We first met Allie through the world of Instagram years ago, even before we opened up our mint door! We were smitten with how sweet and talented she was and, of course, fell in love with her hand-stitched work!
In addition to being our resident hand embroidery instructor, Allie has grown what was a little hobby business into her full-time job. It's been incredibly inspiring to watch how she has grown her business in the past few years.
With a rebrand under her belt, a launch of over 40 new designs and products, and having her goods stocked in over 20 stores in the U.S., Allie is truly living her dream!
We sat down with her, while she was in Austin for two of her hand embroidery workshops, to chat about her small business journey and get advice on the best ways to evolve your brand!
Give us a little back story on your business:
I started embroidering while I was in college and found it so therapeutic. It slowly began to take over my apartment and I had a new found confidence that I decided to open an Etsy shop to share my work with others!
Tell us more about what you do!
I own a brand named after me, called Allie Biddle! I design + illustrate hand stitched greeting cards + joyful deskware! I’d describe my work as dreamy, mindful, and kind! I currently work out of my home studio where I dream up pieces for my line, work on production, and answer all the emails.
How were you able to take your business from an idea to an actual successful business online + in stores?
I credit a lot of my early growth to The DIME Store in Denton, Texas. They were the first store to carry some of my early work, even before I had an Etsy shop. Community is SO important! My shop may be a little one woman show, but I’ve learned so much from the collections of small business + maker friends I have!
What's your proudest small business moment?
Being able to write myself a check! I gave myself a year to do that—and in that time I was able to get my cash flow settled, give myself time to explore new products + all handle all the small costs it takes to run a business. Slow sustainable growth really does take its time, but it’s so worth it!
Real talk: Owning a business can be hard, what’s a small business lesson you wish you would have known when you got started/wish you could tell your earlier self?
I think when you start a business, you get so consumed by what other artists are doing and how they are ‘successful.’ But the truth is, no other designer can be you and nobody has your voice + your unique perspective on the world. People connect to that. Stay true to that + you’ll be good!
Last year, you rebranded your business. Tell us more! How did you decide to do that? Why did you decide to do that?
So, my brand was initially titled ‘bedthread.’ It started with just lil' embroidered hoop pieces I had made around my apartment in a very therapeutic + hobbyist fashion. And the more time that went on, I realized that my work was growing stronger + more ‘me’ and that my shop was a full-time one-woman show! I really wanted to celebrate that, and didn’t feel the need to hide behind something that wasn’t my own name. The transition was kind of slow + steady, I announced it by changing my Instagram + Etsy handles. And then I just gave myself time to come up with a new logo, and develop my new line of illustrated work! The response was so wonderful and I’m so grateful to those who supported my rebrand!
You recently launched a new line of designs and goods- what does the design process look like for you?
With bedthread, I was making these hand-stitched greeting cards, and the entire card was completely hand-stitched. They were wonderful + made their way into shops, but they were also so time-consuming! So, when I rebranded I had to rethink how to create products that weren’t so crazy, as it would take SO long to finish an order for a store! So, I took a Brit + Co class from Becky Simpson of Chipper Things on learning to digitize your drawings on Adobe Illustrator. I learned how to make that program work for me and invested in my printer (Karen the Canon!). Now, I illustrate by hand, digitize it, print, and then only stitch a small detail on each of my greeting cards! It’s a process for sure, but it’s an easier and ultimately means better designed products for my customers!
How do you decide what designs to launch? What does it take for a design to make the “cut” to be added to your linesheet?
To be totally honest, I’m still working on this. Next month is the first time I’m unveiling a fall/winter line + having to think about the buying season ahead of the actual season we're in! Up until now, I've always just designed super intuitively and almost very impatiently! Once I have an design ready, it’s very likely that it will be available on my linesheet and etsy shop that same week! But I do try to evaluate my products often and make sure they all have a cohesive look! I’d rather have a line of 50 items that are both really strong designs and see my voice throughout, than 100 items and be all over the place.
When it comes to design, are there any Instagrammers you seek inspiration from or think we should be following?
Who are some of your favorite independent makers and why?
I love makers that share a genuine passion for their work and for sharing with others! I’m endlessly inspired by my great friend, Savannah Kurka and her brand Savvie Studio (@savviestudio)! Not only is her line amazingly beautiful + well-designed, she’s also a true maker’s maker. She’s always willing to talk out those business/wholesale/design issues we’re all having, and is always excited for those who gain great opportunities! I also feel those vibes from Worthwhile Paper + The Good Twin Co. I’ve never met these two ladies in person, but I'm sure I will one day!!
Any fun products or design sneak peeks you’re willing to share?
Ahhhh, all the things! Stickers, notepads, + canvas totes are all on my list right now—stay tuned!