Today starts a new monthly project between Ann, Lesley, Jackie and myself. We’ll be sharing our business stories on each others blogs once a month and encouraging each other and you to participate and chime in with suggestions whenever. We’re all pretty much the same: four young female creative entrepreneurs trying to succeed and build each other up. A sister circle. There is nothing better than having the honest encouragement of someone who understands what you’re going through. I decided to create this group and asked these 3 women to join me because I felt that we could all only benefit from the mutual support. Please share your comments and be sure to jump around to meet the other women participating! Now on to Lesley’s story…
A little back story
I’ve worked in HR for the majority of my professional life as it is often easiest to find administrative jobs that provide financially but I’ve also taken breaks from that ho hum grind in order to work in fields I actually have a passion for, baking and gardening. Although I felt fulfilled personally when I worked in a bakery and a large garden my pockets were a bit shy. The need to have more for my quickly growing (and quite hungry) boys trumped my warm fuzzies about two years ago and I went back to Human Resources. I enjoyed my first job back in the corporate world, as it was at a nonprofit where I still felt like I was doing good work. Not even a year in, another company who offered more money, a shorter commute, and better benefits pursued me. Even though I had a funny feeling about the change I went forward with it. After a week there I was miserable. I wasn’t doing the job they offered me and I was not meshing well with the woman who was maybe my supervisor. (I say maybe because there wasn’t a lot of structure in place.) After four agonizing months they came to me the morning after I returned from a short trip and informed me, “It just wasn’t working out.” For the first time in fifteen years I found myself terminated and without a job! Month one of unemployment I looked tirelessly for a new position and watched seemingly everything on Netflix while lying on the couch in pajamas. My husband suggested I find something else to do with my time while waiting for something to pan out with a new job. I was wasting away right before his eyes. I had sold maybe three vintage dresses on Etsy the year before in order to rid myself of items I absolutely would never fit again as well as my 50s era wedding dress. I had some more items I’d like to unload and a bit of extra money couldn’t hurt. I listed them and thought, “My page looks so sad with only four items. Maybe I should do some thrifting and fill at least one page?” Within a month I had a couple pages filled but business was not booming in the least. My photos were sub par and I truly didn’t know how to utilize Etsy. I was a mess! In an effort to represent my shop and myself appropriately I dove in headfirst. I started taking things seriously and re-photographed my items, read everything I could about how to maximize my exposure, researched vintage, devoured info on Etsy, thrifted, and worked on branding.
Where I am
Instead of one full page of items I now have over 150 listed at all times. I absolutely love the hunt and being able to share a once loved thing with someone who sees it as a new treasure. I currently spend large portions of my time searching out vintage to share with the world. The rest is spent laundering, pressing, modeling, and photographing these wares. I also upcycle vintage earrings so they are wearable for people with stretched ears. That has become a large part of my business and I really love the flexibility that gives ladies with gauged ears. (We wanna wear pretty earrings, too!) Although I admittedly know very little about technology I am now taking better photos with a much better camera. (Thanks to my husband.) I am also utilizing social media for my business and blogging which is also a new frontier for me.
- Increase stock in my shop and reach 400 items by the end of the year.
- Provide a wider selection of items to my customers.
- Improve my photography.
- Actually market my business and myself with intention.
- Participate in a trunk show or pop up shop.
- Improve my record keeping.
- Be focused in how I’d like my business to be perceived image wise.
- Network with other small business owners.
- Improve my blogging skills.
- Become more tech savvy. (Seriously, I want to punch things because I’m so bad with technology.)
- Work on scheduling and time management.
Don’t forget to check out Ann‘s, Jackie‘s and Sherisa‘s posts today!
So, are any of you ladies relatively new business owners? Any tips to share on how to deal with time management? Did you start your business on Etsy? How has it worked out for you?
I’ve been up for hours on top of hours working on my next project. The first post in that series will publish in a few hours here on the blog and elsewhere, too. I’ve started a group called 6011 Collective to fill a void in the creative entrepreneur category spoken from W.O.C. (women of color) and targeted to women, but mainly women of color. This is not about exclusion, I just feel there is a gaping void where we are the voices being heard and I’m attempting to start that conversation.
I’ve asked 3 of my friends (online and in person) who just so happened to also participate in The Great Postcard Swap (I only realized that a short while ago) to help form this group. Basically, we will swap blogs with one another once a month and write openly about whatever stage we are in in our business. What we succeeded at and what we missed. Where our passions lead us and what we’ve been learning along the way.
The lovely ladies are:
Lesley of Yessiree Petunia Vintage
Ann of Ankara & Lace
Jackie of B.Fly Wears
We each do something different but we all fully run our own business. We all have different goals as well. If you’d like to join in, please come back later and check out our posts. We also have a facebook page set up, so head over and like that. We’ll be adding links throughout the month of things of interest and look forward to community building and financial growth. Together.
If you want to join in, please do! Also, on our facebook page there are sidebar buttons in a folder. You can take one, put it on your blog sidebar and link to the fb page or our posts, and make sure to give credit where credit is due. Stealing is tacky, and karma is a mutha. For real.
By the by, 6011 Collective is the cumulative miles between the four of us.