Baby steps

When I started stocking my etsy shop last August it ended up being a mix of handcrafted things and garage sale finds. I was overall happy with what I had to offer but there was still something missing, I just wasn’t quite sure what. I’ve never had a shop before so this whole experience was – and still is – very new to me.

Jami from Freckled Laundry was the one who made me realize what I needed. She wrote this absolutely inspiring post, Running a Creative Business, on Miss Mustard Seed‘s blog. It is just full of great advice.And that’s when I realized, I needed Jami’s clay tags!

Of course I didn’t need her clay tags and I didn’t need clay tags. I needed something like it. Something small, something that wasn’t just limited in number like my flea market finds were. But most of all: Something that was affordable for everybody. Something like these

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When exactly I came up with the idea of mini chalkboards I don’t know. But I was all excited about it when I did. I had planned on using Miss Mustard Seed’s Ironstone, which I already had, the chalkboard paint I had, too, so all I needed was the right wood and Rob to cut me some boards.

Now Rob was actually a bit skeptical, seeing how much time it took me to make them. They needed to be stained (or dark waxed), the front needed to be painted, the back needed to be done, the milk paint wouldn’t chip quite as much naturally as I had wanted it to, so I needed to help the chipping along a bit, finally the chalkboard needed to be painted on, three coats of paint on each of them… And then I wanted to sell a set of two for $10? But he was willing to let me do my thing (whatever my thing is, I’m not quite sure I know that myself yet :-)).

And it worked. The first one to buy some was actually Marian from Miss Mustard Seed herself. I almost had a heart attack when I saw who placed the first order. I was totally nervous sending them out and I’m honestly not sure how thrilled she was with them as I’ve never heard anything back from her. But I know how busy she is and I suppose I could just contact her and ask her … but honestly? I’m far too chicken to do that. Yes, I know, I need to work on that. What did Jami say in her post: If you want something, ask for it. Right. I’m not quite there yet.

Anyway, the first batch sold really quickly. The second batch is now down to its last set. I guess I have found my clay tags :-) They definitely don’t sell like “hot cakes”, to quote Jami, and I’m not expecting any wholesale order just yet :-) – but I’m happy. And if I’m lucky they might open a door.  Or maybe two? For now, they add a tiny bit of consistency to my sales. And that’s a good thing. After all, everybody starts with baby steps, right?

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5 thoughts on “Baby steps

  1. Those little chalkboards are the sweetest! I can see why Marian scooped some right up. Yes…it all starts with baby steps. I’m still baby stepping, too. Thank you so much for the mention. I can’t tell you how happy I get when little ol’ me inspires someone. I’m happy you liked the post because I sort of put it all out there. Thanks for the smile today and I hope many, many doors open for you!

    • I wanted to circle back and say that you shouldn’t be afraid to follow up with Marian at all! She was right where we are once (when she first started selling little ornaments) and knows what it’s like to wonder if someone loved what we did. Go ahead and email her. I’m sure she loved them!

      • Jami, thank you, it really means a lot that you took the time to come back. And yes, I know, she started out small – but she’s awesome at what she does. I guess I’m just afraid she might think I’ve butchered her milk paint – it was one of the first times using it after all :-) But I’ll work up the courage one day.

  2. You really should’ve asked. :) They’re hanging in my office. I loved your writing so much that they are just as you sent them to me. I waiting for the perfect time to sneak them in a photo…

    Honestly, I wouldn’t have bought them if I didn’t think they were fantastic!

    • Oh, I just didn’t want to be obnoxious. Things always look different in real life compared to a picture and then I’m still working on getting the milk paint less lumpy… So I just had this nagging feeling I might have screwed them up. But I’m so glad you like them. Thanks Marian, it means a lot that you took the time to reply to my silly little worries 😉