Sitting at home holding my 4-month old daughter round the clock, I came up with three goals:
1. Create some therapeutic making-time for myself.
2. Have a crack at my dream of having my own online craft-based business, a cottage-industry.
3. Make an income.
I felt it was a 'now or never' decision. I was on maternity leave. There was no excuse not to do it. Either that or go back to work and put the baby into care. I didn't want to put her in care, I didn't feel it was right for her at that time.
My mother is a long-time Canberra soft furnishings interior decorator. Her parenting model of working from home, being industrious, and looking after the kids was branded into my being. I saw how hard she worked on all that juggling. I knew what I was in for.
I started blogging. I loved it. As a person who was prone to starting but not finishing making projects, the blog meant that I had to finish them to share them.
I was extremely sleep deprived, with a stressy baby and barely hanging on by a thread myself.
It felt so great. The baby's 40 minute naps suddenly felt like 2 hours when I spent that time making something. I felt revived and refreshed. I used to get the best ideas when I was nursing her. It worked really well for our family. It was just the medicine I need at a time when I was extremely sleep deprived, with a stressy baby and barely hanging on by a thread myself. Little did I know that would continue for over a year!
Once the blog was up and running, I researched having an online shop. In particular, I dreamed about having an Etsy shop. I decided that if I could create a successful Etsy shop i.e. one that had regular sales, then I would have achieved my goal.
...if I could create a successful Etsy shop i.e. one that had regular sales, then I would have achieved my goal.
But what would I sell?
It needed to fit the following criteria:
2. Small, because we have a tiny house.
3. Easy to post so the world could be the market.
4. Not currently available on the market.
5. Something I was interested in.
There are various websites offering information about what items are the biggest sellers on Etsy. The answer is craft supplies. Makes sense doesn't it?
The craft revival
The craft revival that has been going on for the last few years is absolutely massive. It is way bigger than the craft wave of the 1980s. We can thank the Internets for that. In my generation, a mum sitting on her couch feeding her baby can have one hand on the keyboard and the entire world as her potential market.
...a mum sitting on her couch feeding her baby can have one hand on the keyboard and the entire world as her potential market.
It is also wonderful from an environmental perspective. The current craft wave is more than just a wave. People who are making things for themselves are buying local, they are buying off their laps. It doesn't get more local than that. The pendulum is steadily swinging away from the mass-made products our baby boomer parents love so much. I also think our generation is realising that we have too much stuff and that buying more stuff is decreasing our quality of living.
An online business is a great way to reap the rewards of your awesome ideas and your hard work. It is also much more flexible.
And while I'm here talking about the Internet, those people who are making things to sell, they are part of the growing number of people choosing online entrepreneurship and self-employment. Our generation is cool with taking risks. An online business is a great way to reap the rewards of your awesome ideas and your hard work. It is also much more flexible.
My first product
I really believed they would sell. I completely put aside any reservations and learned about laser cutting. I taught myself new software. I didn't care because I felt it was going to work out. It was a fabulous challenge and it felt good.
When I showed my husband the first prototypes, he laughed and told me that he didn't think they would sell. He is a wonderful man, he just doesn't understand craft. Now he is my biggest supporter. There is nothing like having kids and starting two new businesses (yep, him too) in the space of 4 years to show you what your spouse is made of. It has brought us very close, we love and respect each other more.
Later, I was very pleased to find out my by behaviour had been characteristic of the common traits of successful entrepreneurs, according to Kenelm Tonkin. I was defiant, I did it anyway, I was obsessive. I thought they would sell and they did. Yay face.
The Creative Muster online shop and blog have been running about 4 years now. I have achieved my goals that I set for myself.
I am at a point where I am questioning what I should do next. Part of this is reflecting on what I have learned and setting new goals. In doing this, I'm introducing a new series of blog posts where I share information with you to inspire you to do your own thing. I hope you enjoy this new series. I've gotta go and bath the kids.