Custom Roman Shades|Sew Lovely By Kelly Sew Lovely By Kelly-Etsy|Sew Lovely By Kelly

Endless Trim & Ribbon Options for Roman Shades!

I thought I would post some photos of the different kinds of banding options we do for roman shades. As you can see, there are many different options! If you see something that isn’t shown, we are always up for a new design, as well! Sew Lovely usually provides 1 1/2” and 7/8” grosgrain ribbon in many different colors. We also have greek key ribbon tape and some other options. Many times the buyer provides the trim tape too! There are so many beautiful trims out there and they range in pricing, as well, from very affordable to very expensive designs. I have some websites listed here.

Below is an example of our most requested ribbon roman shade! Pottery Barn sells similar ones but only offers standard window sizes and a few color options. It’s Sew Lovely white canvas/twill using Sew Lovely grosgrain ribbon, inset on the sides and bottom of the roman shade. Many colors of ribbon available. Click here for the ribbon chart.


Below is another highly requested ribbon roman shade! It is our Sew Lovely white canvas/twill with inset double size grosgrain ribbon on the sides only. Many colors of ribbon available! Click here for color options for ribbon.


Below is another great option for roman shades! It is our Sew Lovely white canvas/twill and double sized layered grosgrain trim inset on the sides and bottom. Many color combinations and sizes available! Click here for our ribbon colors.


Below is an example of Sew Lovely white canvas roman shades using 2 different colors and 2 sizes of Sew Lovely grosgrain ribbon trim right along the edges on the sides only (not inset). Click here for ribbon options.


Below is an example of 2 different sized grosgrain ribbon trim inset on the sides AND bottom! These shades use Sew Lovely white canvas/twill and Sew Lovely provided grosgrain ribbon. Click here for ribbon colors.


Below is an example of Sew Lovely roman shades using buyer’s provided ribbon inset on the sides and crossed on the bottom. Click here to see some websites to buy your own trim!


Another lovely shade with ribbon trim! We have buyer’s provided fabric and buyer’s provided greek key ribbon trim! Click here for some websites to buy fabric and trim! Sew Lovely can also provide greek key trim.


Below is an example of Sew Lovely provided navy canvas fabric and Sew Lovely provided grosgrain ribbon inset on the sides and bottom. We can provide many basic colors of canvas including, white, navy, black, grey and more! We can also provide many colors of ribbon trim! Click here to see our ribbon trim options.


Below is an example of a roman shade we made and added piping and a ruffle on the bottom! We can add a ruffle in the same fabric as the shade or in a different fabric. Trims can also be added to the bottom of roman shades.


Below shows a roman shade we made and added the buyer’s pom pom trim to the bottom of the shade! Pom poms can be found online on many websites and on Amazon!


Here is an example of buyer’s provided fabric and buyer’s provided braided trim inset on the sides and bottom. Braided trim looks so nice on a roman shade!


Sew Lovely Roman Shade with Greek Key Ribbon! Sew Lovely can usually provide 2” greek key ribbon trim tape. Contact us for details and options!


Sew Lovely provided Charlotte Moss trim tape ribbon using customer’s provided fabric. This trim comes in a few different color options! Contact us for colors!


Happy Holidays!

2018 was a great year for us! Besides having a record year for sales, we got a new addition to the Sew Lovely family!! Baby Dylan was born in March and has added so much joy to our home! It’s definitely been a challenge to manage the business, construct a mass amount of shades and have a newborn and a toddler at home while I work. But I do feel extremely lucky to be able to work out of the house and be around my kids all the time. It’s been a blessing, for sure! I’m so thankful that most of my customers were so understanding and patient while waiting for their shades to be completed during this busy time in my life :)

We have some exciting things planned for the new year! I recently received a really awesome sample binder of natural fabrics. These fabrics are made of materials like wood, bamboo and more. They’re so beautiful and a nice alternative to typical shade fabric. I will be ordering some yardage after the new year and making some roman shade samples soon to be certain they will work well for shades. I will be offering this material to customers so they will not have to supply anything for their shades. The shades will look and function much like my current roman shades and can be made with blackout liner, as well.

