My etsy shop turned five years old this week! Five, y'all! How has that happened?
Seriously though, it's had for me to think that this little side venture has turned into a full time business.
Several people told me "you need your own shop," but I didn't see myself leaving my job at the flower shop. Jeff read about etsy and encouraged me to check it out and low and behold, I opened a shop, this blog, and started a Twitter account, without ever using my full name, location, or even telling my friends. I had occasionally sold on eBay, to make some extra funds and figured this would make a little extra "Christmas money" and that would be about it. I certainly didn't want to tell everyone what I was doing and everybody keep asking and then say I failed, which is what I feared would happen. Read, I didn't have confidence in myself.
The first year, Christmas funds was about all I earned and I don't do elaborate Christmas gifts, but I continued on. It was the second year when I made a burlap bouquet and things started to change. My shop started with caps, wreaths and a few random craft items. Needless to say, I still have a stack of caps and visors that I'm embarrassed to be associated with and my shop progressed into a wedding shop. When I started making the burlap bouquets in year 2, there was less than a dozen fabric bridal bouquets on etsy that had any burlap and lace in them. That has changed a lot too!
When I first got a request for turquoise burlap, I didn't even know colored burlap existed! I found it and it became a popular item and still one of my most requested bouquets! Later that year, I had a customer order for bubblegum pink burlap and then bouquets with purple. I still thought it was a fluke and would brides continue to order from me? Now, I have 40 shades of burlap fabric in stock!
Year 3 and 4 found me staying super busy! Full time job, farm chores, and working on custom orders till late at night and all weekend. Jeff shipping for me and helping cut fabric, and other prep work so I could get more done at night. Finally in year 3, I told a few more people about my shop, but never advertised it locally or even mentioned it on my personal Facebook account. I was loyal to my job in town and didn't want my wedding business to ever compete with the shop. By the end of year 4, things change there and I felt like I was living the definition of insanity. No personal time and not a spare minute to do anything outside of work and a weekly trip to the grocery store. I ordered supplies online, because I didn't have time to go to the store. From January through November, I was never caught up on wedding orders and had no time to create all the other items that were dancing in my head. It was time to make this full time! About two months before my shop turned 4, I turned in my resignation. That was the gutsiest thing I think I ever did!
Year 5 - I have NO IDEA how I did it all before! So I've caught up on a little sleep this year and I have time to occasionally go eat lunch with a friend or go shop at estate sales, in pursuit of vintage lace and goods to repurpose. I have flexibility and can enjoy the things I do and have expanded to offer more home decor and some gift items. Year five was also the year I finally got my camper fixed up and got to set up at 2 craft fairs / vintage markets and I've started taking on a few freelance fresh floral jobs for local weddings and events. Turnaround time for bouquets is not near what it used to be (2-3 weeks average now, opposed to sometimes 6-8 weeks when it was my night job) and I can take on rush orders if needed.
That brings us up to now, with year 6 starting this week. Thank you, thank you, thank you to EVERYONE who has ordered from me, encouraged, commented, shared, and believed in me, even when I didn't believe in myself. Y'all are the best and I appreciate each and everyone of you! Thank you for allowing me to be creative and getting to be a part of all your special events and most memorable days of your life!