Friday, August 19, 2011

{Featured Artist} Barbara from Quilted Hugs Bibs

Welcome to Featured Fridays on Snuggly Monkey! Every friday we chat with an Etsy artisan and this week we are lucky enough have Barbara from Quilt Hugs Bibs with us. 

Barbara is a talented quilter who makes beautiful waterproof quilted bibs with coordinating pacifier clips.  She has been quilting for over 30 years, and she decided to open an Etsy shop of her own to share her lovely quilted creations with the world a little over 5 months ago. In addition to her love of quilting, Barbara also has a lot of expertise in the sales and marketing arena so she has a lot of great knowledge to share with us. Let's get started!

"Quilted Hugs Bibs" is a great name. How did you come up with it?
Not easily! My husband and I spent several days thinking about how quilting, the warm feeling you get from snuggling with a quilt and how they could be linked to my bibs. After throwing out many names that were either too cute-sy or just lame, we finally came up with Quilted Hugs Bibs. Then I contacted my friend who’s a graphic artist and we spent about 2 weeks going back and forth on how to portray that in my banner. Needless to say, I’m very happy with the results!

How would you describe your work to someone who asked you “What do you sell/make/do?”
I make quilts that just happen to be bibs. Each bib is made from 100% cotton that is laid out carefully inside the bib pattern for the most attractive fit. Then each one is individually quilted on my home sewing machine to highlight the pattern. I then add a NO PVC waterproof liner, cotton backing and finish off with carefully coordinated binding – just like a quilt. To go along with these quilts, I also make pacifier clips in coordinating fabrics that are available individually or in gift sets.

How did you first get interested in sewing and quilting?
I’ve been sewing since I was a teenager, beginning with garments and home dec items. I began quilting in the mid ‘70’s. In 1976 with the US bicentennial renewed the interesting in quilting – I got the “bug”. I used my sewing knowledge, taught myself a lot and then took all the quilting workshops I could afford to sign up for.

What is your favorite item to create?
Other than full-sized hand appliquéd quilts, it would have to be bibs that contain some piecing and/or machine appliqué. I use a paper foundation piecing technique for accuracy and then piece the bib top from there.

What aspects of your Etsy business do you find challenging? 
Without a doubt, pricing and self-promotion! I know what my material costs are and how long it takes to make a bib, but how do you put a price on creativity? I’ve been talking to other Etsy members on various forums and reading articles about selling on Etsy. I’ve revised my pricing, edited my item titles and participate in as many promotions I can. I expect sales to improve, it’s just waiting is soooo hard!

What is your marketing “philosophy”? 
I’ve been in sales & marketing most of my life – my Dad had his own business and I think the entrepreneurial gene was inherited!

Creating a brand is key, no matter what industry you’re in…arts & crafts are no exception. We all recognize the Coca Cola or FedEx truck, but they still advertise. Just like my landscape design business, I keep advertising in the paper and it may take awhile, but people do call…that gets my foot in the door, then the rest is up to me. It’s the same with the Etsy world times 100! 

People come to Etsy to find original and unusual gifts – I’m not sure about other groups, but there are hundreds of shops that sell bibs and accessories…you have to find a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. Etsy has rules about mass mailings and we all hate spam…that lets out press release type announcements. So you have to find a way to get noticed. By looking at my shop stats, my views go up dramatically in response to being featured in Treasuries…getting involved in Team activities often results in being included in them. You also have to keep up with team discussions.

Any other advertising and/or marketing tips you would like to share?
I wish I had a magic bullet, but it’s important to be on top of your market, make changes when needed and keep making things that will set yourself apart in the market – whether it’s Etsy, an e-commerce site or a brick & mortar shop.

How did you come up with and set up your shop banner and avatar? 
By a lot of trial and error. I relied on the Etsy listing/site set up guide to get started, then I started making changes and re-arranging things – I’m still not finished, but I’m getting better.

I started making quilted bibs for my granddaughter, so I used her as my original model. I
wanted to convey that wearing a quilted bib is like getting a hug, so I used a picture of
her wrapped in a quilt I made her for my avatar.

As for the shop banner, I know how important a logo is to consistent branding and I’m
computer savvy, but when it comes to drawing, not so much! I contacted a graphic
designer I met through an online quilting group to create my banner – I knew what I
wanted to convey, but it took Royce (Graphic Threads Fiber Arts on Etsy) to make it

What is your favorite word? Really?
What is your least favorite word? No
What sound or noise do you love? My granddaughter’s laughter
What sound or noise do you hate? Constantly barking dogs
If you were reincarnated as some other plant or animal, what would it be? A Rose
Who are your favorite fictional heroes/heroines? Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze, “Ghost”)
Who are your favorite heroines/heros in real life? My husband, Randeroo (nickname of course!)
What natural gift would you most like to possess? The ability to draw so people can recognize the subject!
What would you like to be when you grow up? A full time quilt artist with a very successful Etsy shop!
What makes you smile? Cute baby/child stories/commercials

Thank you so much Barbara for giving us a peek inside your Etsy world and for sharing so much great information. Be sure to keep in touch with Barbara by visiting her Etsy shop or stopping by her Facebook page to say Hi!

E-mail: roobarb {at} earthlink {dot} net (no spaces)

Great News!! Barbara has generously offered to sponsor a giveaway for Snuggly Monkey readers! Barbara has made a fantastic and fun Zebra Quilted Bib and Pacifier Set especially for us. Her giveaway will begin tomorrow, Saturday, August 20th so be sure to stop by for details on how to enter, but for a sneak peak at the Bib & Pacifier Clip Set check out this special listing Barbara set up for us. 

Did you feature another great Etsian on your blog recently? Were you featured on a blog this week? Would you like to meet some more great artists and learn about their craft? Then join the party and add your link to our  Featured Fridays Linky!

Joining the party is easy! Just add your link to the bottom of this post and leave a comment for Lindsay. You can also grab the "Featured Friday" button from the sidebar and put it on your post to let folks know you joined the party!


Nelou said...

love this idea, thanks!!

RiskLoveFreedom said...

Thanks for hosting!! Love your blog!

Kala said...

Enjoyed reading Barbara's story, thanks for showcasing her work, so that I could find her:):)

Carissa said...

This is great! Neat idea!

Michelle's Zoo said...

Thanks so much for featuring Barbara. I really enjoyed learning more about her. Good luck in your business Barbara! I love your stuff!

Elissa said...

These bibs are beautiful, I think I would frame it rather than let my little messy eater dirty them.

You can read about my Friday's Fave feature at my blog

ArtsyNina said...

Barbara does beautiful work!

Underground Crafter said...

Thanks for hosting the link party. ArtsyNina referred me to your blog.

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