Welcome back to the young+creatives podcast! This week we had the pleasure of speaking with Madison Siebers, a recent college graduate, and the owner of Madi Stitches, a small embroidery business based out of Wichita, Kansas.
In this episode of young+creatives we cover several key topics including:
- How I began embroidering
- What it was like hiring contractors as a small business owner
- How I juggle having so much on my plate
- Take the opportunity to keep making Tik Toks
- Getting feedback from people in your life
- How I keep myself from getting discouraged
Connect with Madi!
Check out her Website: https://madistitches.com/
Follow her on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/madistitches/
Follow her on TikTok: https://email@example.com
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young+creatives serves as a networking opportunity to tell your story. We strive to curate a space to promote your passion, and we’d love to hear all about it.
Interested in joining us on young+creatives? Visit our website www.revisionmg.com/youngcreatives and reach out today!
Team RMG 00:00
Welcome to the young creatives podcast brought to you by our vision Marketing Group. Young creative will serve as a platform to promote, discuss and give advice on Millennial creatives coexist in a traditional job
Mikayla Anderson 00:24
okay, so welcome back to the young Prius podcast. My name is Michaela and today we have two very special guests. The first one is going to be a new member of our team, you want to introduce us okay guys, I’m Christian. I am the new marketing coordinator. Yes, so I’m really excited. And then in addition to that, we also have Maddie, is it cybers thiers fevers? Awesome. So she actually owns a company for embroidery. She has Maddie stitches. Did you want to introduce yourself Maddie?
Madison Siebers 01:00
Sure. Yeah, my name is Maddie. And as said, my company or business is Maddie stitches when we make hand embroidered and she embroidered apparel 24. I’m fresh out of college. And this is our first year.
Mikayla Anderson 01:14
Yeah. Congratulations. Thanks. That’s super exciting. So, again, I kind of want to just go into, um, so as far as your 24. And did you ever see yourself starting a business this young? Or like, how did it kind of come about? I’m like, Okay, I want to do this full time.
Madison Siebers 01:37
As far as like seeing myself, probably not in college, but like, as a child. Yes. I feel like I was always kind of interested in like, making my own things and then selling them. My family makes fun of me, because I would like post fashion shows and make everyone pay a quarter to attend. Like my brother, he like couldn’t afford it one time. And I like did it let him join for time. I feel like I’ve always had like an entrepreneurial spirit. And yeah, so I like I didn’t study this in college, I studied Nonprofit Management actually. So like, not for profit. But I started this business in my last semester or my last year, and it really took off. And it just kind of made sense to continue to pursue it because I didn’t have anything lined up otherwise. And it was something I was really enjoying doing. And I want to see where it could go.
Mikayla Anderson 02:29
Absolutely. Well, that’s super, super awesome. And so, again, um, you do mostly like embroidery work. So is that with the sewing machine? Or is that hand stitching? Or both?
Madison Siebers 02:42
I guess they’re both they’re like different things. But yeah, so like I started hand embroidery. That’s what I’ve been doing for years. But it’s not easy to scale a business when everything is handmade for like 10 hours, like we talked about. So I bought a machine when we moved out here in May. And I’ve been learning how to use it and started selling embroidered machine embroidered apparel in August.
Christian Payton 03:05
Yeah, I was self taught. Yeah,
Madison Siebers 03:08
yeah, I’m self taught. I mean, like YouTube videos and stuff like that. But yeah.
Mikayla Anderson 03:13
That’s super cool. So I’m kind of branching off Christian’s question, did you get the embroidery passion from someone in your life? Or did you just kind of see it and was like, Oh, I’ll try it. Like, how did it kind of come about?
Madison Siebers 03:29
So the story is, I was at a church activity. And that night, they were teaching us to embroider, but it was only like an hour long. We didn’t learn much. And they gave us a little thing to embroider. But it was very like scriptural and churchy related, so not super interesting. And I like left it in the church closet that night, and like barely started. And Weeks, months later, at like another church class. I was kind of distracted and bored. And I pulled it out. And I started embroidering. And I realized it helped me listen a lot better. And I really liked doing it. So I started bringing all my own projects to this class every day. And it was my senior year, I think I started and I seriously like, had no, I didn’t take any AP courses. I had a bunch of free periods. So I like had my homework done before I even went home from school. So I would just go home and I would watch old seasons of survivor and embroider like my entire senior year. So that was definitely I don’t I don’t know what exactly, well, I guess I love embroidery because it is kind of mindless, but also at the same time. There’s so many creative things to do with it. So I love being able to design the pattern, but then when it comes to actually embroidering, it’s kind of mindless and you can listen to things or watch things and so it’s like a really relaxing hobby.
