Today we have a sponsor interview and giveaway with the lovely Regina, founder and designer of Acute Designs. Her shop is the perfect mix of affordable handmade baubles for hair, neck, wrists, and shoes. Below Regina shares how she used her creativity and passion for accessories to launch a full-time business after breaking out of a j-o-b.
On your blog you mention that you wanted to quit your j-o-b and do what you love. Can you quickly summarize that journey so we can know how Acute Designs came to be?
Since graduating college 8 years ago, I floated from job to job not really knowing what I wanted to do.Â I assumed just making a decent paycheck was good enough, until I realized I needed a purpose.Â Two years ago I was stuck in the most soul-sucking job imaginable and I knew I needed a change.
Every day at work, I would fuel my creative outlet by writing, reading blogs, and researching.Â Eventually I decided it would be “fun” to start an Etsy shop as a hobby.Â Within a week, I knew that I wanted designing, creating, selling, and writing to be more than a hobby.Â I wanted it to be my full time job.
It took me a year of planning and saving to get to the point where I could quit my job – which is what I did about six months ago.Â I have never looked back nor regretted it for a minute!
What do you love most about designing your accessories?Â What about the business side of things?
My favorite thing is playing around and coming up with new designs.Â I get inspiration from everywhere – movies, tv, art, my favorite designers, and so on.Â When I get an idea for a new design, I love the process of creating the first one and seeing the finished product.
I also enjoy the business side of running my own business.Â I am a numbers person and find a weird amount of delight in creating spread sheets.Â I have been known to spend an entire Friday night tracking numbers and sales on various spread sheets!
The hardest part of this whole business thing is that I am a fairly shy person.Â I have a hard time approaching store owners or buyers in order to sell my products wholesale.Â I also tend to hold back in promoting myself.Â I think this is a combination of being shy and a fear of rejection – both of which are normal but are things I need to work on in order to grow my business.
Your shop is overflowing with gorgeous accessories of all kinds! How do you determine what accessory style to jump into next?
I try to provide a lot of variety and price points in order to appeal to wide range of customers.Â Also, I make things I love and if they sell, I make more and expand on the item that is selling.Â For example in January, I started selling cream rosebud earrings.Â They sold like crazy, so I expanded into various styles of flower earrings in an array of colors and these have been extremely popular.
I also do a lot of market research and try my best to determine trends for the upcoming seasons.Â I attempt to appeal to the market without compromising my personal creativity.
What is your overall vision for Acute Designs into the future?
My current goal for Acute Designs is to expand my wholesale deals.Â Currently, I sell in four stores around the country and by the end of the year, my goal is for my designs to be sold in at least ten stores.Â I want that to continue to grow in the next year.
My long term goal is to expand from handmade accessories into clothing.Â I feel that there is a huge value in handmade and/or local made goods and I want my brand to embody this notion.
In addition to designing and selling, I am also a freelance writer and spend a large portion of my week blogging and guest blogging and would like to continue writing and eventually write a book.
What do you recommend for a newbie Etsy designer who wants to get their shop off the ground?
My advice is to treat it as if it is your own website.Â Do not assume that you will get business just because you are on Etsy.Â The biggest mistake I see with new sellers is that they open a shop, throw in a few items and expect people to come.Â The shop needs to be promoted, both online and off line. Success is a huge possibility, but you have to put the time and effort in… just like anything!
Acute Designs Giveaway – $20 Shop Credit
To win a $20 credit to Acute Designs, simply visit the shop and come back to this post leaving a comment about which item you most covet from the collection.
The winner will be randomly selected and announced on this post next Tuesday (5/24).
[credit for model photos]