Friday, October 23, 2015

Four Things I Learned in Four Months of Etsy Shop Ownership




On June 21st, I opened my Etsy shop. On Father's Day of 2015, I jumped into a world that I couldn't even have guessed would grow me and shock me and bring me to a newer, more beautiful place in my life. I didn't know I could be so brave or bold in making art and selling it. I hadn't a clue this could be such a rich part of my life. But, alas, it all is, and I'm thrilled. The last four months have taught me four huge lessons.

1. I AM WORTH IT. 
Pricing is so hard. Pricing is the hardest thing about shop ownership for me. I know what I want to be worth, but don't know how to reconcile it with being affordable. I know I want to make a profit, but don't think about Amber Thomas Makes as a big money maker. So, I'm working really hard to strike a balance. I'm trying to find a place where my earnings add some extra cash to our bank account while my passion for making is flourishing.

2. GRACE IS IMPORTANT. SO VERY IMPORTANT. 
Everyone is human -every business man, every sales employee, every customer service representative. This is hard to remember when we've been disappointed by a product or service. I believe in honest interactions and truthful reviews, but these don't have to be done with viciousness.

I've been the frustrated friend, buyer, user more times than I can count. But, after being on the receiving end of a harsh interaction, I have caught myself taking a breath and seeking grace before I'm rude and hurtful. This isn't easy, but it's important.

3. LANGUAGE IS TRICKY AND FLUID.
I'm a big believer in say what you mean and mean what you say, but sometimes you don't even realize that other people don't hear what you wrote. I've had two orders that have gone by the wayside and it's all because the specifics weren't clear enough. Literally, I assumed that customers just know what I mean in my listings but they don't! If nothing else, the shop has taught me to be clear and communicative.

This lesson has bred a realization about assumptions we make -in buying, making, and living- daily that affect our experiences and, thankfully, brought me to ask questions when something isn't crystal clear. This is humbling, so very humbling. 

4. ART IS REDEMPTION. 
This sounds really big and bad, but the point is: I started blogging because I wanted to tell stories and, in turn, hear them. I write because I enjoy the way meanings are part of a net that surrounds us -I subscribe to the believe that no man is an island. And so, when I launched the shop I worried about what would happen to the blog and my purpose here. Honestly, the stories and heart that have poured into my Etsy inbox are so deeply heartbreaking, beautifully raw and, just what I needed.

I've made pieces to commemorate deaths, to celebrate beloved pets, to foster greater faith, to share in 60 years of marriage and to bring out the big picture purpose in one's life. I've been allowed to come in and do such things, been afforded a grand opportunity to hold dear another person's memories. And I've just come to understand that art can be the phoenix we so desperately wish to watch rise from the ashes.

And so, I've taken you practical and emotional here. I've gone deeper than I imagined and just about blown my own mind trying to put these four months into words. But you've made it and you've learned the four things I've learned. But better, more fun for you, is the four month anniversary code I have to offer you!

Use the code "FOURSCORE" for 10% off 
of your order that is $15 or more! 

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