In this interview I talked with Carrie, owner of More Love Mama and Lat And Lou on Etsy.
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Tell us a little about your shop and who you are.
Hi everyone, my name is Carrie Wood and I am the owner of two different fabric shops, More Love Mama and Kat and Lou.
More Love Mama is a fabric shop specializing in unique fabrics from around the globe, such as hand woven Guatemalan textiles, Australian prints designed by Aboriginal artists, batiks hand printed in Indonesia, and more.
Kat and Lou was the brainchild of my two 11 year old daughters. The fabric selection is curated by my girls and we specialize in fabrics that are perfect for kids of all ages, such as flannels with nursery prints, Minecraft prints that are super popular with tweens, and of course, lots of cat fabrics!
How long have you been selling on Etsy?
More Love Mama opened in 2012 and Kat and Lou opened in 2020.
What’s the hardest part about selling online?
I guess for me the hardest part of starting my business was finding my niche.
I didn’t really set out to start a business. In 2012, I started selling throw blankets that I would make out of African Wax Print and minky fleece.
I was selling them to raise money for the adoption of my 2 youngest sons.
We needed extra funds to pay for airplane flights and medical expenses and the like.
I sold quite a few blankets, but I also had lots of people contact me about buying the African Wax Print fabrics I was using to make the blankets, so I started selling some of my fabric stash.
I realized very quickly that it was much faster and easier to cut a yard of fabric than to work for hours sewing up blankets.
After about a year, I pivoted my whole business to selling just African Wax Print fabrics.
Another year or so after that I started adding other lines of fabric from other countries and regions.
Wax Prints became very trendy and lots of other Wax Print shops opened up, so I diversified my inventory and kept plugging along.
Through my product research I was very lucky to discover South African Shweshwe fabrics. It has turned out to be one of my best sellers among quilters and clothing makers.
I am now one of the only retailers of Genuine DaGama Three Cats Shweshwe in the United States.
I love the niche that I landed in and I love the way it has evolved and changed over the years!
What’s your daily routine like?
In addition to running my own fabric business, I am also a full time high school theatre teacher and mom to six kids of my own.
I’m up at about 5am.
I check to see if any orders have come in overnight.
If so, I print packing slips and pull the fabrics off the shelves to be cut.
Then I head off to school and my amazing super husband takes over.
He is a stay at home dad who homeschools the kids.
In between teaching math and reading, he cuts the fabrics, prints the shipping labels and takes the orders to the post office.
When I get home in the afternoon, I fill any orders that have come in later in the day and do a little work on my inventory.
If I have new shipments of fabric that have come in, I have to take product photos and write new listings.
I try to do a little social media work or write the occasional newsletter, but that is definitely my weakness.
On Saturday mornings I work in my shop until about noon, and then I try to take off the rest of the weekend to rest (or do laundry LOL) and hang out with my family.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start selling online?
I would tell people to be patient and don’t get discouraged.
Starting a business is a long term commitment. But, if you want to make things move faster, invest in Kara’s program, E-shop Success.
This is NOT a paid solicitation. She did not ask me to say this, but she is pretty brilliant.
Etsy isn’t hard to use, but the devil is in the details, and Kara knows all the details!
Also, don’t ever stop moving forward and changing.
I have sold my products on a little Weebly blog, on Facebook, on Etsy, on a WordPress site that my sister built, on a second site that I built from scratch myself, and now I am working on opening a Shopify site.
I have sold blankets, bags, kids clothing, and of course, fabric. I have learned so much and I keep finding new ways to do things better.
Don’t let yourself get stuck!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I love my fabric shops, but I have had to face the fact that I cannot afford to quit my day job and support my family.
However, my business is going to make a great supplemental income for my retirement.
And most importantly, my shop helped me grow my family!
You can find Carrie online here:
Social Media Links
On TikTok @morelovemamakatandlou
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