Some of The NewNew York Etsy Team's greatest creations have two legs, ten fingers and aren't for sale. Many people imagine that the majority of independent artist and craftspeople are young hipsters, but the reality is that our team is filled with great artisans who have young on their hips! We spoke briefly with three crafty mommies from our team: Karina from Windows of Agate, Jody from A Studio by The Sea, and Selma from Woolly-Boo about how they juggle the demands of parenting with running their own crafts business. Jody, who makes beautiful lampwork and flamework beads in her shop A Studio By The Sea, is the mother of two children. She has been a working professional artist since before and after her children were born and explains that it's always been challenging, in different ways and at different times. "It's very costly in babysitting or childcare when they are very young, but their needs are fairly simple. Older children may not require a babysitter but now I have to wear so many hats it's much harder to put aside the time for arts and crafts; teens & tweens need a chauffeur, social secretary, shopper, chef, laundry maid and tutor. For a childfree person, the analogy is to imagine you have 3 bodies instead of one to take care of; think 6 dental visits a year instead of two, or buying food for three instead of one."
Karina, from Windows of Agate, an Etsy shop that features one of a kind infant and children's toys designed to foster early exploration and development, is the mother of two young children: a toddler who just turned 2, and an infant who is 3 months old. She says she generally does work in the evenings when the kids are asleep or a little bit during the day when her toddler is playing on her own. Karina told us "I think it is important to cultivate time for my children to learn how to play independently and it allows all of us time when we're doing our own things. In the evenings after putting the kids to sleep I work on my sewing machine or do hand stitching while hanging out with my husband, listening to a radio show, or watching Netflix."Selma, was inspired to first create the products she offers in her Etsy shop Woolly-Boo when she could not find items that would keep her own son warm and dry. She now creates a variety of gorgeous items including bedding and pillows for infants. Selma told us this about being a Crafty Mom: "My kids are not only the inspiration and the models, but most certainly the reason I have the most inefficient business in the universe. However, they are so darn cute, why wouldn't I want to have them around when working?!" She continues "With kids, business is run during the times they are sleeping or otherwise occupied: you create during nap times, and you take care of the internet stuff (marketing, writing, emailing, Etsy surfing/shopping, pretty much everything else) while waiting for them to chew their lunch or dinner. I think every one of us tries very hard to do work after they are off to bed for the night, but that rarely happens. My husband usually finds me several hours later with keyboard imprint on my cheek and drool on the desk."Jody's daughter hard at work on a craft project.
Jody told us "Generally my kids only need to see some craft project lying around to want to take part in it, and what they have chosen to do depended on their personality. My daughter has wonderful spatial abilities, so she's done a lot of papercrafts. My son really has an itch to do ceramics; I think he wants to see a solid, usable result from his efforts."A Craft Show display of Jody's work.
She continues: " I have taken my daughter to our team fairs, and if
she is in a good mood, enjoys herself very much and learns a huge amount from everyone's creativity. The other Etsians have been super kind to her. She has made things to sell and had the satisfaction of earning real money from her crafting. Many children her age (10) dream about starting their own businesses at school, and she has actually done that. Handling money, talking to customers, choosing colors and materials, discovering how boring it is to make the same product over and over again, being told to stop looking grumpy and sulky, no ones going to buy from someone with that face....It's been a great learning experience for her!" Jody wrote a wonderful blog post about crafts kids can create to sell.
Cover of a coloring book that Karina created for her daughter.
Karina told us: It is one of my priorities to cultivate my childrens' creative side. My older daughter has an easel where she paints with watercolors or draws with her crayons on large sheets of white butcher paper. She makes thank you cards for gifts that are given to her, and she enjoys helping me cook and bake. I make play dough for her out of flour, water, and salt and she uses cookie cutters to make shapes out of the dough or breaks the dough into small pieces and puts them into empty containers or egg cartons. I love watching her grow and develop an imagination! Karina has lots of great crafty ideas for moms on her blog Rock-Paper-Scissors.
Karina's daughter plays with a repurposed, upcycled toy
"My children serve as my inspiration and my focus groups" Karina explains. I love making things for them, and it is usually out of the toys I make for them that one of my product lines is born! If they respond positively to something I've created for them, then I know I'm onto something and develop it into something I can sell. It's a fun process, and I love having my children involved in my business!"
Selma's adorable children snuggle in a Woolly-Boo product.
Selma sums it up for many Crafty Moms: "All the challenges are worth it. Why? Well, for one, you are at home with your children. They get to spend time with you, see you, learn from you. You are their inspiration as well. Because, let's face it, even with all the frustrations and challenges of having a home-based business, you are a heck of a lot more happier than commuting one hour each way, dealing with office mates and their questionable hygiene, and, simply, being away from home."
Sweet Dreams. Mommy has to go make stuff.