Monday, September 1, 2008

A Young Crafter Starts Selling

Hopefully, an old dog can learn new tricks. I’m trying a lot of new things this year. The blog is just the latest of the new activities. I’ve also joined forums and started a website to sell my creations. Supposedly, a blog is just a natural progression from those endeavors.

I’ve always been creative and crafty. I think it is hereditary in our family. For as long as I can remember I’ve made things from all sorts of craft supplies. As early as junior high school, I was making and selling something most of the time.

I think my first “commercial” product was tissue paper roses. I believe I was in the 7th or 8th grade when I started making tissue paper roses. I attached them to stem wire with florist’s tape and added silk rose leaves. I produced them in bunches of either a half dozen or dozen, added baby’s breath and wrapped them in green tissue paper tied with a silk ribbon. I sold them to friends, teachers, my parents’ friends and any acquaintances I came upon. I took orders for specific colors or color combinations. I don’t recall how much I sold them for but I recall I was making a fairly good profit. I remember needing a ride to school fairly frequently as I had too many bunches to carry with my books and such. It was a one-product line and eventually I saturated my local market but it was a good run while it lasted.

I soon moved on to other products. A friend of my parents owned a small gift shop in our local shopping district and I convinced her to sell my merchandise for a very low mark-up. I remember one of my big items at her shop was small crocheted boots in Christmas colors which I stuffed with peppermint candies and a candy cane. They sold for a buck or less back then. I could get 12 or so from a hank of yarn and could make 12-18 in an evening after homework was done. I found other outlets for them, too. The shop where my mom got her hair done carried them for me and Mom sold them to her fellow teachers and some of the ladies at church. Because they were reasonably priced and made great “token gifts,“ they sold well. They were a big product for me and I sold them at the holidays for a number of years.

I moved on to supplying items for consignment shops, doing craft shows and eventually, after graduation and some college, owning my own shop specializing in hand-crafted merchandise in a tourist town. Eventually, I needed a steady, dependable income with things like regular hours and benefits. I moved into the real working world but I never stopped crafting. For many years I supplemented my regular income with craft sales and learned it was a good source of extra cash.

Over the years, the nature of craft shows evolved and changed. Consignment shops have, for the most part, disappeared and the few that still exist have extraordinary markups. “Crafting” has become a recognized profession and is, in general, much more structured. The biggest change to the craft world, however, has been the internet. Ultimately, the internet has effected all aspects of our lives but in the world of crafts, it’s impact has been enormous.

So… I felt the need to start a website!!! I did but it wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done.

Recently, I told my peeps the saga of starting the site. (Okay, a better description might be my “ladies that lunch” - but we don’t wear red hats with purple pantsuits!) I had them laughing so hard, tears were streaking their make-up! I hope to entertain you in weeks to come with the adventures of getting this business off the ground. Unfortunately, you’re also going to have to sit through some of the rest of my life, too. I hope you’ll find some of it entertaining, some of it informative and some of it, well, maybe some of it will just be a plea for sympathy!! We all need some of that sometimes.

Please come back soon.

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