Eight years ago this week, I cut the ribbon on my Etsy shop, and a few weeks later sold my first handmade item-- this little guy.
I named him "Flutter," and was over the moon when a complete stranger decided to pay good money to have him shipped to her across the country. She was so kind to give me a glowing review, and I was hooked on this sewing thing. Back then, social media was practically non-existent and getting a sale on Etsy happened mostly from directing folks to your shop from your website, in person, or from organic searches within Etsy, so this felt like a huge accomplishment.
Before I launched the Etsy shop, I had built a pretty nice following of collectors on Ebay, but then the art market tanked with the economic downturn of 2001, and fine art became a luxury. Add to that, I had a two-year-old at home who did not mix well with the very time-consuming, detailed paintings I had trained myself to create. So, I fired up the sewing machine and started to use my stash of vintage fabrics to start making some more practical handmade items and keep my creative juices flowing. Enter the Amy Butler handbags stitched from vintage table cloths, stuffed blocks for babies and squishy birds with funky embroidered beaks. My shining moment on Etsy was when I found out one of my chalkboard erasers had made it to the front page (an unpaid feature we makers miss sorely). I took a screen shot of it before it quickly disappeared while I was at work, and it still hangs on my bulletin board in the studio.
Eight years later, it seems the world is ready to bring art back into their homes and budget, and my little baby is a ten-year old who is able to make a bowl of cereal once in a while and use the restroom on her own, so I can fill my shop with more paintings and drawings.
She even makes some pretty cool artwork herself. Check out this darling Manga-style drawing she did a couple of weeks ago.
To celebrate Eight years on Etsy, I'm "giving away" a grab bag of a variety of my handmade accessories worth over $30, starting Saturday morning. To "win," you need to search my shop for the special 10 cent listing and be the first one to click the "add to cart" button. That's it! It's like a fun scavenger hunt! Follow my Instagram feed for more details, and eat a cupcake for me wherever you are!