Janet along with her husband (Matt) and a close friend (Bekah) make handcrafted items for her shop, NobbinsBobbinsNBling.
Introduce your shop
Growing up, my dad always encouraged me to explore a variety of hobbies. More specifically, he encouraged me to make things. Whether it was something simple like a handmade birthday card for a friend, or something not so simple like a hand crafted wooden lantern, he helped me understand that a handmade gift is always more meaningful than something bought from the store. His lesson really stuck with me.
For the last decade or so, my husband and I have spent a significant amount of time each year brainstorming handmade gift ideas for our friends and family. It started with mostly woodburned items and paintings but eventually grew into quilting and sewing (among other things). My husband has been very supportive, helping me fund my crafting 'addiction' and giving me constructive feedback whenever necessary. People always told me that I should start a website or Etsy shop and sell my creations, but I never got around to it for one reason or another. My husband and I both had good paying jobs and at the time extra income wasn't a necessity.
Flash forward to 2015. The year started out great, in March we welcomed our second child into this world. However, only a few short months later, my husband was diagnosed with Leukemia. This was obviously unexpected, but started a chain of health problems that would set us back a great deal. Treatments were going extremely well but pain and discomfort meant that he was working less and less. In February of 2016, it looked like things were finally getting back to normal when another unexpected health issue took him off work completely. Help from friends and family kept us afloat but I knew that we needed another source of income if we were going to stay in our home.
In June of 2016, with help from one of my best friends, I opened NobbinsBobbinsNBling. I was nervous. I knew that close friends and family members would always say that my creations were great, but what about complete strangers? It didn't take long before a few items started selling and positive feedback started coming in. It was a real confidence booster. It wasn't until November until things really started picking up. So much so that I was forced to close my shop to make sure that orders would make it in time for Christmas. My husband is still unable to work, but does as much as he can to help with my shop all while raising our two children and keeping our house from being too messy.
Starting this Etsy shop has been a roller coaster of emotions. Exciting, stressful, rewarding, exhausting and many others. But, even with the ups and downs, it has been a real blessing for me and my family. I hope this encourages others to put themselves out there and not be afraid of failing.
We specialize in making household items that bring the fun and excitement of our favorite things into peoples homes. Currently, we have many kitchen related items that all feature pop culture related themes. Some current examples are Harry Potter, Gilmore Girls, and Game of Thrones, but we have many other designs in the works. I also make fully customized dice trays that are each one of a kind and perfect for the board or role playing gamer you know. Another one of my favorite things to make are quilted items, which range from potholders all the way up to king size bed quilts. Whether it's wood burned, quilted or painted, I strive to make sure that whatever you buy from me is something you will be proud to show off in your home.
When did you turn your craft into a business?
For many years my friends and family told me that I should sell my creations, but it wasn't until my family was faced with some economic hardships that I decided to start my shop. My husband was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2015 and was unable to work starting in March of 2016. This led to us needing to find other sources of income and thus led to the creation of NobbinsBobbinsNBling. We had our grand opening in June of 2016.
How did you come up with a name for your store?
I ran a contest on Facebook and asked all of my friends and family to give me ideas for a great shop name. The person who's name we chose would get a free item from my shop as a thank you. We had a lot of great submissions but ended up picking the name suggested by one of our best friends, Jordan Burdge. Jordan is a huge fan of the Little Mermaid so a Ariel themed quilt was delivered shortly thereafter.
How did you start selling on Etsy?
Over the years, I have compiled a list of more than a few handmade items that have gone to friends and family as birthday and Christmas gifts. When we opened NobbinsBobbinsNBling, I went back through the list of items I had previously made and picked a handful that would be easy to reproduce. The first few items I sold were custom wood burned spoons and quilts. Once I realized that wooden spoons would be a very versatile and affordable product, I started making themed sets. The first set I made and by far the most popular set we sell is our Harry Potter Spoon set. It features eight total utinsels, six spoons that vary in size from 10" to 14", one 12" solid spatula and one 12" slotted spatula.
Do you talk to your customers? Do you run your website or blog, social media?
Yes, I love talking to people and answering questions about my products. My husband also handles a lot of the questions that come up, especially while I'm at work. We currently have social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and post to each one on occasion. My work has also been displayed on several YouTube channels, including Binging With Babish and First We Feast.
What’s your most favorite product?
My favorite product to make is definitely the custom dice trays. Each one is made to order and is designed specifically to the customer's request. No two trays have ever been made with the same design. More than anything else, these trays let me showcase my artistic and creative ability. I also LOVE board games and always enjoy helping to promote the hobby of board gaming.
What are your future goals?
My ultimate goal is to be able to make NobbinsBobbinsNBling my full time career. Later this year, I will be attending my first comic convention as a crafter. I'm seriously looking forward to meeting and talking to people about all things nerdy.
What’s your process from an idea to a finished product?
Ideas for new shop designs come from a lot of different places, usually while watching a TV show or while reading a book. We are currently working on expanding our selection of spoon sets. Once I have an idea for a spoon theme, I'll bounce it off Matt and Bekah to see if we think it would be a viable product for the shop. From there, we research what specific designs would work for the theme. I either sketch the design right onto the spoon or in some cases I will print images and transfer them onto spoons. Next I burn the image, seal the spoon using a food safe sealant and then it's ready to ship to your kitchen.
Where and when do you find yourself most creatively inspired?
I'm inspired by conversations and memorable moments with family. Whether it is during a game night with friends, a marathon of Gilmore Girls or when I'm finished reading a good book, inspiration can strike at any time. Any time and new product idea pops into my head, Matt and I start thinking about design ideas.
From a young age, I always worked with my dad to make handmade gifts for people. He instilled in my the idea that making something for someone will always have a greater impact than buying something.