Our Handmade History

History is important we have to look back at where we have been in order to know where we are going. 

Back in July of 2011 I decided to teach myself to sew and to try and make purses.  I am unable to work outside of the home due to me taking care of my mom.  I opened Bags By Hags on Etsy in September of 2011.  I was totally clueless!  In January of 2012 I was invited to join a brand new team known as Handmade Circle.  Debbie Nowicki of Growing Phases Farm started this wonderful team, and with their help I have come a long way!  I have learned so much over these past few months, I have made wonderful lifelong friends, my shop continues to grow into my Handmade Dream, and now I have the honor to be serving as Team Captain to this wonderful circle of talented artists.  

The following is a brief History of some of our great Team Members and how they came to be a part of Handmade Circle:

Debbie Nowicki of Growing Phases Farm:

Started the group so other Handmade Shops could connect & help each other learn the ways of online shop ownership face to face or rather computer to computer.  With the constant changes that occur daily on the internet, being able to communicate and share with others who are striving for success with their own shops seemed a logical and smart move ... thus, Handmade Circle was created and has grown so much in less than a year now.   With all the interest and involvement, and my own new ventures taking place with the new farm and bees another logical step was to hand over leadership to those with the right skills and commitment and I couldn't be happier with how the Team is growing each day.  

We all need each other in one way or another and I am very happy to be part of this wonderful circle of forward thinking shop owners!  Thank you!

Rhonda Franklin of TipsyGLOWs
Shortly after joining Etsy, I participated in my first BNR and had so much fun that I decided to host my own to help others learn more about them.  Almost immediately, several members of the Handmade Circle group began participating in my BRN by purchasing, helping me learn the BNR ropes, and inviting me to join their group.  I was so impressed with how friendly, helpful, and funny everyone was that I immediately joined the team and my business has never been the same.  This wonderful group of people has not only taught me so much about marketing my small business but has shared in my joys and supported me in times of need.  I honestly can’t imagine a more supportive or fun group existing on Etsy that the Handmade Circle group.

Deni Boardman of Cutterstone Jewelry
I think I was actually invited to Handmade Circle, just about the time I was looking around at teams and how to network to promote our jewelry. I found this team to be my favorite out of all the teams I have looked into. This is a fun group, and we try to promote as we are promoted. I have evolved to become more active, promoting our group's products daily. It's a great place to get feedback and bond with other Etsy artists.

Kathy Koontz of Flowertown Originals 
In January I was very discouraged with the way things were going with my Etsy shop. I was a member of a few teams but they just didn't feel right for me. So I started looking for some where new to join. I somehow stumbled across Handmade Circle, read what they were about and decided to join. It was a new team with not too many members. I was hoping to grow with them and boy have I. I have learned so much, from BNRs to Twitter, blogging and more. For the first 8 months my shop was opened I only had 23 sales. In the 7 months since joining Handmade Circle my sales have more than quadrupled and I have met countless other crafters and artists that I now consider my friends. I am so thankful for this team and all of it's members.

Jayne Willis of Twiggy & Opal
I found HMC 9-10 months back.  I saw a post in a team comment thread & thought...hmmm!  Not being much of a facebook user, I thought this could be a first step in conquering that fear.  It has done that, but more than anything I have met some amazing ladies!
It surprises me how much I have learned from this team...I don't think I could have done it with out all the support!  From timid and unsure to confident and stronger.  HMC is a daily part of my world now!

Sumanasa Jyoti of Grateful Beads
etsy had just switched the search default to relevancy.

my sales tanked after they did this. i started looking at the etsy forums and the talk

was so negative i was so disappointed and discouraged. one day i was on facebook after 

just having made my fanpage, and there was Debbie's smiling face in a little 

profile pic. i was in the group! just like that, it was just meant to be i guess. i don't remember

joining or clicking on anything. Handmade circle is very uplifting and inspiring. i'm glad to be here

even though i'm not sure how i got here!

thanks, this will be fun to read!

sunshine and butterflies

Troy Stengel of Camermaidjewelry
I have been a member of the Foxes Den Team on Etsy since April, 2012, less than a month after I listed my first item on Etsy. I really love that team and noticed a number of members started talking about this "Christmas in July" event being hosted by the Homemade Circle Team. It sounded exciting and like a great promotional idea! I decided to join the team to participate. Long story short, I am so glad I did, because I love this team! Our new captain, Marsha, is fantastic and has everyone's best interests at heart. I love the members and we really help one another brainstorm, collaborate and promote!

