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Community Highlights: Meet Katie Christiansen of The Hygge Workshop

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katie Christiansen.

Hi Katie, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
Five years ago, I was in the middle of a crazy December with typical festivities including a birthday celebration, an engagement, my book club wine & book exchange, work holiday party and family holiday gatherings. I bought a bottle of wine for each of those separate events and every time I went to pick out the bottle, I looked for the label that best matched what sentiment I was trying to convey. I wanted the bottle of wine to feel somehow thoughtful, even though I had likely picked it out with less than 24-hour notice.

Fast-forward five years later, I haven’t started a wine company but thought “greeting cards” for your wine bottle were the next best thing. Say exactly what you want to say and pick out whatever wine you want. It still makes gifting alcohol super easy but puts a special touch on it.

I started my The Hygge Workshop on Etsy for the simplicity of payment, advertising and putting my items on a site that already had a large amount of traffic flowing to it each day. Although I still have my items for sale on Etsy, with the large majority of my revenue coming from there, I have published my own site. I also branched out into items like coffee mugs, t-shirts, and totes as a way to stretch my design and creativity beyond a 3×7 in wine tag.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I started my business in December which gave me an extra benefit of “beginners luck” because it was right during the holiday shopping surge. Come January, almost all my sales had dried up and had I not been busy in my personal life that month, I would have probably felt very slightly defeated. But instead, I took the time to create more designs, add some holidays to my shop and generally, just be more creative.

I have also run into struggles with retail. How do I compete with cheaper mass-produced wine gift bags that are sitting right next to where most store owners are hanging my tags. How do I get my name out in the community so liquor store owners want to take a chance on me? These are all things I have struggled with as a start-up, AND a product that isn’t sold very many places (that I’ve seen. There is a bit of education component of what I’m selling and how it addresses a need for the consumer.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Hygge (hoo-gah) is a Danish term for feeling content and happy with your surroundings. My grandmother-in-law is Danish and introduced me to the word – I loved it immediately. When I began my business, I started with wine tags because it filled a need that I personally wanted filled but knew that I didn’t want to pigeon-hole the name of my business to only be doing wine tags. I started this as a hobby so wanted to be able to take it in any direction that brought me content and happiness – hence, The Hygge Workshop. I am glad I didn’t filter myself into one category as I’ve branched out into other products and have been enjoying designing for other items as well.

The thing I love most about my shop is, personally, it makes me happy being able to design and gives me a creative outlet to explore. If I wasn’t having fun, I wouldn’t still be doing it, BUT the thing I love most that was unexpected is how excited I feel for my customers when they purchase items like “pairs well with a new job” wine tag. It makes me happy knowing that my items play a small part in celebrating life milestones of my customers like a new job, a new house or a new baby!

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
My business started as a result of the Covid-19 crisis as I opened up my Etsy shop in December 2020. I was spending more time inside in the evenings as the weather got colder and not hanging out with friends as much given Covid surges. The lesson I learned most from Covid is to do what makes you happy. When I opened my shop, there was a bit of hesitation because I’ve never considered myself “salesy” or entrepreneurial. There is a lot of imposter syndrome that comes in waves every time I do something new. However, I knew that what I was doing was making me happy to why not put it out there. If people buy it, great and if not, then I will find something else to do. There is and was lots of flexibility in starting my business, especially during Covid times.

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