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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Looking Back to Five Years as an Etsy Shop Owner...

...has taught me a few things.

I opened my Etsy shop in August 2010. I wasn't really sure what I wanted to sell but my work experience was in sales and retail.  I had 2 small boys at the time and was looking for a creative way to work from home with a flexible schedule. I knew I loved fabric, bold color and decorating.  Still, what should I make, what will sell, and how will I make money where all questions I had without a concrete answer nearby.

Enter... Amy Butler Design!!!  I stared googly - eyed at her fabrics and designs. This was my first source of inspiration.  I used her fabrics to cover art canvases to make wall art.  I also branched in to using large scale prints for pillows and table cloths, also.  These were all beginning to sell on my Etsy shop...very slowly...but selling.  Below are a few homemade items I sold on my Etsy shop.



From there, I began to scour vintage, thrift and antique shops looking for piece of home decor I could flip and sell.  



I started picking up small pieces of furniture and chairs I could recover.



Next came the overwhelming task of SHIPPING!!! Arrrrrgh.... sigh ....
That's how I felt most days during the first couple of years when I had to ship anything over the size of my hand, no joke.
I made mistakes and I forgave myself for making them. Furniture busted and arrived to the customer damaged and broken, just like my heart.  See those beautiful Italian gold and turquoise pieces above? Yeah, those all broke because I didn't package them well enough.  I returned the customer their money but my heart and ego remain shattered. Again, in due time, I forgave myself and kept pushing along. Here are a few earlier items I found and flipped.

 I read everything I could about Etsy. I joined teams, started treasuries and tried to be a sponge for knowledge.  Slowly, my selected items sold.  YES!!!!!

My courage increased, my knack for selecting items broadened and I officially became an Etsy shop owner. 

So naturally, the idea is to go bigger or go home.  This is where the furniture comes in to play.  I have always loved painting and decorating.  The two went hand in hand in my world. So, I took the furniture makeovers to the next level.  I put a dresser on my shop that I painted and adored so much. Here it is below. 
And then this one...

You guys, this piece sold to Louisiana!?!?!? Great, now what do I do to get it there?!?!?
This customer paid $340 to have it shipped.  I know, my eyes were all bugged out too when she agreed to the price.  So, that started me on my journey of shipping large pieces of furniture.
Here are a few of my earliest pieces.




To summarize, I've learned a few things in the last five years about myself, being a business owner and about being a retailer.

1. I'm way more strong than I realized, physically and mentally. I've shed way too many tears of frustration but there have also been those of joy.  Miss Mustard Seed features are always tear jerkers for me!

2. Not everyone will like what I do.  My style is unique and original and I get to own that.  No one can take that away from me.  Trying to fit in or recreate something done by someone else takes all the fun out.

3. People are rude, people are hateful and people are jealous. But, oh my goodness, people are nice and encouraging and down right awesome! I would not be where I am without the support from my fellow painters, Etsy sellers and community. Fist bump to all of you!

4. Persevere, be unique and keep going,  It pays off, I promise.

Blessing to all of you and thanks for your continued support.

~Dionne








9 comments:

  1. What vendor do you use to shop your large pieces? And how do you package your dressers? We're struggling with this right now and any advice you can provide would be helpful!

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    Replies
    1. I would also love to learn more about how you figured out shipping larger items! I'm struggling with this step!

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    2. Ashley, I'm working now on a post that will hopefully been full on shipping info. I recorded some VERY amateur videos as well. Stay tuned!

      Dionne

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  2. Very well said! To a fellow business owner, this is the type of business where you have to hold onto those clients who love & appreciate your work, your unique techniques, & your individual abilities, & tune out those who want to tear you down. 99.99% of the time, those who are belittling you or your work are just plain jealous. They only want to tear you down to their level & it's pointless to lose what you have already built yourself up to which is a much higher & more successful level!
    I love your work! I have about 40 of your pieces on my phone to use for ideas & inspiration. You & your work inspires me & gives my confidence to try new techniques. I still have yet to try the ombre technique but I'll get there. Trust me, your work is truly am inspiration! A lot of furniture artists (& we are artists whether some agree or not) can't perform the techniques that you can. I see some of your work & think, "How the hell did she do that!?!" Your work is very cool & you should be very proud of yourself.
    Fist bump to you, sister!
    Kelly
    Second Chance Restorations of Austin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Kelly! Your words mean so much to me. I hope I can continue to inspire you.

      Blessings,

      Dionne

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  3. Dionne you are fearless in your creativity. You encourage the rest of us to step away from the norm and go for the original. Kudos on your success. La Verne @hope&salvage

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    Replies
    1. La Verne, that is so kind. Thank you doe commenting and for your support.

      Blessings,

      Dionne

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  4. I love this! You showed me that the questions and struggles I had/still have are completely normal to those who want to ensure customer satisfaction is always a priority. Two things struck a cord with me, can i share on my FB business page?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crystal, I'm working now on a post that will hopefully been full on shipping info. I recorded some VERY amateur videos as well. Stay tuned!

      Dionne

      Delete