Saturday, January 3, 2015

Saturday Artisan: Ovella Wool

Happy New Year!

Welcome to our first Saturday Artisan post of 2015. 

Say hello to Justen, the owner and artist of Ovella Wool. Natural is always better. Saving energy is even more fantastic. 

Get to know Justen and her amazing wool dryer balls, shall we?





Tell us a bit about yourself and what arts/ crafts that you make?

I am a mom, first and foremost, to three, Aiden 8, Carly 4, and Parker 2. I have been married for over 10 years to my high school sweetheart, and while it has been a rough going, we always come out on top. We live in Midland Michigan, not far from the small town we grew up in. I work full time at the post office delivering mail. Ovella wool is relatively new, while I have been working with wool for a few years, the company was basically formed on a whim! I currently make wool dryer balls and am working on adding felted soaps to my store. My specialty is hand dyeing with natural dyes. It has become an addiction!



What is the story behind your shop name?  

Ovella is Galician for sheep. I am a huge Outlander fan and had originally wanted to incorporate Gaelic words in the shop, but "Caora" wasn't what I was going for. I believe my finger slipped to Galician and before I knew it, I had a name. I also use Galician words for the dryer ball collections. 



Who is your target market?

My targeted market is anyone who is looking reduce their carbon footprint on the plant, wants to save money, wants to reduce chemicals in their home, and who is just looking for natural products.



Which part of creation process that you enjoy the most?

My favorite part is packaging the dryer balls up and sending them out! I hope that people are happy with their purchases and enjoy using my product!



Could you share on how your organize your products, we all can use a little tips here and there in this department?

The organization of Ovella is evolving. All of my supplies are currently located in the closet in our bedroom! They tend to take up a lot of space, and even more so when I return home from the wool processor! 12 pounds of wool tends to take up half the closet! 



What is your best seller?

The Crema Collection is my best seller. It is a natural ivory color and requires the least amount of overall time so they are the cheapest collection for Ovella.



What sets you aparts from your competitors?

My dryer balls are soft! From my understanding, most of the name brand balls are small and dense, mine are soft and light!



How do you balance your personal and work life?

I am currently in the process of learning this one! I tend to work six days a week at the post office, so my evenings include helping the kids with homework, getting dinner around, cleaning up the house, laundry, and finally getting the kids in bed so I can work with my wool! 



What inspires you?

Working with my hands. I have always enjoyed the hands on approach to everything in life, and have always wanted to own my own business. This is the best of both worlds to me, and I get to make money by doing it! 






What was your goal for 2014?  And are you on the right track?

My goal is to get my name out there! I believe that is happening. I have held fundraisers for a local charity, and have had multiple giveaways. Most customers are impressed with the quality and performance of my dryer balls. I also have had the pleasure of supplying wool dryer balls to two stores here in Michigan. Also, to work even more with natural dyes. The colors are amazing and am happy that I have been able to create them without any extra chemicals!


What is the key to success?

Any advice for others running their on-line shop?
Be patient. Sales are still slow for me, but I believe that just like anything else, good things come to those who wait.




What does handmade mean to you?

Handmade means taking pride in your work. You want you work to be a reflection of you, and that is what I try to do. From the packaging to the quality control, I inspect each and every dryer ball to make sure that it is perfect.



Please check and like her FB page: www.facebook.com/ovellawool


Would you like to be featured as a Saturday Artisan and sponsor a giveaway?Here is how to apply.


50 comments:

  1. I don't really have a question, but I just wanted to say that I am a huge Outlander fan too!!!! I just finished the most recent book a few weeks ago. It left me crying with joy. :-) That's a great ending if you ask me!!

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    1. The story is very addicting!! I have yet to make it to the latest book, been so busy that I'm still working on Echo :( but I'll get there! It's nice to see other fans too!

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  2. I've heard you can put essential oils on your dryer balls to make your clothes smell nice. Any idea how much to use?

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    1. I usually use a drop or two per ball. The oils will make your whole house smell! And the smell only lasts a couple of cycles so you can change the smell as often as you would like!

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  3. How much wool do you use for a set of dryer balls?

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    1. A whole set of six dryer balls will use between 3 and 4 ounces of wool.

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  4. These are fantastic! They will also make the perfect small gifts for my eco-conscious friends and family! Love them!

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    1. Thank you!! They do make wonderful gifts, and when purchased, come packaged and ready to give!

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  5. I like the swirls and colors of the wool dryer balls. I like to use dryer balls, and these one look especially nice!

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  6. I would love to try these. I am always looking to save the environment and my family from toxins and save money.

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  7. What an interesting craft pursuit. I did not even know such things existed. Thanks for the blog, Nat.

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  8. Do you think you will branch out and try making other products on down the road?

