Holy moly, y'all! GypsyFarmGirl turns 10 years old this week!
In 2010, I had made most of my Christmas gifts, like I always do, and everyone said "you should have your own store," but I didn't really believe them. But a little extra side hustle would be ok and some extra income to help pay for a few things would be nice. I don't like sitting still and needed a creative outlet. Jeff read about this website called etsy and said I should start a shop there. I had sold random things on ebay, prior to that, for some extra income, but it wasn't things I was actually making.
So on those long, cold, dark January nights in 2011, I researched and read, and looked, and studied, and picked a name. I could get GypsyFarmGirl on etsy, blogger, and an email address, so February 2, 2011, I started this little thing that I was afraid to tell anyone about and doubted would take off. Seriously, Jeff was the only one that knew and online I was simply Janice from Texas. No last name, no town, no Facebook shares, no friends were told. I simply put my items on etsy, my blog, and started Twitter, because no one I knew, used Twitter. I was afraid I'd fail and didn't want anyone judging what I was doing. I still worked some crazy hours in town, but this was all outside of that. I tried making and selling decorated caps. Seriously, I sold a couple, but that was a big, fat flop. While everyone loved the ones I gave for Christmas, they weren't going to be my thing. I've still got a few hanging around that won't even sell at a garage sale!
Some of those first caps...
That fall, I made a few wreaths and added them to my shop. Along that time, I had a few projects on my blog featured by some big bloggers and that's when things started to pick up a little. Seriously, in 11 months, I made enough to have "Christmas shopping money" and by that, I mean enough to by supplies to make most of my gifts (less than $500 for the entire year.) I made stuffed burlap cross door hangers, so I had scraps of burlap leftover. A month or so later, I heard the words "fabric bouquet" and I recalled my scraps of burlap and a roll of lace I had. I made a bouquet and it sold quickly. I was one of the very first burlap and lace wedding bouquets to be listed on etsy. There was less than 12 at that time, and they all had some other type of fabric mixed in. So I made another. It sold, and I made another. Then I got ask if I could do bridesmaid bouquets and boutonnieres. and what about turquoise burlap. Turquoise, you say? I had no idea burlap came in colors other that tan, brown, white, and orange (the only colors available at our local stores at the time.) Low and behold, I found turquoise burlap and made that custom order and its became my most popular color, even though we've added about 40 more colors along the way! That year got busier, then the next two, I was making burlap and lace bouquets in every spare minute I had. Work 8-5 in town, feed animals after work, get home, work till 10, 11, or 12 at night, answer messages before work, print shipping labels, if we had approval to ship. Days off and weekends were booked solid with online orders, some having a 6-8 week processing time. It was wild! Now we keep burlap in about 40 colors and by it by the yard or bolts! We've shipped to all 50 states and several countries and current processing time is about 2-3 weeks.
We rescued a gazebo from a trash ditch, completed a rustic makeover on it and have only used recycled and upcycled containers in our year, ever since. My tutorial on How to plant flowers in a rusty, bottomless bucket has been my top post for years now. The bucket and gazebo have been featured by several blogs, "gone crazy" on pinterest a few times, and still gets shared by gardening pages on Facebook. Our gazebo even made it to the Country Living website last year! The gazebo and garden post have introduced us to many of you.
|The gazebo and the rusty bottomless bucket hanging on the left spring hook!
In 2014, I found an old camper, just days after I deposited what would become my very last Valentine's overtime pay into my savings account. I had known for years, an old camper would be a part of my future, but I just didn't know exactly how. I once dreamed of setting up at Canton Trades Days and thought I'd sleep in the camper (dreams change!) Later that year, the shop I had worked at for 15 years sold. I had been loyal to our job and didn't advertise in town, because I didn't want to compete or take anything away from my florist job. It was time for things to change and I worked 4 months after the shop sold to finish up some big things on the books up there. The Friday after my birthday, I nervously turned in my resignation letter and by Christmas I was self employed.
|How we found our camper... took a little time, but she got all Gussied Up!
2015, was our first year that GypsyFarmGirl was my full time business and led to more that we ever expected! We continued to make lots of wedding bouquets and the wait list went from 6-8 weeks to 2-3 weeks, since I could work on them during the day and not just after work. We also started adding more items to our line up, like pillows and more decor items.
|I've learned there are so many different color combinations for making a wedding personalized and fitting to a couple's theme
Our very first event at the East Texas Yamboree in 2015!
|First Yamboree - conquering a fear, in pursuit of a dream
A couple months later, we had the invitation to another show and it just kept going. We still made wedding bouquets, but in 2016, we added our first bleached flannel shirts and upcycled clothing to our lineup.
By the end of that year, I kept saying "I need a storage building" and Jeff said "no, you need a full time booth, so your items can be seen all the time and not just a couple times a year." So, we started a booth at Uniques and Antiques in Mineola. That lasted a year and a half. After announcing we were closing that space, we got the invitation to join the Mineola Antique Fair, which was a monthly, 2 day event - we were actually working that booth and got to meet our customers in person, so that was fun. We were there from June 2018 till the spring of 2020 (we didn't go back after the pandemic shut down things down in the spring.) Pivot and Shift has long been part of our process - I knew burlap and lace bouquets wouldn't always be as popular as they once were plus the competition from all the others who are creating them now, so we are continually evolving, growing, and adding new things.