Hopefully, in 2019, we will also have a faster production time. We’re still at about 8 weeks, but I can offer a rush fee option if projects are needed sooner.

We look forward to an exciting 2019!!!! Thank you to all of our customers for your support and business in 2018! Happy New Year to everyone!! Many blessings to you and your family!


Natural fabric! Coming soon!! 


Natural fabrics coming soon! 

Linen! It’s Pretty, but Often Not For Roman Shades!

Here’s an example of a fabric that does NOT work well for our Roman shades, a light weight semi-sheer linen. Even most medium weight linens are similar. As you can see, the dowels shine through more, the sides are not straight bc the fabric is very thin w no structure. The fabric is also super wrinkly, even after ironing. We do have a disclaimer on our website and Etsy shop about not using linen. We’ve used it up until now if a customer insists, but we now have a “yes/no” button on the quote form that makes sure the customer has read fabric requirements before sending. We won’t be using linens at all anymore bc it’s just too hard to sew and time consuming.Also we want the shades to be a great representation of our work and the linen ones just don’t look as nice. You can find the linen look with another blend! 😁 

Linen! Ugh! It doesn’t look pretty for Roman shades ! 

Linen! Ugh! It doesn’t look pretty for Roman shades ! 


linen wrinkles easily! 


Linen wrinkles easily! 


Linen doesn’t tend to work well for Roman shades. Dowels shine through. 

Linen- Not enough structure to sides of shade, therefore, won’t be as straight on edges. Not ideal for shades!  

Linen- Not enough structure to sides of shade, therefore, won’t be as straight on edges. Not ideal for shades!  


Many fabrics look similar to linen (like the photo above) and have much nicer results than linen. The above is a 100% cotton fabric called  ANGELO FOUNTAIN SLUB CANVAS by Premier Prints. 

Premier Prints make really great Roman shade fabric! And they are inexpensive!  

A Busy Summer!

Hope everyone reading this had a great summer!  It definitely flew by!  Sew Lovely had a busy summer, for sure!  With just one seamstress and myself constructing them all, we had a lot more work than we could handle. My seamstress worked diligently day and night and sometimes would be sewing 25 shades per week. It’s a lot of work for one person!  So I decided to hire on another seamstress to the team!  It wasn’t easy finding a seamstress in an era where not many people have a sewing background.  I was very lucky to have found Linda, who has a passion for sewing and has been sewing since she was a little girl.  She’s seems really enthusiastic about this new opportunity!  She loves working with the customers different fabrics and creating beautiful window treatments. With the addition of Linda, we will finally be able to speed up our production time, which is exciting!  

What Makes Us Different

We're always striving to make a better product!  Here are just a few things that make Sew Lovely roman shades different from a lot of the other shades out there...


Many other shade makers sew pockets up the entire shade, making for obvious stitching on the front of the shade.  This disrupts the pattern and can also allow more pinholes to shine through the shade.  Sew Lovely roman shades have pockets on the back side but the stitching does not go through to the front of the shade.  


Rings are commonly used on roman shades made by other vendors and in stores.  Rings may break with time from sun exposure and also may fall off because they are stitched on.  Sew Lovely shades no longer have rings and only have one small stitch up the middle of the shade. This also eliminates light pin holes on the front of the shade, making for a more streamlined, prettier shade.  On blackout roman shades, the stitches are covered up by blackout tape on the back, so light does not shine through.     


The customer can supply any fabric of choice!  Many other shops supply fabric but then the customer is limited to fabric options.  Sew Lovely shades are made using any fabric.  The customer sends the fabric to use directly from any store.  The customer can even use an existing curtain panel or shower curtain to make the roman shade.  If trying to match decor or a collection, the customer can use the same fabric for the roman shade if they'd like.


Sew Lovely saves the customer money on fabric by giving the customer the freedom to send in their own fabric of choice.  Other vendors supply fabric, but likely have an up charge for the fabric.  Sew Lovely only charges for labor and lining, and the customer can send in their own fabric and find the best deals on fabric.  


