Beantown Handmade

I think I just woke my family up from laughing!  This dog is hilarious!  Especially this dog in these pictures:



Even if you're not a fan of the bug-eyed breed (I can say that because I am the proud owner of one!), you will definitely become a fan of these pictures.  Hence the ingenious idea of making "Bean in Hats" stickers available.  She not only offers a variety of great products, but great advice, too!  (That's a recurring theme on this blog!)  Some of her other products are collars, bows, bandanas, jackets, stickers, card, and hand-painted portraits of your pooch (or other furry friend, even ol' Tripod, even though he's not four-legged anymore.)  More than just good looks are growing this business, people!

I first noticed Beantown when I saw Bean's pictures in one of Anne's articles on http://www.handmadeology.com/

I don't care who you are, that's funny right thar! 

Let's delve into the most important question first: What is Bean's stud fee?

Haha, you may or may not be surprised but that's not actually the first time people have asked me that - and they were serious. Sorry ladies, Bean was neutered when he was just a pup.

In a private convo we had, you mentioned that you take Bean to a park to play. Is this one of your advertising means? Not that that is the sole purpose, but we all know smart business owners look for creative ways to advertise.  Everyone loves advertising in action.

We are fortunate enough to have a very large dog park on several acres with trees and a creek, so it's not so much a place for us to see other people or network. It is a great place for Bean and Lily to go and just be dogs and get filthy from time to time.

I've had many referrals from customers who've shown off their duds at dog parks in more metropolitan areas like Denver, Seattle and San Francisco. I even had a referral from a woman who saw a dog inside Bloomingdales in Manhattan with one of our sweater and hat sets on - I didn't know they allowed that! Having products seen out in the world is definitely great advertising.

When you made your first piece, was your intent to start a business or was the business something that evolved out of your creation?

I went to school for art and I got my MFA in printmaking, so when I started crocheting sweaters for Bean it was more for fun and not with a business plan in mind. I certainly hadn't planned on the scope of what I'm doing now, which is a full time business. Things started small on Etsy - I think I only posted 5 items the first month. I posted two dog hats I had made thinking no one would buy them and was totally unprepared for the enthusiastic response! From there things grew and I was constantly playing catch up on the business end. For my first year on Etsy I created mostly custom items and picked up a few wholesale clients. Last year I branched out and created my own website, attended craft shows, pursued more advertising and wholesale opportunities and made more of a financial investment in my business.

You recently passed the the 1,000 sales marker. Do you celebrate milestones in your company?

Every sale is still an exciting validation and a thrill, and now that my livelihood depends on those sales it's taken on a bit more meaning. For our 100th and 500th sales I offered celebratory discounts in our shop. The 1,000th sale happened during the holiday season and that was a sleepless blur! I think I took a screen shot in between creating and packaging products and shouted something to my husband downstairs. I always thank our customers when the shop reaches a milestone, because I wouldn't get there without their continued support.

Do you feel like you finally have a handle on this thing?

I am still learning so many things about being a small business owner, but that's mostly because I keep trying to grow my business and take on new things (and eventually world domination). I feel like I have a grip on selling online, and I finally understand more about craft shows and selling wholesale. But there are always second guesses and hesitation when it comes to investing money and taking risks. A friend told me the saying, "the first year you feed your business, the second year your business feeds itself, the third year your business feeds you." Next year will be my third year and I hope that rings true!

Just incase you didn't leave this article a long time ago to scope out Bean, here is one more link to Beantown Handmade.  Enjoy the view!

2 comments:

  1. Haha! Those photos are adorable! His serious expression is the best part!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jamie, all I could think of was what fun Anne and her husband must have had taking these pictures. They must have been ROTL! Why so serious? lol

    ReplyDelete

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