Tampa Bay Artisan, Whitney Baker & The Wondermint Shoppe
There are so many cool people out there doing amazingly creative things! From time to time I thought it would be fun to shine a spotlight on them & highlight what they do. Since it’s fall and the holidays are just around the corner (only 14 weeks til Christmas- yikes!) I thought it was the perfect time to talk with Whitney Baker. I met Whitney through her hubby and when I found out what she does & how creative she is, I knew some of my clients would love to know about her. Are you one of those families who has an Elf on the Shelf? Ever need inspiration on what to do with that guy? Well, the Wondermint Shoppe is your answer! Whitney makes incredible accessories for those Elves and makes me wish my kids were still young enough to do this!
Here’s a bit from my interview with Whitney….
Hi Whitney! Can you tell us a bit about yourself ?
I’m a Mom of two boisterous little boys, a wife and a designer. I’m originally from Maryland, but have been in this Florida heat for the last six years, and loving every minute!
Can you tell us about The Wondermint Shoppe? How did this start? How long have you been in business?
The Wondermint Shoppe is my Etsy store where I sell my handmade goodies, mostly Holiday miniatures. My shop had been open for a while with a bit of activity since the beginning of 2015, but it was an afternoon last September that changed the game for me. I was daydreaming about the upcoming Christmas season, which I countdown for all year long, and I got a pit in my stomach when I thought of the Elf on the Shelf. That darn elf – such a love/hate relationship! I love the joy and magic it brings to my boys each morning, but it seemed every night was a battle in creativity. The routine was I would get all tucked into bed, perfectly comfortable and then realize I had forgotten to move ‘ole Judy Garland to a new location. If you own and actively participate in a full season of Elf-on-the-shelf nights and this hasn’t happened to you, then you are just as magical as the elf. I realized I needed some fun props to keep my elf entertained for the season. Turning to Etsy, I was sure I would find a nice selection… so many I’d have to narrow down my selections. To the contrary, I found nothing. After another 20 minutes of research I realized there was nothing to match what was happening in my head. I literally got to work that very minute and had my first sale within the month! Between mid September and early December of 2015 I sold over 1,500 miniatures and I’m hoping to triple that number this year. What’s better is my Christmas elf doesn’t have to just sit on a shelf anymore and it takes no effort at all with a wardrobe of fun props. I still have to get out of bed to move her around though.
What are some of your more popular items?
All of my holiday miniatures are designed to fit Christmas elves measuring under 20″. It’s a different scale than dollhouse miniatures, which look disproportionate with the Elf on the Shelf. Each set of props includes 2-5 miniature items and is titled under MY ELF IZZA. My most popular kits are My Elf Izza: Pizza Lover including a Supreme Pizza with a removable slice, functional box and gingham napkin, the My Elf Izza: Pirate kit which offers a mini hat, hook and patch and My Elf Izza: Troublemaker with a whoopee cushion, slingshot and pebble. I have some new kits this year though, that are quickly gaining on them like My Elf Izza: Ready for Santa with milk and cookies and My Elf Izza: Taking a Sick Day with tissues, thermometer, blanket and ice pack. They are great for mixing and matching too, which offers additional set-ups for your elf.
Where can we find you?
You can find me on Instagram @thewondermintshoppe, on Facebook at facebook.com/myelfizza and on Etsy at etsy.com/shop/WondermintShoppe
How long does it take you to make these items and how long does it take to ship out the orders?
The items can take anywhere from minutes to hours depending on detail and how many I’m making. This time of year I mostly make things in groups of 25 so that I can build an inventory for future orders. I try to make about 50 My Elf Izza kits per week, but most hours I work are after my kids are in bed, so I have to cut myself off in order to avoid being a Mombie (Mom Zombie) the next day. The processing time for my orders is 5 – 10 business days. Last season I was at the post office almost every day of the week, so this year I’m trying to streamline my process and only go two days a week at most.
Anything else you’d like to tell us….
Yes! To anyone thinking of opening an Etsy shop: DO IT! It has been such a bright spot in my life. The difference between a crafter and an artisan is income; I am so blessed to be able to make money creating things I love. I have recently unearthed little polymer creations that I made as young as 9 years old. 9! Which not only means that I could have saved a lot of those college dollars (Sorry Mom and Dad!), but that I also could have avoided all that time I spent in my 20’s flailing around unsure of myself. It was there all along, I just needed someone to tell me that it was possible to make a living at it. Now, I’m living proof that it’s possible, and I when I sit down to my clay supplies I know my 9 year-old-self is doing a happy dance. Don’t doubt your talent, have courage and put it out there!
Thanks Whitney! Isn’t she amazing? If you haven’t yet, please click the links to check out her Instagram, Etsy page and like her page on Facebook. Oh and get those orders started now! You’ll thank her late at night in December when you might have been cursing that darned Elf on a Shelf but now are happily relaxing & watching your favorite show!
Do you have a small business you’d like me to highlight? I’d love to hear from you. You can comment below and I’ll be in touch!
(All images courtesy of Whitney Baker)