Stores like Pottery Barn have nice shades but they only come in standard sizes and colors.  Sew Lovely shades are created in any size, allowing for the best fit in the customer's window.  


2017... A Great Year For Sew Lovely Roman Shades!

Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas!  The Sew Lovely/Rinik family had a great holiday and now we are just awaiting the exciting arrival of our newest addition, due on March 1st... another little boy!


2017 was a really great year for Sew Lovely and we're so thankful for the continuous support and business.  We hope 2018 is just as good or better!  In 2017, we had over 100,000 Etsy shop views and 287 sales (multiple shades per sale) on Etsy alone, compared to last year's 44,000 shop views, trending up 107% from last year.  We've almost doubled our revenue from last year.  We made over 800 roman shades in 2017 and also many curtains and pillows.  We also had a lot of orders and traffic on, which we didn't have in 2016, thanks to a higher ranking on google search, appearing on the first page for the search "roman shades."  We're pretty excited about that!  As it turns out, we didn't have to pay for SEO help to improve our ranking.  In addition, we exceeded 100 5 star reviews and currently have 143 reviews.  We thank our customers for taking the time out to write a nice review when they love their roman shades!


Sew Lovely's Instagram followers have also increased in 2017 and we were featured and tagged in a few really nice Interior Designer blogs.  It's so nice to see photos of the roman shades hanging in our customer's home and not just on the floor of our living room lol  



This past year, we also made some nice improvements to the roman shades in order to reduce our production time and improve our product.  In April, we started using child proof safety knobs in order to comply with the window safety standards for shades.  The knob breaks away if a child puts their head into the loop of the cords, so no loop is formed when force is applied.  We also started putting the pockets on the backside/lining of the roman shade.  This cut down on production time by a great deal, even though the cost was a big higher for the supplies.  We were still able keep our cost down for the customer and only increased the cost per shade by $10 each.  The rib tape is great also because it makes the shade flatter and not as buckled, and also eliminates the need for rings sewn onto the shade and less stitching on the front of the shade.  The pinholes from the rings are also eliminated.  The dowels are also able to be removed and replaced, if needed, whereas, when they were inside the shade, they were almost impossible to remove.  

A huge thanks to all of our customers, friends and family!  Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2018!!! 





Solar Roman Shades Are Here!

Now offering Roman shades made with solar fabrics. Solar fabrics don't require any liner on the backside. Theses fabrics are great for privacy and for sun and temperature control. Here's a little info taken from the Sheerweave website :


"SheerWeave® Interior Fabrics

Natural light can enhance the function of any room with proper sun management. Phifer’s SheerWeave fabrics are designed to provide high performing solutions to the sun’s harsh rays. Our broad range of sun control fabrics reduce solar heat gain, protect against damaging UV and improve the comfort of any interior space. Suitable for the home, office, business, hospitality, healthcare, education, government and retail locations SheerWeave fabrics are durable and easy to maintain. Quality made in the United States, SheerWeave fabrics are the perfect complement to any decor."

Check out their website for more information: 

Below are some fabrics that I have available to make Roman shades with. You may choose from 1%, 5% and 10% openness. The higher the number, the more sunlight will shine though. 



sheerweave fabric  


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric   


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric   


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric   


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric   


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric   


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric   


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric


Sheerweave solar Roman shade fabric  


solar Roman shade fabric  


example, as seen in  House Beautiful  

Check Out These Beauties! Lovely Trimmed Roman Shades!

This week I made some beautiful trimmed roman shades!  A lot of people ask me about linen recommendations.  Here is a fabric that is actually NOT linen, but it looks a lot like linen and it works nicely for roman shades.  Linen blends and 100% linen fabrics come in many different weights, so it's really hard to know if a linen will work well for my shades.  I've seen very light weight linen, loose weave linen and thicker linens.  Some linen has texture and some does not.  It's really hard to tell without seeing it in person.  But this fabric (pictured below) is polyester but it has that linen look.  It says "lightweight" on the description online but it's actually a nice medium weight.  Paired with some trim, this solid fabric will compliment many styles and decor.  It works nicely in a room that uses pattern in different places like rugs or furniture!  The trim adds just enough "pop" and ties the room together.  This fabric is by Premier Prints and can be found online on and other sites!  It's called Jackson Macon Caramel Tan.  It also comes in other colors.  


