Nearly two years ago, I discovered a little website called Etsy. It was so awesome, I just knew I had to be a part of it. Back then I was working full time for “the man,” I was a single mom, and I rarely found the time to make art. My job had nothing to do with my degree and my passion in Fine Arts. I was 30 years old, miserable, overworked, and exhausted. I also had severe tendonitis in both of my arms.
I quit my job and opened a business with a friend of mine. On the side, I opened a little Etsy shop too, http://LeaKarts.etsy.com. Over the months, I plugged along. I met some amazing local artists and crafters through the PDX Etsy Street Team’s weekly tea time hosted by Leah Pellegrini (http://LeahPellegrini.etsy.com). I was inspired! My arms had healed, and I started to find bits of time for crafting. I sold my work here and there on Etsy and at local craft fairs.
In 2007, the business that I had with my friend folded. My Etsy sales were picking up a bit for the holiday season, though, and my friend Ryan of http://LittlePutBooks.etsy.com needed help keeping up with her shipping, so I was able to manage. Inevitably, Ryan would not need me forever, though, and could certainly not employ me full time. So I opened up a second Etsy shop, http://SupplyRiot.etsy.com.
In less than three months, I found SupplyRiot to be more successful than I could have imagined. I joined the amazing Etsy Supply Street Team (ESST), which has been incredibly supportive to me. I already have a stream of the most wonderful repeat buyers, as well as new buyers, who love to “buy locally” in a global sense, that is, they know they are able to support a small crafty businessperson and get the cool supplies they need by buying from a fellow Etsy seller.
Selling supplies on etsy enables me, in combination with selling my artwork and a side job here and there, to work for myself, from home. I am able to be more flexible for my daughter’s schedule. I am no longer haunted by the exhaustion of a meaningless “real” job, and now I make the time to create artwork every single day of my life. I always have new work to list in my other shop and to sell around town. Finally, I am able to connect with the Etsy community in a deeper way. Whether they are making a gift for a friend, or something really awesome to list in their own shops, I am able to offer quality supplies to inspire creativity in my fellow Etsians.
Things are still not easy. There are many challenges to working for oneself, and a steady income and time management are two of the big ones for me. But, thanks to my humble supply shop on Etsy, I am on my way!