This week’s interview is with Heidi Kenney, the creative mind behind one of the craft world’s most popular websites, MyPaperCrane. Kenney has gained a dedicated following who snap up her colorful handspun yarns, quirky anthropomorphic plush toys, and super-sweet paintings nearly as fast as she can create them. Her work is available in a wide variety of places, from her own website to indie craft fairs to high-falutin’ gallery shows. She’s also a mother and wife, and her offbeat homemaking adventures (Meatloaf cupcakes? Vegan candy apples?) keep folks glued to her blog to see what she’ll whip up next. Read on to find out what doing it yourself really entails.
photo by Amanda Kenney
Jenny: How did you make the transition to working for yourself? How do you structure your days when you’re the boss?
Heidi: When my youngest son was born I made the decision to quit my job and stay home. Things were very tight at first money-wise, but both my husband and I knew that it was something we wanted to do. At first my days didnt have a lot of structure, plus I had a lot less orders back then. Now I try and have more of a set time for making things–of course, life sometimes gets in the way.
Jenny: How important has the internet been in relation to the growth of your business? Also, would you say the bulk of your business comes from your own website, or from wholesale accounts and/or craft show sales?
Heidi: I would say very important. If it were not for the internet I am very sure I would not have been able to keep doing this for the past four years. I would say a few months ago that the bulk came from wholesale orders, but before that my website.
Jenny: Is there anything you wish you’d done differently when starting your business, knowing what you know now?
Heidi: I wish I had known to have a professional help me with my website. I find it embarrassing to think back two years ago to the website I had. It was pretty bad!
Jenny: How would you compare the challenges of working for yourself with working for “The Man”?
Heidi: They are definite ups and downs. Filing taxes is a bummer, forcing yourself to work can be hard too. The good things are working whenever you want to, no one to tell you what to do. You are in complete control, etc.
Jenny: Any tips on how to keep your business fresh and thriving/growing?
Heidi: I think if you have an online business keeping a blog, or some sort of update email is very important. Swapping links with other small businesses is great too.
My Paper Crane Website – Link.
My Paper Crane on Flickr – Link.
From the pages of CRAFT:
CRAFT: 04 – “Business Basics for Crafty Types” by Jenny Ryan pgs. 42-43. Digital Subscribers can read the full article here. – Link.
Don’t miss an issue! Subscribe to CRAFT Magazine today and get 4 quarterly issues delivered to your door. – Link.
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