UPDATE: In addition to her own blog, Erin Duncan is now a monthly contributor to Dear Handmade Life. Read her new post, "Why Taking Time Out for Self-Care Makes Your Creative Business Stronger".
I met Erin through Instagram when I spotted a "Mazel" and "Throwin' Shade" embroidered hanky on her feed. This led to a couple major realizations: 1. I wasn't the only one watching a Real Housewives marathon on BravoTV and 2. Erin was a rad chick. The juxtaposition of modern slang paired with the time-honored craft of embroidery is what she is known for. She's also known for being funny and real. Don't let her self-deprecating humor fool you, Erin is one smart business lady. Oh, and her hankies were featured in Glamour.
1. Who are you, what do you do, and how did it all begin?
I'm Erin "Wren" Duncan, and I'm the owner/creator at wrenbirdarts. I started my little business about 3 years ago. First, as a jewelry business, and then as a wallet and purse business. After moving to Denver from Chicago, I found myself painfully bored. I started embroidering, and tried listing a couple of embroidered napkins, which garnered a really positive response. After researching my newfound “hobby”, I realized that hand embroidery is really kind of a lost art, and something that I enjoy doing immensely. Then, the idea of modern embroidered hankies came to mind one day, as a way that I could blend a little humor into my craft. And today, I have a full time embroidered handkerchief business.
2. Where can we find you on social media?
Pinterest, Instagram, FB, and Twitter. You can find me as wrenbirdarts on all of the above. I also have a blog, which is more of a lifestyle/personal blog, because there is only so much that anyone wants to read (or that I can write) about embroidery.
3. Why do you use social media?
I thinks it's necessary as an e-commerce business. I want to reach as many potential customers as possible, who may not otherwise find me. I only sell online, so SM is my brand of advertising.
4. Which tools do you use for creating or posting content?
No tools-is that bad?? :(
5. What effect does social media have on your business?
Brand recognition, greater customer reach, increased traffic and orders, and the unintentional benefit of SM has been connecting with so many other great makers, and learning more about their process and branding strategy.
6. How do you measure success on social media?
Personally, I spend a lot of time looking at my statistics, and changing my strategy here and there, to see what is more successful when it comes to posting on social media. I look at increased likes, increased followers, increased direct traffic hits (etsy and shopify), and of course, increased sales.
7. What aspect of social media do you find most challenging?
Specifically Twitter-I don’t really get it. Also, increasing followers and creating original, intelligent content.
8. What makes you follow another brand back?
If I find their feed to be funny or interesting, really. I want to see more than just product and family pics, nice balance between personal and business. I like to look at how others, particularly creative types, view the world.
9. Which brands have social media you admire?
Betsy & Iya, Yellow Owl Workshop, Lisa Congdon, and Folk Magazine. I think that because social media is a platform with a short attention span, I really change who I follow, and admire every few months. You tend to get a feel for someone’s style, and then run across another brand/artist, and fall in love with their feed. It’s ever changing.
10. Any advice for other brands just getting started on social media?
Don't over post product pictures and/or instasales. Find a nice balance between business and personal. Include photos of your process and workspace.
Let people get to know the human behind the brand.