It is my personal opinion that if you want to create for a living you can do it! It won't happen over night, but if you stick with it you will find yourself living the dream you never thought you would! It takes hard work, but us creatives are never afraid to roll up our sleeves. If you have a creative talent that is piling up in your life ie piles of tie dye and no more room in your closet...then its probably time for you to start an Etsy shop!
I am a text book over thinker. So many blogs will give you long lists of things to do like finding your niche etc. This can be daunting and trying to figure everything out at once can lead to nothing happening at all. It's hard to get the ball rolling. But thankfully you can get this ball going while sitting on your bed watching TV!
Log on to Etsy.com, create an account if you don't already have one- use your personal email, don't even make a "business email yet!", and click the big start selling button at the top! You have to connect your credit card but lets be real its saved in your google for easy online shopping haha. You will also need to pick a name for your shop. I suggest doing this while you set up your shop because SO MANY NAMES ARE TAKEN. It can be invigorating, but stick at it you will find an awesome one! Sometimes it takes time, you can always change your name- however it will hinder your growth!
PICK A SOLID NAME
To pic a name for your shop get Etsy.com up on your one tab, GoDaddy on another and Instagram on your phone. Check that your name is available in some fashion across all platforms. GoDaddy will allow you to search for the domain. You want your name to be original and short so its easy to type and remember. Consider using your name. Customers connect to the personality of this and it is also usually available with a word describing your creations attached.
I suggest that once you find something you like, just stick with it!! This can really help grow your audience. Your customers will know where to return to in order to shop again. This is something I really struggled with in creating Desert Dyes. I have had several different names for the business and overall I think it has only hindered our growth. People don't really care that much about your name if your creations are cool! So just stay more focused on creating amazing products and showing them successfully on Etsy.
TAKE SOLID PICS
Whatever it is you have made you need to take stunning photos of it to showcase it to the world. Imagine every picture as part of a store front window. You want them to work together well and to have been taken in the same lighting.
To take stunning product pics you can use your iPhone. Unless you are willing to shell out for an entire photo set up (lighting, backdrop, camera + editing software) I would stick with the iPhone. There are really easy to use free apps to edit pics, and you can drop box or airdrop them easily to your computer.
Use a foam board as the backdrop. You can get two and set them up to from a floor and background. Make sure to use the thick foam ones, not the paper poster board. It will create the best white backdrop possible! Set this up midday in the shade outside or near a window inside. I find that outside is the best place get good product photos, but if that is inaccessible near a window out of direct light can create the same effect. Take a bunch of photos from various angles. You can sort through them and edit them on your phone later.
I recommend using all of the adobe apps for editing your photos. It make take a little time to get to know the apps, I still cant remember whats what but they work great and have easy to use select tools. I also find that VSCO works wonders if you are just cropping and light editing. Go easy on your first product photos and know they will get better with time!
STICK WITH IT
So much of your Etsy shop will happen organically. I am a believer that you cant really find your niche, you just find your self in it one day. You might open your shop with 5 listings but keep working at it! Add a listing every day or so if you can and within a few weeks you could have upwards of 20 which is plenty to start getting sales. One of my shops has never had more than 14 items on it and continues to grow. Don't worry if you are just starting out, if your creations are cool and your photos are decent people will be interested!
Freak things happen + you are just learning to run a business, people are not always understanding of this. People can be mean and when you are selling things you created it is easy to take it to heart. Don't let anyone or any situation discourage you from starting your shop! Who knows maybe you'll be the next one to make it big!
Questions, Comments, Concerns??
We would love to hear your feedback! Drop a comment below or visit us on Insta @desert.dyes
Shibori dyed items are all the rage right now. From clothing to home decor, you can shibori dye almost anything. It’s a super fun project to do at home and is something I love doing for my shop. I am really intrigued by the history of Shibori dying as it has been around for thousands of years and is one of the oldest ways to create textile design. It is breathtaking what skilled traditional shibori artists can do. I’ll write a post on that later! For now, you can enjoy this detailed guide on how to create with shibori at home
Supplies: Jaquard Shibori Tie Dye Kit, 5 Gal Bucket, Stir Stick, Cooling Rack, Baking Sheet, Gloves, Items to dye
Prep: 4Gal water in bucket, Jaquard Kit in bucket, Stir, Wait 10 min while you tie your damp items.
