Kenyon Entrepreneurs: Madeline Thompson ’16

Among Zippy Craft's wares are these adorable happy little crochet fishes.

Among Zippy Craft’s wares are these adorable happy little crochet fishes.

When she’s not chilling with Laci Green or Ollie the rabbit, Madeline Thompson ’16 is apparently hard at work sewing, crocheting, and smashing the patriarchy. On her very own Etsy, she offers a sleek Kenyon-purple keychain, fuzzy things to keep your hands and drinks warm, and a variety of other cute bits and bobs. The Thrill gets to know her and her online business after the jump. 

THRILL: When and why did you start making crafts?

MADELINE: I’ve always loved making crafts because I can never NOT be doing anything. So when I was little my mom always got me lots of craft supplies because it kept me busy, and my grandma, who babysat me, sews, so she taught me at a young age. More recently I started making crafts to have a creative outlet so that I’m not just wasting study breaks on facebook. Plus it saves money – now when I see something I like for sale I think, “I could make that” and then I do, or at least attempt to, haha.
T: If it’s not a closely guarded secret formula, how do you make some of your things? Say the key rings, for instance.
M: A lot of it is made with my sewing machine. For the key rings, I order the hardware in bulk from another seller on etsy, and then I get cotton webbing and ribbon from Hancock Fabrics. After that it’s just a matter of sewing them together. There’s a tutorial for making pretty much anything on the internet, so I rely on that a lot. The cost pretty much just covers the materials because they’re so fast to make.
T: What’s it like using Etsy?
M: I thought about it for about 2 years before I actually started my shop because I was so scared, but it’s actually very, very simple. It costs 20 cents to list an item, and they get a percentage of your sales, but the vast majority of the money goes to the sellers compared to other sites. Plus, all of the monetary transactions are handled by them, which makes it very easy.
T: How would you advise anyone who wants to start crafting for Etsy?
M: Just do it! Like I said, it only costs 20 cents to list an item, so why not? And then advertise like crazy. Even if your first few buys are sympathy buys from family members (mine sure were), eventually it will build on itself.
T: Would you rather be a dragon or be best friends with a dragon?
M: Obviously best friends.
Let us know if you or a friend would like to share a craft or skill!

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