Home Applicants Veterans Spouses Contact OCEN Archives
Register Subscribe Military Service Employment Journal

By Valerie Eierman

Military  Spouse - Mother - Entrepreneur

Spouse Nation Update

In June, the MSEJ brought you the story of Valerie Eierman: A military spouse determined to create a path of her own.  Her entrepreneurial adventure of designing fashion scarves, baby gear and home décor, has allowed her to raise her children while still contributing to her family, financially.  It’s hard to believe that it all began as a hobby, but we are proud to announce that Valerie’s business has become so much more.  As this savvy business woman continues to build momentum, she is being recognized and approached by popular online boutiques, such a zulily.com, and is carving the way for military spouses across the nation who are ready to build a portable career out of something they love.

When I was little, I used to dream about having my own craft shop. I just never knew what exactly it consisted of. Sometimes it was a card shop, other times it was an art gallery, most likely inspired by my grandmother, an artist who sold her paintings at art shows or by commission and who encouraged me to paint and be creative.

I first opened my Etsy shop in September 2010, with limited business up through December 2011 consisting mostly of family and close friends. I didn’t get serious with my endeavor until early 2013. I wanted to do something that would offer more year-round sales, something that could really take off as a business and be more than just a hobby.

When I started, I mainly had knitted items that limited sales to late fall and winter. After some brainstorming, I expanded the variety of items available to cover more seasons. Minky blankets and other coordinating baby items seemed to catch a lot of attention. Burlap and rag wreaths were added as well, introducing a “Home Décor” category to my shop. Once I had more items, I needed to expand my customer base. There are so many shops on Etsy, that it’s easy to get lost among other businesses. I decided to create a Facebook page to help promote my shop.

Networking with family and friends began to slowly spread the word of Eierman Emporium.

This past June, I was featured in the MSEJ as a military spouse, stay-at-home mom of two children, and someone who has created a portable career out of something they enjoy doing. Since this feature, the number of fans on my Facebook page has increased to triple digits.

I have reached out to potential local customers, most of whom are fellow military spouses or members, and the number of followers increased as these people shared my page with their family and friends.

Direct business through Etsy has also increased, sending my items to different states throughout the country. Using Pinterest helped to link people directly to my Etsy listings. Through this outlet, I was contacted by a buyer for infant apparel at zulily.com. This opened up a whole new marketing tool that will not only increase exposure but increase sales as well. Looking back at the year, I really could not have foreseen as much progress as I’ve been able to make. I have much more potential for growth in this endeavor, but I am both pleased with where my first sale of a knitted hat has led me and blessed to posses the talents and support system to make it all happen.

You can visit Valerie’s shop online at http://www.etsy.com/shop/eiermanemporium


LIKE the Eierman Emporium Facebook page HERE

2013 Military Service Employment Journal
Web Site Design By Kellie Gunderman, CASY-MSCCN