Getting Back on Track

Just wanted to pop in for a quick update!

The day job is still stressful but now for a more positive reason. Without going into great detail, there have been some changes in staffing that has really helped to make the work environment so much more positive! It’s sad but I have to say that I actually like my job again! I am still stressed but now more because of all the work we have ahead of us and the energy it takes and not so much because of one person that’s bringing down the whole team. So yay!

As for my “fun” job, I’m getting back on track with Etsy business which is always nice. I’ve realized that I’m sticking to somewhat of a schedule nowadays. Brady is usually in bed by 8:30 p.m. and thank goodness for wireless internet and the baby Mac so I can get some work done upstairs. It’s typically right before our bed time that I go to the shop and do another posting or relisting, check out the blog, and answer emails, etc.

I read one of those “Quit Your Day Job” interviews on Etsy (can’t remember which artist it was) and one thing say said was how important it was to continuously create new items. This really struck me because I’m great at relisting, but not so much with creating new things. I get on a kick some days and get a whole bunch of new things created and then the spurt goes away. I was thinking about my buying habits and I realized that if a place like The Gap (one of my favorite stores!) always had the same thing each time I came to the store, I would probably stop going there after a while. I realized my customers probably feel the same way – stop by the shop, see the same things, and go on to the next who may have listed some new things.

So…I’m determined to list 3-5 new things each month. I started this month and I’ve noticed that my number of hearts have steadily increased since. Not only that, creating new things has me always thinking about the shop in the back of my head and everywhere I look now it seems I see inspiration for a new product.

That’s all for now – hope to post a new “Take 5” interview soon!

Take 5 – Jennifer Squires Productions

I was so struck the beauty and simplicity of Jennifer Squires’ photos! A relatively new shop on Etsy, Jennifer uses her art “to search for simplicity and meaning in the beauty of the everyday.”   

Tell us about yourself and your shop.

I have been photographing professionally since 1996, but I’ve been taking pictures my whole life.  I opened my Etsy shop in February 2008 – it’s been great for me, I work from home but the Etsy community never lets me feel as though I’m by myself.

My work covers a broad range of categories, from shopping carts to gerbera daisies, but I always find that I focus on the details of life.  I am constantly inspired by the world around me and I use photography to search for simplicity and meaning in the beauty of the everyday.

Where would you like your shop to be in 1 year? In 5 years?

In a year from now I’d like to have built a large, strong, online customer base.  I’d like to offer a wider range of subject matter and I’d like to focus more on larger images and image collections.  I hope to be in a position to advertise more and to further develop my website. 

Five years?  That’s quite a long time.  In five years I hope to have a lot of repeat business, I’d like for my clients to come to me when their wall art needs to be refreshed.  I really hope that in five years time there are more earth-friendly options for photographic printing.

 

Looking back, if you could do anything differently in starting your business, what would it be?

I’d have started my business sooner.  I found it hard to put myself out there.  My photography is the way that I see the world, and rejection of it is a lot more personal.  But now that I’ve come this far I know that taking the risk, showing the work can be the biggest confidence builder of all.

What is a typical day in the office like for you?

Typical days for me are cyclical. I’m just wrapping up a new body of work (Flora) and now I find I’m spending more time marketing rather than creating.  I get up at 7am and get myself ready for the day.  Check into my Etsy store and see if there’s anything that needs tending too.  Flip through some blogs for inspiration for future projects.  Contact people that have requested information and send out press releases.  Go to the lab if prints need to be picked up.  At 11am, I check email then I have a break.  Twenty minutes of yoga then lunch.  In the afternoon, I package up anything that needs to be shipped, check into Etsy forums, see how my shop is doing, tend to matters that arose in the morning, and begin my to do list for the next day.  My days are ever changing but that’s where I’m at currently.

As a seasoned entrepreneur, what advice or words of wisdom do you have for those that are just starting out?

Don’t spend too much time in the beginning working on branding.  Just get your stuff out there for the world to see.  As your business grows you’ll gain a better understanding of the direction you’d like to go in and who your target market is, then you can focus more on your logo and identity.  Stop dilly-dallying and show us what you’ve got! 

For more on Jennifer Squires Productions, check out her shop and her website!

Take 5 – Elegant Snobbery

I absolutely love the beautiful illustrations from Elegant Snobbery! Marisa, the fabulous artist behind the “Snobs” has only been on Etsy for a short time but is already receiving rave reviews. I, for one, can’t wait till she decides to come out with her own children’s book!

Tell us about yourself and your shop.

My name is Marisa and I am the illustrator behind Elegant Snobbery. I am a stay at home mom with two very young and very energetic daughters. I love being home with them and watching them grow and learn, as well as being home so I can work on my illustrations during nap time.

My shop is filled with whimsical, brightly colored illustrations and mixed media collages. I love drawing butterflies, botanicals, birds, and of course, my Elegant Snobs, which are the signature illustrations in my shop and feature lovely ladies with fabulous hair-dos and their noses up in the air. I have only been selling my artwork on Etsy since mid-January so this is all very new and exciting for me!

Where would you like your shop to be in 1 year? In 5 years?

I have always wanted to write and illustrate books for children.  Elegant Snobbery is a great way for me to do what I love and build up my portfolio. I have already been working on the story board and dummy book for a story I have written. In the next year, I would like to send it to a publisher and see what happens. The more I draw, the more I love illustrating. I can’t wait to see what images pop into my head for future illustrations and I can’t wait to see how my portfolio looks five years from now.

Elegant Snobbery 1

   
Looking back, if you could do anything differently in starting your business, what would it be?

I would have liked to have found the courage to get out there and sell my artwork years ago.  It is a scary thing, taking that first step in becoming a professional artist. I have been illustrating for over ten years, but hiding my finished work in the portfolio I keep in my closet. I just didn’t have the confidence to show anyone what I was working on. In only a few months, I have gone from being frightened of rejection, to feeling confident and loving the feedback I am getting on my work.  And in the last few months, I have been more inspired than I have ever been before.  My drawing board is always covered with my latest illustration and my sketchbook is falling apart at the seams because it is always being filled with new drawings. 

Elegant Snobbery 2

 What is a typical day in the office like for you?

My day begins with a very large cup of coffee, followed by a few more. It takes a lot to get me going in the morning.  Between bottles, breakfast, and Barbie dolls, I don’t usually begin working until my one year old is sleeping, and my three year old is having quiet time. After the girls go to bed, I generally put on my head phones and spend several hours drawing and sketching.
 
As a seasoned entrepreneur, what advice or words of wisdom do you have for those that are just starting out?

Go ahead and take that leap!  You will never know how successful  you can become if you don’t give yourself the chance.

For more on Elegant Snobbery, check out the shop and the blog!