Lulu Divine of Divine Lulu Creations
Hi, I'm Lulu Divine of DivineLuluCreations, I was very very very new to Etsy and the crafting world when I discovered the Handmade Circle Team. Actually, I really hadn't been online at all, no facebook, no blog...twitter..what's that? One day while trying to figure out the Etsy basics I got a little notice over my envelope (I learned that this was a pm or private message) from Debbie Nowicki of GrowingPhasesFarms she told me about handmade circle and invited me to check it out. She was so welcoming and thoughtful and I was feeling very shy, not just about meeting new people but about showing people my work. I was so new and felt like a tiny little minnow swimming with experienced and talented sharks. I decided that if the captain was so welcoming, humble, thoughtful, and kind that it was probably a reflection of her team. I joined and everything about how I felt about meeting people online, Etsy, facebook, and people in general changed. The entire team was just as kind, supportive, nurturing, and humble as Debbie and I'm so grateful that I took a chance and opened myself up to meeting them all. They really are a "team", every single member wants the best for everyone else and supports them not only in the craft world but as business owners and people. It's a safe haven to bounce new ideas around, ask for help, vent if you need to, and to LEARN. One of the scariest parts of being new and doing new things is that you feel like you're lost. This team was like a life raft with helpful tips and ideas and support for me to try them out. I now surf the web with ease, run a blog, run my shop, and have a facebook business page (if you knew how technologically challenged I was previously you'd know what big strides that is for me!). More importantly, they gave me courage and drive to keep trying new things and make my business a success. Having other people believe in what you're doing and there to pat your back or be a shoulder is priceless, and that is exactly what a team should be! We share struggles, successes, hits, misses, ideas, support, and best of all FRIENDSHIP.

Jenni Clark of Hannah Mia
The history of my joining the HMC team is quite simple really.  I stumbled across a Saturday super sale treasury at the end of March.  I love a good sale and thought it looked like a fun group of Etsy shop owners, so I joined. :)

Dora Smyka of Chumaka
I started joining in on bnr/bns and met Erin Kelly. We hit it off chatted late night about art, tattoos and life. She asked me to join hmc and I did. Debbie took me under her wing and after a few weeks asked me to be a leader with Erin.

Laura White of The Lemon Dahlia
I was invited to join HMC through my cousin Sarah from Sarah's fab creations.  I was trying to get my etsy business off the ground and the support from this group has helped me over and over!!!  Love you guys!

Donna Rowand of Astrabella Sinsations
I really wish I could tell you how I found HMC, but I honestly don't remember.  If you hold me over a fire, I would say that I found HMC 1.5-2 yrs ago during a Google search, probably when I was researching making a business plan and considering opening a brick & mortar shop.  I was trying to work with a friend/mentor who was very controlling and didn't have much time to participate.  After that ended I started jumping in more and more and realized what a beautiful wonderful group I had found!

Lisa Marizan of Artistic Funk
I was invited by the group! I think I had been Facebook Friends with only a small group then, like @L Carol Christopher (of Etsy’s Teeny Tiny Envelopes) and Donna Rowand and just a few other gals, kinda floundering around blindly on facebook trying to connect...I always assumed one of them recommended me, but I
'm not sure...I AM sure however that I was SUPER happy to be invited and AM super happy to have found my group of peeps!!!! I always equate my search to Blind Melon's song, 'No Rain' where the little tap dancin' bumble bee is trying to find her peeps! ♥

Andrea Schlickbernd of Embellish by Andrea
 I came to HMC after purchasing a bracelet from Janet who then invited me to BNR's/BNS's and HMC.

