After many hours of designing, editing, tweaking, and with many thanks to Dan, Chickadee Swing’s new home is ready to go! I am so pleased and excited to see this little dream of mine happening.
As I was giving my friend Sadie a little sneak preview while she helped with some of the tweaking, she mentioned that she actually had no idea why I had called my store Chickadee Swing. So I thought it would be fun to introduce the new online store with a little recap.
How Chickadee Swing began
New Years Eve 2008: I decided to make a little dress for Aneliese on a whim and it turned out rather cute. Feeling a wee bit proud of myself, I had to post it on facebook for my friends to see! An acquaintance (now a friend so special to my heart) asked if I would make a similar one for her little girl. And so Alicia became my first customer; she was a perfect one with her gentle encouragement. She didn’t get my first product though as it was lost in the mail and I had to create another one. I knew that as long as I had little ones at home, I wouldn’t be actively using my training in education but I loved the idea of creating art through sewing. Even better if I could make a little extra from it and so we began tossing around the idea of having a little online store.
Why Chickadee Swing?
Spring 2009: I had actually come up with a couple of other names that I liked but discovered that there were other stores with similar names and I did want something unique. At the time, I called Aneliese my little bird because of the way that she acted like a baby bird when she wanted to eat. We tossed around bird names but nothing was sticking until I told Dan that I liked Chickadees. They are so cute in their simple covering with that pert little black cap that bobs as they hop from branch to branch or search for food. I think that we probably said Chickadee a hundred times each and our conversation was something like this; “chickadee store… chickadee kids…. Chickadee clothing….chickadees on branches…Swing…Swing!!” “Chickadee Swing”! As soon as Dan said it, I just knew that was what I wanted. Random yes, cute and funny yes, and perfect for what I had in mind.
Chickadee Swing Design
Summer 2009: I can’t draw. What I see in my head must come out through words because it is not going to come out in drawn form very well. I knew what I wanted but I couldn’t find it or draw it. Then we called our dear friend Kate whose creativity and talent simply dances from her fingertips. Some conversation and a couple of sketches later, she had exactly captured the natural, joyful look that I wanted to create my shop around.
Chickadee Swing on Etsy
October 7, 2009: As much as I wanted to have ‘my own’ little shop, I knew that it just wasn’t going to work. At some point, I had discovered Etsy and loved the idea of all the handmade products being sold in a community. And so we set up my shop on there, launching it on October 7. I started out slow which was a good thing with wee ones and many moves. Gradually though, I began to get more orders and my sales increased to where I felt quite busy when I began combining Etsy with word of mouth and a booth at farmers market. However, I still had been wanting to have my own online store that I would control the design, sales, and just be more independent.
Chickadee Swing Products
At first I only made simple little dresses that I often embellished with hand embroidery; I can’t draw so instead I ‘draw’ with a needle and thread. Then I designed a bunting bag or sleep sack because Aneliese refused to stay under her covers and it worked well. And then a re-usable cloth banner for her first birthday, a crown for her second, and wool felting came through a 1st birthday ball for Cecily. Basically, everything that I now sell has been started either because I wanted it for my girls or as a gift for some one. I try to make clothing that is comfortable, of natural fibers, and cute without distracting from the child wearing it. The toys that I create follow the same principle and I want them to encourage imagination and creativity without dictating the child’s play. Chickadee Swing products may not be trendy nor trend setting but I like to think that they are unique and timeless.
Chickadee Swing Now
My priority is still focused on being a wife and a mama. Having two small children with another one just waiting to take on the world, it is hard to find the time or energy to spend much time creating. Not to mention that with our move and the transitional state of our house, I am still trying to discover what is where. However, as we see this as the most “permanent” that we have ever been, I do want to see Chickadee Swing slowly grow in a way that fits the needs of my family and I while still offering products for others to enjoy.
I also hope that my little shop will be a way of encouraging others that many things can be handmade with quality and character and that simplicity is something worth striving for. I love seeing others inspired to try making their own things although that means that my sales will be less!
And now that you know the story of Chickadee Swing, here is the new shop.
Please take a look and let me know what you think! If you see something that you particularly enjoy, please click the “like” button as that will help me tell others about my store.
We did check everything multiple times but if you notice something out of place that we missed or have a suggestion, please let me know as I am sure that there are still some kinks to work out.