Sisters-in-law Katie Hicks, Shelly Campbell and Aurrie Haney have found a creative outlet for their custom goods in Etsy.com, where they own and operate Zelphia’s.
Long before Pinterest.com, creative types were promoting their wares on Etsy.com, which bills itself as “the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace.” Several creative entrepreneurs in Hoover recently hung their digital shingle with Etsy to satisfying results.
For sisters-in-law Shelly Hicks Campbell, Katie Hicks and Aurrie Haney, Etsy, which they joined in February 2012, was like a steroid shot into their fledgling word-of-mouth business.
“We started out selling mostly to friends and family, but our Etsy shop has allowed us to reach a much larger market,” Campbell said.
The shop, named Zelphia’s after a great aunt, melds together the talents of Campbell, a stay-at-home mother of six, area art teacher Hicks and Haney, a recent University of Alabama marketing grad. The team specializes in a wide range of custom monogrammed burlap table runners, Christmas ornaments, door hangings, vinyl placemats and floor mats, and wreaths.
“Etsy has been a great way to get started with a small business like ours,” Campbell said.
For Deborah Smith-Yamshchikov, owner of Etsy shop Deb’s Designs, the online handmade marketplace became a profitable answer for the hobbyist with extra time on her hands.
Originally from Virginia, Smith-Yamshchikov, an English teacher, relocated to Hoover after her husband passed away so she could be near her eldest son.
“Little did I know that the economy would make it so difficult to find a new teaching job,” she said. “I had a couple of jobs that did not work out and eventually started subbing at McAdory High School.”
With her down time, Smith-Yamshchikov returned to an old passion – sewing.
“I had three boys, so there were no frilly dresses at our house,” she said, adding that the pastime first became a priority when she wanted to outfit her granddaughters with something special and unique.
This time, Smith-Yamshchikov branched out from the usual dresses she had made for her granddaughters and decided to open a shop on Etsy.
After launching the shop, Deb’s Designs, which specializes in fabric purses, totes, diaper bags and the like, a couple of custom orders came in, and she was on her way.
Therein lies the magic of Etsy, which brings together unique wares from artists who pour their passion and best craftsmanship into each and every piece.
“This stuff is original and unique, not mass-produced,” said Campbell. “Your neighbor probably won’t have items like ours.”