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little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
We write a lot about growing your business the way that is right for you. You might want to run your biz full time and be the biggest thing since sliced bread, that’s cool! Or you might want to have a little creative outlet where you can showcase your skill part time. Maybe you are aiming for a middle ground.  Either way, whether you want to be tiny or gigantical, presentation matters. Today I want to share an Etsy shop that is definitely little, with under 20 sales, but has the class & style of a much bigger business. I was ambling through Etsy land a few months ago when I stumbled across The Little Shop of Crochets. The products were lovely but what kept me flipping through every listing was the pictures! They could be taken straight out of a United Colors of Benetton ad-all the faces were so diverse and full of fun and character. It made me want to know more! So I emailed the shop owner Erin and asked her to come visit us to tell the story of her business. Internet synchronicity being the magic that it is, turns out we had a bunch in common, and Erin has a pile to teach us about staying small but playing big at the same time.
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
Hi Erin-thanks for visiting us and sharing your beautiful shop, please tell us a bit about yourself and your handmade goodness! 
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Hello!  I am a dorky, overambitious, silly, spontaneous, Sagittarius, clean-freak who takes on far too many hobbies … and this is just one of them.  I suppose you could say it all started when my grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was quite young, or when we bought our first home and I became quite crafty with the curtain sewing and other oddball projects, but honestly it’s probably the year I decided to be a total cheapskate for Christmas.  My husband used to buy every distant relative something for Christmas and ship it off to all corners of the globe, which I thought was already too much effort, especially since getting married the picking and choosing of gifts had more or less fallen upon me.  And then just try to find something for less than $10 during the holidays!  So I thought up the brilliant idea (so I believed at the time) of making each of them a scarf!!  Plus I figured how much could it be to ship something that weighs less than a pound?  Turns out over $100 because the time it takes to crochet 34 scarves takes you just about til Christmas Eve if you come up with the idea right around Thanksgiving.  Still, it was a pretty major success gift-giving-wise.  So when the holidays were over that year, I realized I was simply having too much fun to stop.
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
I get lots of maker submissions for OMHG but this time I reached out to you-your photographs completely drew me in. I found myself clicking through one after the other to see the different models. They all look so interesting! I think the best product photos tell a story and make you want to know more so I wanted to share your thoughts on this with our readers. How did you end up deciding to show off your work in this creative way? 
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I agree that the right photo really sells a product!!  Sometimes I get a note from someone on Etsy saying they just love my model or a pose or I made them laugh or think about something, and that is the best compliment.  I knew the minute that I wanted to sell on Etsy that I would need to have amazing photos.  So I pulled together all of my friends to help me.  My friend Beau is my photographer.  He takes stunning pictures and he knows a lot about lighting and has all the props.  He whipped out the fan for this one.  My husband is in there too, just to the right or left, holding the bounce card.  My beautiful friends do the modeling and I do all the directing.  I tell them to do the “sexy chilly” pose or strike the “rock on”, and we laugh and laugh and laugh.  That is completely the point of this for me, to have fun!!
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
Sometimes I just know when we’ve hit it.  This is one of my favorite photos.  A cowl is the same all the way around, so I thought why not shoot it from the back, looking out onto our fabulous city!!  I think it’s edgy and cool.  It’s thought provoking.  It made my heart skip a beat.  That’s how I knew it was a winner.
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
Who are the lovely folk in your pictures? Did you set out with the plan of showcasing your designs on a diverse group of models or did it just happen that way?
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All of the models in my shop are my friends!!  I am so last minute, I think when we’ve done these photo sessions, I send out mass emails about two days before and whoever is free winds up modeling for the day!  I do try to spread the love if I can because I really like that I have a lot of different models.  And I think the word is spreading amongst our circle of friends that we have a pretty good time.  In fact, I usually buy champagne and lunch and try to make it a little glam, tell them to channel their inner Top Model and just have fun with it.  I have an amazing group of friends, who are all such beautiful people, with amazing personalities, and count myself lucky to have them.
