How Twisted Threads Fabric 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?

Hi - we’re Twisted Threads Fabric (aka Twisted Threads or TT Fabs), a small online modern-ish quilt shop that specializes in Aurifil thread and fabric. Our shop was born from a passion for all things sewing+creating passed down through generations of strong, humble and amazing women.

I started Twisted Threads with the understanding that it was a side-hustle; something I could easily do after my 9-5 to help us reach our financial goals (paying off student debt, buying a house, etc.). My husband and I had just come out of a 2-year stint of working for a small quilt shop with an excellent mentor. During that time, we had seen proven successes in the quilt shop model, so I thought why not give an Etsy shop a try. 

Shortly after TT Fabrics was fully up and running, the pandemic hit. Between the mask mandates and supply shortages, there was this mass “call to all makers” to pitch in and do what we could. With the exponential demand for thread and fabric, my side-hustle quickly grew and took on a life of its own - to the point where my husband needed to step in. Today, the shop is our “baby” while I continue to play in the corporate sandbox. 

Early on in opening the shop, I made the decision to only carry products that we believed in and/or used ourselves. From working in the industry, I had all the right contacts, knowing exactly where to source our inventory at the best price point, which distributors worked best for us and our location, knowledge of trends, etc.

Favorite items

What are your favorite items? What makes these so special? Why do you think these items might be selling well?

That’s a tough question...technically, everything in our shop is my favorite as it was all lovingly curated by yours truly, and we only carry quality products that we believe in/use ourselves. If I had to choose, I’d say my favorite items in our shop right now are our new in-house TT Fabs Aurifil Color Builder sets in Aurifloss, 12-weight and 80-weight

They’re still pretty new, but for a new product with a small amount of awareness, we think they’re performing really well! Why? We identified a gap in the market and decided to dip our toe in. Sometimes taking that blind leap can really pay off, but you’ll never know until you *actually* leap.

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?  

When I finally got our Etsy shop up and running, I think it took about a week to make our first sale? Back when we first opened, we were one of the only online retailers that carried Aurifil thread- especially at our price point- and I think that really helped. We currently use a combination of Etsy Ads, social media, virtual trade shows, strong customer service and word of mouth to attract customers to our shop.

Managing Twisted Threads Fabric

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?

My husband and I manage our shop together using the Etsy platform and a couple really useful apps/integrations to help. We use Vela and are excited to be starting with Alura. 

We handle all shipping and fulfillment internally. We find that continuing to do it this way allows us to pay attention to smaller details and communicate directly with our customers; giving us better insight into their needs and current trends while also protecting our bottom line by being able to catch common customer mistakes. 

These common customer mistakes, in our case with offering multiple thread weights, can be costly because they ultimately involve 2-3 additional shipping charges per error that can simply be avoided by pleasantly reaching out to our customers directly to confirm their selection(s). More often than not, our customers’ selections were accidental and waiting for their reply saved us an average of $10-18 in additional shipping transactions. 

Another reason we enjoy handling shipping and fulfillment internally is it allows us to take customer service to a whole new level, and the invaluable opportunity to connect with our customers, learn more about them and build relationships with them. 

The future of Twisted Threads Fabric

What goals do you have for your shop in the future?

A big goal for the shop would ultimately be to grow it into both of our full-time gigs. Another goal is to open up our own retail website in addition to our Etsy, and maybe start a newsletter. 

Advice for new sellers

What’s your advice for a new seller starting an Etsy shop?

Stop thinking about it and just do it! Starting something new is scary, but everyone and every shop has to start somewhere. Having eye-catching, bright, clean pictures and optimizing your item tagging, in my opinion, are two of the most important parts of your item listings and exposure.