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Original photo by Sarah Ehrlich

How I Went Viral on TikTok and Started My Own Small Business

Last year I uploaded a TikTok where I embroidered the words to a funny quote I’d seen on the app before. Before I knew it, the video was passing one million views and had hundreds of comments from people asking where they could buy my work. Before this video I had only made a few other embroideries, but after the video went viral I thought it could be fun to start an Etsy shop. This was just before we were all sent home from college and were preparing to spend a lot of time locked in our houses, so I knew this would be the perfect time to open my shop.

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With no idea where to begin, I decided to bite the bullet and use my newfound free time to create an Etsy page and upload my first listing. I uploaded a photo of the embroidery from my TikTok and waited. Soon enough someone purchased the piece, giving me the confidence I needed to continue with this project and turn it into a success. I began posting more TikTok themed embroidery and as the sales continued to come in, I wanted to branch out in my designs. I started making more custom pieces for friends and Etsy buyers, which is mainly what I do now. I recently made a more artistic piece of a landscape and I’m hoping to make more for my Etsy shop soon.

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I realized I was earning a similar amount of money from selling my embroidery as I was at my job on campus the last three years. I took the leap and quit that job where I felt unproductive and bored and decided to focus more on making and selling my artwork. I had to spend a decent amount of money on supplies including fabric, thread, and a surprisingly expensive embroidery stand. In the end, I’m so glad to be making artwork and getting rewarded for following a passion of mine. I highly encourage anyone reading this to take that risk and see what happens. Quit your side job, send that text, post that TikTok, because you never know where it might get you.

Feel free to check out my Etsy page https://www.etsy.com/shop/SEmakesembroidery and my Instagram @semakesembroidery to see my work or place an order!

Sarah is a current senior at Colby from Westchester, New York. She is a psychology major and art minor.
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