Ribbon Trim Roman Shades Using Premier Prints Jackson Macon Fabric

Ribbon Trim Roman Shades Using Premier Prints Jackson Macon Fabric

Romans in Rome!

Recently, I took a wonderful vacation to Italy and it was a great experience!  I saw so much in 6 days!  We flew to Rome and saw the Colosseum and Vatican.  We took a 4 hour coastal drive down to the Amalfi coast to Positano and the Pompeii Ruins.  We took a high speed train from Rome to Florence where we rented vintage 500 Fiats and took a group ride through the Tuscan hills and stopped at a winery to sample some wine and cheese.  We took a train from Florence to Venice where we took a gondola ride through the canals and enjoyed paradise city! 

I loved the architecture and old villages that we saw.  Run down and chipped paint on buildings never looked so beautiful!  I especially loved the window treatments, doorways and flower pots on a lot of homes.   I saw a lot of roman shades while I was there.  Some were in bad shape and could use a Sew Lovely update! lol. The homes there do not have screens, so they have shutters that actually work and use window treatments to block out the sun and bugs.  Our hotel room in Venice had really amazing drapes and valances.  The ceiling was trimmed out with cording and the walls were fabric!  I wanted to share some of the pics I took of their window treatments.  Enjoy! 

I wasn't impressed with the roman shades in my hotel room in Rome

I wasn't impressed with the roman shades in my hotel room in Rome

Cool windows in Venice

Cool windows in Venice

Beautiful Window Treatments and Fabric Wallcoverings in our Bed and Breakfast in Venice

Beautiful Window Treatments and Fabric Wallcoverings in our Bed and Breakfast in Venice

Check out the intricate trimming around the beams!

Check out the intricate trimming around the beams!



Cool Windows in Venice

Cool Windows in Venice

Busy Weekend! The Life Of A Shade Maker!

Busy weekend making shades!  Completed 25 shades this week and most of them were large ones. As many know, I have a wonderful seamstress, Yolanda, who has been working for me for the past 1 1/2 years.  She's a great find!!  She has over 25 years of sewing experience and her skills are of perfection!  So happy to have her along to help me.  She's been so consistent with her work and works really hard.  I get fabric delivered to me by the customer then I write up all the orders on an order form, which takes a great deal of time bc I have to check to make sure the customer did not update measurements via email or make a change etc. after the order was placed, and I have to be sure the measurements are exactly correct.  Also, I get a TON of fabric delivered to me each week, so I have to be sure I have the correct fabric attached to the right person's order.  Yolanda comes to drop off her work and pick up new fabric every week.  I normally fill her car up with giant fabric rolls and boxes every week!  Her job is important because she has to accurately cut the fabric and sew it to the right size and then space the rings out accurately.  She presses the shades and returns them back to me looking amazing!  

I then take the shades and complete the construction during the week.   I try to get all of the shades done before she comes again the following week.  On average, she brings 17 shades a week to me.   I cut dowels and slide them into the pockets on the shade, cut and tie on the cords and measure the length to finished shade length according to my order sheet (I have this whole thing down to a routine!)  I then measure the top board and hand them off to my wonderful husband, who cuts the wood to size for me.  I then attach the boards to the shades and let them sit overnight to dry.  The next day, I affix all of the screw eyes and hardware to the shades and string the cord through the cord lock.  I put a knob at the end and then the process is complete!!!   I gather the mounting hardware and bag it up and put it all in a big box.  I weigh the box and create a shipping label and then tape it up!  Schedule a USPS package pick up and out they go!!!  

