I also have a picture of these great wooden crates I picked up in Maryland in August. I got them for display purposes for my craft fairs and booths, but in the meantime, they make an attractive place to hide some odds and ends that used to just be in the center of the room, taking up space. It is obvious I still have a lot of clutter and things to improve, but I am so happy with my new space to work in.
The desk rocks and so does the lighting! Now you're all set to take your business to the next level. What is the most profitable aspect of your biz? Craft markets? Etsy sales? Other online sales?
Right now, the most profitable part of my business is doing trunk shows and also doing larger art/craft fairs, like Hoboken’s Art and Music Festival and Corning’s Glassfest. I need to work on my photography and showcase my one-of-a-kind work more in order to get into more high-end art fairs like these, which is where I’m happiest, too.
What is the most challenging part of owning your own business?
What isn’t challenging? One thing for sure is that I spend way more time than I ever thought I would on administrative stuff, so I barely have time to actually make the jewelry! It is hard to schlep all my displays and work to fairs on the weekends, which is partially why I’ve pulled back from doing that on a regular basis. I have a lot of fear of trying to get into the wholesale world more, so that’s a challenge for sure. It is also hard to take time off; I feel that I’m always working, even if it’s just thinking about what I have to accomplish when I should be relaxing. It’s also a challenge for me because I work out of my apartment, so regular household stuff is very distracting to me. I recently (with the help of my parents) cleaned and organized my office/studio room, which has been a huge help! It is so much easier for me to work in a clutter-free environment. I’m not totally there yet, but I’m on my way! The best thing we did was putting up the track lighting, because now I feel like I can actually see when I’m working!
I understand you are starting your wholesaling journey. What is that like? Is it scary or exciting or both?
Wholesale is still pretty scary to me. Having done my first trade show, it was interesting to see how differently wholesale buyers shop compared to regular consumers. I still have a lot of work to go before I feel confident in that arena.
I know for a fact that developing your own business is a LOT of work.Would you say it's worth it all the blood, sweat, and tears? How do you keep going on the days when it seems it would be more practical to have a 9-to-5?
It’s worth it if this is your dream and your passion. It can be very hard some days. I know even a month ago I was thinking about the practicality of having the 9-to-5 instead! But you know, you have to listen to your heart and go for it. We only have one life to live.
How important is the support of family and friends How important has it been being part of the Etsy NY team? What are the benefits? Any drawbacks?
It’s definitely important to have your family and friends support you! But you know what, you won’t get that support from everyone, so just take it in stride. You will have family members or friends who won’t understand, won’t be supportive, and that is really tough. But you’ll have the other ones who will support you. I definitely lean on my friends when I need to vent, or to share concerns and fears, whatever it is. That’s one reason being part of the team has been so great. I’ve met a lot of awesome people on the same journey as me (whether or not we’re at the same point in it), and having those people who "get it" be there for me and vice versa is priceless. Joining the Etsy NY team definitely helped me in so many ways. It’s a great community of people willing to share their time, expertise, experiences and advice. Who knows where I would be in my business if I hadn’t joined? Having that network and community is invaluable. As much as I’ve gotten from it, I try to pay it forward and help others on the team, too. Running your own business like this can be very lonely. Having the team ensures it is not.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
Ideally, I would like to be successful with online sales, wholesale, and I would like the majority of my business to be at large art fairs around the country. When I was in high school, I was really inspired by those types of art fairs and the artisan jewelry available there. I love to travel, so this marries my traveling bug with my business. It would also be great to have a small boutique or boutique collective.
What advice would you give other artisans hoping to create a handmade business or who are in the early stages?
Hm...I guess my advice would be just do it! I really let fear keep me from pursuing this for so long. I eventually chose to jump in and just do it. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them along the way. I also found it so helpful to work for others in the business first. I got an insider’s look into how and how not to run my business. It was so helpful. A BIG thanks to Melissa Kelly of Be In The Moment, for a insightful interview! Melissa shared her process, her heart, and her soul with us and I'm sure we all learned a lot. Much continued success to you and Be In The Moment. I know you're on the verge of making all your dreams come true.