For anyone curious about how to successfully grow a handmade business with Instagram, don’t miss this episode!

My guest today is Yulia Anderson, who is a modern embroidery artist who turned her creative passion into a 6 figure online business and built a 169k IG following in less than 3 years.

She’s also a long-time listener of the Create & Thrive Podcast, and I’m so excited to have her on the show.

I love hearing from listeners who have taken what they’ve learnt from the C&T pod and elsewhere to grow a successful handmade biz!

(P.S. If that’s YOU, don’t hesitate to reach out to me and let me know, I’m always looking for new guests for the show!)

You can listen to this episode below, or on your fave podcasting app!

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Highlights from this episode:

  • Yulia started her business having always been very crafty and creative, making jewellery, cards, crochet, and embroidery, and she loved doing craft markets. Yulia noticed that embroidery had become a very popular hobby but this wasn’t viable for craft shows due to the small size of the product and the time consuming nature of it, so she started an Etsy shop in 2019. 
  • Jess spoke of the very normal progression for handmade businesses, and the time it takes to build before becoming successful.
  • “You can’t climb a ladder by starting at the top, you’ve got to take all those steps one by one… I did get discouraged but I also was very motivated because I could see what people can do, and I knew if they can, so can I.” {Yulia}
  • Jess discussed the changes that Yulia made to her business to make it more successful. Firstly, Yulia realised she was underpricing her product due to still being in the mentality of her work being a hobby. Secondly, she removed products that were time consuming and replaced them with simpler projects that were desirable to customers.
  • Yulia also researched ways to be more efficient, improve her time management skills, and be more organised in her workspace.
  • The biggest change to Yulia’s business was the inclusion of a passive income stream in the form of digital patterns and embroidery kits.
  • The timing of this change coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic which amplified Yulia’s sales and the growth of the business.
  • Instagram was discussed as Yulia has 169,000 followers on this platform. Yulia noted that this has come about by posting consistently (daily), rather than sporadically.
  • Yulia spoke about writing her daily Instagram posts, and ensuring that they fit with one of the four types of posts: Informative, educational, inspiring or entertaining.
  • Jess spoke of Yulia’s photography being what sets her apart from other Etsy shops. This is a self taught skill for Yulia that she has developed over the years, and she also contributes this to the good editing software, Lightroom, that she uses.
  • The importance of the colour and branding of Yulia’s Etsy shop was discussed, and this is something else that has developed over time but that makes a big difference to sales.
  • The business name, Matryoshka Doll Shop, was spoken about. Yulia is originally from Russia and chose this name to reflect this part of herself.
  • The biggest challenge for Yulia throughout this process was being comfortable with marketing her product, and she continues to work on this, particularly on social media, making videos, and posting stories. 
  • “You don’t have to sell your stuff, you just have to tell a story.” {Yulia}
  • Work life balance was discussed, and Yulia spoke about a book by Christy Wright called ‘Take Back Your Time’ which drastically changed her view on work life balance. Everybody’s balance is different so don’t listen to what social media tells you to do, just do what works for you and makes you happy.
  • One piece of advice Yulia offered to makers starting out in business: Do the best you can with what you have for where you are at. If you are limited on space, resources, knowledge, just do your best and don’t compare yourself to others who have been operating for much longer than you.
  • Yulia imparted her favourite quote from Estee Lauder, “Don’t dream about success, work for it,” and this reflects Yulia’s work ethic.

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