The whole process of making a shade is a little time consuming and tedius, even with my seamstress helping out, but I've managed to get my timing down and fit the little steps of the process in throughout the day whenever I can.  I've also gotten a lot faster in the past 6 months, due to making small changes and making things more convenient for me (just simple things like creating a form for myself for orders so I don't have to manually write down things, and moving my workshop around).  For instance, my son goes down for a nap and off I go to my sewing room to work on a step.  If my parents come over to watch my son, I usually take advantage of the free moment to get some work done.  When everyone is off to bed at night, I usually sneak in some time to work on shades then.  In between making them, I'm responding to several emails for inquiries, providing yardage estimates and doing a lot of calculating and ordering supplies.  I have to make sure I order enough lining fabric each week for Yolanda to attach to the shades, and order a bunch of supplies from various vendors and keep track of inventory so I have everything I need to complete the shades.

So there you have it... The life of a shade maker! HA!!!

Roman Shade Child Safety

Sew Lovely roman shades now have break-a-way cord condensors/knobs.  3 white cords come down one back side of the roman shade, about 2" from the edge.  Each string controls a different part of the shade and when pulled together, the shade goes up and down.  You may sometimes need to adjust one string to make the shade even.  The cord condensor holds these 3 strings together at the end.  The condensor is a breakaway, which means if a child or pet tries to pry their head into the cord loop, the force will cause the strings to break free from each other and breakaway the loop that was created, so it's much safer for children.   Keep in mind that if you tie a knot above the knob at all, the child safety function will not work properly.  It is still highly recommended to tie off the cords up high so that a child is not tempted to play with them.  You can find cord cleats like this online for very inexpensive.  

Fix My Blinds sells them for just .70 cents each, as well as some other great shade products!

You can also find them on Amazon


roman shade cleat

People Are Loving the Grosgrain Ribbon Trim Roman Shades!

I decided to do a little search for Roman shades on Pinterest today and I happen to see my lovely grosgrain ribbon trimmed shades (the ones that mimic the Pottery Barn shades) on a few Instagram and websites, Newport Cottages and Decor For Kids, to name a few!  Newport Cottages sells adorable decor, cribs and furniture for nurseries and kids rooms and Decor For Kids is a popular Instagram page that features fun and beautiful nursery interior designs. 



View Newport Cottage Products HERE


View Decor For Kids Instagram Page HERE

The Back of The Roman Shade

Just wanted to share this photo of what the back side of my shades look like.  Keep in mind, I can make the shade with the face fabric on the back side, as well. Recently, I had a customer share this photo with me. Her condo does not allow any fabric patterns to show from the outside, so she asked for me to make adjustments to her shade. Never thought of this before so I wanted to share the pic just in case anyone else has restrictions like this and needs to put in a special request for them to be made differently. Thanks 🤗 


Sew Lovely Presents Our New Online Store!

We're excited to announce that our customers can now purchase custom roman shades in any size or fabric through our website, right here, on!  Up until now, our shades could only be purchased via Etsy or if there had been a convo. and an arrangement set up to purchase with PayPal, check or in person.  Now, you can just check out the listing and select the range that your window size fall in and all the other options, and purchase with ease through direct check out!  We accept major credit cards and PayPal!  

We think this will be such a time saver for customers because they do not have to email and wait for a quote and custom listing, and the price is listed up front.  We hope to add more and more products to our website like custom shades in specific popular fabrics and patterns (for customers who do not want to select their own fabric).  

Check it out!! 

Don't Pay Too Much For A Fabric. I'm Here To Help My Customers Get a Deal!

One thing I really enjoy about running Sew Lovely is helping my customers get a good deal and making them happy!  For example, I recently had a customer email me who was interested in a bunch of roman shades for her home.  I gave her a quote and she was very happy with the price, but did not place the order because she was having a really hard time finding a fabric that she wanted to settle on and the ones that she liked were over $100 per yard.  I then asked her if she wanted to send me a photo or link to some designs that she liked so I could help her search for something, letting her know that you can find a much less expensive fabric that is really nice in quality.  She sent me an email saying she finally found one that she loved at a furniture store and showed me a photo of it. Since I have seen a ton of fabric from customers in the past few years of making over 600 shades, I recognized the pattern and style of the fabric right away.  I hate to let the cat out of the bag, but most places change the name of the fabric so that the customer cannot easily find the fabric online by searching the name of it, and mark the price up a great deal.  This particular fabric (the exact fabric) was only $15/yard online, compared to $45/yard at the furniture shop she saw it at.  Her store was calling it, "Plazza Slate" and it's really called, "Covington Slate," made by Covington Fabrics.

