****************************Here's a little bit about Allison:
Tell us a little about yourself & your family. (names, ages, etc.)
My name is Allison. I'm married to my super geeky computer programmer Wesley and we've got our sweet little Olivia who will be 3 in September 2010.
Tell us about your business(es).
Hopper Graphics offers professional graphic design at WAHM rates. I do offer design services to local and other non-WAHM businesses, but the non-WAHM rates are not nearly as low. My list of services include:
Business Card Design
Invitations and announcements
Graphic images (signature button, banner, avatar, etc)
Hyenacart Designs (and Congos)
PurlyQ offers handpainted yarn and knit children's clothing.
What inspired you to open your own business?I got my BFA in graphic design hoping to freelance. Setting my own hours while I've got little ones seems so ideal to me. I love that I can be creative and artistic and get paid in the process :-P
With PurlyQ, it was a little bit different. 2 years ago I would have never thought I'd be dying yarn or selling knits. I started knitting for my daughter. Knitting (for me at least) is extremely addictive, so after I had made 4-5 pairs of longies for Olivia, I needed more to knit. I tried a sock...bad experience. Scarves and baby blankets are OK, but I wanted to keep making longies. I thought about knitting and selling, so I started checking out hyena wool prices. I didn't have the funds to have ANY expensive wool in stock...I could have gone with YYMN, but I really wanted to dye my own.
I used a mixture of graduation and Christmas money to buy my first box of dying materials, and I've been hooked ever since
What’s your favorite thing about what you do?I love that both of my jobs are things I love to do even in my spare time. Loving my job is something I've always wanted, and I truly do love mine
Do you also work outside of the home?
I did for a few months after graduation. It was extremely overwhelming to do that job, 2 WAHM jobs, all the housekeeping, the main source of childcare for our daughter, playdates, cooking, etc. I managed to hold it together for about 4 months. I went back to school 2 weeks after my daughter was born, and the 4 months working as a WOHM and WAHM at the same time were far more difficult!
Do you have any advice for other moms who are thinking of starting a work-at-home-mom business?
Be patient! Sales are slow at the moment, so don't go in expecting to make a lot at first.
Don't do tons of giveaways...from my experience they gain a tiny bit of exposure, but unless it's something you're not able to move that well anyway you'll just hurt yourself by giving away a lot of items. One or two is perfectly fine.
Don't work for nothing. This perhaps is the biggest issue with a lot of WAHMs. Don't price yourself way below your competition to get sales, because ultimately you just hurt yourself. You work hard and deserve to get paid. Working for free gets old really fast and you will burn out.
Allison and I did a trade on Diaperswappers.com for custom knit shorties for Luke.
Allison was very sweet and easy to communicate with. She answered all of my questions and really helped me feel at ease with the trade. Allison knit the shorties quickly and shipped them directly to me!
I chose Allison's "Nessie" colorway because it was in-stock at the time. It's a bright green, turquoise-y blue, and yellow colorway that is perfect for a boy but could also be made girly depending on what tops it is paired with.
The shorties are made exactly to the measurements I requested and fit Luke perfectly! I love them! The knitting is SO nice---its even, tight but still stretchy, and just gorgeous!
The hand-painted dye job on the yarn is also great! There is little to no "pooling" of the colorway and what is there looks as if it were intentional it is so subtle! I did have some minor bleeding the first time I washed the shorties, but I've since learned that scented wool wash can cause dye to bleed. I will be switching over to unscented wool wash as soon as I finish up what I have on hand. The color isn't bleeding any more and I would not consider this a flaw at all...I'm pretty sure it is my fault!
I've been able to find 2 or 3 tops that really match this colorway and look nice on Luke. Some moms only use hand made or custom t-shirts with their woolies, but we just cannot afford that! I try to shop sales and clearance for Luke's "new" clothes so we've been pretty lucky! (Custom shirts can cost $15 and up! My tops were all less than $5 each!)
Here are some action shots!!
Just about 9 months old:
8 Months Old:
7 1/2 Months Old:
7 Months Old:
(can you believe this picture is from May 14--look how much he's GROWN!)
If you're interested in custom knits or hand-painted yarn be sure to check out Allison in all of the following places!