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    1. That is the plan. I'm working with soaps right now to get some felted soap. But I really want to get the dryer balls in some stores before I branch out too much.

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  9. How do you get natural dyes for some of your brighter colors?

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    1. The brighter colors, or cotton candy colors, are the Doces collection, and I actually use food dye for them. The Terra collection is the natural dye collection and I use a lot of "stuff" to get the colors. Red cabbage, black beans, logwood, fusticwood, cochineal, beets, and assorted berries make up most of the colors.

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  10. These are the cutest dryer balls! So many color choices! Of course, I'd have to keep them away from my cats. They would think they were toys for them. lol - Connie - The Singing Beader

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    1. I actually have a line just for animals! The Feltoro collection features balls that are smaller and felted heavier so they cant pull them apart!

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  11. Any thoughts on expanding your business, perhaps into Canada?

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    1. I am pretty close to there, so you never know!

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  12. Oooh... I love the Crema Collection most of all! :)

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  13. i love these! can you put fragrance or oils in them?

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    1. Yes! You can use any essential oil to fragrance them.

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  14. These are the coolest dryer balls I've seen! I especially love the The Crema Swirl Collection!

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    1. Thank you!! My goal is to make something for everyone!

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  15. My question is: how long do these take to make? They seem incredibly labor intensive. Totally worth the money and so good for the environment too!

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    1. The due process is the biggest time consumer for me. Actually putting them together doesn't take too long, but there are a lot of steps involved from start to finish. Designs are fun, but they can get pretty labor intensive too.

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  16. My questions is what would be some other products besides felted soap you'd be interested in eventually adding to Ovella? Love your shop, keep following your dreams! :)

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    1. I am thinking of making some pin cushions and possible figurine type things. I would love to eventually get into up cycling old wool sweaters, but my sewing skills are lacking to bring that into the business. Wherever Ovella is headed, it's with wool ;)

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  17. My question is: how did you know that wool dryer balls would be a hit?

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    1. I didn't! I had hoped they would,of course. But not many people know about them. In fact, the only reason I know about them is because I cloth diaper. My local wellness store is the one that got me in this business!

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  18. Do you have and advice for women who want to start a business? sonflower277 at gmail dot com

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    1. I could say the whole "follow your dream" or "don't give up", but honestly, it comes down to doing what you like to do. I love colors and designs and this allows me to do that. It also keeps my hands busy and gives me a purpose outside of being a mom and wife. I do this for me. And in turn, it will give back to my family.

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  19. This is the first time I have seen this cute balls and I need them in my life. 😊 orange and teal will be the perfect combination!

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    1. Orange, teal, and hot pink are my favorite color combo right now!!

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  20. These are awesome! How did you first get into making things with wool?

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    1. I got into making these because I didn't want to spend the money for the name brand wool balls. They are pretty pricey. I use cloth diapers and since I can't use fabric softener on them, I needed these! I had extra wool and began making them for friends. One friend happened to work at the local wellness store and the boss saw them. She immediately wanted to carry them in her store!!

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  21. I always find it commendable when people take their passion and share it with others. I love the idea of lowering carbon footprint and having things you can use multiple times. Are dryer balls similar to dryer sheets? Do they reduce static?

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    1. The replace fabric softener all together!! They also decrease your dry time 10-25%, so they are better than dryer sheets! They come unscented but you can use any essential oil on them to get fragrance. As long as you don't over dry, you won't get static with these either! And the best part, they can last over a year!!

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  22. I saw in another post that you have a line for animals. Do you have pets yourself?

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    1. We do! We have a golden retriever named Rex. He loves the dryer balls, and the ones made for animals, can't be torn apart!! Believe me, he's put them to the test!! He can destroy a refusal dryer ball in about ten minutes, but The Feltoro Collcetion, he has yet to demolish!

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  23. I do not have a question but maybe because it is 2a here and I can not sleep. My brain is not working properly.
    Well, maybe here is my question: When you can not sleep at night what is the thing you do?

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    1. Network. If I can't sleep I try to grow my business, either by crafting or online. I also watch a lot of reruns on TV ;)

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  24. Question...How many loads does one dryer ball typically last for? Thanks!

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    1. These will last at least a year! I've read that they can last 1000+ uses though!

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  25. Thanks for taking the time to answer questions and such. I'm not sure I have a question really, but I'll come up with something not quite related. Since this is MLK day, and a lot of his message is about love, and loving others...how do your dryer balls help spread that? I can think of a few things, so I'll bet this isn't hard. :)

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  26. Haven't used dryer sheets for years now - instead use the rubber balls with "fingers'. When these were out, I'm switching to wool dryer balls. These are fabulous!

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  27. I have never heard of dryer balls. Do they work as a fabric softener? How many do you put in with a load of laundry?

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  28. Oops! I'm trying to subscribe to comments, and apparently I have to comment again to do that!

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