Here she is: Mercedes Anne. She was born just before 5pm on Monday, Feb 22nd, and weighed 8 lb 10 oz and was 20" long -- the same length as her big brother Daniel, but nearly a pound heavier. Hence those chubby little kissable cheeks :-)
Says Rachel: "My labor was about 4 times longer than with Daniel, oddly enough, but much less intense until the last hour or so. And I did way less pushing, so I'm recovering really rapidly. One of my Certified Nurse Midwives said it was a joy to assist me because she rarely saw women so in tune to what their body needed. To which I wanted to reply, "I just did whatever felt the most comfortable at any given time."
I went home that same night, about 6 hours after Mercedes was born. The birth center only lets you stay up to 12 hours post-birth, and I really didn't feel like making my husband wake up again at 4am to come get us. So we all slept at home, and probably got much better rest as a result. When Daniel was born (in WI, two months before we moved here), we stayed in the hospital for 2 days, which was great because it gave me time to get used to being a mom and caring for a newborn. But I've done this before now, so I felt very comfortable just coming home."
Why don't you take a second and travel over to Rachel's blog and congratulate her on her new bundle of love? http://huggermuggerblog.blogspot.com/
Kelly: Hello, Rachel, and thank you for joining me here today! Tell us, how young are you?
Rachel: I'll be 29 for a few more months yet.
Kelly: What is the name of your business?
Kellly: When did you begin?
Rachel: I joined Etsy in September of 2008 and started my shop in October. But I began crafting pretty much as soon as I was allowed to use crayons, scissors, and glue.
Kelly: Do you have any background in business and/or art?
Rachel: I took Business 101 in college, does that count? And I took a lot of art lessons when I was in grade school and high school. I also co-owned a face-painting business when I was in high school -- a friend and I painted faces at all sorts of local festivals for several years. It was a great introduction to running a small business and also to the world of craft shows.
Kelly: What motivated you to start Huggermugger? (www.huggermugger.etsy.com) What inspires you to create?
Rachel: In the spring of 2008, I realized I needed a sun hat for my son, who was about six months old at that time. I looked at hats in stores, looked at sewing and crochet patterns, and decided I didn't like any of them, so I made up my own crochet pattern for a sun hat. I really enjoyed making it, and made several sizes as he kept growing. Then I just kept making more, and some wintery hats for babies too, but I didn't know what to do with them. My best friend Julie had just started an Etsy store and was really loving it, and she said I should sell my hats on Etsy too. I hemmed and hawed for a few months, then decided to give it a shot.
All the things I sell in my shop are inspired from real life needs,just like my baby sun hats. I'm a writer, and I use a lot of journals and notebooks. I've always loved to create collages, and in college I started using them to decorate notebook covers, either to use myself or give to my writer-friends. I knew when I started Huggermugger that I would definitely be selling those in my store as well. My other products, from "instant canteen" water bottle carriers to crocheted scrunchies to finger puppets, have all sprung from things I needed to use myself and then thought maybe other people might like too.
Kelly: What is your favorite product?
Rachel: I love my journals, and my favorite right now is the Once Upon a Time Journal
Kelly: What are this product's features?
Rachel: I decorated this particular journal with a theme of taking time toread and savor books, one of my favorite activities. The covers are laminated so the collages won't come loose or be damaged. Inside are 60 unlined sheets (120 pages) just waiting to be filled up. The journal as a whole measures 7" by 5" and is 3/8" thick. To me, this would be the ideal place to keep a record of books you want to read or have read, or even to write down favorite passages you want to remember. And of course, it would be great for every-day journaling too, especially for a book lover.
Kelly: What are your business goals this year?
Rachel: I'd like to survive! Okay, I'm somewhat kidding, but I have a two-year-old son who's very active, and I have a new baby on the way, just born on February 25. So I'm hoping not to be overwhelmed by keeping my shop moving and growing while at the same time doubling my mommy load.
Kelly: How do you get traffic to your website?
Rachel: I have a blog, http://www.huggermuggerblog.blogspot.com where I post not only news about my crafting and my shop, but also recipes and book reviews, and features of other Etsy crafters. I also try to find cool blogs like this one that are willing to feature my shop. I had a booth at a few craft fairs this fall, to try to build up some local awareness of my business. And I hand out my business card to anyone who admires a hat I or my son is wearing, things like that.
Kelly: How do you juggle work/life balance? For instance, you have a two-year-old boy and a baby on the way. How do you “do” all that you “do”?!?
Rachel: I call myself a time thief. I steal time here and there, the wasted minutes that would otherwise be lost. I crochet in the car while my husband drives us to church and back. I work on collages while watching a movie when my son is napping. I combine taking my son on a walk in the stroller with taking sold items to the Post Office. Basically, I just utilize my time as well as I possibly can.
Kelly: Can you share some of your frustrations?
Rachel: I think my biggest frustration is coming up with an idea for a new product, making several of them, and then having them be ignored in my shop. What I like isn't always what other people like, and that can be really tough to accept. I tend to fall in love with everything I make, especially my journals and notebooks, and then to have them either get few views or else sit in my shop for months can be very frustrating.
Kelly: What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?
Rachel: Be willing to fail. I'm a perfectionist, and failure is not something I deal with well, but I'm trying to learn to accept that not every idea I have is brilliant.
Kelly: What role does your faith play in your business?
Rachel: First Corinthians 10:31 says, "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." God gave me my creative abilities, and I try to use them to his glory however I can. If that means crocheting the best hat I possibly can, then that's how I will praise and serve my Creator and Redeemer.
Kelly: What word of encouragement can you give a person who wants to also start their own business?
Rachel: Jump in! But look before you leap. Do some research, see what kind of competition you'll have, and then keep improving your products and yourself.
Kelly: Any other thing you would like to share with us?!
Rachel: Never underestimate the power of a happy customer! My biggest custom order yet came because someone saw a child wearing one of my hats, asked the mom where she got it, and then ordered some from me for themselves.
Kelly: Thank you so much, Rachel, for taking the time to be a guest on our Busy Mom's Blog! I wish you much success in your business, and multiplied blessings with the birth of Mercedes Ann! Each new child bring promises of blessings and added joys to life!
OK, ladies, coffee break is OVER and now back to work and our lives as Busy Moms! Stay well, be blessed, peaceful, productive, and prosperous!
Contributed By: Rachel Kovaciny