Woman Who Work: Chelsea of Wilde Threads Studio

Chelsea, owner of Wilde Threads Studio, is a woman who wears many hats. She is running an Etsy shop with embroidered totes, bookmarks and pouches. She is also killing the TikTok and Instagram game, which offers a behind the scenes look at her shop.

How did you learn how to do embroidery? What inspired you to learn?

    I’ve always been a diy kind of girl. I love crafting and making things myself, but I didn’t start dabbling with embroidery until college. I was pursuing a costume design degree and taught myself some basic embroidery techniques to use on our costume construction final. We had to research and construct a piece based on a specific time period and me, being a huge Jane Austen nerd, I chose the regency era. I had so much fun stitching all the flowers at the border of my dress, that embroidery became a fun hobby. I would add little designs to my own clothes and make gifts for my family, as a creative outlet.  

I also happen to be from a pretty creative family and we have a holiday tradition called “Crafty Christmas” where we all make gifts for each other. We all have our mediums that we like to work with, some of us bake, some are great at woodworking, and my niche is sewing and embroidery.

Tell me the story about how your Etsy shop got started?

    The idea for my Etsy shop had been brewing for a few years, but I didn’t decide to start the shop until the pandemic. Like the rest of the world, I spent most of 2020 trying to find creative ways to destress so after I finished all the jigsaw puzzles in my house, I started sketching. The sketches became sample tote bags and the idea to open my own shop grew until I was workshopping names and making a color palette. I was also lucky to have small business owners and creatives in my family to guide me. With their help, by the fall I had a legitimate small business and I launched Wilde Threads Studio in November 2020. As an introvert, tapping post for the first time was terrifying and I spent the whole day texting my best friends for reassurance, but I’m so happy with the shop now. 

How do you get inspiration in creating a design?

My inspiration for new designs primarily comes from nature. Sometimes it comes from a walk outside or I’ll see a beautiful floral painting while scrolling through Pinterest, so the spark for each design varies. For my most recent collection, I was working on a completely different project, took a trip to the fabric store and found a simple sky blue daisy print. I took home a swatch and that became a whole collection, so I pull inspiration from everywhere.

How long does it take you to complete a piece/complete orders?

The production time for each project really depends on the design. My sketches tend to be line drawings and usually take 5-8 hours total to complete. I designed a collection last summer that involved hand-dying rainbow gradients onto each tote, so those orders took about 12 hours each to make from start to finish. As time consuming as those bags ended up being, it’s still one of my favorite collections.

You are killing the TikTok game. How has TikTok helped grow your business?

    I’m not gonna lie, I didn’t understand Tiktok for a long time, but like everyone else, it grew on me and now it’s my go to app for making videos. Similar to instagram, the embroidery community on Tiktok is always growing, so it’s not just a great place to promote my business, it’s a great place to find other makers who share the same passion for stitching. Tiktok allows me to show myself and my process, which is key for a small business. The real star of my tiktok is my dog Penny who wants to be in all my tiktoks and she’s managed to sneak into a few. She’s always a distraction, but also helps me make great content!

Are there any new collections coming soon to the shop?

    The Spring Collection has just launched in April. I was inspired by daisies and butterflies to create three designs, all embroidered in a soft gray. I’m also excited to bring three new silhouettes to shop that will feature again in future collections. The first is a drawstring, the second a circle-shaped tote, and the third (maybe my favorite) is finished with ruffle trim. I wanted to design something romantic and delicate for spring and I cannot be happier with the end result.

Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to get started with an Etsy shop?

I would tell someone starting an Etsy shop to find your passion and let your personality shine. It can be really easy for a small creator to get lost on a big site like Etsy so you have to be ready to promote yourself to find success. It’s 2022, we have tiktok, instagram and facebook at our fingertips. It’s easier than ever to put yourself and your work out there and find your community. I know for myself, I’ve found the most amazing community of fiber artists through social media whose work inspires me everyday. So my biggest advice would be to post. Find a niche you’re passionate about, make something you’re proud of and share.

Be sure to follow Chelsea on Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, as well as check out her Etsy! (All photos were provided to me by Chelsea).

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