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Miracles happen. January 11, 2012

Posted by ourfriendben in homesteading, wit and wisdom.
Tags: , , ,

Silence Dogood here. Have you ever heard of a book called When Bad Things Happen to Good People? Well, I’m about ready to update that to When Good Things Happen to Average People. Read on to see why:

As a freelancer who supports myself with writing and editing projects, I was facing 2012 with no paying projects in the pipeline. Our friend Ben isn’t exactly raking in the big bucks, either, so clearly it was time to implement plan B. Plan B in my case being to attempt to market a unique fashion accessory that I can actually make.

I had the product, the name, and the marketing campaign down pat. The question was, if and where could I sell it? And how could I get enough samples made to launch my product and brand? This is where the miracles come in, assuming you don’t think that coming up with the product and campaign to begin with was a miracle in and of itself.

First, buying the raw materials—especially yarns—to make my fashion accessories would be far from cheap. So imagine my astonishment and delight when my friend Amy turned up at my door with three boxes of yarn and asked me to take the yarn and the wonderful snap-lock boxes, since she was trying to get rid of clutter and realized that she would never use them. Thanks, Amy!

Next, there was the issue of how to sell my accessories. Exclusive handcrafts shops and online through Etsy were the venues that sprang to mind. I knew that, once I’d made enough stock, I could shop it around at the crafts boutiques. But I had no clue about Etsy. So I posted “Tell me about Etsy” on our blog, Poor Richard’s Almanac, and received some wonderful startup advice from Becca, who has an Etsy shop, The Home Gnome. Thanks, Becca!

Hearing of my startup, my friend Carolyn volunteered to take me to the “Big Three” crafts chain stores, Michael’s, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and A.C. Moore. I’d never been to any of them, and none are close to my home, so I was very grateful to have the opportunity to see what was available to mainstream crafters. Thanks, Carolyn!

We were chatting in the checkout line at Jo-Ann’s when the person behind us in line cheerfully joined the conversation. When Carolyn mentioned that I was making crafts for sale, she asked, “Are you on Etsy?” “Not yet,” I replied. Well. Turns out she’s one of Etsy’s top 500 sellers for 2011 (and if you recall that Etsy has well over 400,000 people selling, being in the top 500 is really being in the elite). “I can help you set up an Etsy store!” Gasp. Thanks, Merrill!

I still need lots of help. I need a mannequin and a white or cream knit turtleneck dress to put on her. I need a graphic designer to bring my logo to life, and someone to help me with business cards, labels, and signage. I need a website. I need to be able to take and upload photos. And on and on and on.

But oh boy, if not a jot of further help is forthcoming, look at what’s already materialized in the first month of my new venture! If that’s not proof that miracles do happen, I don’t know what is.

                 ‘Til next time,




1. pixilated2 - January 11, 2012

I believe in miracles. Wishing you many blessings in your Etsy endeavors! I too am working towards an Etsy store. Not knitteds, in case you wondered. Would you be willing to share some of the sage advice you have acquired? Thanks, Lynda

Hi Lynda! Start by reading Becca’s comments on my “Tell me about Etsy” post, and you’ll know what I know so far. (Actually, being pixilated as you are, you’ll probably know way more than I know.) I’ve ordered three books on buying and selling crafts, two of which are about Etsy, and they should arrive Friday, so I can post updates as I learn more. And of course I’ll let everyone know what I learn from Merrill! Meanwhile, good luck and let us know how it goes.

pixilated2 - January 12, 2012

This is going to be fun! Thanks!!! ~ L

PS: You said, “Actually, being pixilated as you are, you’ll probably know way more than I know.”

I say, “I know a little bit about a lot of things, but I am a master of nothing.” I’m just a retired teacher who spends a lot of time crafting in fabric, gardening, and playing with her geese and chickens. Hope I haven’t come across as a know it all. 😉

Ha! Sounds like we’re in the same boat, jack of all trades and master of none. Hence, the almanac approach!

2. h.ibrahim - January 12, 2012

I don’t know perhaps I am too americanized—I wanted the narrative to end with you getting millions upon millions of dollars.

The lottery!

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