Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Sunshine of Autumn Quilts - Handmade with Love

I have started a new feature on Following 31 that I hope you are enjoying. Each week or so I am introducing my readers to someone whom I feel models the Proverbs 31 Woman's life in one way or another. A prominent trait this great Biblical woman possessed was that she added to the family income by buying and selling. According to Scripture, she "considers a field and buys it." She is a tremendous role model to us women who want to be stay-at-home moms and care for home matters while helping to provide for that home in financial cares. 

Owning a home-business is the number one way that many women have been able to juggle home and business. This week I would like to introduce you to a friend of mine, Sunshine. Her business is called Sunshine of Autumn Quilts and I know firsthand that she makes beautiful quilted products - and at very reasonable prices. Let me encourage you to pay her Etsy shop a visit to see for yourself and maybe place an order if you're in the market.

1. What is Sunshine of Autumn Quilts all about?

When I started Sunshine of Autumn Quilts it was about bringing "Sunshine" into people's homes. I enjoy making various items for other people. What I was surprised to find was people paying me to do that. It brings me joy to take speciality orders as I know they mean more to those I am making them for. I wanted to use a talent the Lord has provided me to share His love and goodness to others.

2. When did you start this business?

I started my business online two summers ago, however I have been making items for family and friends for the last ten years or so.

3. What events led you to start this business?

The events that led me to start my own business were many. I was working at the time as a caregiver to a lady who was bedridden with dementia. It was a part time job and did not pay all that well and I wanted to supplement that income so that I could stay at home with the kids more. Also I wanted to honor the memory of my mother in law Joyce and my grandfather Lynn. They had both told me I should sell my items when they were alive and I felt this nagging that it was what the Lord also wanted me to do. I first started on Ebay selling books to get money to start it up and then finally selling quilts. Then I moved to ETSY because their listing and selling fees were more reasonable. However, I still sale more word my mouth then anything.

4. Tell me something about your products and why you feel they are important to the marketplace.

I like the idea of creating something that can be cherished. This is easily done by many of the quilts I make. My favorite is the Baby Genius Quilt because it is a wonderful item for babies 6 months and older and I know that it really does help with their development and encouraging moms to provide Tummy Time for their babies. It is also something that can become a keepsake which means a lot to me. I enjoy making Tshirt quilts as well for the same basic reasons- something that I can make that will then be a treasured memory that is tangible for someone else.

5. What are some of the difficulties of owning a home business?

I find it hard sometimes to say no. I can take on to many orders and stay up late working on them, stressing about it. Another issue is donating too many items when you know the money may not always be available to do so. However, I lean in Faith to know that if the Lord intends for me to make the item it will all just come together. I think the biggest issue I have right now is advertisement. I would love to take on more orders and use my time, talent and treasures to do the Lords Will and be a Proverbs 31 wife but I dont' have the finances to get my name out there so that I get more orders. Thus, I truly depend on word of mouth.

6. Conversely, what are some of the benefits?

I love volunteering at the elementary school. I love being able to attend events that my children are in, or have the freedom to babysit for friends etc. I would never have those benefits if I was working full time. We have done that before and I truly felt torn between being a good mom and neglecting them. I am thankful for this time to work out of the house.

7.  What advice do you have for Christian women who would like to start their own home businesses?

I would say the most important thing is truly praying about it. Coming up with a plan that works for you and knowing that you have been given creative talents in many areas from the Lord and that he encourages us to use them. Sometimes you may have to supplement with other work opportunities to truly make it work but its a great feeling to do something to serve the Lord and still be able to provide a little income.

You can see more of Sunshine of Autumn Quilts here.


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