How These Female Entrepreneurs Run A Successful Online Craft Business
The Craft Industry Alliance is a trade association for craft business owners with a membership site of 1,060 members and counting. Its members have businesses in all areas of craft including sewing, quilting, knitting, crochet, embroidery, cross-stitch, paper crafts, ceramics, and more. They’re designers, makers, suppliers, and content creators and their businesses range from solo entrepreneurs to large corporations.
Almost all of the craft sellers have some ecommerce component and ShipStation is an ideal partner. One of the Craft Industry Alliance member benefits is a 2-month free trial of ShipStation.
Abby Glassenberg, who co-founded the organization in October 2015, is a ShipStation customer herself for two years for her sewing pattern and supplies business.
Meet Craft Business Owners
To learn more about the Craft Industry Alliance its members, we sat down to chat with a couple of the merchants. Both of these female entrepreneurs run an online craft business and use ShipStation to ship out their products.
“ShipStation is extremely important to me!” – Olgalyn, O! Jolly! LLC
Olgalyn Jolly is the founder of O! Jolly! LLC. She designs knitted textiles, knitwear, and knitted accessories. She comes from a performing arts background and is inspired by luxurious fibers and looping yarns, visual rhythms and repeating motifs.
“I love ShipStation!” – Katy, Katrinkles
Katy Wescott founded Katrinkles. She creates knitting gauges and tools from 1/8” woods such as bamboo and birch plywood and alder hardwood sourced in Rhode Island. She discovered buttons and shawl pins as a natural intersection of jewelry and textiles. She has two laser cutting machines to cut and etch Katrinkles products.
What’s it like owning/running a craft company?
Olgalyn Jolly: As in any other industry, customers are the most important part of a craft business. I always want my customers to be happy with the products they purchase from me.
Katy Wescott: It’s actually super fun! We’re a lot busier than I ever thought that I would be. I have three employees and we all enjoy being here I think. And my dog comes to work every day, so he spends the day on the couch and he’s kind of the doorbell. He barks when anyone comes to the door. We enjoy each other’s company. And we’re all kind of working towards this thing that we believe in. So it’s pretty great.
How does the Craft Industry Alliance help the company?
OJ: Craft Industry Alliance helps keep me informed about the inner workings of the industry. On my own, I’d only be working and making decisions based on my perspective and research. Through CIA, I get to see the craft industry from a range of viewpoints when I read the articles in the journal and postings in the forum or the Facebook group. This is because the Alliance is made up of large and small businesses across a broad sector of the craft industry. I contribute when I can, but honestly, though I come from a design/textile/fashion background, it’s quite an education for me.
KW: It has been an interesting way of like seeing what’s going on in the craft industry. I enjoy reading what’s going on in the forum. There’s also a Facebook group! I like that they’ll go to some of the big trade shows and give a little report of what they saw. I’m always interested in what other people are doing for display ideas and small business stuff in general. I’m always looking to learn from what other people are doing who have sort of similar businesses. My business is pretty unique so it’s hard to like get advice from the business world if that makes sense. So it’s interesting seeing what other people are doing who have like similar or crafty businesses.
What marketplaces and shopping carts do you sell on?
OJ: I have an online O! Jolly! Shop through Big Cartel and I maintain a presence on Etsy (Crafting Fashion) as well.
KW: I sell on my Katrinkles wholesale and retail websites through Squarespace. I also use Etsy! It’s nice to have it all those orders come through ShipStation.
Why did you choose ShipStation?
OJ: Once my business began to grow, using the USPS website became difficult. It takes too long to copy/paste addresses. I tried ShipStation for a month and never went back.
KW: I think it was recommended by Squarespace. I’ve been using it for maybe three years now. I’ve never used a different shipping software and I’ve never looked for a different one. I went with that and never looked back. It’s been one of those things that is integral to my business. I don’t have to think about how to use it or anything because it’s so easy to use.
How does ShipStation help you ship your orders?
OJ: ShipStation keeps me efficient and organized. Both the sales through my own site and through Etsy are in one place. It’s essential during heavy shipping periods. It’s also an extremely useful reference during tax time.
It’s nice to be able to look at the ShipStation Mobile App on my phone. Every time an order imports it sends me a message. It’s great if I’m not in the office to be able to see like, “oh, this is what needs to be shipped,” or, you don’t have to do it from the desktop shipping computer.
KW: Being able to print packing slips! We use custom packing slips that allow customers to leave gift messages on the order.
My mailman appreciates that we use the end of day (EOD) form. He scans that rather than scanning all the packages every single day individually.
How does ShipStation help you grow your business?
OJ: Because ShipStation keeps me efficient and organized, I have more time to devote to other important aspects of my business — designing, making samples, creating web content, and promoting.
Would you recommend ShipStation to other craft and creative companies?
KW: Yes, I do all the time.
What are your dreams for the future of the company?
KW: I think it’s pretty great now if I could keep doing this and adding new products and like as we’re doing and continuing to make things that people love and that I enjoy making I think that’s pretty great.
OJ: I’m so excited to be introducing a new product at the beginning of next year, which I know people will love. Plans are to reach out to a wider audience once all systems are in place. I’m so glad to already have an effective shipping system!
Want to improve your craft business with better ecommerce shipping? Try ShipStation for free!