“All About Us” peer interview blog describing the ins and outs of being teacher resource creators and sellers!
My mother and I have made it through our first week back to school! Chances are you have too or you’re about to next week.
I have to say that we are both exhausted yet feeling accomplished. Being a teacher is an honorable career. We get to enact change daily starting with youth and shaping them to be tomorrow’s leaders. What a privilege.
I don’t know about you, but I spent most of my week getting to know my new students. They filled out “All About Me” questionnaires, peer interviewed one another, and completed scavenger hunts to find similar-minded classmates.
While this week has been busy, we are so excited that our business is growing! We are in the hundreds with email subscribers, and we have over 200,000 monthly views on Pinterest. God is really spreading our mission to help teachers far and wide, and we can’t be more thankful for your support and more thankful to the Lord for it all.
Just like I had my students fill out an “All About Me” sheet and conduct a peer interview, I figured it was time to do an “All About Us,” and peer mother and daughter interview for any new followers or subscribers.
All About Us
Years in Education:
Tami: Campbell University – Bachelor’s
East Carolina University – 2 Masters’
Billie: Campbell University – Bachelor’s
Tami: Elementary Media Specialist
Billie: Middle School English and Social Studies Teacher
Hardest Part About Operating a Teacher Resource Business:
Tami: What’s really unique about being a TpT and Etsy seller is that we make our resources and products from scratch. We’re not selling other people’s creations or a company’s products. We make everything we sell, and there’s a lot of blood, sweat, and tears that go into the thought process and implementation process of a resource. There is even a whole process to package up a product to sell! There’s a science behind creating something that a teacher will use that will make their lives easier and benefit their students. The hardest part is probably the general load of work that goes into creating resources and then the energy that goes into selling and promoting it.
Billie: I would say finding time to work on the business and also being able to balance it all. Like my mom said, there’s a lot of thought that goes into a product from design to implementation. That takes time. We both work full time. I’m a mother to two little ones. I commute thirty minutes to work, and my mom commutes an hour. Plus, we both have schoolwork on the weekends, and sometimes it’s a challenge to fit it all in and balance it all. We are full-time teachers with a part-time business! Nonetheless, it’s all worth it though!
What is your favorite product you sell and why?
Tami: I absolutely love each and every one of them. Each product was created with an extreme amount of care. Even when I think I will be able to quickly put a product together, they all turn into a work of art that I can’t rush through. However, if I had to have a favorite, it would be the Farmhouse Classroom Windmill Clock. I created this to be an accent for Farmhouse Classrooms and to help the students learn time on their own. I was hoping that it would help the students if they had something cool to look at and learn on their own.
However, I never had any idea that it would work so well. I have received so many reviews in which teachers were amazed at how easily their students could tell time after this was placed in their classrooms. They were even amazed when they would catch the students using the clock to figure out word problems on their own. It truly touches my heart that I have helped so many students learn to tell time through such a beautiful product. It is displayed in classrooms from first all the way to seventh grade. When I taught third grade, time was so hard for the students to grasp. I feel blessed that I have been able to help rectify this issue in a small way.
Billie: This is a hard question! I love our coffee themed products, because I designed them and use them in my classroom. My other favorite is our Winter Writing bulletin board as it was dreamt up from a need I had in the classroom last year. I wanted to display my students’ winter writings in a pretty way. Another favorite is our Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun unit, because I asked my mom to make it back when I taught elementary grades, and I wasn’t part of Obsessed with Learning just yet. I drew up the craft and she created it. I love how I was foreshadowing my own involvement in the business.
How did you come up with the name Obsessed with Learning?
Tami: I always loved owls and had owl-themed classrooms. I passed some of my owl-themed supplies onto Billie for her to use during her first year of teaching. I walked into her classroom and saw she had a sign she made that said: O.W.L.: Obsessed with Learning, and I thought that was the perfect name for the TpT business I was in the process of making.
Billie: I don’t even know where I came up with owl having that acronym. I think God directed that, as I also had a sign that said: Obsessed with the Lord.
What are your job titles in the business?
Tami: Content Designer and Creator, Marketing, Customer Service
Billie: Blogger, Designer, Editor, Copywriter
We both manage social media, while my mom manages Pinterest solely since that involves a lot of marketing.
What made you join the business?
Billie: It clicked one day, and God made it clear it was time. My mom started this business in 2012, which was right after I got married. I had my son in 2013. I was very busy balancing teaching and motherhood, so it was something I couldn’t do at the time. In 2020, after I had my daughter, my mom’s business was growing to the point she needed help. I was busier than ever, but also had an immense interest in content creation all of a sudden. Also, I jumped on because I saw how TpT carried teachers through the pandemic in the spring. I wanted to help other teachers. I wanted to help my mom succeed just like she helped me succeed all my life.
What made you create Obsessed with Learning?
Tami: I have always loved making bulletin boards and have always been the teacher that would help others do this as well. I know how stressful it is to want to keep your classroom beautiful for the children, but to have so much on your plate that the last thing anyone wants to think about is another bulletin board. This is where we come in. Plus, I love to create them. I am very techie, but it is in the creation process, such as with Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, and more. If I can make a teacher’s life easier by creating beauty for their classroom, making them feel more at ease, and making the students more comfortable and giving them a homey feel, I feel I have done my job.
What advice do you have for teachers just starting to create and sell on TpT?
Tami: Don’t give up. It is very hard in the beginning, because you don’t know what you will be good at yet. You could be the best at something that you don’t have a clue as to what it may be. I have seen this with so many sellers. I have also seen so many sellers with great ideas and creativity just give up because they were not making any sales. Concentrate on building your inventory and sharpening your skills as you go. The sales will come.
It’s almost like a sport. Most top athletes must train and train and train without any glory before they become stars. Same with this business. Each product you make is a learning process. The sales will come. It just takes time. Don’t let any bad reviews bother you. Have a friend that you can call and discuss it with if one really bothers you. However, whatever you do, don’t let a review stop you. Everyone gets better with practice. I guess that’s why I keep practicing so much. Plus, it is very calming for me to create all the different products. It is now my Zen.
Billie: Be consistent! Consistently create new products. Routinely share on social media. Consistently update resources. Write new blog posts and send out emails routinely, even if it’s once a month. Commit to a timeline and show up and be consistent. Last, make sure to have fun! Let it be an escape from teaching. Let this be something that you can completely control and create whatever you want. You get to be your own boss in this way and that’s freeing.
What do you hope to accomplish through this business?
Tami & Billie: We want to help make teachers’ lives easier in any way possible. We want to give them the gift of time. They don’t have to sit and design something for hours. We do that for them. Our main focus is that we want our teachers to live their best lives by focusing on their students, instead of creating teacher resources and decor.
One day, we hope and pray to one day be able to grow this business to the point of creating classroom makeovers for teachers, giving large gift cards to teachers in need, and finding multiple ways to bless other teachers in big ways. We do this on a smaller scale now, but we want to do it on a larger scale in the near future. Our philosophy is that it’s better to give than receive. We believe in dreaming big God-sized dreams!
Thank you for joining us in this “All About Us” and Peer Interview post about being teacher resource creators and sellers! We hope you were able to understand our hearts and were able to learn a bit more about us.