CreapatchKneePatches – Repair Your Kids Clothes with Our Iron on Knee Patches

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_message]Niche : Home and Living
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Tell us something about yourself, how did you get started, do you consider yourself a crafter, maker, artist…

When our son Michiel turned three, he was always coming home from school with holes in his new jeans. We’re not the best sewers or menders of clothing, so we bought iron-on knee patches. But they never stuck very well and came off after just a few items of washing. And they didn’t look very cute either. Furthermore, continuously buying new jeans is pricy, and not so great for the environment, as about 5000 liters are needed to produce a children’s size jeans. We’ve always loved graphic design, so why not open a webshop that sells unique knee patches that STAY-on once ironed on…. as we already had one client in need of them :-). Michiel loved the idea and told us which designs to make. Our patches with Fire-truck design, the T-rex patches, and Fox patches were the first ones made. Then we found a producer partner that wanted to work with good materials and wanted to produce for us in small batches. We invited Michiel and his friends for shooting with the patches in the yard… and was created! That was 2013… and since then we’ve sold over 8.000 patches. Not enough to live from of course… but together we saved 40 million liters of water!

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How did you discover Etsy? Did you have any previous experience in selling handmade products? Why did you start selling online?

We discovered Etsy while browsing for Christmas decorations to buy. A very qualitative platform and a great way to expand beyond Belgium.

What products do you sell, what type of materials are used in your creations, how do you design your products, what makes your products stand out?

Our iron-on knee patches are unique for three reasons; – We make the designs ourselves. You won’t be finding them anywhere in shops as we only sell online ourselves. – The cotton and glue material is of high quality, so our patches STAY-on, washing after washing. – We send them out ourselves by regular post. No low-wage work is involved in the order and packing process.

How was your experience in learning to craft, are you self-taught or did you have a mentor, how long did it take for you to be satisfied with your creations?

Designing took a while to master… and it was a self-learning process. Open source program Inkscape was of great help!

What was your original goal when you opened up an Etsy shop? What impacted your decision to start selling online? Do you consider online selling as a side-job, full-time job, or extra income to pay for your hobby? is not a full-time job. But it’s great to promote upcycling and make customers happy with our own designs. It’s growing every year, so it’s now generating extra income and becoming a side-job.

Did you have any fears or reservations before opening up your Etsy shop? Were you worried about profitability or product competitiveness? What are some concerns and questions you had before you got started? How did you overcome them?

The difficulty with Etsy, in the beginning, is standing out, without too much marketing budget. Because once you start buying visibility, it’s difficult to make it profitable. But if you make your shipping free of cost, and once you get good reviews, your organic visibility increases.

How long did it take for you to get your first sale? Did you ever think you would make a lot of sales in the first year? What was the goal you were hoping for? How many sales an average you get per week?

We’re now getting about one sale a day. The goal is to get 5 sales a day through Etsy.

Do you have a job outside Etsy? If not, are you able to commit full-time to online selling? How does your typical day look like? How do you manage time?

It’s quite easy to combine Etsy with another job, as we outsource production to a partner. We just take a moment every evening to pack our orders (from Etsy and from The following morning, one of us three walks or bikes to the postal office to drop them off. When we go on holiday, we just close the shop or extend the time of processing the order.

How does your manufacturing process look like for e.g. your best selling product? Do you create products ahead of the orders? Do you customize your products, if so how? What are the tools that you are using in the manufacturing process?

We outsource production, and produce in small batches of 150 to 300 patches, depending on the design. So we always maintain a certain stock for all our patches that are online. And if we run out-of-stock, it only takes about 2 weeks to produce new batches.

What is the biggest impact on the profitability of your shop? How expensive are the materials you use? How do you price your products?

The biggest cost is shipping. That’s why we use regular posts; it’s the only profitable way to send from Belgium all over the world. It’s also very reliant, even without tracking. Since Corona, however, shipping time is not very accurate.

What inspires you when you’re creating? How do you get ideas for new products? What are some methods or tools you use to get creative?

Our son Michiel is our biggest inspiration. He decides what’s HOT, and what’s NOT! And he’s usually spot-on 🙂

Do you ship your product internationally? How do you handle postage pricing? What is the average time it takes from the order to the delivery? Do you use free shipping? If so, why? How do you package your products?

We ship our product all over Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia, with the good old postal services. Continents such as Asia and Africa are not shipped, as their postal services are not as reliant. We ship for free, as that is what clients are looking for, and it gives better visibility on Etsy. We pack the products ourselves. The paper we use is FSC certified, and the little plastic pouches are in PLA.

Are you worried about competitors? Does it impact your business in any way? If there are a lot of similar products, how do you make your own stand out?

There are a lot of competitors, and it’s not easy getting loyal customers as children only need knee patches for a few years. Good reviews and happy customers are the best way to stand out!

How do you deal with disputes or bad ratings/feedback? How do you manage presale and post-sale communication and customer satisfaction?

We’ve had a few bad ratings over the years, from customers that don’t read the ironing instructions. If you don’t follow them, the patches don’t stay on long. Bad reviews, are not something you can totally avoid. Contacting the customer and finding an appropriate solution is the only way out.

Has selling on Etsy changed your life in any way? If so, how? Did you ever think you would get this far with your shop? Have you ever been stressed about dealing with customers and manufacturing products? How did you deal with that?

We already had a webshop online Extending the shop to Etsy has not affected our way of working. It did not increase complexity, as the Esty App is easy to use.

How important is social media for your shop? What are some common tactics you use to promote your products? Do you spend money on ads outside of Etsy? How do you generate excitement/hype around your products?

We have a Pinterest page, but we don’t spend money on communication. It’s pure organic reach.

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What are some things you don’t like about Etsy? If you could talk to the CEO of Etsy what recommendations would you tell him to improve sellers and customer satisfaction?

Not all sellers on Etsy are selling unique products. It would be good to do more checks, in order to limit to shops that either design or produce unique products themselves. That would increase visibility and the prospect of making it a full-time job.

What are some things you did to set your shop for success on Etsy? What is one lesson you learned the hard way?

Photos are key. So either you become or good photographer or you work with a professional one!

What piece of advice would you give to new or established sellers or those considering selling on Etsy? How can they avoid beginner mistakes?

Make sure you don’t oversell your product. Don’t create expectations you can’t meet. Be true in photography and description. Because returns and bad reviews are the ends of your shop!

Anything you wish to add, feel free to do so here. We value your opinion

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to tell our story!


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