Beginning Again ..
It’s exciting to come to a time in your life when you can stop and switch gears. To have a career that maybe wasn’t possible in the beginning, but because of the times we live in is now possible.
Here’s some background .. For more than 25 years I managed a dental office. As much as I liked the people I worked with and the patients that came in, it was never a career that I loved. For many reasons, but the main one was that it was the most uncreative job you could ever have and I am an extremely creative type! Early on, to fill the creative void, I would participate in local small craft shows. I had lots of ideas, I would make things that were my own design and then the following year I would see others selling the same things I made!! My own ideas!! That was discouraging.
Then my best friend said I should have craft shows at my house. I lived in a little cottage at the time so her and I would clear out my house, fill every nook and crannie with my crafts, put on a pot of tea, make homemade cookies, invite everyone we knew and have a homemade craft open house! That was fun for a few years. Then I was invited to participate in large 4 day craft show event for the Christmas holidays. I did this for 12 years all while working full time.
In 2011 I discovered a world I never knew existing and it was called Etsy!! My daughter in law told me about it and she opened a shop first selling vintage apparel and accessories . It took me a while to follow her lead but with her encouragement I opened my own shop – Seams Original. I started with selling vintage children’s clothes, then vintage curtains, then handmade children’s vintage inspired clothes. I was making a few sales but nothing big.
One day I was going to make a valance for my dining room, I bought a beautiful Richloom fabric with birds on it. My husband who never said no to anything I make for the house, said no to the bird curtains. It was a firm NO at that!! So I told him I would take the fabric back to the store and he told me to make the valance and put it in my Etsy shop so I did! Within an hour, it was sold. I made another and it sold .. and another .. and another .. and another. This was in September of 2013. My little Etsy shop was growing and by May of 2014 I took a major leap of faith, said goodbye to dental and making home decor items became my midlife .. new career.
Now I know this is not something everyone can do, or would want to do for that matter. There were things I prepared for leading up to the career change and ideas that have been a help all along. In hindsight there was lots of stuff I should have done, like be more financially secure .. but that’s another blog post. Here is a little list of some I did and continue to do.
1.) Prior to quitting, I purchased a six month supply of basic home necessities. Shampoo, body wash, bathroom tissue, dish soap, clothes soap and paper towels. I also spent time learning how to “coupon shop”. I knew once I quit my full time job things were going to be tight.
2.) As much as I could, I stocked up on sewing supplies I would need. I also purchased a good DSLR camera to take the best photos I can. That has and is my biggest challenge. As it is with lots of other Etsy sellers.
3.) I kept my business struggles to myself. I didn’t want to put any negativity out there in the universe! My son is the one I can go to about some issues I was (and am) having. He is super smart and has that gift of putting things into perspective. All it takes is a 45 minute conversation with him and life it good again!! (Maybe I should rent him out .. hmmm)
4.) Good records are a must, a note book of ideas, thoughts, supplies I need. I try to keep everything in one area. I compare prices of fabric and supplies. Since I have a “legitimate” business, I can have an Amazon business account which is a good savings but you have to have an EIN number and be approved for this type of account.
5.) Since I work out of my house, I did pick up a very part time job. It gets me out away from the sewing machines and talking to people. I do not have close neighbors so working at home – alone – day after day – 90% of the time is awesome!! Now and again, it is good to talk to someone! Plus my part time job is fast paced and very physical so it gets me moving!!
6.) As orders started coming in, I would write them down on a steno pad. I know there are computer programs for logging all this in, but I need it in ink on paper so I can have it in front of me. At first this was okay, because I could mostly memorize what I needed to make, then it became more difficult when I started to get more “custom” orders so I designed my own order form. I have to have sizes, quantities, what type of item, etc .. and it really keeps me organized and on track. Honestly, it was the best thing I did!!
7.) Eat healthy and take a legit lunch break! It is easy to snack your way through the day.
So, this a little about me and how I came to where I am today! I hope to hear from you and your story… we all have one .. thank you for listening to mine!