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After our son, Kai, was born I moved towards knitting and crocheting since it was less time consuming and allowed me to stay busy during maternity leave. The hats and beanies I made for him often received compliments, so I opened up an Etsy shop just to see how things would go. I had a few sales, but it wasn't until I had posted on Instagram a cup that I had hand designed for a mug swap I was a part of. I had gotten such great feedback about the mug that several people suggested that I put some in my shop. So with a little prompting from my husband I started selling mugs in addition to knitted hats and some crocheted items. It completely took my shop from less than 10 sales to over 150 within a few months! It still amazes me honestly.
While running the shop I fell in love with the art of handmade and the community. Although I enjoy making sales, I've found the most joy in those that I have met. Having the connection with artisans and owners that share the same struggles and victories is comforting and encouraging all at once. Running a handmade shop is difficult, the ups and downs feel so drastic sometimes that you’re not necessarily sure you’re even going in the right direction. That’s the beauty in taking on your own shop and not only creating your own items, but ultimately sharing your gift with others. When Jenn asked me what my proudest moment has been since opening my shop, I would honestly have to say making my 100th sale. I never thought I would get that far in my shop, because it started off as a distant dream and a hobby. Regardless of reading how other handmade shops become full-time, sometimes you really don’t believe you can do the same. I cried when I made that sale, because I realized that it is possible...it’s a lot of hard work though! Be persistent and be flexible.
That would be my word of advice to anyone who is starting or thinking of starting a handmade shop. I constantly remind myself that everyone starts at zero. Whether it’s a blog or a shop or a twitter account, we all start out with zero, and that shouldn't be a deterrent. Keep going and be persistent in making those items and sharing them with those around you! What separates handmade shops from other is the heart behind the product you purchase. It’s never just about making money, but sharing your gift. It’s the thread that ties this community together.
Thank you so much Jenn for letting me sneak in and spend the day in your blog! I hope that you’re encouraged and driven to start something new and exciting! You can find me writing and sharing elements of my life in a fun tongue and cheek way through recipes, crafts, and our rambunctious toddler Kai on A Blue Swallow!
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