Friday Features are all about meeting the talented artists and creators of hand crafted goods to share their stories and bring to light the value and beauty found in handmade.
Today’s feature is all about Sarah from Sarah Lyall Home on Etsy!
Tell me about yourself and your shop.
I wear many different hats, I am a full time doctoral student in counseling psychology, I teach undergraduate psychology, and I am doing a practicum at a state mental hospital. Somehow with all the other things I have going on in my life, I still find time to run my Etsy shop. I love creating things and picking out gorgeous fabrics for my pillows. I also love shopping for vintage and reselling it or keeping it for myself. I am also a dog lover, book lover, and writer.
How did you start, and why did you choose your craft? How much experience do you have so far?
I got started crafting when I wanted to decorate my home on a budget. I have been sewing for a while and decided to turn my love of sewing and creating into a business.
What influences your work from your life or city? (or anything else that influences you)
My work is influenced by many things. I love to look at other shops for inspiration, magazines, and the fabric stores of course. I also look at sites like Pantone to see what the latest color trends are. I am drawn to a more eclectic look in my home and my shop has tended to go that direction as well. My home is modern for the most part, but I have little pieces of vintage thrown in to add character.
I love history and anything history related, so owning pieces of the past is something that I truly enjoy. I always think of my vintage as only being mine for a moment. When I sell it, its like I am just sending it along to the next stop on its journey.
What do you do when you need a little bit if inspiration?
I stop working. This might sound counterproductive, but sometimes taking a step back from my shop will be just the change in perspective that I need. I get outside, have coffee with a friend or watch a movie alone. Chances are somewhere along the way something catches my eye and I want to find a way to make it my own.
What is your best achievement?
I felt like a million bucks when someone bought one of my pillows for the first time. I love selling vintage, but the fact that someone wanted something that I had crafted with my own hands was a truly amazing experience.
What does handmade mean to you?
To me handmade means real. For instance, I decide all the details of how my pillows will be made. I take the time to hand cut the fabric and sew them together. I then fit each one on a pillow form so that I can look at it. I am the one that does every part of the process and I am the one that approves the final result.
Do you also offer custom made items? Is it something you like to do?
I do offer custom made items. I am more than happy to work with someone if they need a specific pillow. I enjoy doing custom work because I know how hard it can be to match up fabrics with store bought (non-handmade) pillows.
What plans do you have for the future of you business?
I want to keep expanding. My next line is going to be my line of home decor pillows. I already have a couple of them listed, but I have a lot more waiting in the wings. These pillows are made with high quality, durable, home decor fabrics and would look amazing in a living room or family room. I also want to keep working on my cotton bedding pillow line. Lastly, I am always looking for the next vintage find to pass along to my customers.
Any advice for others looking to sell their handmade items?
My main piece of advice is to take the leap and do it. But, don’t list your beautiful works and let them collect dust. Selling on Etsy, or any venue takes a lot of work. You have to read up on SEO, check pricing guides, take good pictures, and market like crazy. You also have to be stubborn. One day you will have a lot of interest and the next three it will be like someone turned out the lights. You just have to weather the storms and you will do great. Just remember there is nothing like the feeling of a sale.
Many thanks to Sarah and be sure to check out the rest of her shop for more great pillows and vintage finds!
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