Nic from Burgess Hill, United Kingdom started Sausage and the Dog making home and garden accessories using felt balls.
How did it all start?
There are so many wonderfully creative people out there and lots making the very popular felt ball garlands. I wanted to do something a little different.
My son has recently turned 2 years old and my husband and myself have decided to give him a proper big boy bedroom. I'm not one for doing what is expected and so at the beginning of the year I started doodling ideas, drawing sketches and making noted with ideas.
Once I decided on a theme I needed room decor and accessories but I wanted more than a garland. I made a little hanging instead using a cake dowel I had and some mini felt balls. This in turn became a set of 3 and was my first completed item. As my son's room wasn't ready, it's not even been started, I got going on some more items.
I'm a SAHM so to get some pocket money for myself I decided to set up an Etsy store. I've now filled my store with dream catcher style wall hangings, the original hangings, faux flowers, garlands and other little pieces. I have so many ideas but I'm trying to hold back so I don't swamp my shop with lots of random items and I'm instead working on one idea at a time and creating variations.
My next ideas are for the festival goers - welly clips and head bands/alice bands - but I also want to add to my home and living decor so I'm trying to work out the best way to make curtain tie-backs. Oh and I've got my pennants that I'm working one. I've also started on my Christmas planning already!!
This has become more than just a little hobby for pocket money, this is my passion and I will make this work.
When did you turn your craft into a business?
I made my first hanging in February and by March I had opened up my Etsy shop. In 3 months I have had over 30 sales, I have over 650 followers on my Facebook page and my Instagram page and I have repeat customers! Woohoo! A few of my repeat customers I could even call friends as we 'chat' via messaging about our lives as we all have young children. That has also happened with some of the lovely crafters I have met via IG. We stick together and support each other. Just today I was having a vent with one of my IG friends as my toddler is refusing his nap.
Do you talk to your customers?
The social interaction, and the personal interaction is a huge added bonus to running your own business. We work on our own and for a lot of us this is our job as we are stay at home parents. If it wasn't for the adult conversation we get from each other I think we'd all go mad!
What’s your most favorite product?
My most favorite items change regularly. At the moment it is my little hessian bags with felt balls on the front. They are super cute!! There is nothing I make that I wouldn't have myself. It all started when I was looking for ideas to match a mountain themed bedroom which is how I made a triangle hanging, an upside-down mountain! This developed into a matching garland and somehow I then developed that into a dream catcher style hanging. These have actually changed, I've improved the design and I am much happier with them now. I am constantly learning and the more I make the more creative I become. Just from looking around a room I can spot things that would be improve with a felt ball.
What’s your process from an idea to a finished product?
I have a note book where I jot down ideas and then brainstorm. I think of themes and check when national holidays are. For example, its festival season so why not make some little accessories that can clip on the side of wellies and cheer them up! I've started thinking about Christmas already and many years ago I made some felt tree decorations for our tree. This has given me the inspiration for tree decorations for Sausage and the Dog. We also have a wreath made from baubles so why not swap the baubles for felt balls. Then that leads me to think of gifts - coasters, mittens with mini balls sewn on, trim for soft furnishings and hats & scarves, pot holders for the Christmas poinsettia, tree skirts, tree trunk covers, xmas present gift tags - alot of those ideas have just come to me. One idea simply leads to another and before I know it I've got a new range.
I am gradually adding new ideas as I don't want to run out of steam or for people to think my shop is too busy. I prefer to concentrate on just a few things at time especially as more often than not my one idea snowballs and I then end up thinking of other ways to tweak that original idea and before I know it there are a dozen new things I've just thought of! Rambling, sorry!
What are your future goals?
My hopes for the future is to build up a good customer base and to be successful enough to say that this is my job, that yes I make a living from this but without having to compromise my first job of being a mum to my boys.
This is something I'm proud of and I love doing.