Giveaway + Interview with Julie of Elliven

by Jessika Hepburn, Editor

elliven, handmade clutches, ruffles & sequins, handmade accessories, etsy success stories

I have such a treat for you today! In the year that I have been editing Oh My! Handmade I have made some wonderful new friends online. I love watching them grow and seeing their businesses thrive. One of these lovely connections is Julie of Elliven. I am so honored to get the chance to share a bit of her story and her shop with you all today. Elliven is stocked with handmade clutches and accessories, all of which are lovely, but my favorite thing about Julie’s shop is her unexpected bursts of color, the splash of a lemon yellow zipper or a bright lining. It is that playful balance of minimalism and brightness that makes her clutches a stand out for me. But what I really think is Julie’s greatest strength is her kindness. I adore watching her on Twitter saying hello, asking after people, making friendships. If a businesses success is judged by how engaging the owner is then Elliven is destined for grand things!

elliven, handmade clutches, ruffles & sequins, handmade accessories, etsy success stories{1. ruffle fabric notecards, 2. small zipper pouch, 3. sequin & ruffle pouch, 4. snap card case }

I caught up with Julie to ask her some questions about Elliven and her answers are filled with great advice no matter what size your business is.  She is also offering up a generous giveaway of 3 of her stunning clutches so one lucky reader will get a chance to sample her handmade goodness!

Hi Julie! I’ve been following your growth on Twitter (+ coveting your gorgeous clutches) so it’s great to introduce your business to our readers. Can you tell us a bit about Elliven and your handmade work?

Hi Jessika and friends! Thank you so much for having me, it’s such a pleasure to be here!  At Elliven you’ll find functional, practical yet fashionable accessories.  Pieces that are versatile and affordable.  My goal is to create accessories that add a lovely finishing touch to any outfit no matter what the occasion.  My designs are a complete reflection of myself, 100%.  There isn’t much “fuss” to the designs, and that is truly something that I love.  Clean lines, minimal accessorizing, yet tons of “wow” factor!


What inspired you to start Elliven, did you always have a love for handmade and creating?

I’d have to say that I’ve always been creative, but I never really pursued my creative side until I just before opening up my Etsy shop.  The decision to join Etsy as a seller was made after I had created a few totes and accessories for myself.  I really enjoyed putting the pieces together and carrying an accessory that I had made with my own two hands and wanted to share this with others.  I wanted to create accessories that the everyday woman could carry with pride and that would make her feel great about herself.  It’s amazing how fabulous one can feel when they fulfill their fashion needs, and I love that I can play a part.

elliven, handmade clutches, ruffles & sequins, handmade accessories, etsy success storiesYou have a handful to juggle- military life, kids and a small business-what are the most important things you have learned about managing everything since you started your business?

It can definitely be difficult at times, especially with my husband being in the Air Force.  Things can change without much notice and you have to be able to adapt/adjust your plans and schedule.  I have to say that the most important lesson I’ve learned, which was very recently, is that I can not force things.  It is so important to have realized this and I really feel as though a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.  I was trying to do way more than I could handle and it was doing more damage than good.  I was spreading myself too thin and it was beginning to show in almost every aspect of my life.  As a result, I decided to discontinue making several items in my shop.  This will enable me have a quicker turn around time and to focus on the clutch line and notecards, which I love!  I have to remember that I will eventually have much more time to devote to Elliven and that I don’t have to do everything right now.  The time will come.

I am such a planner, but have realized that I don’t “have” to do things in a particular order anymore, or “have” to do them just as planned.  I’m learning to go with the flow and it’s proving to work wonders!  I still have my to do lists but I allow myself to get them done whenever I can throughout the day rather than at a certain time of day.

It’s so very important to take a step back every now and then to reassess your business plan.  Life is ever changing which means that you sometimes have to adapt/update your business schedule so that there isn’t any unnecessary stress and to help keep a good balance.  To know that your business plan isn’t written is stone is key!

Allow yourself to take breaks, it can truly do wonders .  When I feel unsteady or frustrated, I step away.  Stepping away can be taking a few minutes to regroup or taking a few days off to completely rejuvenate yourself.  I come back feeling like a brand new person and it’s reflected in my work and attitude.

This month is our Meeting the Makers theme on OMHG so let us know more about you-show us around your studio, a collection of things you love or items you create with, photos of a day in the life…anything goes so get creative!

I absolutely love colour!  Bright and bold, they make me happy and inspire me.  So when I see my zipper pile, or my thread spools all lined up, it really brings a smile to my face!

elliven, handmade clutches, ruffles & sequins, handmade accessories, etsy success stories
I really cherish the table that I package all of my orders on.  It was my husbands grandparents old kitchen table and i absolutely love it!  The red paint is slightly chipped in places, and it has some marks and scuffs but otherwise, it’s one sturdy piece of furniture!

One of my favourite things to do during the summer months is gardening! Oh how I love to garden!  I have to say that it’s probably one of the only times that my mind is fully at ease.  I can putter around my garden, not really doing much for hours.

My husband I both love to run.  We’ll tie up our laces, the kids will hop on their bikes or into the jogging stroller and off we go!  It’s a great way to spend time together and to get a good amount of exercise too.

elliven, handmade clutches, ruffles & sequins, handmade accessories, etsy success stories

What is in store for you & Elliven in the future-how are you planning to grow your business?

Oh my, this is an exciting question to answer!  I have big dreams for Elliven, I truly do, I get very excited when I think of where my shop could potentially be in a few years.  I hope to eventually work on Elliven during the day while the kids are all in school full time (which will be in three more years).  I have so many design ideas that are waiting very patiently to come to life!  I plan to expand the clutch line to include more options and sizes, which I’m very excited about and I would also like to expand the notecard line by adding some with printing on the cards along with the ruffles.   I would absolutely love to see one of my pieces in a magazine, be it print or digital…that would be simply amazing!

elliven, handmade clutches, ruffles & sequins, handmade accessories, etsy success storiesEnter to win a set of 3 Elliven clutches valued at $67!

How to enter this giveaway:

Visit Elliven’s Etsy shop and leave a comment below telling us what your favorite items are!

Get extra entries for leaving a separate comment (1 comment=1 entry) if you:

This giveaway closes next Wednesday, June 15th at midnight EST with the winner chosen randomly and announced Thursday, June 16th at the bottom of this post.

by entering this giveaway you are agreeing to the oh my! handmade goodness giveaway policies

This giveaway is now closed! And the winner is…