Thursday, April 10, 2008

On Being a Supply Seller on Etsy.

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!

4 comments:

Octavine Illustration said...

reading this makes me feel....mmmm....like we're not alone inside our studios, but rather part of a much larger community dedicated to similar principles and ideologies. i thank you for articulating it so eloquently.

LeaKarts said...

Thank you Cara! We really are a part of this amazing worldwide community, and it IS hard to remember sometimes when we spend our days so isolated. The best part is when Etsy steps out of the computer and turns into biscuits and coffee on Belmont Street :)

melissa, aka maoiliosa said...

i am a little late reading this, but i just wanted to say "hey" :). i'm proud to be one of your faithful repeat customers, and you totally deserve all the success that comes your way! i'm glad things are going well for you :).

i'm in the same boat as you, in that i'm self-employed since i quit working for "the man" to pursue my true passion fulltime. i've still got a year of college to go, and my degree really won't help me do anything other than teach (which, until i discovered my hidden talent and etsy, i was planning to do: teach high school english), but i've got faith, like you, that this is where i need to be right now. gotta put faith in what you do :).

all that being said, more praise for you: i'm so glad i found your shop! you have such reasonable prices, beautiful papers (some of which i haven't found anywhere else), and the friendliest customer service around :). you can expect a lot of repeat business from me, girl!

take care, and i'm looking forward to receiving my most recent order from you any day now ::squee!:: is it wrong to be so addicted to washi paper? ;p

♥,
melissa (maoiliosa)

Bee Square Fabrics said...

Excellent post. Thank you for your insights. I feel the same way about why I quilt my 'real job' and went into business for myself. Just an excellent read. Thank you.