Mikayla Anderson 04:44
That’s really really cool. Awesome. So as far as like your business, I know you talked about it takes like around like eight to 10 hours to do. People would say like, okay, it’s two letters kind of thing, but it’s intense. It has a lot detail into it. It’s all handmade. So as How have you been able to manage such a mass order quantity with having that detail, take that eight to 10 hours per product?
Madison Siebers 05:15
Yeah, so basically what I had to do, because the demand was I brought on contractors. So I had a lot of people reach out to me who were, I was, like, really, like, nervous to take the step I’d like thought it was like kind of disingenuous, maybe you’re just like, because it’s handmade and people like want it from me, maybe like I shouldn’t bring on contractors, but honestly, it’s worked out really well. And especially because there’s a lot of people out there who have the embroidery scale, but maybe don’t want to like have to market themselves or build a shop from the ground up. So it’s like, they in turn for their skills, I provide them like an endless supply of customers and orders that they can start and stop whenever they want. So that’s pretty much how I made the demand. But also like as far as like, I still make a lot of them myself. And for me, that’s just kind of, in the beginning, I didn’t really have like a schedule set out. And I was just I tried to make as long as I could. But I have had to come to start, like schedule it and pace myself. Because you can burn out from making the same thing over and over again.
Mikayla Anderson 06:14
Yeah. Right, exactly. So as far as like the contracting thing, how, like, how in depth was that stuff? Was it super scary? Like, especially because like, I, I’m assuming that these are people that you didn’t initially know. And so how was taking that step at such a young age? Like, how was it overall?
Madison Siebers 06:37
I was really nervous. Like my family, my friends had to, like talk me into doing it for like, several weeks, because I just was so unsure about it. But like I mean, it’s gone really well. I think like you said I didn’t like no anyone I feel like I maybe only like three or four people have like the 20 or 30 I’ve worked with in the past, I guess it’s been six months, seven months. And I had to like I also kind of like very controlling, like omit that about myself, like I trust myself to do the job best. And so I have a whole system where like they send everything to me and I check it all over before it gets sent out. And like I had to kind of release a lot of that control. I like to have it not like in quality but like in style even or having it look just the exact way I’ve always done it even though it looks really good still. So I feel like that was the hardest part.
Mikayla Anderson 07:26
For right now I can definitely relate to that. Like it’s, it’s hard seeing something that you’re super passionate about, and then just giving it to somebody else. And like especially with your name being on it, like you still want to have that same quality and everything. So I just want to go back a little bit into the business. So um, you do specifically like hand embroidering machine embroidering? Is there a specific style that you really professionalize and? Or is there a specific like, lines that you’re really passionate about? And how does that make your business Mati stitches in a way?
Madison Siebers 08:09
That’s a good question. I mean, I feel like the floral prints or the floral stitches are kind of become iconic. And like, even when we introduce the machine embroidered, you know, every single one on the national parks is that line has flowers on it. That’s kind of part of the branding throughout it. I don’t know. Sorry.
Mikayla Anderson 08:31
No, it’s okay. Yeah. So you do the national parks. Line, and then you also do the floral lines. So how did those two so you talked about with the floral lines that was inspired by a customer? And then so with like the national parks, how did that one come up?
Madison Siebers 08:52
Why one came up because I was making machine embroidery, custom things that just had wording on them. And someone requested they have 70 wine, and I came out really cute. And I had always liked doing national park stuff. Like even when I was just hand embroidering hoops. I had made some in the past of like the parks me and my husband went to I made little hoops of them. So I’ve always loved the national parks. And so I was kind of ready to like do more than just lettering on the machine. It’s all here. It’s like you’re touching it. And so I talked to my sister who she’s 21 and she’s a great graphic designer and just talked about what if we did a national park sign and I asked my followers on it, and they all seemed really into it on Instagram. And that’s how it started.
