Meet Catherine from Mini Toppers
What inspired you to begin a shop featuring your own designs? I had three baby boys back to back to back - all in less than three years! My crocheting/crafting naturally turned towards baby designs and I got so many compliments on my babies' hats that I thought I would give it a shot!
How long have you been practicing your art/craft? I have been crocheting for nearly twenty years now - that makes me feel VERY old but I was only eight years old when I started!
What training have you had or are you self-taught? My great-grandmother was very skilled with a crochet hook, and she taught me the basics when I was very young. She had never learned to read a pattern so she taught me how to create my own, like she did. I still have a hard time following patterns - I would much rather look at photos for inspiration and create my own interpretation!
What is your favorite material to craft with? While I like to use high-end yarns now and then, I have more fun with a basic acrylic yarn. It's like starting with a blank canvas - the possibilities are endless!
What has been the hardest aspect of creating a hobby into a business? Not underpricing myself has been very difficult for me. Once I stopped being self-deprecating and gave my work the respect it deserved, I was surprised to find that others respected it too!
Any advice for other Etsy sellers? Photos, photos, photos! I am still working on this - my kids aren't always in the mood to model for me! But it is amazing how many more orders will come in when you have great photographs. For almost the whole first year that my shop was open, I had pretty poor quality photos and I had very few orders. When I started improving my photos, orders took off!
What do you enjoy doing in your off time? What off time? I like to watch Doctor Who and I read whenever I can, which is mostly late at night after all the babies are in bed!
Describe a typical day in your life... My boys are all 3 and under, so my days are filled with diaper changes, sippy cup refills, and playing outside whenever the weather is nice! Sometimes they even inspire new hat designs... my shark hat was inspired when my youngest was teething while nursing and I was constantly getting bitten! I started calling him "Jaws" and the idea for a new hat was born. I am almost always crocheting while the boys play, and I am so grateful to have a business that can go with me to the museum and the playground, while allowing me to be constantly present in my children's lives.
Where can we find your products online? My shop can be found at MiniToppers and my Facebook page is called Mini Toppers: Handmade Baby Hats. I am also pleased to announce that my hats can now be found at ShopEtsyBABY !