June 15, 2015
Seller Spotlight with Natalie of LONG Creations
LONG Creations creates one of a kind word art and has a ton of designs to choose from. What we love about Natalie's creations is that they are completely customizable; you can choose the colors and words you want to appear in your piece of art and print it right off at home.....no shipping fees! From going on maternity leave and starting her business to now getting ready to focus on LONG Creations full time, Natalie has a lot of wisdom to share. Read about her journey and the keys to her success.
Tell us about your company:
Sew LONG Creations (LONG creations) is based out of Medicine Hat, Alberta. I started out 2 1/2 years ago selling hand made sewing items for babies and toddlers under the name Sew LONG creations but through the 2 1/2 years I have developed my business and moved into the world of digital design for print as this is where my education and passion lies with a degree in Graphic Design. I have developed a love for what I call "word art” designs these are where a shape or image is made up using words. These are what I have featured on my MadeUrban site with almost 100 shapes. and I have dropped the word "sew" from my name so its more relevant to just my design work.
Why did you start your business?
I started my home based business when I had my daughter and was at home on maternity leave. Nap time and a husband that worked shifts left me with lots of time on my hands for projects! I'm one of those people who sees something in a shop and thinks "I could make that"..... so I did ;) When I returned to work after the year at my professional job as an ad builder at the local paper I realized there was a huge market for digital designs for print and as this is what I LOVE to do I added them to my shop and they soon took over leaving no time for sewing. I honestly do my designs because this is what I love to do and I love the fact I'm able to create pieces that are totally unique and personal to people.
A coffee shop that supplies your caffeine fix or a local designer that wowed you…tell us about a local company that has been a lifesaver to your business:
I'm a huge supporter of supporting local and through my journey I have had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know so many other home based businesses in Alberta but especially in my home City Medicine Hat. I have a large group of fellow crafters that I'm proud to call friends that are always there for support and to answer questions. Right now I would say that a local company that has really helped me grow is "Trophy and engraving world-JAD". She is a local printing shop that is working with me to help me bring options for my designs to be on printed on mugs, pillows, tiles, t-shirts etc. She has allowed me to offer more options and help me see so much potential for growth with in my business
What was the first product you offered and how did you begin selling it?
Well I had to look back on my Facebook page to find out the answer to this question it feels like so long ago and I have for sure come a long way as a business from back in the day I started my Facebook page but the first item I officially offered was a adjustable tie for toddlers. It started with a post on Facebook and has grown from there!
What's your favorite product out of all that you make and why is it your favorite?
I really have so many favourite products and designs, its hard to pick just one. But my all time favourite's and one I hold close to my heart is my Mountie word art design, this is an image that is truly so powerful and meaningful. This design was picked up by the community of St.Albert to become a symbol of hope during the tragic events that happened this year. I donated it to a local printing company who printed it onto mugs and used it as fundraising for the families trust fund. 10,126 mugs were sold and $102,160.00 was donated. It was truly amazing to have my design help in such an amazing way and I will forever cherish that and for this reason it will always be one of my favourite designs.
What sets your business apart from others doing something similar?
The fact that all my designs are 100% customizable you can see one of my work arts and know that you can replace every single word on there to make it totally unique and personal to you! Also the fact that I believe very strongly in charity work, if I can help, I will help. I love the fact I can use my work to help raise money for charities and events that need donations. Its an amazing thing to be able to share and give back to others.
Tell us about a business disaster you learned a valuable lesson from and can (hopefully) laugh about now:
Well on the subject of the mountie design and the amazing success that came from that.... I was actually contacted by the RCMP foundation and told that the RCMP was a protected image and word and to use it you had to have a licence from them! I totally had no idea! Thankfully as the fundraiser was for such an amazing cause close to their heart they allowed for all the mugs to be produced as long as proof of 100% donations could be proved. I laugh now but at the time it was quite stressful, my lesson learned was always research, don't use protected images as it's not worth the hassle that can come from it. And always ask for permission if you feel you need it!
What has been the biggest challenge of running your business and how have you overcome it?
Time! There really doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day between a part time job, a crazy 3 year old, after school activities, house work. I always said I wouldn't take any time away from being with my daughter on days off so I normally leave my business work till when she is in bed (as naps are a thing of the distant past). As I have grown and gotten busier and busier this is becoming something I now struggling with. Although I'm excited to say that I have taken the huge leap of making Sew LONG creations (LONG creations) my main job and focusing on it full time as of August this will allow me to give the time needed to grow now that my daughter is in pre-school.
What’s been the most important aspect to growing your business?
Networking!! Seriously I can't say enough about this issue. Getting to know other businesses, working with them, doing product swaps, featuring them on your page, doing shout outs! Having a support network of fellow crafters is so important as a business. You help each other grow and they become your biggest supports.
We like to help hold people accountable so tell us one of your goals!
My goal for the end of the year is to have my website for LONG creations up and running featuring and showcasing all my many different digital designs for print. To finally finish uploading all my word art designs to my Made Urban site, keeping them up to date. And to start sewing again and offering these items on my Facebook page: LONG creations.
To check out more of LONG Creations designs or to put your order in, visit their Made Urban Storefront: www.longcreations.madeurban.com