9.02.2009

new products and my first real customer

Occasionally I make other paper goods to sell in my Etsy shop, including other stationery in the paper*punch*press line as well as a new line of products collectively titled Knotty French, which use felt and embroidered French knots to recreate diet-friendly versions of some of my favorite sweets (I have a horrible sweet tooth!). This post originally appeared on my other blog just a couple of weeks ago:

My audience of one in this extended one-woman show finally decided to give me a little bit of a mid-day break most days this week, so I've had a chance to catch up on a few things, foolishly prioritizing making stuff over the sleep this cold of mine needs in order to leave already. The trilogy of miniature stationery was completed with these yellow and blue thank you cards featuring a dragonfly motif that, in hindsight, looks more like a palm tree:


The yellow paper is layered over a blue that pretty closely matches a 100% cyan ink, but I think I might tweak it and layer it over Paper Source's "pool" blue instead, a color combination I fell in love with while working on the paper portion of a proof for an actual client last week (imagine, wedding invitations created for real people!). Exciting, huh? The challenge was to incorporate three additional wedding colors into an already pretty complex design and palette but I'm pretty happy with the way things worked out. I'll post some images once all is said and done.

I've also been brainstorming ideas for additions to a new line of products in my shop called "Knotty French" (the French are so naughty, after all), in a style similar to the Mother's Cookies cards that were born from the creative loins of the Makery (hmm, that's always a little funnier when other people write it) and eventually made their revised way to my more stationery-based Etsy shop. Making felt versions of sugary foods, embellished with embroidered French knots, is almost as fun as eating the real deal. Almost. So, perhaps inspired by the donut habit I picked up during my four years in Boston, I created these, using a bit of the huge stack of beige felt leftover from those DIY cat carrier covers I made at the beginning of this whole cross-country move business.


What else can I top with sprinkles?

Needless to say, I've been spending a lot of time tweaking existing products, creating new ones, and generally trying to promote my shop. Some days I fear I might resemble that contestant on American Idol who really needs to be told, for the first time in all of his 19 years, that he can't actually sing, and then other days I feel like the shop has real potential, like I'm on the verge of something good. I love reading Etsy's spotlight on successful sellers who've quit their day jobs. I always wonder what would happen if my shop had hundreds of sales and I were the seller being featured, how would I answer the questions they typically ask, since I didn't exactly quit my day job, I just haven't been able to find one. The part I get the biggest kick out of is when they ask the featured seller to walk them through a typical day (if you have a kid you'll understand why I laugh until milk comes out of my nose when I read about how somebody wakes up at 8 a.m. without an alarm clock, as if that's an example of their work ethic and they need say no more). So in the spirit of pursuing the creative life full-time, let me walk you through a typical day in my own personal spotlight of the whole not-totally-by-choice stay-at-home-artist-mom thing:

*wake up, on average (some mornings we're up by 5 - without using an alarm clock...mmm hmmm, that's right), around 6 or 6:30 and try to decide if a few more minutes of sleep (while the husband fetches the baby) is worth sacrificing a morning shower

*attempt to clean, clothe, and feed every living creature in the household, while making my Internet rounds, which, if I'm lucky, might include reading - but not having time to respond to - an Etsy convo, before 8 when the husband goes off to his day job

*finish getting ready for the day while the baby plays nearby, mostly supervised

*figure out how to keep baby entertained and maintain sanity until the stars align and make a long afternoon nap happen

*IF this magical thing happens, I can respond to that convo I read in the morning and have been thinking about ever since (baby, what baby?)

*more likely scenario involves baby not napping OR baby naps but there's no convo to respond to, no orders to fulfill, giving me an hour and a half or two to obsess over shop details, samples sold and convos answered that haven't yet turned into orders, and doodle ideas for new products; on a really good day, I might actually make, photograph, and list an item but, like a comet, that happens very infrequently

*after the baby wakes up from or refuses altogether to nap, we usually run errands, stock up on supplies, that sorta thing

*the husband finishes work around 4 or 5, depending on the day, at which point I promptly hand over the baby; this is the best time to photograph stuff in, unfortunately, the baby's room

*if I don't have anything in progress to work on, I exercise, because, at the end of the day, at least I have my health

*between 5 and 8 we feed, entertain, and bathe the baby, then we try, with a hope and a prayer, to put the baby to bed

*some nights I'm too physically tired and my brain won't function the way I need it to to continue to work on anything Etsy-related or otherwise; if I'm in the middle of something, say, trying to figure out how to design a wedding invitation ensemble with six colors, I'll stay up as late as midnight or so trying to work it out because I know if I don't I'll just toss and turn thinking about it

*but midnight is my cut-off; you have to have boundaries, after all

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