critique.
Q: What have you learned so far about running a handmade business? Is there anything you wish someone had told you?
I suppose I knew this but didn’t really think through how personally invested in it I would be. You make something so a piece of you is in it. I for sure was not ready for all the emotions I would have invested.
Q: How do you balance what sounds like a very active family life with running a business?
I don’t! I try to be very real, especially on social media since I think we view others as having it all together and we are the only ones just surviving. The key for me is multitasking and a joyful spirit (which I don’t always have). My kids are usually making some form of a mess or interrupting me so I try to give them as much attention as possible so that when I am working they are more likely to let me work. Somedays PBS kids is my best friend. Like I said earlier though, I do most of my work when they are in bed. My hubs is in the midst of a PhD program so he and I both just do work after bedtime.
Q: What else would you like our readers to know? (How can they find you, etc.)
I think I want people to know that they can do hard things. If I can do this crazy thing, they can tackle one of their dreams. There is room for all of us and cheering one another on is important.
Thank you so much for reading! And here’s one last look at these gorgeous tote bags – I love it with the double tassel here. This is definitely going on my Christmas list.