Mikayla Anderson 09:38
That’s super cool. Because I like the biggest thing I think as like such a young creative is that you have like these ideas, but you definitely like want reassurance on them. Right and so being able to get like feedback is like super important. Um, because I definitely relate to that. At first sight So as far as like your business, how do you really go about like marketing it? Do you have like ambassadors do you do? I know you have a tick tock and I know you have Instagram. Um, but how do you get the word out about yourself and potentially hiring more contractors?
Madison Siebers 10:21
It’s definitely through tick tock I mean Instagrams kind of were just keeping contact with everyone who’s already in the pool. But like, yeah, tick tock, the way you grab people, I could go on about tick tock and how it helps small businesses for like days.
Mikayla Anderson 10:34
Yeah, yeah. That’s super cool. So like, what kind of content do you like to do? Is it mostly like up close, like the stitching? Or is it kind of personal content? Do you like to show off the products like all that kind of stuff,
Madison Siebers 10:50
I think it’s a mixture of both. I feel like the tiktoks that I’ve actually have done best for me are like using the pictures, I’ve already taken up the product, and then just applying it to a trend seems to be really effective. So those are kind of close ups, or they’re like modeling shots of people wearing the stuff. But then also, I just like to make content about the daily life of small business things and stuff like
Team RMG 11:11
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Mikayla Anderson 11:58
or so How has being a small business overall, it changed your life per se. Like, how has it changed your routine your relationships? Like just in general, especially as like a young person? Like how do you feel owning a small business?
Madison Siebers 12:16
Um, I mean, I feel like there’s been a lot of change in my life because I left school and out of state. So it’s kind of hard to separate. What is because of the business or my job, or because of all those other changes I’ve been through. I do think it’s kind of like, people, I, when people ask me about how my business is doing, I either can give them like a one line, one word answer, or I can tell them everything, there’s really like no in between. So I really struggled to communicate like just what my life is like, but I mean, I get to work from home. It’s like whatever hour hours I want. So Joe given 8am this morning, or 9am This morning, I can stay up late, I like to stay up late. And so I get a lot of work done like past eight o’clock or 10 o’clock at night. So that’s nice. I like being able to do my own hours and being able to start and stop whatever I’m doing. I love that I can I love thrifting. So going during the day that thrift stores, you know, on a Wednesday, because I just do my business whenever I want is great, right? I think the one biggest change has been my relationship with embroidery. Because you know, whenever I say before this past year and a half, just whenever I was watching a show or movie, I pick up my embroidery and do that as well. And I was doing it like every day. And now it’s been 10 months since I’ve embroidered something that like I chose myself or like just for myself, because that’s when things got crazy 10 months ago. And so I like have these projects that I’ve been wanting to do and they’ve piled up that I just have no idea when I’m going to be able to do them again because whenever I go to embroider I’m like I should be doing sweatshirts instead. And so I feel like that has changed for me and it’s sad. Like I obviously still get fulfillment from any kind of embroidery but it’s not the same you know. And so my one big thing I would tell people, I guess advice is like obviously pick a business or a job of something you love to do but don’t make it the one thing you absolutely love to do like your favorite thing. And embroidery is not that for me like I kind of sacrifice that hobby in order to make it into my job but I’m fortunate because I have a bunch of different hobbies that I still love to and like I get the same as or just as much even more enjoyment from and I don’t think I would have been able to continue this if embroidery had been like my one and only thing.
Mikayla Anderson 14:38
That’s really good. Yeah. That’s a really, really good point. Because I think so with graphic design, like obviously I love it with website design. I absolutely love it but I’m not necessarily like burnt out of my life knowing that I can like go through with my other hobbies because I’m so busy doing websites all the time or different things like that. Um, so as far as like your business, how, so you have the embroidery side, and actual design work and doing the stitching? On the other side of it, how do you maintain keeping stock of sweatshirts, like different? Threads, needles, everything like how does that work? Um, give us a little bit of insight. Is it super stressful? Did you hire somebody else? Like, how is it like?
