Etsy seller, Mollie Johanson of Wild Olive has the ability to make everything she stitches uppercase CUTE. ‘Whether it’s a cuddly critter or a crumbly cake, pretty much everything I draw has a face’. But it’s not just a pretty face that grows an Etsy shop. Find out what does…
Please tell us about your business and how it all started.
Wild Olive is a line of patterns and printables that’s a little quirky and whimsical, and hopefully always cute. Whether it’s a cuddly critter or a crumbly cake, pretty much everything I draw has a face – and I think that’s what gives my work the cute-factor. I started out making pinback buttons with my illustrations on them, then I moved into printable items, and finally embroidery patterns and some quilting projects. My downloadable patterns were what really made Wild Olive what it is today.
Everything you make really is incredibly cute. Where do you find inspiration?
First, thank you! I love cute things like Sanrio and just about anything labeled kawaii. I look to kawaii art and culture for style and trends. Then I look around me. When I need a new idea, even taking a walk through my house will provide inspiration for new illustrations and patterns to cute-ify! I’m also incredibly encouraged and inspired by the community of crafty folks I’ve connected with on Instagram.
Which blog or book would you say was your most useful resource when starting your business?
When I started my shop, there weren’t as many resources as there are now, so I went into it (sort of) blind. I did some trial and error, all while watching what others were doing and seeing what would be a fit for me and my shop. I’m continuously learning and look to Abby Glassenberg, whileshenaps.com and Danielle Spurge, merriweathercouncilblog.com for regular advice.
Any advice for start-ups?
First, be sure to love the work you’re creating. It’s easier to sell something that you yourself care about. I also think that it’s helpful to engage with potential customers by giving them something of value before they buy something from you. In my case, I share tutorials and digital freebies on my blog. But the idea here is to look for how you can connect with people in different ways, building relationships and giving them confidence in you and your shop at the same time.
What’s the most effective way to get your shop noticed?
I’m not sure if I’m the best person to give advice here, because I think I’ve largely been very fortunate and blessed. But I’ve found that sharing regularly within a supportive online community is helpful. And to go along with that, learn how to take pretty pictures, because people are more likely to share quality images. Word of mouth is powerful too, especially online!
EXCLUSIVE OFFER: Mollie has kindly offered our readers 20% off all Wild Olive products. Use the code MOLLIEMAKES to get kawaii embroidery patterns and printable tutorials from her Etsy shop.
Get Wild Olive’s kawaii embroidery patterns in Mollie Makes 54, out now. Available from all good newsagents, supermarkets and our official online store. Sold out? Download it from Zinio, Google Play or Apple Newsstand.