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Friday, October 7, 2011

Guest post with a Small Business Heavy-Hitter: Caroline from Good Times Never Seem Sew Good

It's time for some more words of wisdom from a Small Business Heavy-Hitter,
Caroline from 

She is amazing.
She just reopened her shop,
her style kicks butt,
and her sewing skills seriously own.
{As soon as I have a normal sized waist, I'm making this}

Enjoy what Caroline has to say about her journey, and if you have any questions as to how she executes such awesomeness, comment away!


Hi There! I'm Caroline and I blog at Good Times Never Seem Sew Good and have a little handmade shop called Cotton Lane. So glad you're here joining us on Nicole's blog for Small Business Month. I was thrilled when she asked me to guest post for her. 

Being a small business owner isn't easy. It takes time, some cash, creativity, and patience. I honestly don't feel qualified to be giving out handmade business advice, but I do want to share a few things that I've had to overcome since the beginning of my business.

Here's a little background:

In the Spring of 2010 friend of mine was hosting a charity event that sold art pieces. She knew I sewed/crafted/etc., so she asked me if I would donate some items to her event. I donated 10 headbands and some pillow cases. They FLEW off the shelves. All in the name of charity... but still- they were gone with in 15 minutes of the event opening. So with the encouragement of my friends and family, I decided to open up shop. Since then, its been a wild ride. 
(photo of my goodies at the charity event in April 2010)

Over the past year and a half I have learned A LOT. Today I want to encourage you in your handmade endeavors to be patient, stay creative, and to find someone to bounce ideas off of.

Be Patient. This DOES NOT come easily or natural to me. Like, at all. But lets be honest, success does not (usually) come over night. Don't be depressed if you have been blogging for over a year and still don't have a ton of followers. Try not to be frustrated if your shop only has X number of sales. It takes time. Be persistent and SOMETHING will happen.
Stay Creative. This is HUGE. There is a whole world of creativity on the Internet, and this is great, but don't limit yourself to your computer screen. Go outside, visit an art museum, bake a cake for a friend, do something out of the ordinary. You never know what is going to spark your creative candle and you don't want to miss out on that opportunity!
Have a sounding board. Find a friend who you trust to bounce your business ideas off of. This is A GREAT use of all that social networking you've been doing on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, your Blog, etc. Since I sew and craft items for my shop, I generally bounce my ideas off of online friends who do graphic design/paper goods/etc. It gives a fresh eye for my goods AND I have made friends while doing it!
When I first started Cotton Lane, I didn't do any of these things. YIKES. I was frustrated my sales weren't high, I was limiting myself to the computer screen for creative juices, and I thought I could do it all myself. 

I got burnt out. BIG TIME. In fact, I just stopped all together. Now I'm back on board and enjoying my handmade business much more!

I hope you have found some encouragement from these roadblocks that I've had to overcome. My one piece of advice: Don't give up. It may be years before you get your "big break" but if you LOVE what you do (and you should since its your business and your creations) then it will be worth the wait!

Feel free to stop by my blog or follow me on Twitter, I'd love to meet you!

Thanks so much for having me over, Nicole!


What a doll!
Thank you so much, Caroline, for sharing with us a few road blocks you had to overcome.
Because no matter what, every small business owner WILL hit a bump in the road or two.

So, if I were you, I would go check that little lady out and show her some love because her blog is one of those every-single-day type things for me.

In other news,
this coming Tuesday marks our THIRD link up challenge,
and guess what folks?
So far the networking has been outstanding.
No joke.
I've seen it with my own two eyeballs.
People are actually commenting on each other's posts,
perusing through their shops.

Here is this coming Tuesday's link up challenge:
tell, in detail, about your first sale. Where were you, what were you doing, who did you tell first, did you jump up and down in excitement, did you call your mom, did you scream the news at your husband, what?! I know you remember!
{And if that first sale hasn't found it's way to your inbox yet, what will you do when you see those blessed words, "transaction complete?"}
{Don't act like you haven't thought about it!}

See you on Tuesday with those fabulously fun posts!

Grab a button!



I am also guest posting over HERE today on my real life, awesome beyond all awesome friend's blog!
Come on by and check it out!

Linking up here, because she's awesome!

life rearranged


  1. I love Caroline! Thanks for inviting her to share such great words of wisdom :)

  2. Thanks Caroline...great thoughts. I think sometimes people only look at the 'business' side of the business and forget how emotionally and physically trying it can be. I'm in the process of turning my 'frustrations' into productivity. {Oh, yah I should get off line then huh?} Haha!

  3. Caroline is super cute! Love her! Great advice also!

  4. Love the apron!!! Im visiting from instafriday!!

  5. Hi Nicole,

    I am fairly new to your blog and wanted to say hello and let you know I am reading along. I can't remember how I came across your little space here on the web, but I do know we have a ton of mutual blog-buddies in common!

    I especially love your "small business" series; it's filled with so much useful and helpful infomration I really do appreciate you sharing this with us! I will admit that there are some days I feel discouraged because my Etsy shop is sad and so quiet, but then I realize that fear has kept me from pursuing and really taking this seriously...and your series is really giving me the motivation that I need. Thank you so much!

    I'm looking forward to learning more from you and getting to know you better. :) I hope you are having a beautiful weekend!



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