Madison Siebers 15:38
So I haven’t hired anyone else. I mean, my husband helps me a lot like he helped make my website and stuff like that. And also, it helps because I technically don’t keep stock, like everything you see behind me is stuff that people have ordered. So when something someone order something, I go and buy the sweatshirt right away, instead of like, this is what I have in stock all the time. But I do plan to change that. And I feel like that’s kind of the big change that’s coming for me is that I do want to like keep a stock of the machine embroidered stuff. And so it’s definitely kind of crazy. Trying to figure that out. But as far as like other materials, they’re pretty easy to control, like the thread and stabilizers. It’s easy to just buy a lot of those, there’s not a lot of thought that goes into it.
Mikayla Anderson 16:23
Right? And so let’s say I was a contractor, and I wanted to spend the day. So what, like what comes in the kit? How does that work? And as far as like communication, how does it work? Do I do shipping? Like, how does it work to be a contractor to you? Yeah,
Madison Siebers 16:42
so if you want to be a contractor, you would first show me a few photos of just in passing border work just to make sure you have some experience and stuff like that. And then I’d say okay, I’d like you to apply. And to apply, you would have to make a sample sweatshirt of a college sweatshirt. And I would give you the exact details to do because you could be paid for that sample if the sample comes out. And it’s great, and it passes all the quality control that I will actually pay you for that sample. And it will be not only an application, but something you make money off of. And once you have passed that test if you make it so you will order your own supplies, but you get reimbursed for all those supplies. You then agreed to make a minimum of 10 sweatshirts in any period of time, essentially, you can set your own deadlines, you know, up to six weeks. And yeah, I would be sending you the only material I’d send to you with a sweatshirt, you would buy everything on your own, which again can be reimbursed but like when I give you an order, I’ll be like, Okay, I’m sending you this sweatshirt directly to your house. And that way I can control that, like the right sweatshirt gets purchased. And the good quality sweatshirt gets purchased. Yeah. And you work on it, you finish it, you send me a photo, I approve it, you mail it to me, and then I approve it in person and make sure the quality of the stitching also worked out. Because he can’t really tell from a picture a lot of time, and then you get paid and then I give you your next order.
Mikayla Anderson 18:08
Wow. Okay, that’s and you said you have typically how many contractors? Right now I
Madison Siebers 18:19
have about 20 But then I had like I had a tic tock go viral like two weeks ago talking about this. And so I have like 10 More people 1015 more people who are like in the process of applying right now too.
Mikayla Anderson 18:32
So So you are in full working business woman this is not yes. Yeah. So
Madison Siebers 18:40
and running the contractor ships like now that I’ve got down to a scientist not too bad, but that does take a good chunk of my time. Yeah.
Mikayla Anderson 18:47
Mm hmm. So as far as like how are you? How do you juggle it? Like how do you juggle making sweatshirts doing embroidery work doing designer people’s work? Yeah, checking other people’s work, doing design work, responding to emails, texts calls making tic TOCs Yeah, how do you do it? Yeah.
Madison Siebers 19:09
Okay, well the one nice thing about this machine is that like once you click the button it’s just gonna do it so now I can be multitasking it could be making something well I am getting a lot of my like office work done so a lot of my computer emails and stuff like that done. But to be honest, I’m not that’s like kind of the next problem is that I’m not being able to do enough like my demand especially for like the machine embroidered has gotten so bad that like I don’t even have time to market it anymore. Even though I’ve only made like six tic TOCs about it. I know I could reach a much bigger customer base but I’ve been like limited because I can’t I’m not even caught up on the orders I have and so that’s why the next thing is outsourcing for me to essentially no longer be making the machine stitch myself having someone else make it and just being able to do fulfillment and Mark Good thing when it comes to those lots of answers. I’m not joking at all right now, but I do have plans to
Mikayla Anderson 20:07
Gotcha. So if you could give any sort of advice to somebody who may be having contractors kind of dealing with the same situation, talk about like a situation where, or even like the process you went to, with getting through like the scientific, like, how do I explain it? Okay, so Miko cut this out. Okay. So far is like the contracting work, if you could give somebody be just like any words of advice on how you went through the problem solving, like the overall workflow of that, how would you like, what would you give for them for that?
Madison Siebers 20:55
I would say, give yourself a lot of time, so that you can think of every possible problem that could come from it. And that’s honestly what I did. I, a lot of my my parents specially helped me with, like designing the contract and the process to apply to be a contractor. And I like sat there. And I tried to think of every single thing that could make this not work, and then wrote in, you know, whatever the solution would be to that. And so I’d say give yourself time to try and foresee all those possible problems, so you can account for them. And then I’d also just, you know, be ready to make change as fast as they need to happen. Right? Because you’re not going to get it perfect from the beginning.
