Running a Handmade Business: Interview with Ginger & Juniper

Ever wonder what it takes to run your own craft business? I recently had the opportunity to interview Gabrielle of Ginger and Juniper and got her take on the subject. No doubt she’s good at what she does, selling both online and in stores. I’ll let Gabrielle tell you more…

1. Please introduce yourself and your business.

Hi, I’m Gabrielle. I am the designer and owner of Ginger and Juniper, a fabric accessories brand for women and children. I focus on small batch production by buying limited quantities of natural fabrics in colorful prints {and wow do I have a lot of prints!}. This ensures that customers are getting a unique and sometimes one-of-a-kind item. Custom orders are always welcome.

A sneak peek at some of the #gingerandjuniper goodies that will be available at the @7thpublicmarket tomorrow. #7thsipshop #handmadeclt #madeinnc #graduationgifts #mothersday #shopsmallclt

2. Where are you physically located and where can we find you online?

I work out of my home studio in the Charlotte, NC suburb of Matthews. I sell online at Etsy.com, and at brick and mortar shops Sanctuary of Davidson in Davidson, NC and Trashed Studio in Concord, NC. I also participate in numerous local arts & craft shows throughout the year. Ginger & Juniper is no stranger to social media, and can be found on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Etsy: www.GingerandJuniper.etsy.com

Instagram: www.instagram.com/gingerandjuniper

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Ginger-Juniper-192365977476201

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Ginger_Juniper

 

Bunny Ear Teething Rings

 

3. How important has social media been for growing your business?

Social media is an important part of selling in a tech savvy world, and it’s a great way to boost my brand’s visibility. Regular postings of new products, events, or a glimpse into my personal life helps me to connect with both customers and makers alike. Social Media has been extremely useful in building relationships with other creators, and sharing ideas and support.

 

Crayon Wallets

4.  How did you get started making your products?

My mother often made clothing for my sister and I when we were young, so I was familiar with the general workings of a sewing machine. It wasn’t until my step-mom gave me her rarely used machine in 2010 that I realized I had a passion for sewing. I hadn’t touched a sewing machine in more than two decades so my skills were more than a little rusty. Thank goodness for YouTube, and its plethora of how-to videos! For the most part I am self-taught, and when I first started out I spent a lot of time flipping bags inside out to learn how different gussets, zippers, pockets, etc. were created.

Foldover clutch - Patricia (model)

5. How did you get your idea or concept for the business?

The idea for my business came from the need to reduce the number of plastic shopping bags used by my family. We live in a disposable world, and I wanted something that could not only be reused, but that was natural, and could be kept clean easily. I started making reusable, washable market bags for family and friends, and then just kept going from there. Today I make everything from teething rings to clutches. And as all my fabrics are washed and pressed prior to construction {time consuming, but oh, so worth it!}, every item that I create is machine washable!

Padfolio in Peackock Blush

6. What was one of the challenges of starting your company?

The biggest challenge was in researching the laws and requirements for owning and operating a small business that makes products for children. There is a lot to know and the information isn’t always easy to locate. Luckily, there are a lot of small makers on Etsy who are more than happy to share their knowledge. But there’s still a lot of digging and prepping involved such as product tracking, testing requirements, permanent labeling, etc., The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is steadfast in its requirements. You have to make sure that you’re covered in the event of an accident, so product liability insurance is a must!

Southwest Foldover Zip Clutches
7. What is one of your favorite parts about being your own boss?

It’s difficult to pick just one thing, but I’d have to say flexibility. Being in charge of my own schedule, and not having to abide by a typical 9-5 routine is a major plus. I love having the freedom to play with {my!} new ideas without feeling pressured to stick to someone else’s timeline.

Southwest Zip Pouches

9. Can you share a fun fact about yourself?

The exterior shots from the sitcom Roseanne were filmed in my home town of Evansville, Indiana. I attended after school daycare {known as The Yellow Cottage} in the house used as the Connor family’s home.

Tea Pouch

10. Sending snail mail can be a great way to personalize a message or stand out from your competition. When do you use snail mail in your business? 

As I create physical products, I use the postal system on a very regular basis. All purchases are wrapped, tied with fabric, and include a hand written note. One of the wonderful things about running a small business is being able to have a more personal connection with the customer. Personalized touches make the experience more special for the buyer.

Blog Pic 3

 

Thank you, Gabrielle, for taking us behind the scenes of Ginger & Juniper! It’s always great to get another perspective… and see cute products in the process!

I especially love your comment about the importance of sending customers a hand written note with their order. Taking that extra 5 minutes to tuck a note in a package can go a long way in improving a customer’s experience and increasing the odds of repeat business. If you’re a handmade business owner I’d recommend trying this if you haven’t already and you can find a range of artisan stationery on Etsy.com or right here on the site.

What are your thoughts on Ginger & Juniper? Do you have a favorite product?

 

Signature5

 

Tiffany Anne

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