Pam Talpiers of GypsythatIwas
Honestly, I had received an invite to join another team - and I was quite confused by the whole thing, between Team pages on Etsy with all the discussion links, challenges, etc., and the FB Groups... Someone on the other team told me about HMC. I think it was Debbie Nowicki - she was the Captain and the Team was relatively new then (no Fan Page, etc...) She was excellent about answering questions and handling situations when they arose in a fair and professional manner. I remember the day the Team went "private". Since then, we have added so many new members who have become like my friends next door, just a click away. Thank you all for your embracing arms and support of my little Etsy shop.

Katie Harris of Nekozuki Yarns
I actually found the Handmade Circle on Facebook back before it was even a team on Etsy. I found it while I was searching for another group on Facebook, and am I ever glad I found it. :) I haven't looked back!

Karen Adair of Pacific NW Bath
I am not positive, but I think Michael joined the team when he opened the Etsy account.  I think that the "handmade" just clicked.  Our items are handmade so we belong.

I can't really remember, but I think I was invited to the Promoting Creative Friends Team and joined.  Then I saw some people who were also members of the Handmade Circle Team, and something just "clicked."  I loved the genuine friendliness and positive tone of the group. I also like that it isn't just all about one person, we all try to help each other and encourage one another.

Jessica Croft of The Prismatic Peacock
I was brand new to Etsy and attempting to get my shop up and running when I came across a beautiful pair of peacock feather earrings from Erin Kelly of The Pretty Do Good.  I bought those earrings to wear to my very first craft show.  Erin and I chatted back and forth a bit, and she recommended that I find Handmade Circle on Facebook.  I did, and have been with the group ever since.  I also joined the Etsy team when it was formed, but I do the bulk of my interacting on Facebook.  I have found it to be a helpful, friendly, informative, and supportive group that I am grateful to be a part of.  My goal is to become as successful on Etsy as some of my teammates!

Cindy Friend of Handmade By Cosmo
I'm not sure how I came to find it. I may have just searched Handmade on facebook trying to find a place to show my Critters.
I was skeptical about joining a group of women that seemed to have been together for a long time. This is probably one of the nicest group I have ever in my life been associated with, and for however I was led to this group, I'm thankful for it.

Jill Houle of Whispering Rainbows

I was invited to the group by my very good Etsy friend Kelley Woods. She has my back on helping me to find ways to make my shop more productive and is always referring me to great ways to help. I have been hooked ever since! 

Erin Balm of Starfall

I was pretty new on Etsy.  I had opened an account quite some time ago and then never pursued it.  A good friend of mine, who sells specialty yarn, encouraged me to get my shop going.  I took her advice and put some hair accessories in and purchased a banner.  A few weeks later, I received an invite from Debbie Nowicki to join the Etsy group, Handmade Circle.  She then directed me to the facebook group.  I have always been so thankful for that invite.  The friends and advice I have gained from this group have been invaluable to me.  Awesome women pursuing their God given talents!  It is a great place to be!

Come make history with us, and have a wonderful future as well!

Handmade Circle Team
Marsha Bourquin/Team Captain - Bags By Hags
Dora Smyka/Team Leader - Chumaka
Erin Kelly/Team Leader - The Pretty Do Good


  1. love reading everyone's stories!

  2. It's great reading everyone's stories! And I'm so thankful to feel welcomed into this Circle!

  3. I'm like the Peter Gabriel song lyrics..."I don't remember, I don't recall..." but I enjoyed everyone else's story!

  4. Love reading all MY FRIEND's stories.

  5. Great post Marsha! That Handmade Circle team sure does sound friendly ;)

  6. Loved reading everyone's stories. Great idea Marsha!

  7. amazing how we all came together...even though no one really remembers how! now its a family....

  8. Simply Beautiful as are each of the members of the HMC Team! Thank you all for your encouraging, positive comments - they are all taken to heart and appreciated. One smile, one gesture of kindness (or more!) can change a person's life and business .. Looking forward to a fantastic future with the Handmade Circle Team!

  9. Loved reading everyone's stories. I was lucky enough to have Debbie Nowicki invite me to join when there was just a facebook page. I'm am forever grateful that I did.

  10. This really is a great team! Thanks for putting this together Marsha!

  11. Abundant Earth WorksAugust 24, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Awesome stories of how we united everyone! I'm with Katharine Hoff and Peter Gabriel on this one ; ), but I'm so glad to be a part of this amazing team!