Mikayla Anderson 21:37
Right, exactly. And so as far as like, as far as like, being someone who likes to quality check, like and make sure that everything is good, everything’s great. How do you respond to people saying, Oh, I would have done it this way? And how would you respond to essentially like constructive criticism? And how has that helped you like, develop, like different stitching on like techniques or processes and all that jazz? I don’t, I don’t
Madison Siebers 22:15
think I’ve gotten any contractors yet be like, This is how I would change it. Maybe they’re afraid of me. But I like Well, this week, what I did actually is I sent out a survey anonymous survey to my contractors, and it was mostly about like, their commission rates and stuff like that. So I tried to give them an opportunity to like, give that feedback, because there’s some things I want to change. But I want to make sure it makes sense to them and see if they also feel the same way. And also, if I’m going to make changes, I want to do like them all at once and not have to like keep making new contracts and stuff like that. So I don’t know if I answer your question.
Mikayla Anderson 22:52
Yes, no, I definitely sincero making time for it is like super important. Now. So if you could give, like any advice to anybody who’s tick tock has blown up, and they’re super overwhelmed with orders, or even somebody who wants to start their own business, what would you say to them?
Madison Siebers 23:18
Okay, well, for those who are like overwhelmed with what happens, I would say, take the opportunity and like write it, but also like, Don’t burn yourself out. And also take the time to question like, is this actually what I want to be doing? Like, when that chaos happens with my first tick tock that basis, basically, there’s one tick tock that really started this all and it was in March, and it got like 750,000 views. And I made like a Google forum for people to say if they were interested in a sweatshirt and write down what they wanted, and I got 1400 order requests on that Google form. So for me, I’m like, I’m one person. And those take 10 hours each, you know, this can take three years. Yeah. And so I had to like, stop and be like, okay, am I gonna, like do this though, I’m gonna commit to this because up until that point, I’ve only ever really done hoops. Like, I’ve just barely started doing sweatshirts and apparel, but like, I’ve always made like, more wall art, not necessarily wearable art. And I just had a question like, am I you don’t have to, like commit to this forever, obviously. And it’s okay, even if you just try it for a month, but like, even before I start that, do I want to do it? So I think that’s important thing to do. But then also, once you’ve decided to do it, I would say yeah, take the opportunity to like keep making tic TOCs because honestly, I don’t I don’t know how long tic tock will be in its prime as far as like the like you said the opportunity that anyone has to become viral and I don’t know how long that will last on tick tock. It doesn’t. Social media. Apps are changing constantly and they they start out really good and then they kind of make it more profitable for themselves
Mikayla Anderson 24:59
summer Right. Yeah, exactly. And so if somebody is thinking about starting their own business, what would you say to them in that aspect?
Madison Siebers 25:12
I would if they’re starting our business, and they want to use tape stock, I would say spend some time on just like a personal tick tock getting to know the app, getting to know the trends, getting to know how small businesses work on the app, then I would make yourself a tick tock account and start posting. And I would make sure your first few videos are really good, because tick tock, it wants you to think you’ll go viral when he first joined the app, so able to give your first few videos more views than normal. So that’s why I say she gets some experience first. Because, like, for me, like on my account, like the stuff I first posted wasn’t good. So once I had some experience, it got better. But I wish that my first ones had been really good. And yeah, and then I would just say consistency, because it just does take time like it took I was on the app for like, eight months before I finally had a video do well. So I’m just don’t give up on it. Right?
Mikayla Anderson 26:07
Okay. So that’s good to know. Cuz I didn’t even know me either. The fact of like, technically get like higher Analytics on your first videos. That’s really good point. I’m thinking on tick tock payments.
Madison Siebers 26:23
The point though, they want you to think that yeah.
Mikayla Anderson 26:26
So that’s a really good point. I think it’s super important to be vulnerable and be like I was in the app for eight months. Yeah. And it took one it was it takes us one video, and like, a certain crowd of people to like, comment, share. And once that does happen, like you’re out of the room kind of thing. And so with that, as far as like managing orders, doing different emailing stuff, what are like the three resources, you said, like, okay, there’s no way I’d be able to run my business without this.