It's always a good idea to search around for a fabric to see if you can get a better price.  This fabric was a medallion/damask design, beige and blue.  So if you Google, "beige and blue paisley medallion damask decor fabric," you might have some luck finding it at a few shops, so you can compare prices.  If a customer ever wants some help in finding a fabric that better suits their budget, I am always here to help :) This customer was really pleased when I told her not to buy it from the expensive furniture shop and sent her the link to the $15/yard one online.  She needs 15 yards of fabric for the shades I'm making her, so I saved her $450 in fabric.  This is one reason why I really enjoy my job!  

Greek Key Ribbon Is More Unique!

I get so many requests for Pottery Barn style Roman shades, and I've made so many of them in the last few years.  I know exactly what the customer means when they email me "I want to replicate the Pottery Barn trim shades."  The shades are solid white with a solid colored grosgrain ribbon along the sides and bottom. The shades are lovely but there are so many other ribbon options out there that can compliment patterns in a room and different color schemes. Take for example, the Greek Key ribbon.  I absolutely love this ribbon!!! Take a look at how it looks as a border on Roman shades!  



Greek Key Ribbon Roman Shades  


Greek Key Ribbon Roman Shades

Greek Key Ribbon Roman Shades


Greek Key Ribbon Roman Shades

Greek Key Ribbon is available in many stores online and in many color options!!! A customer just sent me her fabric, along with some Greek Key Ribbon and I can't wait to make them and see how lovely they turn out!!

Here are some examples of the Pottery Barn style shades with the plain border 





See how the Greek Key Ribbon ones stand out more and are a little more unique? 🤗


Quote Request Form For New Inquires

by Kelly Rinik

I've added a little quote request form to my Etsy page to make it a little easier to make sure I receive most of the details I will need to give you an accurate quote :)
You may copy and paste this form in an email to me and fill it out with the correct info for your request if you'd like.  It makes it easier for me so I know all of your details.



Why Buy Custom Drapery or Roman Shades?

By Kelly Rinik

Considering an entire room when designing custom window treatments can unify the theme of a room perfectly. Extending custom treatments throughout your home helps tie together design elements and tells your own, unique story. It is easy to get a “designer look” in your own home with a few quick tips.

Consider style. Is it casual or formal? Are you drawn towards clean, contemporary lines, or are you looking for a more ornate, lush effect?

  • Examine function. Do you need to control light? Does the heat from the sun overwhelm the room, or is it cold and drafty?
  • Get inspired. Comb through magazines, online design galleries, or even television and the movies. Learn what looks are trending or discover what catches your eye.
  • Look to nature. Color, texture, design. Bring the outdoors in and frame your landscape as you would a piece of fine artwork.
  • Choose your fabric. Start with five to ten samples of fabrics you really love. Order samples to see how they work in your space and light.
  • Create. Try a monochromatic backdrop with pops of color as accents or bold statement fabrics as contrast.
  • Balance and Harmonize. Distribute a dominant color or pattern around the room and accent with coordinating colors and patterns.
  • Mix and match. Don’t be afraid to combine colors, textures and patterns. Play with scale and experiment with blending.
  • Almost done! Look at your space with a critical eye. Do you need to consider a light switch or thermostat? Is the window frame deep enough for an inside mounted shade? Don’t forget the details.
  • Have fun! And make your space your own.

When you opt for custom, anything is possible. The wide selection of fabrics makes the choice of colors and patterns nearly limitless.

Super formal or super fun. Project your style by choosing a print that tells a story, add custom borders to drapes, or layer window treatments with panels, shades and valances. Finish the look with gorgeous hardware.

Functional drapes can add to the energy efficiency of your home. Thermal lining can block drafts and protect against damaging sun.

