Meet Laura from ViviAnna Banana
What inspired you to begin a shop featuring your own designs? I have been making baby related items since my niece and nephew were born – mostly bibs and blankets - and then started making just about everything I would need once I became pregnant and couldn’t find nursery decor that I really loved. I always thought it would be fun to start an Etsy shop, but it wasn’t until I was laid off, shortly before my second baby was due, that I decided to go for it. The hope was to finally start doing something I love to earn income, while also staying home with my very young children.
How long have you been practicing your art/craft? I have been sewing since I was a teenager, playing around on my great-grandmother’s machine whenever I came up with an idea for a new bag or a dress or something.
What training have you had or are you self-taught? I am mostly self-taught. I have taken a couple classes to become more familiar with all the features on my machine, or to learn a new technique, but I learn more from reading in books and on blogs, and I also have some very skilled family members.
What is your favorite material to craft with? Fabric! I started using mostly cotton quilting fabric, but have recently gotten into knits with the booties I designed for the holiday season this year. Shopping for fabric, combining prints and creating color stories is my favorite thing to do!
What has been the hardest aspect of creating a hobby into a business? My biggest challenge has been starting a business while also being the primary caretaker of two young children. My daughters were 10 months and 2-1/2 when I started the business (which was less than a year ago!) and
those are very demanding ages. It’s hard to juggle everything that is involved with a handmade business when your free time is limited and not very predictable. I can see where things will get easier as they get older, and as I figure out processes that work for what I am trying to accomplish.
Any advice for other Etsy sellers? I think it’s really important to consider everything that goes into not only making your products, but getting them in front of buyers. I see a lot of under priced work on Etsy, and that hurts everyone, from the seller who probably isn’t covering their costs, to those who are trying to charge the prices that work for their business. You have to think about everything: supply costs, time buying supplies, making, photographing, listing, shipping supplies and time preparing to ship, time and money spent on marketing. All of those things need to be considered, and then you need to make a profit! Etsy has some great tools for working out the right price for your products, and I encourage everyone to spend the time to try to get it right.
What do you enjoy doing in your off time? My husband and I are both artist/entrepreneurs, so sometimes it feels like there isn’t any off time between the kids and everything involved in pursuing our businesses. But we do try to work in some regular time to do something fun, just the four of us, away from the house and all the responsibilities. The Cleveland Museum of Art is one of our favorite destinations because they have a great kids room, a huge atrium where they can run around, and sometimes we can even manage to take in a little art and culture once the kids are tired out.
Describe a typical day in your life... I haven’t quite achieved typical yet, but this is what I strive for: wake up about an hour before the kids to get myself together for the day and try to accomplish something small that might be difficult to do when they are awake | do fun things with the kids without thinking about business requirements (maybe work in some “fun” household responsibilities) until lunch | put the kids down for nap after lunch, which is when I can hopefully accomplish 1-2 hours of work | more kid time after nap until dinner | dinner and family time after dinner until bedtime | work in my studio for about three hours after they go to bed | be sure to make a list of what needs to be accomplished the following day before going to bed. I should say that luckily, I have a few days or partial days every week where grandparents or my husband take over with the kids and I can get some bigger chunks of time to work.
Where can we find your products online? My Etsy shop: Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Pinterest: Follow me on Instagram: (warning: along with product and process photos, you will also see many pics of my cute girlies and a few of my cat)