Every month we feature a different online crafting store we’ve recently fallen in love with. This time around we’re chatting with Lena Brown, the owner and operator of Lena Brown Designs on Etsy. With almost 3,000 transactions and a 100% positive feedback rating, this super-selling Etsy shop features chic knitting needle organizers and other knitting accessories. Customers of Lena Brown Designs praise this shop for its accurate detailing and quality construction.
How did you get into your craft?
My mother taught me to knit and sew. I spent many hours in her sewing room as a child watching her create formal wear, clothing and anything made from fabric. Within the past 10 years I learned to knit. When those two hobbies intertwined — out came knitting needle organizers. Photography soon followed with the need to sell products online and grew to more of a passion than a necessity for online sales.
When did you start?
When I was 6, my mom and I made my first project. It was a simple purple plaid cotton halter top with white bias tape straps. I still have it tucked away as a keepsake.
What inspires your work?
Inspiration for my creative projects come from everywhere. I read many art and craft-related magazines and blogs that inspire new ideas or techniques. Many of my ideas come from new techniques I discover through other handmade artisans sharing their creativity.
When did your shop open?
Let's see, I started selling crocheted shawls, patterns and knitting needle cases on eBay in 2004. Then I discovered Etsy not long after it launched and started selling a few knitting needle organizers here and there. Then business grew.
How did you come up with the name for your shop?
Using my name "Lena Brown" as my identity for crafting handmade goods naturally seemed like the right name for my label. Adding "Designs" at the end encompasses any and all creative handmade goods I offer, rather than a specific label like "Lena Sews and Knits." I flip flop from so many different media types like from fabric to paper, then polymer this week, maybe vinyl and paper next week.
How many hours a week do you spend crafting?
Most of my days are usually spent thinking about new ideas, sewing knitting needle cases, knitting socks, contacting customers online, shipping orders, trying new techniques and fixing the equipment required to create handmade goods, i.e., sewing machines.
What’s your personal favorite item in your shop?
There are so many! I love pink and black. You will see many pink knitting needle organizers and fine art photos in bright pink.
What is one of your favorite online shops/sellers?
I love Alicia Bock
's style of photography. She really inspired me to sell my own fine art photographs in my Etsy shop. The way that she captures a scene is mesmerizing. I also enjoy reading the Sew Mama Sew
blog and Keyka Lou
What's one important lesson you've learned about your craft?
When sales are not coming in steady and you have down time, take advantage of it and rest. It is also a good time to get caught up on unfinished products.
Have a simple tip for others who do your craft?
Photos sell the product. Take the time to shoot many photos of your products. Good photography sells more products.
Do you have an official site or blog?
What blogs or sites do you enjoy for tips and ideas?
There are too many to list! Sites I visit the most are Etsy
's blog, Craftopolis
for shop stats and a variety of handmade how-to blogs for inspiration.
What's your favorite time of day to work?
My unofficial office hours are during the day, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. I can think more clearly during that time knowing I am "at work" even though I am at home.