Custom window treatments can be functional or decorative, fabricated to your exact measurements and created to operate flawlessly. Choose a design that softly filters light or opt for complete block out. Alter, compliment or obscure a view in the room or outside. With custom drapes, shades and valances, you will be sure to achieve your design objectives.

Fine fabrics and expert craftsmanship combine to bring you the highest quality window treatments that cannot compare to off-the-shelf options. Custom treatments are hand finished and designed to last. Consider them an investment in beauty and function.


My Etsy Experience. From Hobby To Business

By Kelly Rinik

Make money from home!  Turn your hobby into a business!  We've heard this before.  While it seems simple enough to do, it actually takes a lot of patience, dedication and hard work to turn it into a reality.  In the end, it really is a great way to make extra money, it makes you feel rewarded and it can be fun at times also.  You don't need to have the very best product out on the market or the most extraordinary skills to have your own Etsy shop, but you do need to have a quality product and a good shop image to get you recognized.  You need to find ways to get customers to click on your shop over someone else's.  If you have some sort of product, however small it may be, you too can make money from an Etsy shop.   

I always enjoyed making crafts growing up.  Never a great artist but I did always enjoy crafting, making dolls, costumes, decor etc.   For a long time, I tried to think of different ideas and inventions and come up with a good product that I could make and sell.  There were a few reasons why I was motivated to do this.  I was not very happy at my current job in television and wanted an exit, another job that would make me feel challenged and accomplished.  I also needed the extra money to buy a house.  I had gotten a headband for running and it had a gimicky marketing image.  It seemed to be such a simple headband but I noticed that the way it was marketed and the image of the company was what made people probably love it.  I thought to myself, "Such a simple thing.  Something I could easily make.  A piece of fabric with a backing and elastic and it's selling like crazy!"  I then tried to make my own and it came out exactly the same.  

I always wanted to be original, so I did not want to copy anyone else's ideas or make the same headband, so I thought of how I could put a twist on it and try to give people a reason to choose my headband over any other out there.  I think it's a great idea to take any simple product that you know people love, and just put your own twist on it.  My idea was to make fabric patterend headbands and sell interchangeable pieces that snap to the side of the headband.  It was one headband with a lot of different looks.  You would be able to personalize your own headband.  I got to work quickly, and started sitting at my sewing machine for hours and hours making and perfecting my headbands and taking photos of them.  I bought felt characters and ballet shoes and cute little dogs and cat felties and added snaps to all of them and a snap to the headband.  I sold the snap on accessories separately.  So you'd buy a headband and then choose your snappies to add on.  My shop, Be Snappy, was born!

Opening an Etsy shop is very simple and it's free to join.  You have to think of a name for your shop and it can't be one that is already taken.  You then have to give a description for your shop and start adding product listings.  I started by adding drafts of products before publishing them all and doing my "grand opening" just to be sure I had a lot of products on there for the big opening because I don't like to do anything half-assed.  I think a shop should have a good amount of products, over 20 is good.  Once you publish your listing you then need to provide a credit card to Etsy and pay for the listing.  Each listing is only about .20 cents to publish it.  You can edit the listing at any time.  There are, of course, a lot of fees that come with it.  Etsy charges a processing fee and a monthly fee.  You get about 3% deducted from a sale that goes to Etsy processing.  Then you get another 3% or so deducted and you're billed every month for those deductions.  I do feel it's still worth it bc Etsy is a great way to manage your shop and a great source of traffic comes through Etsy, compared to just directly on a website.  To give you an idea, I've had 30,000 views that came direct from Etsy shoppers searching for roman shades.  I've had 14,000 views from other sources.  It's very easy to manage your orders via Etsy and create custom listings.  Even though the fees stink, it is worth it to me because I've been very happy with Etsy as a selling outlet and company itself.  

I started selling headbands to mostly friends who were kind enough to buy them.  I got a lot of orders from sports teams and people doing races in a group.  It was so time consuming making the headbands.  I wasn't charging much and for the time it took me to make them, it wasn't seeming worth it.  My sewing machine sucked and kept jamming up and there were nights I would seriously want to throw it out the window and would curse a lot making them. lol I was determined, however, to make my shop somehow successful.  Part of the problem was that I didn't have any children models actually wearing the headbands to show the fun ways they can be interchanged.  