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
Do you have a background in photography? So many of your pictures are beautifully done, this one is just stunning! As a very amateur photographer I know it often takes 100’s of pictures to get one you love. 
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I have always loved photography, especially fashion photography.  I remember photos I have been inspired by and I try to work those ideas in when I can.  And believe me, there are a lot of them!!  I still have some of my Vogue magazines, back from when I subscribed regularly in junior high and high school.  You may not know it by the “mom” fashion sense I have nowadays, but I’ve always been addicted to the photos.  And honestly, sometimes we have a plan and a photo turns out just the way we envision, but a great deal of the time we rely on inspiration and spontaneity … and that can come from anywhere.  Take for example, this particular photo.  My friend Debbie, who is the model, told me just that morning that she put in her extensions for me and her big modeling day (sorry Debbie for the reveal).  And that’s when I knew that we had to show it off, get in some wild hair flipping and do this whole sexy thing.  Plus, she’s so perfect for that!  I mean, she’s gorgeous.  Funny thing though, the photo we used was actually the very first hair flip we shot.
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
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Any tips or tricks to share with designers wanting to photograph their work creatively? 
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Have fun!!  I think if you are having a good time, the mood will be evident.  And bring along someone who makes you laugh!!  For me, that’s my husband.  Here he is, with no modeling advice from me, just having a grand old time.  Oh, and that’s another point!  Make the men model.  The men come up with the most silly, outrageous stuff, and it always makes for a great day!!
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You mentioned to me that your business is little, your shop name even says so! Even though your biz is small you have obviously taken care to present it thoughtfully. Can you give us a bit of insight into your branding  and the feeling you want visitors to take away when they check out your shop? 
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Well, my shop name is actually the connection to my other life.  My “real” job is as an assistant editor in television.  I knew I wanted a play on a movie title to reflect that, so I went with Little Shop of Horrors and changed it to Little Shop of Crochets.  It is silly and ridiculous and I love it, so it seemed quite fitting.  Without giving too much away, there is my little storefront with some focus on my flower in the large pot.  I asked Stasia Burrington (another amazing Etsy shop owner) to do the banner sketch for me, and she happily included the motorcycle out front too.  But don’t worry, I love our dentist and he’s okay!!
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
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I really like that I am a small shop.  Etsy may not like to hear this, but I don’t want to quit my day job.  I love it!!  But I love crochet too.  I think if I got too big then I wouldn’t be able to take on custom orders with a good turnaround.  I pride myself on quality work!!  I never want to be so big I feel pressured to rush through anything.  I work fast, but I work well, and I stand behind everything I make.  I want people to feel excited about a purchase, to look forward to having it arrive on their doorstep, and when they do open their package that they find it more beautiful in person than in the photo.  I want people to enjoy wearing my things.  I want them to feel soft and cozy, fashionable … and most of all happy!
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Where can we find you?! Do you spread your handmade goodness around on Twitter, Facebook or your own blog?
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Unfortunately I do not Twitter or Facebook even though all (and I mean ALL) of my friends are telling me I need to.  You can still find me on Etsy in my “little shop” and if I’m not on a show, you have a pretty good chance of finding me a couple days a week at the corner table at Europane Bakery, my favorite Pasadena addiction.  =)
little shop of crochets, erin druez, meeting the makers
Jessika Hepburn

about the author

Jessika Hepburn has written 519 posts on Oh My! Handmade Goodness. A cheerful activist and community matchmaker I delight in using my connection superpowers to bring makers and entrepreneurs together in ways that lift us all up. I believe in cooperation over competition, relentless good cheer as an act of rebellion, and the power of using our hands to craft a brilliant future. OMHG is part social enterprise, part grand experiment, and all goodness-so pull up a chair or pitch in a hand to join in creating our supportive community!
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