My Fair Ellie @ 1 Million Cups JC
Last week when I was invited to present at 1 Million Cups - JC, I was THRILLED! For those of you who don't know about 1MC, see this short clip HERE! I immediately said YES... then after about an hour I realized that I signed up for one of the coolest opportunities for my shop, sandwiched between my little sister's wedding and our trip to Disney... Gah. Rookie move, I thought.
Lucky for me I have some great new friends at the Campus Coworking Space that reassured me I was capable of winging this! I mentally prepared a six minute story about how MFE started and thought through some of the most common questions I've ever been asked. I was ready... ish.
Before 1MC you have the opportunity to mingle with some of the coolest entrepreneurs in your community. I was actually so nervous that at one point I introduced my mom as my wife... Oh Lord. I swear that story will be told at the next 5,000 family dinner nights. In fact, as I sit here writing this blog post off my notes, I realized she added "(notes by my wife)" to my planner. Ugh. Moms are the worst.
So I spent the first section of the presentation talking to the room about how My Fair Ellie was started... everything from why I started making items to why I left Etsy and ultimately, where the company is today. WOW! At one point I got choked up just thinking about the pregnant girl, at home, on bed rest with a 2 year old and only 2 weeks of paid time left at work. And how much our lives have changed in the two years since then. So blessed.
After the presentation I answered questions, here were some of those...
Q: Have you picked a target market? And what's next for that?
A: Originally? Yes. I focused all my attention on the group I know best... nurses and more specifically pediatric nurses. But over the last year I've seen how many more opportunities we have to grow our customer base in areas I never thought of... teachers, state workers, dental workers, etc. I look forward to adding more designs so that we can continue to be inclusive of all of our potential customers.
Q: Is there a way to clean these?
A: Yes! The ones on vinyl are purple wipe safe! And any of the designs, including the felt, can be washed on gentle and laid flat to dry. Also, keeping the price point low allows our customers to replace these as needed.
Q: How many units are shipping out?
A: This can vary. At any given time I have more than 100 orders on the list to be fulfilled. We can take upwards of 500 orders in one drop night which happens every 2ish weeks. In 2018 we grossed more than 150k in sales through the shop.
Q: Do you plan to stick with mom employees like your current model?
A: Yes! I think there is potential for more moms to begin stitching with us and I love the idea of spreading the love to other moms who are looking for ways to provide for their family.
Q: Sequins are popular right now, doing anything with those?
A: Yes and no. The embroidery machines do not enjoy stitching through sequin material BUT we are getting ready to roll out some new shaker buddies, these are designs that have sequins and glitter sandwiched between two layers of vinyl.
Q: Are your prices going up?
A: When I originally opened the shop, our prices were $2.50 per standard buddy (not monograms/shakers) $5.50 per glitter Gracie bow. Today our buddies are $3.50 as we've added more specialty designs and vinyl materials, and our glitter Gracie bows remain at $5.50. We have no plans to increase the prices at this time.
Q: Have you sold on Amazon?
A: I did work with Amazon Handmade in the past and what I learned is that Amazon customers are accustomed to a PRIME turn around time, meaning they have their items within a couple days. Prime turn around times on handmade items is just not realistic. Also, it helps to keep all of our online sales under one roof, our website via our host, Shopify.
Those are the questions that immediately come to mind! I'm sure there were more and I'd love to answer any that you all might have? I'm always available to email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I am so excited to continue sharing the story of this shop with anyone who will lend an ear!
Thank you for purchasing my items, for following my shop and for reading this blog post!!
To apply to speak at 1 Million Cups JC, click HERE! Or check out Google to find a 1MC group near you!
P.S. Don't forget to follow us on Instagram to see the sneak peeks of what's coming next!