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Conversations with Stephanie McCoy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stephanie McCoy.

Hi Stephanie, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I started this business as a way to make extra money while I was student teaching to become an art teacher. I am self-taught so I had zero experience on how to make them. Since I work from my home, supplies are hard to store but I want to make sure I have every color available. At first, I started to make them as a hobby but was wondering if these would sell? I started selling a few here and there and noticed that people were liking my plushies.

I created an Etsy page and named my business PawMadePlushies where I had my two cats as the mascots in cartoon form. Ever since I started my Etsy page, I receive requests and that’s how it’s been to this day. I love making them and love people’s reactions to them.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It most definitely has not been a smooth road. At first, I was losing money by being irresponsible and just buying so much fabric just to have the colors and making them for my entertainment. I sew everything by hand so it takes longer than the average plushie maker but it’s worth it in the end. My biggest struggle is exposure and having people see my work which is hard during these times. Plushie wise, I used to always have a problem finishing a plushie and then abandon it to start a new one. I’ve been way better about that. A struggle is also that I tend to accept more than I can handle. Basically, practice makes perfect and patience is key.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
My work has a kawaii/cute feel to them. They are not realistic and have a cartoon feel to them. I only work in fleece. I think what sets me apart from others is that I charge much lower than a normal plushie maker since I have experienced the high cost of them. So, in that sense is a huge difference from other makers. I personally like to send photos and step by step to customers to see it’s good so far for them until it’s complete. Customer satisfaction is #1 for me. I am proud of everything hi big I create because seeing a finished product is so joyful knowing that I created that by hand.

Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
I would say make sure you enjoy what you do and not do it just to make money, otherwise it’ll ruin the fun out of it. I wish I had a sewing machine because it does speed up the process but it is very possible to do by hand. Make sure you practice. Practice, practice and practice. I feel like I am still learning and wanting to grow my knowledge so I can’t give any specific knowledge. All I can say is make sure you love what you do and have passion for it. You can’t make anything wonderful with a half heart.

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Image Credits

Stephanie McCoy (owner and creator)

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