Best Advice I’ve Been Given :: Lindsay With The Cottage Mama

by Admin on 24/05/2013

in Guest Editors 2013, Resources

During most of 2013, will hosting a monthly mini-series, each month edited by different crafters and designers. Enjoy!

Introducing Destri from The Mother Huddle :: The theme for this month is Advice For Starting and Growing a Creative Business :: Stop listening to the advice of those that say it can’t be done, and seek the advice of those who are successfully doing what you want to do.

Destri :: The Mother Huddle

I am super excited to introduce you to Lindsay of The Cottage Mama today.  She not only embodies the example of “getting things done” — she makes things happen. I love that, and I am trying to learn from it. She’s so gracious to others in her industry, and is always ready to offer insight where she can. Since she has found great success in the industry I am branching into, I was really keen to hear her advice. It’s perfect for any creative business, enjoy!

About Lindsay and The Cottage Mama


My name is Lindsay Wilkes and I am the designer behind, The Cottage Mama, a boutique children’s clothing and sewing pattern company, the writer behind the Sewing and DIY blog, The Cottage Home.

When I started my business three years ago, in early 2010, I wasn’t given a whole lot of advice, but I sure have learned a lot along the way. I’m hopeful that some of these tidbits I’ve learned will help you along the way as well.


The Best Advice I Can Give You

1. Be naïve, it’s ok. I started my business originally selling children’s clothing and as a sewing / DIY blogger. When I started on the scene no one knew who I was. Who was I to think that I could go from nothing to something in three years? In retrospect, I’ve decided you need to be a little naïve to succeed as a creative entrepreneur.

To be honest, no one had ever heard of me, my blog or my business and a normal, rational thinking person might have thought that there was no way I was going to make a splash on the scene without having connections or already being out there. But luckily I am a dreamer and a believer and I have always believed anything is possible. And you should too because it is. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

2. Set small incremental goals and celebrate each success. Success is not going to happen overnight. It’s important to set small, manageable, doable goals to keep you motivated and excited about your business.

When I first started blogging, I had one follower/reader, my mom. I can remember very clearly when I reached 25 readers, 100 readers, 1000 readers, 5000 readers and now 10,000 readers. I celebrated each and every one of those successes because they were a big deal to me. And the same type of things goes for my pattern sales. Don’t sell yourself short by trying to achieve something right off the bat that a person in the same business has already been working on for many years. As cliché as it sounds, just take one step at a time and be proud of each and every milestone you achieve.

3. Define your own personal style. There are many different designers that I admire and look up to for inspiration, but I feel it’s very important to find your own signature style that is uniquely you. You may not know what that style is right off the bat, but the more you create, the more you will discover what you like and don’t like and will ultimately start to define what makes you, uniquely you.


4. Find a mentor. When I first made the decision to transition my business from ready-made clothing into my current paper sewing pattern business, I wasn’t quite sure where to start. Luckily I came across someone who had already established their pattern business and was happy to help me get the connections I needed to start me off on the right foot. If you find a mentor that helps you along the way, make sure you pay it forward and do the same for others that are trying to enter your same field of business. You will achieve more success in your business if you help support fellow colleagues rather than viewing them as competition.

5. Don’t compare yourself to others. As hard as it may be, try to stay focused on your goals and don’t let comparison squash your dreams. It is very easy to get caught up in watching someone else’s success and it make you feel like yours will never be possible. Don’t let yourself do that. What makes your business unique is you and that is something very special.

6. And finally, I do not believe success is luck driven. Creative individuals who are successful make it because they work very hard. Yes, the timing can be right for certain opportunities that help things fall into place, but first and foremost, you must be prepared to work. Once success begins to happen for you (and how you measure that is completely up to you), you will see a snowball effect start to happen that will lead to new and greater opportunities!

Thanks so much to Lindsay for taking the time to share her advice with us today. She has a few big things in the works right now, so be sure to keep an eye out on her blog and shop.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grace May 24, 2013 at 12:40 pm

I love the advice about being naive! I totally was starting this, and now almost a year in I have some doubts from time to time, but am trying, and mostly succeeding, in keeping that beautiful, optimism that let me start down this path!


2 Belinda Basson May 30, 2013 at 2:38 am

I started my craft business in 1998 and have never looked back. Yes being Naive helps! Doing what you are passionate about will always work if you work hard at it because you care and you want it to work hard enough. I do my best to help others with their business, I love to see them grow. Sometimes advice falls on deaf ears, just let it fall…Thanks for a great read.


3 Tanya June 9, 2013 at 7:16 am

Lindsey has done a great job and I love the patterns designed by her, although I was very disappointed to find (after purchasing paper patterns as they were originally) that I would be unable to sell anything made with her pattern which means that I’m not looking to buy her new designs which are even better than the originals but it’s frustrating to be stopped on the street and have to explain that no I can’t make and sell these. I would love to know if this policy changes, everyone has their own style and fabric choices and so the same design can look markedly different.


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