Tell us about yourself! Where is your company located? How long have you been in business?
My name is Kristin Ames and my company is called Ella Winston Co. I live in Las Vegas with my husband and two little girls. We moved here in 2010 from the San Francisco Bay Area where we were both born and raised. In August of 2012 I opened my online store with the idea of making a little extra cash with my hobby. It has now turned into my full time job and I couldn’t be more grateful!
Tell us about the space where you do your work – your facility, size, machines, employees etc.
I work from a home office which is amazing because that means I get to spend a lot more time with my girls. I have two sewing machines and two embroidery machines that work for me full time! During the summer months when I get especially busy, my husband assists me in packaging orders and keeping my work space organized.
What is your background in made-to-order products? What got you creating?
I have always been a creative person. When I was kid I was always crafting, scrapbooking or making my Halloween costumes. In 2012, I started making clutches just for fun. I ended up giving one to my cousin at her bridal shower and I actually sold another clutch to one of her guests who insisted I make one for her daughter’s wedding. That was the day I decided to open my store!
How often do you launch new products? How long does it take to develop and create a new product offering?
When I started, I would only launch one new product a year. The learning curve was massive for me having never owned my own business before. Now I am launching anywhere between 2-4 new products each year. The process is time consuming and takes about 3-4 months from idea to getting it listed online.
What was the very first Zazzle product that you sold?
The first product I ever sold on Zazzle was a custom embroidered handkerchief. To this day the embroidered hankies are still one of my best sellers on Zazzle. My robes are a close second!
What has been the greatest challenge in making and selling made-to-order products?
Time management and balance for sure! Raising two humans full time and running my business full time is extremely challenging and rewarding! In today’s online retail space, buyers want their products shipped quickly. I understand that there is huge value in shipping the customers products as fast as I can which is why all my orders ship out no later than five business days after they purchase. Majority of the time I can even get them out faster than that. Over the years, I have learned that orders are always number one! I get those finished first before I do any marketing, social media or product development. When I start to feel overwhelmed with my “to-do” list I always tell myself “just get the orders out first.” Everything else can get done when I have more time.
What has been the greatest reward/victory in making and selling made-to-order products?
For me, it’s knowing that I played a small part in making someone’s wedding day special. The messages I receive from customers thanking me or sharing their wedding photos truly warms my heart. It always lifts me up when I am having a rough day. Before I opened my store in 2012, I never thought anyone would want to purchase my products. I truly didn’t believe in myself or my abilities. Believing in myself now and having confidence in the decisions I make for my business is worth all the struggles it took over the past 5.5 years to get here.
What are your 5 favorite products in your Zazzle store?
Do you have any advice for new Zazzle Makers?
Ask for help from Maker Support when you need it. They have been a great resource for me to help grow my business on Zazzle.
Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you?
Nothing can compare to the pleasure and pride I get every day from hearing so many compliments from my happy customers. I know I did the right thing for me and my family. I love what I do and look forward to every day. I know I produce the most personalized, one-of-a-kind wedding and bridal accessories anywhere is the world, and that will invigorate me to keep designing new and exciting items.