When I think of places I wish I could live, drifting along on a sailboat in the Bahamas would definitely make it onto my list!
So when I met Kim from Charis Baby Designs, and learned that not only did she run an awesome Etsy Shop, but she did it while living on a sailboat in the Bahamas, I nearly freaked with curiosity!
Loaded with questions, I asked Kim if she’d be willing to come on and talk about life on Etsy and on a sailboat! Take it away, Kim!
Life on Etsy and on a Sailboat
Hello Humbleville! I’m Kim, Owner of etsy shop Charis Baby Designs, where I sell washable re-usable waterproof Cloth Nursing Pads, Diaper Cover Wraps, Diaper Changing Pads and Mama cloths.
My husband, 3 children and I live and cruise full time on a sailboat.
Selling baby products on Etsy is a big part of our adventures, making it possible for us to travel and have a small sewing business.
Starting an Etsy Shop
I started my etsy shop back in 2008 right after my 3rd baby was born.
Before she was born, we needed to save money every way we could. I had seen a flyer for cloth diapering at the midwives office when I was going for my pre-natal visit and decided to check into getting cloth diapers for our new baby. I quickly seen cloth diapers were going to cost us a small fortune to buy a nice stash, then I had a thought! I thought, “Well, I can sew… diapers don’t look hard to make… I think I will make my own!” And that’s what I did!
I bought my flannel from consignment stores and thrift stores, and made my fitted diapers really cheap (any one who sews at all can make their own too!) I encourage any one to try!
I also made my diaper cover wraps that I sell in my Etsy store. This took special waterproof fabric and elastic. It took a bit more trial and error to get something I was happy with, my baby had LOTS of diaper covers by the time I had it were I wanted them! I make them in 4 sizes small/newborn, Medium, Large, and extra large.
After making my diaper covers, I had lots of fabric scrap leftover that I couldn’t bring myself to toss out. Knowing I would need nursing pads too, I got started on a design that would be discreet under a t-shirt, and be functional for the job at hand! I came up with both! Mamas give me great feedback on these and that makes my day! We have just come out with a new nursing pad design in the last couple months as well; we call them the Flower petal design, the mamas also say the love these as well!
I also make overnight nursing pads for going longer between feeding or for nighttime when baby sleeps longer!
I make Diaper changing pads that are waterproof and you can wipe them off easily, it folds and closes with a ribbon and a plastic snap! Great for any new mother, baby shower gift, diaper bag, or for sitting on at the beach, in grass at ball games, protects the car seat for potty training.
The list goes on and on what you can do with a water proof mat!
I also make mama cloth pads, more ways to go green and leave less of a footprint on the land fills. I mostly only make these when I have a few bigger scraps to use up!
Pros & Cons of Living on a Sailboat
For fun, I made a quick little pros-cons list to answer some of Laura’s questions!
The pros to running an etsy shop off a sailboat would have to be:
- I can sew out side in the cock pit work on my tan at the same time I’m working my sewing!
- Solar power, it’s FREE to use the sun!
- I spend 24/7 with my little family
- Being able to travel and still have an E.tsy shop for part of our income
- Being able to drop it ALL, so we can spend the day at the beach, snorkel, fish, or go sailing!
The cons to running an etsy shop off a sailboat are:
- It’s more of a challenge to find a post office. We make it a family thing, sometimes we will walk 2 miles or more to get my etsy sales out the same day they come in or the next day!
- It’s harder to cut out and sew on a tiny table and space!
- I don’t like not having enough space to organize my sewing stuff.
- Right now, we are in the Bahamas and shipping costs more!
Our electric is made using solar power, so my sewing machine is ran using energy from the sun! On the sunny days we have plenty of power to sew, use the computer, run 12 volt lights, and water pumps, all day till the sun goes down. The down side of this is on rainy days or if it’s too cloudy, I can’t sew. The up side is most days are sunny!
Kim’s Closing Thoughts
All in all, I enjoy running my Etsy shop on our sailboat! I love living green, sewing items for my shop, and knowing other mamas have chosen, and liked my products!
Lastly, I want to say “Thanks!” to all of our wonderful customers! Thank you for your continued support!