How KobietaClothingCo got started
Introduce your Etsy shop and tell us your story. How did you begin and decide on what to sell on Etsy, and how do you create your products?
Kobieta Clothing Co. was formed in 2010 and originally set up shop on a handmade website called Hyenacart. I created Kobieta as an extension of my children's clothing line, Tadpoles & Butterflies, and in the same spirit of individualism that I infused TNB with.
As a plus-size woman, I was always dissatisfied with how stores marketed clothing, particularly to women.You see a style you love, get your hopes up, spend time looking through the rack... only to find it is not available in your size. Inevitably, the shopper is stuck buying what is available in their size, whether they really love it or not. I wanted to reverse this idea. At Kobieta, every item is always available in any size because every item is made to the customer's requested size and color. Even details like length, sleeve style, and waistbands are customized to the shopper's preference!
I made it my mission to ensure that every customer has a pleasant clothing shopping experience. I realized very quickly that this was not just a plus-size problem because shoppers of all shapes, sizes, and heights flooded in. I was so happy to have the ability to choose style instead of "what's available in my size." I strive to make custom-made clothing available at a reasonable price point so everyone can enjoy a great fit!
I brought my shop and concept to Etsy in 2011, opening shop in the early days when Etsy was not as known or as huge. I sew for every size and shape, offering XXS through Plus Size 10X and above. I am also welcoming of all communities and want my shop to be a safe space to shop without fear of judgment. I source organic and sustainable fabrics and dyes and create every piece, from the first cut to the last stitch, by hand.
What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?
Each of my creations are meaningful to me but if I were to choose a few favorites I think it would be:
Skirted Palazzo Pants because I really love the silhouette they create.
The Pocket Half Moon Skirt because of the comfort and ease.
The Waterfall Cardigan for the versatility and draping lines.
For moms-to-be, I adore making maternity photography gowns and my trademarked Labor & Delivery Skirt
I am going to guess others agree because these are some of my top sellers ;)
Getting sales on Etsy
How long did it take for you to earn your first sale and how do you currently attract customers to your Etsy shop?
I sold items immediately, but that is because I brought my customer base that I had already established with me. I know that for those fresh out of the gates, it can be hard to get a foothold. When I think back to those times, it was all about word of mouth.
I advise providing the best and most personal customer service possible and being meticulous about what you are making and sending out. I still have many repeat customers from when I began, and a large portion of new customers are referred by them. I will admit I am terrible at social media because I just can’t spare the time to engage as much as I should, but I do use it occasionally. When I do, I try to stay on brand with what I am posting and engage sincerely with potential customers.
How do you manage your shop? Are you running solo or do you have any team members? What tools or services do you use to run your shop and how do you handle fulfillment?
Yes, at this time, it is only me! I try to set aside set hours to do computer/office/shop work, cutting and dying fabric, and sewing.
Orders are completed in the order they are placed (aside from the occasional rush job requested), so I just get into the day's rhythm of who is up next and stay on track to meet the promised timelines.
I use GIMP Photo Editing for picture edits and Vela to help with major edits in my shop.
When items are complete, I package and label them, sending a notice to the customer that their order is soon to be on the way. I go to the post office three times a week rather than daily to enable me to offer free shipping on most orders and no handling charges.
The future of KobietaClothingCo
What goals do you have for your shop in the future?
Stay the course, keep offering superb quality and service, and reach 10,000 transactions!
Advice for new sellers
What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?
Stay true to your core value of handmade. Etsy's growth (and the loosening of the definition of what "handmade" is) has made it a challenge for true artisans. Ignore the static and value what you do and the time it takes to do it.
Treat customers as friends. You are happy to have dropped in! The joy of small business is that we get to know our customers and interact on a more personal level than big box stores and mass-produced corporations. Our work and products have a soul, so don’t be intimidated to share that soul. The world needs the connection that true handmade offers!