FCBA: What is your name? Where do you live? (City/State/Country)
Answer: Rachel Polen VaBeach Virginia, US
FCBA: Are you married? Children? Grandchildren?
Answer: I've been married to my husband for 11 years this year and we have 2 great kids that helped inspire my business. Mia who is 4 and into everything princess and fun, and Connor who will be 2 soon that just likes to be sure I have plenty to do around the house so I can feel useful!
FCBA: What is the name of your business? What products to you make/sell
Answer: Red Windmill Designs. I make crochet goods of all types really. Things for children and babies, photography props for infant and newborn photography, personal pampering items such as slippers and face scrubbies and then things for the home as well such as dishcloths for your kitchen.
FCBA: Who is your target client?
Answer: Hopefully just about everyone! I try to make a little bit of everything so there is something for everyone!
FCBA: When did you start your business? What was your motivation?
Answer: I started my business in April of 2010 more on a whim than anything. My husband had been laid off from work and I thought if I could make $20 here and there it would be great and then everything just grew!
FCBA: Is this your only occupation? Do you work full-time/part-time?
Answer: My first job is full time stay at home wife and mother.
FCBA: How long before starting your business did you (Sew, Crochet, Knit, Paint, etc)?
Answer: I actually started crocheting years ago so I would have something to do during football season. My husband is a huge football fan and watches as many games back to back on the weekend as possible and while I enjoy a game here and there I was bored! So about 8 years ago I taught myself to crochet.
FCBA: How do you advertise/build awareness?
Answer: My fan page mostly and then great word of mouth by some wonderful clients!
FCBA: Do you use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc)?
Answer: Both! Although I'm not the best at updating my Twitter page! Twitter is The_RedWindmill on Twitter and Red Windmill Designs on FB
FCBA: How much time do you dedicate to promoting via social media?
Answer: Quite a bit. I try to spend time everyday sparking conversation with fans, letting them know what I'm working on and trying to get feedback on what they would like to see in the future.
FCBA: Do you have an online store? Website with shopping cart, Artfire, ETSY, Zibbet, etc
Answer: Yes on Etsy. www.RedWindmillDesigns.etsy.com
FCBA: How successful is your online store?
Answer: Very in my book! In such a big sea of so much talent to be found on Etsy I was thrilled to finish out my first year of business with over 150 sales.
FCBA: Do you offer in home shows, local craft shows, business expos, etc?
Answer: Home shoes mostly. A good bit of my work is custom done which tends to lend itself more to one on one events than craft shows.
FCBA: How successful are your in person sales?
Answer: I love home shows. It's great for people to be able to touch and try on, not to mention see the colors in person and get a feel for what they may want for their own items.
FCBA: Looking back, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Answer: You never know what will catch on! So many items I thought were a "sure thing" never seemed to be very popular, and then other items I made up on a whim sold like crazy!
FCBA: What would you do differently? And why?
Answer: You know, nothing! I have learned so much through trial and error!
FCBA: Where do you see your business in the next year/5years?
Answer: Hopefully just growing.
FCBA: What is one thought that you would like to leave with our readers?
Answer: Create what you love and love what you create! I have the best two jobs in the whole world. I get to be home with my family and have my own career as well.
Thank you Rachel and we wish you much success!!