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The Little Cottage Shop

American Made Since 2014

Sara Upstell

Conwy, New York
My business is not just about one person or one country, it is about bringing the world together in one large craft fair.
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Tell us about your business.

I started my business on after trying to sell my own crafts on larger websites and unable to afford their fee's. I developed a site for the ordinary crafter to sell their products cheaper. I do not charge membership or insertion fee's & only 10%, this is my way of helping other mum's & dad's build their own business. I created my business with an investment of my own money of £500, this paid for the basics & I have created everything else free of charge by doing the work myself, including building my website, social media marketing etc. It is a very time consuming way of creating a business but I want to show others that you can achieve your dream for nothing if you have the passion, belief and drive to make it work. My sellers appreciate the concept of the site & have supported me which has made me even more determined to make this work for them. I may not be American based but I am generating work for Americans and it is a location dear to me having lived there in the past.

Tell us about your workspace, shop, or studio.

My family & I relocated to a village high up in a Welsh Valley. Our cottage luckily has a spare bedroom that my partner turned into a craft room/office and a garage that he turned into my workshop. Both are still in early stages of beautifying but I can not be any more appreciative of what I have because my family helped create these areas for me and are filled with love, helping me work with a smile. I love the location as all I need to do is make a cup of tea sit in the garden, look at the view for 10 minutes and I am ready to go again. Having been an operating room nurse for many years, working in environments that are highly pressurised , with now windows to the outside, my new working environment is perfect.

What inspires you?

My inspiration is definately my sellers amd members, some of whom I can now class as friends. I started this venture making handmade Eco-friendly soya candles but after seeing others create such beautiful crafts I have taught myself to do other crafts. I have been in talks with some of my members to create some teaching blogs for others to learn from as I think it is important to share knowledge with others.

What makes your business stand out?

My business stands out because I have created a community based store. I use my Facebook page to communicate with my 2500 members, encouraging them in their work. I do not want my business to be a faceless company and I have introduced others to new pages where they can learn and support their peers. I ask my members for opinions on project and encourage others to do the same for each other.

What advice would you give an aspiring creative entrepreneur?

My advice would simply to believe in what you are doing, if you have that belief others will see that and your name will get known. Use social media as much as you can, by using it correctly you can create a massive following and networking system that you would not normally have. This free marketing is worth thousands, the downside is that is it hard going and time consuming but believe me it can work.

What does American Made mean to you?

American Made to me as an English person shows the pride and passion that is held within each and every state. It shows that crafts are produced with love and that it encourages the sales of handmade products instead of mass produced products. It is important to have an establishment which is able to promote these crafts, as many people sit at home not believing in themselves and their crafts. That is why I am passionate about my business as you will be able to see that I have encouraged EVERYONE to create their own little store.

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