10 Years!!

11:11 AM

Working on some small paintings for my shop in 2007.
I still don't believe that I've been an Etsy seller for 10 years. My friend Angie told me about Etsy and that I should put a few things up on the site. She thought my work would be perfect for it. I was really doubtful. 

My first sale on Etsy. Looking back on old product photos makes me laugh. They're so bad!
My photos have really improved over the last 10 years. Although, they can always use improving.
I put some etchings and a painting up and waited. Waited. Waited. A month later I sold an etching. I didn't even have the packing materials to ship it! I really didn't think I'd sell anything. I clumsily packaged it up and headed to the post office. I wouldn't get another sale for several months.

I moved to Pontiac, Michigan with my then boyfriend because he had gotten into graduate school.  I tried to find a job but it was really tough. I didn't want to work in a grocery store again but I applied to work in the produce department at a local grocer. They wanted to hire me as a cashier, something I told myself I would never do again, so I turned it down. I regretted it as soon as I hung up the phone. I had just turned down a job that I really needed, but I knew that I would just be miserable if I had accepted it. I also had a gut feeling that I would find something better.

A book I sold on Etsy in 2007. 

No job and my savings dwindling, I turned to my Etsy shop and crossed my fingers hard. I started making small paintings, books and little illustrations. I couldn't believe it when I got another sale. Then another and another and another. Soon I was paying bills with my art. My. Art! 

One of the first paintings I sold on Etsy. 

It was like magic.

Etsy has changed my life. I don't sell as well as I used to there, but it opened up several different avenues for me. It lead me down the road to wholesale, where I make the bulk of my living. It also opened the doors to several gallery shows.

Paintings that have long sold.

A few years later I did end up working at the grocery store I started at. Etsy sales were few and far between and I had moved back to Portland. After breaking up with my boyfriend and moving out, I went back to working for New Seasons to help pay my bills. Luckily, I worked in a department that allowed me to work part time so I could still work on my art. 

Typewriter Painting 2008. I made and sold a lot of these the first couple of years.

I worked in the Home Goods department and it actually taught me a lot about how wholesale works. We worked with a lot of small card vendors, as well as some rather large companies. Working there taught me about invoices, packing slips, customer service and gave me some insight into how to operate a tiny business. I will always be grateful for that job because it taught me so much.

One of the card images I don't sell anymore.

While there, my manager pushed me to make my own card line and I kind of scoffed at her. At the same time we kept getting requests from people for Portland postcards. So I started there and I also took a few of my paintings and turned them into a card line of 6. 

Illustrated postcards.

The illustrated postcards sold like hotcakes! I could hardly keep them in stock. The cards didn't sell as well, but I didn't let that discourage me. I added more designs and polished them up a bit. I designed birthday cards, anniversary cards, new home cards, thank you cards. The more cards I added, the more I sold and the more accounts I received. I edited my line and added to my line and I continue to do that today. I really owe a lot to my manager, Amy. She was my cheerleader and she really helped to change my life as well.

Card designs that I've discontinued.

I ended up quitting my grocery store job after working there for 4 years. It's been 3 years since I left and I'm still plugging along every day. I feel like every year I get better and I learn new things. I know that there are still a lot of things for me to learn and adapt to. The internet is an every changing, growing thing, and because I rely on it for my business it's important to keep myself updated on its evolution.

I hope that I can continue to keep up and grow. I love what I get to do everyday and I feel lucky to have gotten this far.

So now, let's celebrate this milestone with a sale! From today, March 18th - March 21st at 12am Pacific Time, enjoy 30% off everything in my Etsy shop! No coupon code is needed, prices are marked.

Thanks to everyone who supported my work over the past 10 years. I literally could not do this without out you and I am so grateful for that.

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