Business Spotlight: Jesi Josten of Hip Violet

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We like to highlight creators who use their craft to earn extra income. Sewing is truly a superpower: seamstresses can create, repair, alter, and make money doing it. Today we chat with business owner Jesi Josten about Hip violet.

Jesi Josten from Hip violet

Sewing news: Tell us a little about yourself and how sewing came into your life.

Violet of the hips: My fascination with sewing began in middle school. I had this little Kewpie doll that I wanted to make clothes for, so I remember getting out my mom's sewing basket and some leftover terry cloth. I did a terrible job and made a huge mess, but something about it all made me want to keep trying. When I was in high school, I decided to sew pajama pants. Much to the horror of my grandmother Ginny (who taught home economics and was a sewing judge for the local 4-H fair), I laid the fabric out on the floor and traced my legs. I then hand sewed the pants as our old Singer sewing machine was notoriously cranky. These pants fell apart pretty quickly, but then I made corduroy skater pants with a tie waist – and guess what? They stayed together, thanks to the magic of this thing called a backstitch, and my life changed. (PS I still have the corduroy pants!) I sewed for fun for the next few years, and when my daughter was born in 2007, my interest was reignited when I started adding patches and appliques to her onesies – and making her oversized baby bibs, which ended up becoming the backbone of my business, Hip Violet.

SN: Where and how do you sell your products? Where can people learn more about you online and purchase your products?

Excl. VAT: I sell my baby bibs, applique bodysuits and coolers online at HipViolet.com and on Etsy. I also have a wholesale store through Faire Wholesale. I also have a lot of fun posting on my social networks: Instagram @ItsHipViolet and Facebook/TikTok @HipViolet.

SN: Describe a day in the life of Hip Violet.

Excl. tax: On the days I sew, I review my orders and plot out what needs to be made. Although I try to make multiples of each product as I go, it's not always possible, which is why I often make things to order. I usually start with quick and easy things like can coolers and regular bibs (without applique), because I like to check things off my to-do list. Next, I'll tackle my most time-consuming items, like applique bibs and onesies. When I receive larger bulk orders, I can dedicate a day to each type of product. Regardless, I like to work assembly line style. And I'm always looking for ways to save a few minutes of my time, so batch sewing is the way to go!

If my sewing day is lighter, I will spend time adding new products to my websites, making social media posts, or designing new products. Almost every day ends with a quick trip to the post office to drop off the day's orders. Luckily, there is a USPS branch right across the street from my house!

SN: What is one thing you wish you knew before starting your business?

Excl. VAT: I wish I had thought a little more about the name of my business. I had no idea Hip Violet would still be going strong 15 years later and how big your name could be. My daughter Violet had just undergone treatment for hip dysplasia when I started selling, so it seemed appropriate to name her after her. I didn't know I would have another child (my son Will in 2009), who doesn't like the fact that his sister has an entire company named after her. Oops ! I love that my company name has brought more attention to children with hip dysplasia, and it's unique enough to be remembered, but it's something I wish I could go back and rethink.

SN: What is your best sales resource?

Excl. VAT: Be a bargain shopper! As we all know, the prices of fabrics and supplies have really increased over the past few years, which can make it especially difficult to make a living in a craft business. I pretty much only buy fabric and supplies when they are on sale. I definitely track down sales brochures and emails from my favorite stores! I also love saving money and I love the “thrill of the hunt.” I'll buy some fun gear at a thrift store if I can find it. Additionally, Denver has several thrift stores that specifically sell craft-related items, where I can often find great designer fabrics at a great price!

I also love the community of crafty sellers. Not only have I made lifelong friends because we were “booth neighbors” at a craft show, but there are also some very helpful Facebook pages where we can all share tips and tricks and exchange ideas. ideas.

SN: What are Hip Violet’s next steps? What are Jesi’s next business adventures?

Excl. VAT: This past year has had a lot of changes for my small business! I've been making baby bibs since 2008 using a similar formula: find cute fabric, make cute bibs. But this year I'm venturing out to use my graphic design skills to design and print my own fabric for bibs exclusive to Hip Violet. I started with Colorado's iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, and now have a whole line of baby bibs and can coolers representing some of the most popular national parks. I am also focusing more on bulk orders. I'm proud to say that over 25 stores across the country now carry my items!

And after selling at craft shows for over 15 years, I realized that maybe I could help those new to the craft show scene. I have so many friends who would love to start selling their items, but aren't sure where to start. So I started a craft show consulting company called Clever works. I have an eBook that explains everything from choosing the right shows to how to set up and display your articles. I also offer individual consulting and graphic design services. I'm really excited to help the next generations of artisans start their successful businesses!

SN: What advice would you give to creators who are considering turning their profession into a business?

Excl. VAT: My best advice is to price your products correctly! I see so many amazing creators who never make it past the 2 year mark because they don't charge what they're worth, so they never make a profit. There are some great handmade item price calculators online that can give you an idea of ​​where to start with your pricing – and I bet it's a lot higher than you thought! We all love creating things, but if you want to do it for work, you also need to make a profit and not feel weird about it.

SN: Describe the best and worst parts of being your own boss.

Excl. VAT: The best part is definitely the freedom to do what I want, when I want! I love that working from home allows me to spend the morning on excursions with my threads or run to the fabric store (I have to go, it's my job!). And if I'm overwhelmed and running late, I can always stay home while I sew late into the night since my studio is in my basement. I also love that when I have a big success, it's all me! I did it! It’s great to look back at where I started versus where I am now and know that I accomplished it on my own.

The worst part is dealing with all the less fun business stuff like taxes, licensing, and insurance. I praise everything I can, but I still have to know how to deal with a lot of things that give me a headache just thinking about them.

Another downside is that I often feel a little lonely sewing by myself in my basement. I wish I had a few other people to bounce business ideas off of and get advice from. I'm a one-woman show, so often these things are discussed at the dinner table rather than in a boardroom. Special thanks to my family and friends for putting up with all my professional discussions over the years!

SN: Social media is a great way to communicate with customers and promote your business, and you do a fabulous job using it. What is your favorite platform to use?

Excl. VAT: Because running a craft business tends to be a bit lonely, I love connecting with my customers through social media. I think part of the appeal of buying handmade is that you can really get to know the maker and their history, so I try to have fun with my social media and let my customers see who I am as well as what I make. Instagram has been my favorite over the years because it's easy to use and my posts are seen by the most people. I had quite a following before, but unfortunately I had to start from scratch a few months ago – I'm happy to be back! You can follow me on Instagram @ItsHipViolet.

Find Hip Violet on www.thecraftyworks.com and on Instagram @itshipviolet.




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