Friday, February 7, 2014

Working From Home

I am in love with fabric.  That's probably not news.  Lately I've been dreaming about making quilts with it.  Lots and lots of beautiful quilts.  There are so many wonderful new fabric lines that are calling my name.  But.  What has been taking up all of my time these days is my tiny little Etsy shop.

It started very slowly.  It took over two months before I had my first order, but suddenly I feel like it's exploding.  Well, if you can call a few orders a week exploding.  I feel like it's busy because my stock is so low in the shop and my sewing time is so limited nowadays. I've also been selling outside of Etsy which is wonderful.  

Of course, it's not just the making that makes running an Etsy shop so busy.  As any small business owner can tell you it's the paperwork, the bookkeeping, the marketing, the ordering and setting up that eats away at your day.  Combined with working from home (while homeschooling), it can be pretty crazy around here.  And I tend to feel a bit overwhelmed a good bit of the time.  I feel like I'm always behind on something, the housework is neglected more often, the laundry piles up, schoolwork needs to be done and graded, and there is never enough time to sew.  Or take a break.  Although sewing would be a break....

All in all, I feel lucky to be able to have a little shop while still at home with the kids.  As a former owner of a brick and mortar yarn shop, I can say that there's certainly less commitment and less risk with an online store.  There's virtually no overhead cost.  We have to pay the rent anyway.  I already had all the equipment that I need.  My only start-up costs were the initial Etsy fees and a few supplies.  Not too bad for a burgeoning business. 

So, what am I making these days to sell?  My original goal was and still is, to sell quilty things,  quilts of all sizes, pillows, maybe some cute little dresses.  What I'm actually selling is g-tube covers and belly bands.  These are not things I ever thought about making.  Heck, I didn't even know what those were until my sister-in-law asked if I could make them for my niece.  Here, take a look.

My aim is to make something that is comfortable, useful and beautiful for the people who need them. I only sell the things I have already made.  I will take special orders, but I don't want to run my shop that way.  It's much less stressful for me to just package up an order and drop it in the mail that it would be for me to struggle to find time to sew on busy days or during especially hectic weeks.  I like this flexibility.  

The income isn't great.  I'm still at the point where every dollar I make goes back into the business.  I'll never get rich with this Etsy store or buy a fancy house.  Eventually, I am hopeful that I can bring in a little extra for my family.  Maybe save up for that trip to Paris for Chickadee's 16th birthday, still far enough away that it's not terrifying.  And between now and then, if I can make things that help out just a bit, that's pretty satisfying.