In the fall of 2018, we invested in a printer, so that we could offer t shirts, in addition to our upcycled clothing. That laid the foundation for more opportunities to come. It was also a major improvement on our print quality for the graphics on the flannel shirts.
We've participated in the Yamboree, Backwoods Marketplace, Christmas Bazaars, Vintage Market Days of East Texas, Fall Y'all Fest, Yulefest, and Farmer's Market events. We love getting to do these events and get to meet our customers in person. One of my biggest fears about working from home was that I wouldn't see my friends. Good gracious, y'all! I have met so many new friends and acquaintances along the way. There have been some wonderful people come into our lives, through our business. Our tribe has grown and we couldn't be more thankful for all of you! We aren't sure about what all events will happen this year. I do know we have one planned for September and hope to participate in the Farmer's Market again. For most of our events in the past, Angea with Rooster Tails, partnered with me on the booth spaces, but she has decided to retire and we are going to miss her fun laughter and our shenanigans as we do future events. We each had our own items, but displayed them together for our shows.
|Mineola Antique Fair
|Vintage Market Days of East Texas
Along the way, we've also got some of our bluebonnet pictures published in FOLK magazine, was part of the Junk Gypsy Book Launch Team, and Miss Gussie was featured in Mary Jane's Farm Magazine! I still remember in those very early days, when the Junk Gypsies responded and retweeted one of my burlap and belt buckles projects shared to Twitter! I was giddy with excitement! Shares / features from Funky Junk Interiors made a big difference in my life as well.
|Meeting the Junk Gypsies as part of their Book Launch Team
We've expanded to have our own website, in addition to etsy, so even if you aren't local, we can always ship things to you. We are focusing more of our time on our website now and that is where you will always find the newest shirts and things. With the website, we can also have the items in our Facebook and Instagram Shops and can make our pictures taggable (you can tap the picture and it'll bring up a direct link to the item on our website.)
In January of 2020, we got an invitation to have a space in the brand new Kickin' K Cattle Co Boutique in Quitman, Texas. In just 2 weeks time, we got a booth space ready for their grand opening!
November 2020 brought about an invitation to join the family at P20 Land and Cattle Interiors and More in Gilmer, Texas (our hometown.) So by the end of 2020, we had two booth spaces plus online. We aren't sure what all will happen this year. We know we have a few things potentially lined up, but we shall see how the year turns out.
|P20 Space in Gilmer, Texas
When I left the flower shop in 2014, I didn't plan to do fresh flowers any longer. That was my past. I didn't publicly announce my departure, but you started calling me, wanting me to create flowers for your loved ones funeral or for weddings. I don't advertise (other than sharing pictures of what I have created for others) and y'all have referred your friends and family to us. We don't keep fresh flowers on hand, but we can get them for special events.
|A few flower designs.
|I walked in somewhere recently and they said "there's the crazy flower girl" and I instantly thought, that needs to be a tee! It's fitting!
Somewhere along the way, you became inspired by me. It still seems unreal. I just feel like an ordinary girl, making things from my small home along the country backroads. You've travelled anywhere from several hours to several states to attend our events.
We would occasionally share some quotes or inspiration on our social media pages, but about two years ago, I started a daily post on Facebook (and have only missed a couple days since then.) Those post help me, as much as they help you. I am committed to sharing positivity and encouragement, even if things are going crazy in the world. Searching for the words to share with you, helps me maintain a positive outlook as well. I continue to listen to podcast and business advise and everyone says consistency is the way to grow and I can attest to that. In the last two years, we have grown more than in the last 10 years. Recently, a couple business friends and I have have been discussing and sharing our tidbits of knowledge about growing our brands and this is the one thing I can't say loud enough: show up daily for your people and be real, authentic, and tell your story. I want to see all the small businesses and creators succeed and do good!
To Jeff, you are the one who believed in me and encouraged me to start this thing. You were the original junker, thrifter, and repurposer and turned me on to your ways!
You're a vital part of the behind the scenes: the IT guy, helping with shipping and receiving, helping build the props and set up our booths, sewing awnings when I say I can't do it, encouraging me when I don't think I can do it. You can fix anything you set your mind to do and usually without having to go to the store for supplies. Sometimes you operate on your own time frame and drive me crazy, but it always works out, as it should. I love you more than going junkin'!
What a ride it's been! I set out to sell a few of my creations and it's turned into a pretty great thing! We truly couldn't do this without all of you! We thank you for riding along on this journey and letting us make pretty things for all of you.
Looking forward to helping you for many years to come!!
Always online- our website: www.GypsyFarmGirl.Shop (newest items will be found here.)
Etsy shop: GypsyFarmGirl.Etsy.com