Happy Feature Friday!
We’re excited about today’s feature with Cherylyn of The Felting Dorcas and think you all will truly love the wool products she creates! The wool she uses not only looks so amazing (who else wants to just touch it!?) but we think it’s so important that they’re free of chemicals and harsh dyes. Cherylyn puts so much heart into what she creates and wants to use her work to impact others as well — supporting various causes with each purchase. We are huge advocates of making purchases that have a greater purpose and love makers that use their gifts and talents to give back. So while you may love what The Felting Dorcas creates, supporting her brand has a larger impact! We can’t wait for you guys to keep reading to learn more about Cherylyn and the gorgeous wool products she handcrafts.
: Tell us a little about yourself.
: I’m Cherylyn, currently residing in Melbourne with my family. I am a cat lover and apart from creating, I also love baking! I started my Etsy store, The Felting Dorcas, in 2015 – it focuses on making handcrafted items out of high quality pure wool, like baby mobiles and garlands.
: We love your felt decor! How did your shop, The Felting Dorcas, get started?
: After some experience in the corporate world, I want to run or work in a service-based business that will allow me to use the proceeds to support a needy community. I’ve always liked working with my hands – I used to make cards for friends, was into flower arrangement for a while – so it seemed natural that I started this product-based business that leant into that passion of mine, creating products that I like myself whilst allowing me to contribute more to disadvantaged children and mothers in other parts of the world.
: You’ve always had a passion for crafts and being creative. What drew you to felt and what do you love about crafting?
: This entire venture actually had a curious prototype – my partner and now husband once requested for a felt duck. We saw a little DIY packet for a felt duck in a shop one day and he was very attracted to it because it wore underwear. One modest duck led to a habit of sewing felt pieces at night after work, and experimenting with wool fibres and needle felting. I found myself looking forward to it every day. I’ve always loved the process of moulding something into being, guiding it past its work-in-progress stage. I’m still in awe of what two hands and a bit of imagination can produce.
: You put a lot of heart into your business and every creation you make. We’ve always loved this aspect of buying directly from makers. There is so much more meaning behind your purchase. What does buying from The Felting Dorcas mean to you?
: First of all, it means high quality stuff! I make each and every felt ball pieces and I’d like to think that I’ve looked into every aspect that makes your experience with The Felting Dorcas great. My felt materials are dyed using chemical-free, non-toxic and AZO free dyes. It’s perfectly safe, even for babies.
Another aspect that is a joy for me, definitely, and hopefully a joy for all my customers, is the fact that I make sure to personally deal with each and every one of your requests. I am with the customer from start to finish, and I am happy to include any additional customisations to the pieces we offer.
Lastly, of course, any patronage from a customer will mean a patronage to needy children and mothers in our community. Even our purchase from a Nepalese supplier (a fair trade organisation) is directly supporting women in Nepal (child labour free), giving them opportunities or work to support themselves and their children while most of their husbands work away from home.
: You also give back to your community through your shop! What has that been like for you?
: It is the end point of every felt piece and the vision that gives me and my work meaning. The unique model of this business is such that larger chunks of the proceeds can be funnelled directly to those in need – since there are less middlemen and competing stakeholders. I started sponsoring my first child through Compassion this year which is really a milestone for me and our business. This is a major reason for why I am compelled by the work of The Felting Dorcas, even though it can be a bit of a 24/7 job at times!
: What is it like working with felt? How do you come up with your design concepts for items like your beautiful mobiles?
: Felt is so fun to work with in its various forms: from wool fibres to formed shapes such as felt balls and felt sheets… felt has always been my favorite material to work with, different wool forms will allow me to create different shapes. My design concepts are more like what I would like to see in my own home – simple and functional, yet providing bold statements to a room without overstating anything. I tend to like working with a few colours to create beauty in simplicity.
: Your pieces make such fun additions to any party decor! If you could set up the party of your dreams how would you envision its decorations?
: I imagine, to go along with a festive mood, I would make it really pop with summer colors – my favourite colours like orange, green, pink, yellow and aqua will definitely be in one way or another, with some white to contrast with. Maybe I’d summarise it with the words, fruity and fun?
: What are some aspects of running your business that you had to learn on the fly? Did you have any resources that helped you when you were starting out?
: I had to learn basically everything as I didn’t have prior experience in eCommerce or online business. I could rattle off a list of things completely foreign to me that I had to pick up independently: product selection, photo taking and editing, product testings, pricing, branding, sourcing, purchasing, customer service, social media, online tools, logistics etc. It was this 30-day ecourse that gave me a kickstart, it’s called Set Up Shop by Create & Thrive.
: What are some of your future goals for The Felting Dorcas?
: I would like to diversify my offerings by coming up with more designs, or maybe even new products altogether. And of course, this would all lead to sponsoring more children and women in poverty.
I’m considering setting up a local crafts shop one day… but that’s for a little further into the future.
: Any advice for those looking to make a shop out of their crafting talents?
: Don’t hesitate to try it even if you have no experience! Also, don’t let sales or money be your ultimate motivation. That is definitely not why you would want to enter the crafts industry for. The old dictum holds true: do it because you genuinely love it. And try to make a difference with what you do as well. We trade in beauty, so try to spread a bit of that beauty around to people or parts of the world that need it most.
See more from The Felting Dorcas at: