This is an article that I originally wrote for my Patreon in November 2021.
Hello and welcome to my behind-the-scenes overview of the Limited Time Shop by Evergarden Reform!
Preparation for the local and online shop took two months. I began working on creating many of the items in early September, as I realized that my stash of scrap fabrics were overflowing. That’s what happens when you make and sell over 700 fabric face masks by hand!
Although well organized, I couldn't fit them into a box anymore.
So, I took on the task of trying to figure out what to do with them. Most of the scraps were not big enough to make anything of substance on their own, so I spent time ironing out each piece one by one, and separating them into categories of use.
For example, long strips became quilted pieces of decorative pumpkins or pumpkin coasters. Small squarish pieces were cut into circles and made into brooches or jewelry. Large pieces of remainder fabrics were turned into scrunchies. Tiny pieces with characters or fun prints were turned into adhesive patches for adding to brooches. Lastly, small remaining pieces were cut into quilting squares to be used in future projects.
You can also see that I had a very ambitious list! Only some of these came to fruition.
Finally! Some extra space left in the scrap basket!
Out of all the makes, the pumpkin coasters took the most time. The pumpkin coasters were inspired by Minki Kim’s Pumpkin Coasters pattern, and altered to my liking. First, I had to lay out all the pieces that I thought would compliment each other, sew them together, and lay the quilt over each size's template to figure out if it would cover the entire shape. This was the most difficult, especially as each piece was a different length, which ended up giving each coaster a unique shape.
Besides the coasters, I also made decorative fabric pumpkins, baby bibs, fabric covered notebooks, and accessories. I also used up the remaining pre-cut fabrics for the various mask sizes (which is why there are SO MANY 😂). Last year, when demand was high, I pre-cut quite a few masks in an attempt to be ready for the next peak, but this year, things have tapered off with the increased variety of supply.
The assembly line
Kind husband modeling the eye mask
I finished all the items by October 29th, including a couple extras that didn't make the cut.
One example is the eye mask. My mother lost her favorite eye mask during one of their recent travels, so my father asked if I could make one for her. I ended up making four in total, which were immediately requested by family members (one to the husband, three in Christmas stockings). Also, I had trouble keeping all the batting inside, so there are issues with each one of them, making them not suitable for sale.
I also spent most of the time making the decorative pumpkins in my Kotatsu (the heated table pictured) while binging season 2 of The Babysitters Club on Netflix.
Once everything was sewn, I packed up everything into labeled bags, baskets, and boxes.
I made signs and advertisements, too.
For the first time in what felt like forever, my worktable was clean!
The local pop-up shop
My husband and I made a sign together that explained to potential customers what we were selling. The host of the event said it wasn't easy enough to see from far away, but we still had customers coming in despite the lack of visibility. However, as the festival was not advertised well, people who came to look around often didn't have any money on them, so about half of those who came into the shop just stopped by to look and say hello.
The results of the festival shop were as follows:
The bibs and notebooks sold out immediately
Kids were happy to see anime-inspired masks, and most of the sets were bought by their loving parents
Many people bought coasters, even though they were not sold as sets
I learned the meaning of "shibui". One customer kept saying this word to me, and I wasn't familiar with it. I thought it meant "astringent", as sometimes this word can mean this, but it turns out that it's actually a compliment. I thought she was complaining about the fabric choice, as many of the fabrics are not the most trendy, but it turns out she was saying that I had a refined taste. Yay! 😊
I met many of my neighbors that I hadn't met yet, and had an opportunity to talk with them
I successfully ran a shop in Japan, which I've never done before!
I was surprised how much time it took to get everything together for the online shop, but I was able to make a couple of sales thanks to a couple of kind friends. I still need to improve my marketing strategy, and I will be moving away from online sales of physical goods in the future due to international shipping complexity/high overhead.
For those who were able to be a part of this journey, thank you for your interest! ✨
➡ Also, if you are in the area, you can buy some of the remaining items and more at my local booth. Learn more at this page.
Thank you for reading, and take care. 💕