Tell us a little about yourself, your name, what do you do, who is in your family, where are you from and where do you stay?
My name is Abi & I’m from Gateshead in North East England where I still live today in a lovely 1 bedroom flat. I am single living with cat! ;) My cat Marshall, my best friend and often features on my social media & in my YouTube videos :)
I do AbiDashery full time, so that’s basically working on my Etsy shop & new clothes etc or filming YouTube videos for my channel.
Tell us a little about your shop? What do you make? How much time do you spend daily on your shop, making/designing/promoting/shipping? How is the real life of an Etsy seller?
AbiDashery is an online Etsy store selling one off up-cycled fashions for men, women, children & babies. I work on it pretty much all day everyday, but I love it so it makes sense. And the lovely thing about working for myself is that when it’s a lovely sunny day outside and I want to go out and have fun, I can do it :)
Here at AbiDashery every item has been up-cycled from something old and unwanted into something new and desirable, each has its own character, its own personal story and each is special for its own odd little reasons.
AbiDashery offers one of a kind unique upcycled clothing pieces for anybody who likes to stand out from the crowd and be a little different! I don’t follow ‘style’, I just have my style which basically comes down to things I love and feel good in and that’s what I try to reflect in all my creations.
I just want to express myself in how I look and help others do the same. I cater for men, women, children, teens & even babies! I also offer a custom service for anybody who wants something very specific or just something made in their size.
I am sure you had some problems when you started, can you tell me about one of those problems and how you solved it?
The main problem I had when I started out was little or no knowledge of SEO and it’s importance, the last 12 months has been a steep learning curve but there have so many people online who have helped me it’s unbelievable! Reaching out to others was definitely the best way to help improve, there are a lot of blogs & forums where people help & share their experiences for you to learn from.
Where/how do you find inspiration for your work?
I find inspiration everywhere! I post a lot of sky & sunset pictures on my social media and that is because the colours often blend like tie dye does & give me inspiration for colour schemes.
The main thing I love is creating/wearing something that nobody else has. My own methods are so random that even using the same technique and colours it would be impossible for me to make the same thing twice, so I know that wherever I turn up, there’s nobody gona be wearing the same dress as I am!
But ever since I was a little girl, I have gotten a huge thrill from being frugal & making something from nothing. I love that I can look at what other people see as rubbish & turn it into something useful again.
I have always upcycled my own clothes, there is no bigger thrill than wearing your own one off item out in public & have a stranger sidle up to you say ‘I love that jacket – where did you get it?’ I love watching people’s faces when you tell them you made it yourself! So the best thing about upcycling for me is definitely the satisfaction of knowing not only that I have a unique one of a kind outfit but that I utilized something that would have otherwise been thrown away.
In this wasteful society people have barely any regard for what happens to the huge amount of waste they accumulate or where their high street clothes have come from, I like to think I am helping people become more aware, while not adding to the problem any further.
Tell us little bit about your creations- material, process, look & feel?
I pick used clothes up from thrift stores, eBay or family & friends, I love the idea that all these clothes have their own story & history behind them. All my items are one offs and go through varying processes.
Denim, generally gets bleached, ripped & destroyed, then dyed. Dresses and t-shirts etc I either bleach tie dye (kind of like reverse tie dyeing) or regulalr tie dye with fabric dyes, I also recently started tie dyeing bedding so am looking into some more items for the hippie home. Most items take at least a few days to complete because of drying time & washing etc, it’s definitely not a very quick process :)
Myself and my customers dress to express, not to impress and this shows in my product line.
Customers who favor ‘high fashion’, clean lines, symmetry and sophistication aren’t going to find what they are looking for at AbiDashery and nor would we want them to but those customers who favor ‘alternative style’ and seek the original, quirky and unconventional, those who like to stand out from the crowd rather than follow it and want to own something nobody else has, those are the customers that AbiDashery is catering for.
How your typical day looks like, are you full time/part time on it?
My typical day varies depending on both how I feel & what needs doing.
If it’s a sunny day I almost always get myself out in the yard and do some dyeing, it’s so much nicer to do outside & as we don’t have so many sunny days up here I nearly always make the most of them. I like to start my days gently though, I have a few rules I set myself when I decided to work from home, one being no rushing in the mornings, I read and drink coffee and relax myself into my day then I do some work, either on computer, work on YouTube videos, work through my ironing mountain, package clothes, wrap parcels & head to the post office.
Lunch time brings rule number two – I always take time and make a proper lunch of homemade soup & salad, again I take my time & don’t rush, my old life was so busy, I am determined my working life will never be like that again, in the afternoon i often take some time to walk, read or nap then I have dinner and get back to work again, mainly on the computer, editing, listing, working on SEO & answering comments on my YouTube videos. I can stay here working til I’m ready to quit then tidy up and relax before bed. So really my whole life revolves around AbiDashery but I love that!
I said it earlier but tags and SEO are so important, there are lots of Etsy blogs and advice I would definitely check them out.
Also take clear pictures in good light & preferably with a white background if you want people to include your listings in treasuries etc, and get involved in the Etsy community, there is a wealth of support and knowledge there & you can all help promote each other too.
My long term plans are probably quite small in some people’s terms; I definitely don’t see an AbiDashery store in the future, mainly because a lot of what AbiDashery is about, for me, was giving me the freedom that I could never have in a 9-5.
If it’s a sunny day & I want to play all day and work later, I can do that and for me, money can’t buy that. Although I do quite fancy hitting the festivals with an AbiDashery stall in the future.
More than half of my clothing heads to the US too, so expanding online is definitely more appealing to me. I launched my Baby Dashery brand a few months ago as my baby onesies were doing so well and I hope to expand & brand my men’s range soon, so keep any eye open for Mr Dashery too!
I would like to get to a position where I can have a separate workshop & hire somebody else to do some of the computer/social networking side of the business (of which there is a lot) and help with some of the time consuming, more mundane tasks such as washing, ironing, packing etc, to free me up for more creative projects. I would also like to move into upcycling homewares & soft furnishings at some time in the future.
Thanks, Abi, for your time!