Headband sales were steady but seemed too time consuming for the money I was taking in for them.  It was then I started thinking of something else I could add to my shop that would be more profitable.  In the past, I had made a lot of home decor and soft goods, like pillows, curtains, swags, roman shades and more.  I decided to make a mock up roman shade and just take a photo of it and pop it onto my headband shop to see if anyone would buy it out of the blue!  I couldn't believe it, but someone actually did request a custom roman shade, even though I had zero reviews on them or good photos of my work (since I only made one).  But that's what you need... just someone to find trust in you and let you try it out.  One after another, more people started purchasing them.  I would make sure to always follow up with costomers afterward to ask them for photos of the shades I made them and kindly asked them to leave a review if they liked it.  Reviews are key!  The more you have, the more likely people will click on your shop.  Whenever I see a "you have a new review" notification on my phone, my heart still drops bc I'm hoping it's a nice one :)  Thankfully, I have 91 5 star reviews! :)  As I started to sell more and more shades, I decided to change the name of the shop and focus on the roman shades.  Sew Lovely By Kelly was born!  

Roman shades aren't an original idea and a lot of stores sell them.   However, I put my twist on them because I sell roman shades that are customized and people can use any fabric of their choice.  Also stores only sell certain standard sizes and mine can be made in any size.  Since they cost more, they are more profitable than a little headband.  People love choosing their own fabric.  It's so hard to find the right pattern or color in store bought items.  It's so simple.  People look online on or in the store at a place like Joann's, and then send along their fabric to me in the yardage I tell them to get.  One more key to a successful Etsy shop is to try to take nice photos and to keep them pretty consistent with your image.  

It hasn't been easy reaching the point I've come to with this side business.  I've never worked so hard at anything in my life.  I would dream about it and think about the shop night and day, determined to make my products sell like crazy and also improve my product and find ways to make them faster.  I'd spend hours and hours making the shades.  There came a time when I was so overwhelmed because I could not keep up with the orders in a timely manner.  I would put the shop on vacation mode so that I could catch up, but it would take me 2 months to catch up.  I've cried many times over the stress of the business.  I missed out on precious moments with my baby boy due to trying to make the business a success and get orders out.  I lost a lot of sleep over the shades, staying up until 2am sewing in my sewing room.  I was going to the post office on average of 3 times a week, causing me a lot of stress in the mornings having to package the shades and run around before work and dropping Owen off at daycare.  It wasn't easy but I knew it would get better so I pushed on.  I was determined to make it work.  

The stress of the shop lasted about 1 1/2 years but I finally am pretty much stress free and have it all down to a science!  I buy all of my supplies online, cutting back on time spent running around to stores.  I buy in bulk, saving myself money.  I use the same vendors all the time.  I bought a shipping scale and started shipping from home and creating my own shipping labels and having packages picked up right on my porch.  I bought cool, time saving gadgets to save time, like this cool thing you attach to your drill to screw in the screw eyes instead of having to manually screw them into the wood.  I also hired a wonderful and talented helper last December, Yolanda. She has years and years of professional sewing experience and has been a great help and so wonderful.  I'm so grateful to have found this woman.  Not only is she sweet, but she is always on time and her work is impeccable.  While I still make and construct the majority of the roman shade, she helps out with cutting the fabric and sewing the perimeter. These small steps really help me out!  

It's been about 3 years since I started my business. The road has not been easy but it has developed into something pretty wonderful and I have no regrets.  I don't think any start up business comes as easy as some may think.  And it does take some time to get it right.  I've gotten to the point where I could do this as my primary job, but I enjoy having a reliable and steady income from my day job and not having to deal with worrying about this being my only income.  For a while, I felt like I had two full time jobs.  That's how much time I felt like I was putting into it.  But it's gotten to the point where. time wise, it's more of a side business, but the orders are still flowing.  

It's possible to make a living from selling your craft on Etsy.  It just takes a lot of time, patience and dedication :)