Shop Around the Corner is a monthly series where I share a variety of fan-tas-tic small business owners that I think you’d really dig. It’s very important to me to share the love with fellow small business folks – the welcoming community of entrepreneurs I’ve met is quite strong, and there is so much incredible talent out there! I look forward to introducing you to great photographers, designers, shop owners…the list goes on and on!
I have so much fun sharing on this little series of mine, especially when it happens to be a business run by someone who plays a big part in my life! Jenny is the oh-so fab owner of Sunny and Blithe, and is also my best friend of almost 20 years (crazy – 20 years!). She is one amazing girl, and I am so proud of her for opening up this truly adorable shop. When you’re a mom, I’m sure it’s incredibly tough to find time for the things that are refreshing for your soul and are just for you…but I’m thrilled that she’s found that thing and is sharing it with the world of Etsy!
Tell us about your business!
I am the owner and designer of a sweet little Etsy shop called Sunny and Blithe. In my shop I sell unique, whimsical paper crafts specializing in items such as celebration banners and mobiles. When I started this business I dreamed of helping people make customizable, one-of-a-kind pieces that enliven a child’s bedroom, or enhance a celebration with dancing mobiles and eye-catching banners.
When shoppers inquire about one of my pieces I work closely with them to ensure that they receive a piece that they adore and that captures their distinct vision. Once I have an idea of what my customer wants I get to work crafting their order. When working on a celebration banner I use quality cardstock, coordinating ribbons, and (if desired) fun accessories to make the banner really stand out. When an order for a mobile comes across my computer screen I use wooden hoops, wire, ribbon, and illusion cord to make the figures on the mobile come alive. From the time I begin working on a project I can usually have the customer’s order on its merry way within a week.
What made you decide to open Sunny and Blithe?
I grew up in a house that was always filled with crafts. My mom has a beautiful talent for painting and she passed her love of creating things on to me. While I never developed an affinity for paint, my favorite material to work with became cardstock. In high school and college I enjoyed making scrapbooks and creating greeting cards for fun. Fast forward several years and I was pregnant with my second child (a beautifully spirited little girl). When the maternal urge to nest hit me… it hit me hard and I became determined to craft special pieces for her nursery. I wanted her room to feel… well… sunny and blithe, so (among other things) I began crafting my first mobile. I fell in love with the process so I began making additional mobiles for family and friends. When my amazing hubby saw how much I enjoyed what I was doing he began dropping hints that I should look into opening an Etsy shop. Initially, I was very nervous about turning my hobby into a business but this experience has been so much fun and has brought me so much joy.
Where do you find inspiration?
I get inspiration from many different places; however, I feel as though my best inspiration comes from standing in front of a wall of cardstock at my favorite retail craft store. As I begin putting colors together that I like my mind is filled with ideas of images I can cut the paper to become. I then sketch most of my ideas so that when I am ready to start on a new banner or mobile I am never short on designs. Before I start on any project, though, I run the idea by my husband. As an engineer he visualizes my projects in a different way and then is able to offer valuable insight.
Favorite item that you sell?
Of course I love all of my items! 🙂 But if I had to pick my absolute favorite item it would have to be any item I have customized for a customer. I enjoy combining my ideas with someone else’s, because the end result is usually so much better than when I am working solely based on my own ideas. One time I had a customer send me a picture of what her daughter would be wearing to her birthday party. I had such a great time using that picture to create a banner that would complement the birthday girl’s outfit.
Any advice for those just starting out?
Since I am still considered to be just starting out in my business I do not yet have the valuable perspective of time and experience. That being said my advice to those reading this would be to find something you enjoy doing and do it! It does not have to be an activity that makes you a lot of money or any money at all, but everyone should carve out time in their schedules to do something in which they can take delight. Reading a book, going on a long bike ride, experimenting with new recipes, or trying something novel… just do not stop doing something that puts a smile on your face or takes some stress out of your day. And, like I was with my first mobile, you never know where each adventure might take you.
Three words to describe you/your life:
Three words that describe this period in my life would be exciting, developing, and centered. “Exciting” because just as it is with any military wife I never know what is just around the corner. In fact, earlier this month my husband received orders letting our family know that we are moving to Ireland next year. But that is the beauty of having an online business… Sunny and Blithe will easily make the move. “Developing” because a precious baby boy will be joining our family in a few weeks turning our family of four into a delightful family of five. Finally, “centered” because there has never been a period in my life where I have been surer of who I am and where I am supposed to be.
Story or moment in business that was memorable/impactful?
A moment that stands out in my mind is the first time someone added one of my items to their list of favorites. If you are not familiar with how Etsy works, if someone runs across an item that they like on the website then they have the option of adding that item to their list of favorites. When I first received notification that someone had added one of my items to their list of favorite items I was thrilled. It was at that moment I realized that my designs had the potential to make someone smile.
Favorite TV Show:
Currently, I am enjoying the show New Girl starring Zoey Deschanel. I cannot get enough of her quirky sense of style. My favorite TV show of all time (hands down) is FRIENDS. I started watching that show as reruns in college, and now I can annoyingly quote most of the episodes.
Favorite Ice Cream:
Oooo… for me the top spot goes to Moose Tracks. Vanilla ice cream, peanut butter cups, and rich fudge? Yes, please!!!
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Anywhere with a view of the mountains. I unequivocally love the mountains. It started when my husband and I were newlyweds and it is a love that continues today. For me, I find the mountains to be completely stress free and relaxing. Plus, I never get tired of those scenic views. Now do not get me wrong, I would not turn down a day at the beach either! With (soon to be) three kids my husband and I would not turn our noses up to a vacation anywhere.
Favorite Way to Spend a Saturday afternoon:
If it is the part of the afternoon when my kids are sleeping then you can find me reading. I enjoy getting lost in a story, any type of story, for a couple of hours while the house is quiet. On the other hand, if my kids are awake you will find the whole family at the park. We are park “groupies”. We recognize the curves on the running trail, know every slide, and have named most of the geese.
Favorite Part of Running your Shop:
I am having so much fun building the inventory of items on my Etsy shop. From sitting down with my materials at the beginning of a new project all the way to photographing the finished product for sale… it is all such a rewarding experience and I am appreciating every moment of getting to do it.
Thanks again, Jenny!! Y’all be sure to visit her shop and buy lots and lots of things from her, ok? 🙂