11/04/2008

Where Am I Going? Where Have I been?

I remember when I first thought about selling my knitting on Etsy over a year ago how new it all seemed. It was an exciting and scary feeling to put my creations out into the world like that. I was already a confirmed Etsy addict and my thought was to supplement what I spent on Etsy by selling a few things. I had no business plan or real direction for where I wanted to take it. I just knew that I loved knitting and I might as well be making some of what I spent on yarn back.

I think that a lot of sellers start out that way. We are what they call hobbyist. Which is a bit of a bad word to some in the Etsy community. They see us coming in, excited to just sell a few things and clear out some of the many scarves or jewelry piling up in our craft rooms for what ever someone is willing to pay. We tend to drive the prices down and can have a less professional approach to running a business. I sold my first scarf within 2 hours of listing it, which would have been exciting but I had listed it so low that it was truly a steal. I've learned a lot since then. I'm here to say that just because I'm a hobbyist, that doesn't mean I'm not running a business. I am working hard to create a brand and get my business out there.

I've sold close to 150 items in the past year or so on Etsy and off. I wish I could say that I knew exactly where I was going with my business but I can't. I'd love to be able to take my business to the next level and create a real name on Etsy. I've unfortunately found that I sell much better off Etsy at craft shows where people can touch and experience my items. I enjoy this interaction but it takes a lot of work and emotional energy on my part.

I know the dream is to be able to make enough money from our hobby to turn it into a career. Who wouldn't love to be able to stay home and create all day long. What we forget is all the other things that go along with that. I'm afraid that if my mortgage payment depended on how many scarves I sold that month we would be in real trouble. I've thought about the dream of opening a yarn store or boutique for handmade but I don't know if I have the drive and ambition to really make that work.

Figuring out where we are going and where we have been are important questions that can make a big difference in how we approach our business. They are questions that can have a different answer depending on our mood or day of the week, but we should constantly be evaluating them. But wherever we are along the continuation of hobbyist to professional crafter making a living from their work, it is important to treat our work like a business. Who knows where that might take us.

6 comments:

doeStudio said...

Looks like we have a lot in common (with the exception of all of your sales!! - well done!). A boutique would be lovely wouldn't it? Thanks for the day dream.

The Verbal Warrior said...

I could just drive to wherever you are and hug you.....but then that'd just be kinda creepy, so I send many virtualesque huggies in place of that :)

No matter what we do, it's good to keep in at least semi-constant evaluation mode! I'm such a neophyte at selling my works. I have one whole craft show under my belt, and nothing but one baby blanket sold on eBay. So, I am truly at the very beginning!

All your insight, now, and any future words of wisdom, is very much valued and appreciated!! Thank you! :D

Cozy said...

The hobbyist vs professional thinking always confuse me. I think hobbyists can act in extremely professional ways and to me it implies that we are still having fun. I like it that way.

Lenox Knits said...

Thank you so much verbal warrior. And thanks for featuring my scarflette on your blog. I love your blog and writing style!

LoneStarVintageClothing said...

I don't sell much on Etsy, but that's okay. I enjoy what I do. I think that' all that really matters! ;)

The Verbal Warrior said...

Oh, you're very welcome. I think it's the least I could do, since I'm kind of stealthily gleaning your Etsy knowledge by reading your bloggie!! The info you share is important and relevant to anyone who has something to market, handmade, written, or whatever!

:D And thank you so much for the kind words about the witchy blog!! :D Glad you like it!

 

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