Tell us about your business.I learned how to make batiks from books at the Eugene Public Library in 1998. With my very first attempt at painting molten beeswax to fabric, I absolutely knew this was my calling. I was so fascinated with batik I painted and dyed everything I could get my hands on, even using pots and pans, the kitchen sink, and the bathtub to set a fresh batik creation in. I looked for cotton tshirts at thrift stores and used them for practice and eventually "graduated" to buying brand new tshirts to batik and sell! I was only 18 at the time and it was quite a ride. I had great success selling my batiks at local craft fairs and did this for many years until discovering - well, actually, I can't remember if I had my own website first, or I started with Etsy… Either way, the internet has played a huge role in the slow and steady success of my batik business. I love making batiks and sharing my knowledge about the craft.
What makes your business stand out?Batik is very easy in principal, but extremely difficult in execution. It's also hard work, and doesn't scale easily as a business. Dyeing and cleaning batiks are laborious processes, while painting molten beeswax takes a great deal of skill. It's literally Art Clothing. The batik design becomes part of the fabric. True batik is not a print. With all the factors involved in making a beautiful and wearable batik, there are very few people in the United States who have mastered this craft to the degree I have taken it. "Competition" or a saturated market is not my concern, while production and balancing the market is another story!
What's the best business advice you've received?Best advice? Hmm… Books. Off the top of my head I'm going to have to go with the advice gathered from reading business and financial books. Or lots of bits and pieces of advice from different colleagues over the years. Many different people have good ideas to share, not just one.
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