Happy February!  To start off this lovely month, I’m sharing an inspirational interview with a maker I swooned over most of last year.  Allow me to introduce Danielle of The Merriweather Council!  She’s graciously shared some wonderful advice today about how she took her embroidery to a whole new level last year.

In case some people don’t know the amazing work you do, would you mind introducing yourself and your business.

My name is Danielle Spurge. I am currently living and crafting in Boston, Massachusetts where I run my handmade mini business, The Merriweather Council, from my home studio. I use hoops and threads and fabrics to create one of a kind, handmade, small space decor. I also make embroidered pendant necklaces!

You embrace both home decor and wearable art with your lines.  How did you go about branching into these new products? 

For me, the necklaces are just another way to display my embroidery work. It is very approachable, people do not feel they need to “get” art in order to understand a necklace, but it is a little artsy, and all of them are one of a kind. I feel comfortable selling my necklaces side by side with my hoops because the colors, materials and method all go together. I also try to make my shop cohesive and uniform, despite having different categories of work, by photographing them all the same way, in the same style. I don’t think it would make sense for me to separate the hoops from the necklaces.  I started doing the initials after I got a lot of requests for it, which was after I started selling embroidered text hoops, so it really was a natural progression.

This last year you exploded onto the web, magazines such as Better Homes and Gardens, and even the Today show!  Did you have a marketing plan in place from the get-go or did things appear once you started promoting yourself?

I have no official “plan” for marketing. My main concern, the thing I concentrate most on, is cohesion in my photographs, and the quality of the product. I believe that well-made, unique, and different products that are displayed in their best light (i.e., good photographs) will generate their own buzz. I promote my work through my Facebook page and my blog and on twitter. I also make lots of Etsy treasuries and that has been very beneficial to me. I am constantly rethinking my online presence and tweaking my Etsy listings and trying new things in terms of marketing but I have no set plan.

Was there ever a time when you thought your business dreams might not be possible?  What did you do to overcome that obstacle?

Oh sure… I’ve had a few good cries about it too. I just have to remind myself that I’ve already accomplished many of my goals for my business, so as long as I am able to set new goals and stay focused I know I can meet any goal I set for myself…. well, within reason. However, I still tend to be a big thinker. I also have a really great support system of family and friends who really do understand what I am doing and get excited for me, with me, about what I am doing. It is okay to get down about it once in a while, especially when you start looking at numbers and money stuff. It can be scary to think about and very intimidating, but worrying is just time wasted.

Are you inspired to look at your shop now and check out your photography and branding?  I hope so!  Don’t forget to check out Danielle’s shop for inspiration and perhaps a Valentine’s gift.