…building a business: as good as it gets

Before kids, I used to watch Barefoot Contessa. DH and I used to get a kick out of when she would say “Use good Mayonaise” or “Good heavy cream” or “Good dark chocolate.” But, as snooty as it sounds, there is truth to using “good” ingredients.

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You are only as good as your materials. If you work in water colors or fabrics or wood or clay or food or whatever your craft is, then you know there is a difference between good quality materials and inexpensive materials. It’s worth experimenting with both so that you know yourself the difference between the two. When you are first starting out, you will not want to spend the money on pricey materials, but the quality of your work will certainly suffer. Cheaper materials will always handle differently.

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This is true for the Chalk Paint that I use and it’s also true for the furniture that I resell & repurpose. When I first started out and wanted to build an inventory of furniture I would take on most everything. There were raw pieces that I loved and a few that I just wasn’t crazy about. I remember painting a little side table and thinking I just don’t love this. It was too plain, too simple and there was no character. I made an unconscious decision not to use my paint and time on anything that I did not love or want in my own home. I can seriously say that anything that I sell, if I had the room, I would put in my own house.

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Take a minute to think about what you are working on. Would you want it, wear it, use it, eat it? Would you represent it in your own space? If not, then don’t sell it. Use materials that are of the highest quality if you plan on selling your product. Buyers are smart and will know if you’ve cut corners or are not selling something worth even looking at. If it means selling less because it’s expensive or more time consuming to put out quality, then sell less. Your name & your business are only as good as what you are putting out there.

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…building a business: to etsy or not to etsy

Yesterday I decided to shut down my Etsy account. There are a few reasons why I decided to do this. The number one reason, however, is a little thing called shipping. If you are on Etsy, you ship. And shipping, in my opinion, is painful. Especially shipping furniture for the past 4 years.

There are pros and cons to joining & selling on Etsy, an open marketplace for artisans. It’s an amazing forum that allows customers all over the world to buy handmade or vintage products. Individuals can use Paypal or credit cards and that is an element that you don’t have to deal with on your own site. When one of your pieces sells, you receive an email with the customer information so you can contact him/her and then ship the item the purchased.

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I have sold many, many pieces via Etsy and have shipped them all over the country using USHIP. It’s alot of coordination and negotiation and most of the time it works out great. There can be little glitches with drivers, but most of all it is time consuming to find a situation that works for the end client and the shipper…and me!

I am also a customer on Etsy and have had a great experience finding interesting & unique products. If your product is small, you can put it in a box with a label and get it to your customer. Most Etsy Shops estimate the shipping cost and post it under the cost. I have had the experience that if I overpay, the Shop will reimburse me. Most transactions are done via Paypal.

Here are some awesome finds I’ve found:

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You may overpay with the shipping element, but you also get to shop vintage from the comfort of your home without getting your hands dirty in an old barn! Course I love the latter.

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I’ve also purchased hand knitted sweaters, art, vintage postcards to frame, curtains, etc. If you own your own business creating something that people will appreciate and use, then Etsy is a wonderful idea for you. It is easy to set up your own shop online. Check it out.

I don’t feel like I have the time to keep up with my Etsy shop at the moment. But, the good thing about being an adult is that you can always go back and change your mind :)!

 

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