Interview with the Owner of j2 Baby: Amanda Brookshire

We hear all the time how rewarding it is to own your own business and how much work it requires to be a success. Amanda Brookshire owns an adorable Etsy shop called j2 Baby. She offers personalized onsies and burp cloths. The Texas proud onsie is my favorite. While I was reading the answers to the questions, it became clear that Amanda is doing what some moms strive to achieve. We want to bring in extra money and be a full time mom. It is a delicate balance, and owning a little shop allows Amanda the flexibility she needs. 

I hope you enjoy this interview and the awesome discount for my readers at the bottom of the page. Thanks, Amanda!

1. Tell us a little about you, your family, and what you enjoy doing in your free time. 

I'm Amanda, a Christian stay-at-home mom to 2 boys. The oldest, Jackson, is 4 and the youngest, Jase, is 6 months. My husband, Tyler, is a paramedic and also currently a full-time student. We live in Little Elm, Texas, just north of Dallas. In my rare and much treasured free time, I enjoy going to the park with the boys, shopping, and decorating my home. I love to refinish furniture- we only have a few traditional store bought pieces of furniture in our home! Most pieces are hand me downs that I've refinished. 

2. Did having a child impact your decision about starting your shop?

Absolutely! Before my first son was born, I was creative but didn't have time to do a lot of crafting. Since he was born, I learned how to sew and use a heat press machine so I could make him things. I then started j2 baby as a way to help pay the bills.

3. How do you make time for your business and your children?

In my house, my family comes first. If I can, I'll choose time with my kids over work. Before son #2 was born, I often fulfilled orders and came up with new products during my oldest's afternoon nap. After son #2, I struggled to find the balance between work and motherhood, and I'm still learning. In fact, my shop is currently not as full as I would like it to be. The baby still requires too much of my time. Over time, I plan to add more products. 

My kids don't typically nap at the same time. So for now, I am fitting work in when I can. This usually means working on things for 5-10 minutes sporadically throughout the day. And some days I don't get anything done at all! 

4. What is the best/worst thing about owning your own Etsy shop?

The best: You are your own boss! There is no better job option for a stay at home mom, in my opinion. You can make it as big or as small as you want it to be. For instance, before I had my second son, I had a lot more products and a lot more orders coming through. Now, I am limiting my products to just a few as I don't feel like I could handle a huge workload right now. Having my own shop gives me the freedom to do this, and to put the shop "on vacation" whenever I feel overwhelmed or want to focus on my kids for a few days!

The worst: Copyright issues. I've heard horror stories of Etsy shops being shut down due to unintentional copyright issues, and it's always at the back of my mind. You have to be very careful about how you word your listings, as well as being 100% sure your idea isn't copyrighted by someone.

5. What advice would you give someone who wants to start an Etsy shop?

Don't give up! I remember when I started my first shop with a good friend, we didn't have any sales the first week. After hearing so many Etsy success stories, we were pretty much expecting the orders to start flying in- which they didn't. But they gradually became more and more frequent until we were quite busy! I'm currently on my second Etsy shop, solo this time, and I'm still in the phase where the orders are sporadic. I could let it get me down, but for now I know this is where God wants me. When He thinks I can handle more orders, I believe He will provide them!

You will only get as much out of your shop as you put into it. With my first shop, I had the time and energy to put a lot into it, and reaped the benefits- lots of orders! I feel blessed to be able to "take my time" with this shop and let it grow as I have more time and energy.

6. What inspires you the most when coming up with new products or designs?

This is a tough one- I really don't know! I try to not look at other listings, or even other baby products on Etsy. I really want my ideas to be original. However, it seems like these days someone has probably already thought of whatever you came up with, so no idea is really "original". 

Usually an idea just pops into my head and I just run with it. Sometimes people like them, sometimes they are complete failures. My husband is pretty helpful in this area. I like to show him my new ideas and he gives me his honest opinion. 

That's the beauty of Etsy, though. My investment in a new product is typically super low- the cost of materials plus 20 cents to list it. If someone buys it, great! If not, I'm out 20 cents and can move onto the next idea.

7. Finish this statement. I wish someone would have told me that running an Etsy store...

Is a lot more work and stress than you'd think! I understood the time commitment, but I wasn't really prepared for the emotional stress of worrying if people will like the product I've sent them. I REALLY do care and REALLY do want people to like the product they've purchased! On the flip side, when someone does send you an email saying how much they love it or a picture of their child in a bodysuit I've made, or using a burp cloth, etc., it really makes my day and keeps me going! 

Use code "AMANDAWHITAKER" for 20% off your purchase at j2 Baby until July 31, 2014!

Wouldn't j2 Baby products be perfect for a baby shower gift or newborn pictures? Happy shopping!


If you have a small business or a unique story and would like to be featured, please email me. We would love to share your story and business.

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