6011 Collective – Lesley’s story

6011 Collective :: creative biz ladies - Lesley's story

Hello everyone!

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…

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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.

2012 Goals:

- 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.

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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?

the weekend

Since last week Thursday I’ve had this surge of productivity and I’ve gotten so so much done in that time. Exhibit A: take a peek at the sidebar. I got up Saturday morning and learned how to make that myself. It might seem trivial, but it’s been a good decade since I’ve played with PS so I’m really proud of all the improvements I’ve been making gradually over the past few months. Self-sufficiency is awesome. I’ll be making more adjustments over time.

Unfortunately, I never had the larger shop update–it’s on hold until I can either get great light or have Dennis photograph it for me this week. Light has been so sparse around here. We’ve been covered in a cloud of grey for days. By 5:30 it’s almost pitch black outside. Drastic difference from full light well past 10p in the summer.

Things to get used to.

Because I wasn’t able to photograph the jewelry I made the previous week, it gave me more time to make some new things. 10 more necklaces and a bracelet to be exact as of today. I have been having the most difficult time ever finding a course I can take on wax carving so I can make my own pieces. My wish is to have it produced locally, but I’m okay with it being produced elsewhere. If you know anyone/anywhere in Holland I can go, shoot me a message please!

While I’m searching for that, I do have far too many seed beads than a normal person should have. I don’t think I’ll be making hoop earrings anymore, but I’ve turned my attention elsewhere: necklaces and bracelets. It is less stressful on my eyes to make this instead. Perhaps because there is just less to work with. So when I do finally get this all photographed properly, there will be one massive shop update. I’m hoping for next Tuesday instead.

I also have two other special announcements that I’ll get to talk about next week that I honestly can’t wait to share. I’m really excited about both of these opportunities and it just feels like it’s happening at the prefect moment. Everything is just making sense.

How was your weekend? Anything magical happen to you?

Style Narratives: Wedding Bliss

Marsha Style Narratives Contributor
Wedding Bliss

Since it was Dennis and Sherisa’s wedding anniversary this week, it only seemed fitting to focus today’s Style Narrative on what to wear when attending such a special event. Personally, I avoid buying clothing or accessories that I can only wear once. First, it’s a waste of money. And secondly, if you loved it enough to buy it, why wouldn’t you want to wear again? So for today’s look, each piece is classic enough that can be worn again – either separately or together.

The foundation of our Wedding Bliss look is this gorgeous Button Belted Dress by Anthropologie ($248). Styled in deep green, this versatile color would complement a variety of skin tones. Adding to its versatility is that fact that it can be worn with or without straps, and you can unbutton the dress and wear it as separates. How’s that for getting your money’s worth?

This dress has such beautiful and interesting details, that we don’t want to clutter it with unnecessary extras. Simple elegance goes a long way. Chandelier Earrings by Jessica Simpson ($45) add just enough sparkle and will accentuate your neck and collarbone. A splash of color is served with a red baguette Clutch by Call It Spring ($30) and understated taupe Bandolino Pumps ($50) offer some height and the ability to dance all day and night without your feet ending up in a painful, scrunched up mess.

Style Narratives

Marsha Style Narratives Contributor -  Dressing for the summer

Hi everyone. My name is Marsha and I’m a writer for lifestyle store and online magazine wejetset as well as Uptown Magazine’s Uptown Social covering fashion, travel and design. I’m so excited to be working with Sherisa. I’ve been a long time fan of Sherisa’s handcrafted jewels – I get many a compliments when I wear her earrings – so having the opportunity to work with her is exciting. Other than writing, I enjoy styling and learning about the craftsmanship in fashion. So twice a month I’ll be creating timeless looks for you guys to draw inspiration from and make it your own. I hope you enjoy the sartorial eye candy and my first post!

Dressing for the summer can be a challenge. And in the states so far, this summer has been unbearable. It’s been hot, humid and uncomfortable. Besides figuring out ways to stay cool, exerting effort into what to wear sounds like an unnecessary chore. Many of us, myself included, resort to a tank tank, shorts and sandals with creativity going out the window. Is it even possible to dress stylishly in the summer heat without ending up with a pile of your clothes on your bed in frustration? Yes, of course! And thankfully it’s as easy as pairing a basic staple item with a bold accessory to inject style mileage.

Start with a basic grey jersey dress like this one from Vanessa Bruno. The Athe ($302) is made with a lightweight material (great for the summer), has a neutral color offering versatility and strategically placed gathered details adding visual appeal. Paired with other neutral accents like Top Shop’s Aviator Glasses ($28) and a Peach Half Moon Cross Body Bag ($56), Elva Field’s brightly colored yellow necklace ($218) injects much needed color and vintage rhinestones add a touch of sparkle. And for a hint of color variation, Sergio Rossi’s Orange Jelly Sandals are ideal and amazingly comfortable making this outfit polished yet very wearable.

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