Pennsylvania

Sew, what’s next?A successful Etsy mask making business becomes important as the pandemic declines | Local News

Cherish Kibler is CharCo. The day after she quit her job as a social media manager at, she received a call.

It was her friend Gabby Enriquez, who provided her with the job of making fabric face masks at Little LadyA Homemade, Henriquez’s online small business.

Henriquez, one of the members of Etsy, an online shopping website focused on handicrafts and crafts, created masks on the $ 740 million market in 2020.

The timing was right for the 27-year-old Kibler in Washington Boro. She would have worked with a friend, and COVID-19 quarantine was in its infancy.

There was only one problem.

“Gabby, I don’t know how to sew,” she told Henriquez.

“I can teach you that,” replied Henriquez, 27, from Mountville. “I just need help.”

It is no exaggeration to say that Kibler now knows how to sew.

LittleLadyAHomemade ended in 2020 with sales of over $ 212,000. One day they sold 1,300 masks.

A month ago, Etsy had a list of 1.6 million masks. For several months, LittleLadyA Homemade was third on the list. Henriques was also featured on a recent CNN article on mask makers. (See the story at lanc.news/HenriquezCNN.)

But while masks are still selling, demand isn’t as good as it used to be, and Henrikes is incorporating other items into the store to keep his business sustainable.

Tangled web worth weaving

Although their Etsy business was a new success, Henriquez and her crew were craft professionals in the Lancaster community.

Henriques and Kibler also host a central family event that coordinates the Lancaster Baby Shower and PA Family Expo, two of the largest craft expos in central Pennsylvania. Henrikes’ mother, Kim Funk, volunteered at Unto (formerly GAiN), an organization whose goal is to relieve suffering through humanitarian aid.

“People knew we could sew, and soon it was like,’Can you make me a mask?’ “Henriquez says. “It was just a mask on top of a mask.”

And what started as a hobby to spend time turned into a full-time job.

“When the COVID hit, it was full-time,” she says. “We make 10 masks a day for 13-14 hours full time and donated everything for the first two months. We donated more than 1,500 masks before selling.”

If they were going to work so hard, Henriques thought he should start selling masks. When the business begins to recover, it’s when she calls Kibler and Henrikes babysitter Grace Foley.

Her five-member team: Kibler; Colombian funk, 52 years old. Grace Foley of Colombia, 17 years old. And the other two work to process orders, usually eight hours a day, and in some cases even longer. It takes 7 minutes to make a mask from start to finish.

“I quickly understood how the wheel works,” says Henriquez. “One day I need Grace to see my kids, and she’s my number one babysitter, and the next day I need to pack her my order, and she Is my number one order packer. “

Business-oriented Henriques is the one who turned it into a company.

“My favorite thing is not sewing,” says Henriquez. “My favorites are product photos, quantities, and everything behind the scenes.”

“We all know our role,” says Kibler.

“When you sell, you sell”

It took Henriquez 10 days to sell their first mask on Etsy. Previously, LittleLadyAHomemade has been sold only once on the platform since its launch in 2018.

But finally, the sale.

Then 10 sales.

10 became 12, then 30.

“I was shocked when it started to grow,” says Henriquez. “Something went well. Finally, something went well.”

On Etsy, as your business grows in sales and popularity, your algorithm will drive your store up and its list will appear early in shopper search results. When business sales decline, the store fails the algorithm and a list of them will be found later.

“When you sell, you sell. If you slow down, you die,” says Henriquez. “When you’re there, you’re there and you keep selling. But as soon as you start to fall or someone gives you bad reviews, it pulls you down. It pulls you down. Because it’s your ad, you’re really working hard to keep it there. “

Pivot to new products

As pandemic restrictions continue to be relaxed and the need for masks diminishes, Henriques is at the heart of his business. After investing over $ 150,000 in Little LadyA Homemade over the past year, she has been testing some new ideas.

Meanwhile, they have been working on baby products like Christmas stocking kits and slings. Stocking kits were launched when mask sales slowed last Christmas. Buyers can choose the amount of ready-made stockings they need. The kit comes with items to decorate your stockings, such as fabric markers.

“People weren’t spending money on masks. They were buying Christmas gifts,” says Henriquez. “We sold thousands of stockings.”

They have also experimented with items ranging from embroidery to reusable paper towels. And they also do not rule out making chicken aprons — aprons to protect against chicken pecking.

“It’s difficult,” she says. “You really don’t know what you’re trying to make until something starts to sell. You don’t know what you’re trying to sell until you get a review.”

However, the COVID-19 pandemic was so fluid that Funk said the business had really brainstormed and pivoted. Originally, they started making three-layer masks — flannel between two cottons. Three months ago, they moved on to make masks with muslin.

“I made it on a whim,” says Henriquez. “I bought this for a baby blanket and thought,’Wow, these might be really nice masks.’ “

Lightweight and breathable muslin masks have begun to sell rapidly, despite declining demand for masks. Even now, Funk said he could sell about 300 masks over the weekend.

“Our masks are breathable,” says Henriquez. “The muslin material is very comfortable.”

As masking becomes less common, Henriquez continues to determine the next stage of her business. But her business motivation, woven by the friendship of a cheerful team, will make her business adventure even more valuable.

“They call them sewing circles for a reason,” says Kibler. “It’s really a community and a place where we can all have fun together.”

More information

To see more of Gabby Henriquez’s work, visit her Instagram (@Little_Lady_A_) and her Etsy shop (@Little_Lady_A_). etsy.com/shop/LittleLadyAHomemade..

Sew, what’s next?A successful Etsy mask making business becomes important as the pandemic declines | Local News

Source link Sew, what’s next?A successful Etsy mask making business becomes important as the pandemic declines | Local News

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