Dying: Squeeze item and submerge fully in vat, Massage + move the item in the vat for several minuets.
Oxidization + Rinse: Carefully set item on baking rack, Let sit for 10 min flip sit for 10 more min or until dark blue, Rinse in water going from cold to hot until water runs clear, Wash with detergent + dry
You will need items with natural fibers to dye. It can get a little tricky classifying what fibers will accept the dye well so I would just stick with anything that is at least 60% cotton and contrasting with blue! You could use a pink or white shirt- whatever you’re feelin’! The more cotton, the better it will dye, so idealy use something that is 100% cotton. If you are wanting to dye yarn just make sure it is wool and you are good!
You will also need a Jaquard Shibori Tie Dye Kit which you can buy on Amazon though this link HERE. This will be enough to do a bunch of stuff so you may want to collect a few items to dye. It has everything you need in terms of dye and comes with detailed instructions. This kit is the best and takes all the measuring out of creating a vat. If you want to do small batches more often you can check out a later post on small vat dying!
You will also need a 5 gallon bucket and stick. I would get one at HomeDepot. They are super cheap there, make sure to stop by the paint station for a few stir sticks as those are also very necessary! I forgot to pick these up last time I was there and have run out resulting in me using a literal stick from the yard haha. Really you just need something to stir with. Keep in mind that there are chemicals in the shibori vat, so if you use something from the kitchen you wont want to use it for food prep later. If you are trying to do a more low key batch of shibori you can use a gallon sized pitcher. Just make sure never to use it for punch or water later!
Lastly, you will need a cooling rack. You will use this to let the item oxidize in the air with the dye. You can place saran wrap on a cookie sheet and place the cooling rack on that. That way when it drips it will be caught in the tray, yet the dye will avoid your cookie sheet. You may want to purchase or repurpose items from your kitchen here!
Once you have these three things you are all set to get your vat going!
STEP 1: Prep
Set the items you want to dye in a small bowl of warm water. This will help you tie the design later as well as open and relax the cotton fibers for the dye. While these are soaking you can set up the vat.
If you are using the entire Jacquard Kit, this part is fairly easy. There are super easy to follow instructions included with the kit. Fill the 5gal bucket with 4gal of water and add the contents of the kit. Stir with your stir stick. Close the lid and let it sit for 10 min. While the vat is processing you can tie your items.
Fully wring out the items you are working with. You can set them for a quick spin cycle in your washer or wring them out by hand. You can also throw them in your salad spinner to spin out excess water. Once they are damp and not wet, you can tie them. Use the suggestions from the kit or simply crumple up the fabric and bind it. This is my favorite pattern and the one you see on clothing most often. I also love the folding pattern where you just accordion fold your item one way and then the other. Bind your item tighter to create more white space. If you want more blue and less white use your rubber bands to create a loser bind. Once you have your items tied up you are ready to dye them!
DYING, OXIDATION + RINSING
Open your vat and use your stir stick to move the blue film aside. Squeeze all the air out your item and submerge it releasing slowing as you go. Massage and stir the item in the dye for several minuets. If you want a darker dye you are going to want to do this for closer to 5 minuets. If you want a lighter dye remove after around 3 minuets. Depending on the fabric, you may even want to do 5 minuets a couple times! One you feel your item has been dyed well enough you can place it on the cooling rack over the baking sheet.
This is where the magic happens! You can watch the magical transformation from the greenish hue to a vibrant and deep blue. I love watching items oxidize, it happens fairly quick so watch out. You want to let your item sit for around 10 mins before you flip it to sit for another 10 mins. This makes sure that all the areas with dye, even deep within your binds, will have time to oxidize. Once you rinse and unbind your item you will not be able to re-dye it with the same pattern. Double check to make sure it is a bit darker than the shade you are going for. Rinse in the sink going from cold to warm/hot water while it is bound until the water runs clear. Untie your item and gleam in the beautiful thing you just created! Finish rinsing your item and throw it in the wash with some detergent. You can dry your item in the washer or save on your projects carbon footprint by hanging to dry!
We would love to see what you create! Try this out and let us know how it goes on instagram @professional.hippie