Lucy Chapman runs the one-woman business of Rosy Toes Design
from her home in Ohio, but her products have been seen in nation-wide
magazines, publications in the UK, and backstage at Hollywood events!
In this week's business blog, learn all about the unique ways Lucy has
managed to get her business in the public eye, her tips for other
business craftspeople, and how she does her best to balance business and
- I-Phone wristlets, recently seen at seen at GBK's 2014 MTV Movie Awards Celebrity Gift Lounge!
Lucy is a member of an elite group of artists and craftspeople that make up The Artisan Group.
This group's goal is to "...introduce Hollywood to the
best-of-the-best in handcrafted products." In order to apply, you must
handcraft all of your products yourself, not send them off to be
mass-produced somewhere. Along with the quality of your work, they
also look at your website and social media presence in order to be
accepted. The members of this group give their products to
celebrities, important media and advertisers, and other people with a
large social impact at A-list events. Hopefully this will get
celebrities and other folks with a large social media following to talk
about an artist's products, and help smaller artists to really get
their name out there. Being a part of The Artisan Group has already
helped Lucy. She has gotten articles, magazine mentions, and online
reviews - all which has helped increase traffic to her website.
- Organic wool messenger bags, as seen in InStyle UK, September 2013
Lucy has also been featured in magazines like Vogue UK, InStyle UK,
and Urban Farm magazine. She discovered opportunities to be involved
in each of those magazines through social media! She found someone to
refer her work to the British publications through LinkedIn, and knew
someone who worked for Urban Farm magazine who asked for submissions of
organic arts through Facebook. She told me, "You really have to become
involved yourself, you have to keep putting yourself out there," in
order to market your business. She certainly has excelled at doing just
Like so many small craft businesses, Lucy is the designer, owner,
and sole worker at Rosy Toes Designs. It is only somewhat recently
that Lucy has decided to really put all her effort toward making Rosy
Toes a successful business venture. Before focusing her energy, she was
being pulled in too many directions at once, and none of those paths
were very fulfilling. "Focusing energy was the best decision I could
have made! I won't ever regret trying to make the business work," she
asserts. With that energy, she, "...was able to prioritize, figure
out where I wanted things to go, what direction I wanted to move in,
where I wanted the business in general to ultimately go – that is when
Rosy Toes jumped from 'hobby' to 'business'," she remembers.
I asked Lucy if she had any tips for other people with craft
businesses based on lessons she had learned. She shared many great
- Don't be afraid to take risks in approaching others for help!
You don't have to do absolutely everything. It's not a requirement.
For example, Lucy recently went to a professional photographer to make
sure she had great pictures for her website, and got some help with
press releases and marketing. Also, don't be afraid to ask someone more
established for ideas and pointers.
- Little steps are fine, but have a larger goal in mind.
Even if you can only take your business is tiny steps, make sure those steps are headed in the right direction. Be purposeful.
- Learn to market yourself.
It isn't about bragging or boasting - knowing how to market yourself
and your business is essential to getting your name out there. Have
confidence that your product is great, and other people will want to
Are all of your customers women over 50? Boys around 10? Retirees?
Golf enthusiasts? You don't have to get too specific, but knowing the
general demographics of your market will help you make things they like,
sell more, and help you know where to market your products.
- Be flexible! Change things if needed!
Don't be so attached to your work that you refuse to ever make any
changes - but make sure not to change your artwork to the point where
it's no longer "you" just to make a sale. Stay true to your passion,
but be flexible - especially in the marketing and selling of your work.
- Don't give up when things don't go quite how you thought they would.
Sometimes you won't sell as much at a show as you hoped, your Etsy
site stays quiet for a while - don't be discouraged! Try some new
methods of advertising your site, sign up for a different show - always
Lucy and her kids!
has some more great advice on an issue that I'm sure many at-home
crafters deal with - trying to balance business and family! Here are
some of the solutions she tries to implement.
- Try to compartmentalize your day.
If you've got a kid-free morning, try to get as much work as possible
done then, so you can put it away for a kid-filled evening. Will this
work every time? Of course not! But it helps to structure your day.
- Involve the kids when you can!
Lucy's kids can make small projects on her knitting machine, and they
also help with putting tags on finished pieces. Involving family in
their own craft projects can be great too!
- Make sure to carve out time for family! If you concentrate so hard
on your business that you start neglecting other parts of your life,
it's easy to burn out.
Lucy tries to give herself at least one day off every week, and
volunteers at her children's school once a week as well. She knows that
when everything you need to do is right there in front of you in your
home, it's hard to put down. "One of the most difficult things about
operating a business from home is always thinking about the next thing I
need to do, next person I need to contact – it's very hard to put
aside," she remarks. One of the things she has found she needs to do to
accomplish this is to put away
all devices - phone, ipad, laptop, whatever - when she wants to
concentrate on family. The business will still be there later to come
I hope these tips have helped you think about what you may need for
your own business. If you want even more great advice and insights,
check out Lucy's blog here.
She's also got a great sale going on to clear out her inventory before
releasing new products - check out all of the great stuff that is on
Best of luck in all of your business endeavors, and Happy Crafting!