Interview With Linda of Jo-Lin Designs Etsy Shop
I currently live in Beautiful Northern Minnesota ~ about 20 miles from Lake of the Woods ~ right on the Canadian Border.
I’m married and we have a teenager, a tween, and 6 fur babies. 2 Kitties, 2 dogs, & 2 ferrets. Needless to say, there is never a dull moment. Usually while tring to sew, I have Black Kitty on my sewing table supervising, Pico (our Pom/Chi) on my lap sleeping, and Fat Kitty observing somewhere in the room.
Etsy Shop: Jo-Lin Designs
1. How did you get interested in cats? How old were you when you had your first kitty?
I’ve always been a kitty lover ~ my first cat was a calico kitty Peony Violet ~ I must have liked flower names at that time! 🙂
I was just 5 years old. I have had a cat ever since. My most recent kitties came about in an interesting way. I live in the country
in Northern Minnesota, and there are lots of farms around ~ which means lots of barn kitties around. Well, one day in late May my children were outside playing and our dog was outside with them. The dog was having a fit in my garage, so I went outside to see what was going on, and there was a wild kitty on my husband’s 4-wheeler. So I brought the dog inside, thinking the cat would just run off once the threat had disappeared. Well, a little while later I went outside and found the wild kitty giving birth on my husband’s 4-wheeler. So I put a little box out there for her and some food and went back inside and left her alone. She stayed in the garage with the babies for about 4 days and one morning I went out to check them, and the mama kitty was gone…. So there were 3 little babies laying there. I left them alone but kept checking, so the next morning when the mother still had not returned, I did some research, and started taking care of the little angels. I bottle fed them and kept them in a box inside. When they were big enough to eat regular cat food, I had a friend who wanted the one little girl, and the 2 boys have been with me ever since. Their names are “Fat Kitty” & “Black Kitty” ~ named by my children 5 years ago. They are the coolest cats and so loving ~ I truely feel like their mommy. 🙂
2. How did you discover Etsy? Did you consider other ways to sell your products?
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I first heard about Etsy one morning on Good Morning America I believe. They were talking about people making handmade items and selling in a really cool environment online. I’ve sold on Ebay since 2000, so Etsy sounded like something right up my alley. We started our Etsy shop just last April.
3. Do you sell your products in a local store in your area?
We do have our products in a local store called Soulutions in Warroad, Minnesota
4. Have you been successful at selling your products on Etsy?
Etsy, for us, was slow going at first, but it is definitely starting to pick up. I have lots of inquiries on our pet beds ~ the last month, of course, has been our strongest month yet and I’m still getting custom order requests.
Have you always been successful, or did you end up getting a lot more traffic after being featured on a specific blog?
This is the first time we have been featured on a site or blog, so we are excited to see what happens. We’ve been successful on Ebay, and would love to see Etsy as busy as our Ebay store.
5. Do your customers ever give you new ideas for products?
Yes, for sure!! I used to just make the pet beds ~ just plain without the personalization ~ and a customer asked if this was something I could do. I said yes, and immediately my personalized pet beds started selling. It’s so much fun to hear the names
of pets all around the world! 🙂 I also just had a request for a personalized pet blanket ~ so now another new product for us was born. We are getting ready to expand into more personalized pet products as well.
6. Have you thought of featuring a Ragdoll cat is some way? (Had to ask.)
No, but that would love to make a pet bed for one!
7. Are you a one wo/man show?
Jo~Lin Designs is actually my good friend and neighbor Jo Ann and myself, Linda.. We do alot of craft shows together, and both specialize in different products for our business. I make the pet products and she makes our soy candle line. We even have a pet deodorizer candle! 🙂
We also make totes, diaper bags, and anything else we can come up with.
8. Do you have a blog?
9. Do you do custom ordering? Can someone return it if they don’t care for it?
Yes, we do custom orders ~ usually with personalization. We work very closely with the customer to find the right fabrics, and then we do the personalization. We don’t normally accept returns on personalized products – unless we were to make a mistake on spelling ~ but luckily we haven’t had any complaints yet.
10. Can you share a story with us behind any of your products that you especially enjoyed working on?
I really enjoy making a pet bed for a little kitty named George. I guess he was a tiny little kitten that was found in a field all alone, so they rescued him and brought him home. I love rescue stories, they just touch my heart.
I’m currently working on some pet beds for a Chihuahua rescue group in New Mexico ~ we are adopting a chihuahua named Mango from them, to add to our fur babies!
At Floppycats.com we feature Etsy sellers on Fridays by interviewing them about their work. If you would like to read more interviews and see some of the wonderful hand crafted items related to cats that are made by Etsy sellers, please feel free to check out our other interviews with Etsy sellers.