This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.
I’ve never really talked about my entrepreneur journey over the last few years, so here goes! I started my blog back in July of 2013 as a way to share what was happening in my life after college: crafting for my first solo apartment, cooking, playing in Charleston and Cleo stories. It quickly evolved to primarily crafting on a budget.
In June of 2015 I started my Etsy shop! I began crafting as a stress relief from staring at a computer screen for work all day. Friends kept asking me to make things for them so with encouragement of my boyfriend (now husband), family and friends, I turned my hobby into a business. My first products were centered on oyster shells like oyster ring dishes and oyster shell candles, and a few coastal themed hand made dish towels.
Then in December of that same year, I made the biggest investment in my business: my first Cricut! I bought the Cricut Explore Air with some profits from my Etsy shop. I then spent my Christmas break playing with it and learning how to craft with vinyl and iron on. That was when the monogrammed oyster shell dishes were born! I did a ton of research and didn’t see anything like that on the market, so was excited to offer something new with my coastal twist.
From there, my shop exploded with new products made with my Cricut: pillows, wine glasses, can coolers, coasters, wine bags, onesies, earrings, etc. As my offerings expanded, so did my sales. Eventually I started selling some products in stores and art galleries in South Carolina, Georgia, and Maine in addition to online via my Etsy shop. I occasionally do markets and sell in person too!
My shop also grew from collaborations and giveaways with other makers in Charleston. My products have been featured on Lowcountry Live twice at Christmastime and a pillow was on HBO’s The Righteous Gemstones! Another fun project was when I worked with my friend, Kelley, to make Kelley O’Hara fan club shirts that benefitted St. Jude ahead of the 2016 Olympics – all with my Cricut.
My Cricut allows me to make professional quality items from my home after work. I’m able to turn an idea in my head into a sellable product within an hour. I’ve also been able to work with a ton of materials I never thought I could, like leather, felt and fabric. Now I can see something in a store and confidently think “I can make that” and do. It’s such a great feeling to design something, create it yourself and then see how someone else enjoys your creation. Without a doubt, my business wouldn’t have explode like it did without Cricut.
I currently have the Maker, Explore Air 2, and Joy machines. This might seem crazy, but I really do use all of them! When I have a lot to do, it’s so handy to be able to have all the machines cutting at the same time. Since the Maker can cut almost anything, I use it to cut leather for my earrings. Since vinyl and iron on can be cut on all 3, they are all part of the creation process for most of my products.
I also have the original EasyPress and 6″x7″ EasyPress 2. These are constantly used to adhere my word cloud, coordinate and other designs to pillows. The smaller EasyPress is perfect for my can coolers and onesies! These get a lot of use with all of the infusible ink projects I’ve been doing lately too.
Having a side hustle isn’t easy though. Since I work full time in software development, Coastal Kelder only gets my time outside of work… which is also split with my family & friends, and anything else I want to do. I’m often up late working on orders or products since there’s no other time to do it.
Once I had lil man, CK moved down the priority list a little more and I have even less time to dedicate to shop & blog since I want to spend as much time as I can with my baby.
It’s also a 1 man production, so everything you see is made by me. As you can guess, the time leading up to Christmas can be quite busy, haha.
With all of that said, having my own business has been so rewarding and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’ve made so many wonderful friends in the creative space and am always inspired by them. I love having the limitless ability to create whatever I want and create custom items for others. Getting great reviews and photos of my products “in the wild” never gets old and I love seeing where things end up!
If you’re thinking about starting the entrepreneur journey or expand your business, let me know! I’d love to share my knowledge and have another friend in the community 🙂