Madison Siebers 27:07
I would say first, like, my friends and family, I get so much good feedback from my friends and family. And this is like, you have to have my friends and family. I just mean like people in your life can give you really good feedback on what you’re doing. And also help you realize, like, if you’re doing this in a way that makes sense for you, like my, my family gave me really good feedback. I’m just like, because they know me so well being like, they know like, I like to control things. And like when it came to like develop that contractor ship, they were really valuable in helping me understand things about myself, and how I should run this. So I’d say those things. Second, I just say like the internet in general, like there’s so much free knowledge out there between Utah, Utah, YouTube, Tik Tok, that, you just, I would say, like you should seek yourself into whatever it is you’re getting into, just find everything you can find out about it, because you don’t know what you don’t know. And you could be learning things you never would have thought of, by just like, like this podcast like this is you know, free content about marketing that is so valuable to people. And so that’s probably the second thing. And the third thing I just say would be like, the communities like the embroidery community and the small business community are so valuable in the same way, there’s so much free information that they share, but also so much support that they give. And so I’d make sure you like, definitely, if your small business games, the small business community, but also whatever it is, you’re into, like, for me, it’s the embroidery get into that community there, either in person or mostly on the internet, because there’s a lot of support to be found there.
Mikayla Anderson 28:46
Absolutely. And as far as like with myself, I give people gifts that I see like they’re gonna love and they’re gonna be like, Oh, my goodness, you thought of me in this way. It’s very special. Yes. Like, I ain’t going to be getting you like some generic candle from Walmart. Unless it’s like something you really love. And so with that being said, support small businesses, please. Especially, because COVID How did COVID affect you? First of all, like, how did it affect you like, yeah,
Madison Siebers 29:20
I didn’t COVID Yeah, COVID already started when I like technically tried to go all in on embroidery. So I would say it helps. I feel like there was I feel like embroidery, like people were trying it as a new hobby for the first time. And so I think there’s just more interest in it. You know, also like people are wanting to follow me back on Instagram or my Tik Tok videos about it. So I guess there’s that part.
Mikayla Anderson 29:44
Yeah, I know. I did try to do some. Oh, no, but like, seriously, like, seeing all these people doing like DIY stuff like mescaline do. And then you try it and you have six So, yeah, you have such, like huge appreciation because you’re just like, how does she do this? effortlessly? Yeah. And she maintains, like, all of these orders. Yeah. And every single product that comes out of her shop, I look at it. I’m like I, this is crazy. Yeah. Like, I seriously have no idea because I’ll be like sitting there trying to do a little cute flower on a sweatshirt and I’ll be like this. get frustrated. Keep yourself from getting frustrated or discouraged being a small business owner?
Madison Siebers 30:39
That’s good question. Again, I feel like friends and family are really supportive. And they helped me keep a bigger picture vision of everything. And I think also just like, I’m a very self motivated person. And so whenever something is not working, I just move to a different project. And work on that until I feel like okay, this came out really good. I can go back to that other thing and feel more empowered to do it. Mm hmm.
Mikayla Anderson 31:06
Yeah, no, that’s a good point. Because I think people get so obsessed with this one thing that isn’t going right. Yeah, really need to take a step back. Because otherwise you’re gonna like blow up. You’re gonna want to quit. Yeah, like, obsess over it. And so, yeah, I think you’re doing it right, like 100. And so what’s next for the business? Like, as far as he was a little a little treat? Like what’s?
Madison Siebers 31:38
Yeah, what’s next is I am trying to outsource the machine embroidery stuffs, all the National Park stuff I am in contact with and working with a local embroidery shop in my area. And we’re going to see how that goes. I’m really just hoping to have some sort of inventory going into Christmas season. So that way, I can just, yeah, market those and get those sold. And hopefully next year, I can get like an actual more stable infrastructure as far as that and actually like keeping inventory going. So that’s kind of like the next thing, big thing I’m working on. I mean, there’s so many like ideas that I’ve had, that we just haven’t been able to, like, work on, because things have been so crazy. You know, I have a friend like developing a software that will automatically digitize Spotify codes to be embroidered. And so we run into this thing where you could just get whatever song you want and get the c