When Carmen Marti bought a new sewing machine and gave her 25 year old Singer to her daughter Jamie Halleckson, little did she know what it would lead to. Carmen has sewn since the age of five, when her grandma and mom taught her to sew Barbie clothes. As a single mom, Carmen stitched up many outfits and toys for her only child, Jamie. She had always hoped that one day Jamie would show an interest in sharing her passion. Well, along came Etsy and the 25 year old Singer sprang to life. Jamie and Carmen have been stitching up kitchen and household delights ever since.
They run their Etsy business from two locations, 120 miles apart. Jamie lives in a suburb of St. Paul and Carmen lives in northern Minnesota. The name City Chic Country Mouse is an accurate characterization for the personalities and lifestyles of these two women. Carmen uses her expertise in pattern making, design and sewing, while Jamie has her hands full with marketing, photography, listing, shipping, accounting, and now blogging, too! She is currently a student in the online blogging course offered by Holly from decor8.
Buttons by SLGdesigns
Jamie adores this print from Shanon of SLGdesigns. It hangs in her sewing room and is also the wallpaper on her laptop downloaded from Kindred. Jamie contacted Shanon about the possibility of doing a photoshoot at her home. Shanon kindly agreed and came over to take photos of the mother-daughter team in action. How wonderful to meet a local Etsy artist!
One of the influential factors in starting an Etsy shop was the discovery of a unique store in NE, Minneapolis called Crafty Planet. Jamie and Carmen fell in love with the unique fabrics and atmosphere of this eclectic shop. The owners, Trish Hoskins, along with Rebecca Yaker (known for her sock monkey apparel) are in the process of writing a book, 101 One Yard Wonders, which will be out in October 2009. Jamie and Carmen will have two of their patterns included!
Photo by SLGdesigns
These two women work together when determining which fabric combinations work well for each of their designs. Jamie is now learning the secrets to sewing that her mom has always longed to teach her. The logistics can at times create challenges for the duo, such as when a customer requests a specific fabric, and that fabric just happens to be at Jamie’s house, or when the item to be listed has just been completed and is ready to be photographed is at Carmen’s. These ladies do get together for what they call “marathon sewing sessions” once or twice a month. It is here that you see how well this mother-daughter team works together.
In order to accomplish as much as possible during a marathon, they plan easy meals that can be eaten all weekend long, such as soups, salads or slow cooker recipes, and stock up on dog treats for their fur babies. They say that their best ideas come out of these marathons. It’s obvious watching this mother-daughter team that the two are closely in sync and have a mutual respect for each other’s ideas.
Once the name for the business had been decided upon, a banner, avatar and business cards were needed. The ladies saw this chick from Whisker Graphics and immediately knew this was the style they wanted. Whitney worked with them to develop a cohesive look for their entire shop, including a shop banner, blog header, business cards, and packaging.
In addition, this mom and daughter team has ventured into the wholesale market. After receiving several inquiries, Jamie decided to put together a brochure that could be sent to potential wholesale purchasers. The very first wholesale order came from a shop the ladies often purchase their fabric from, fabricpalooza, for her lovely new shop in North Carolina.
When starting their Etsy business Jamie and Carmen had no idea where it would lead. They have discovered a wealth of information and expertise in the Etsy community, and they have formed many new friendships while building their business. They always knew they wanted to have some sort of business together, but they had no idea how fulfilling and fun this “little” Etsy business would be!