Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Just Got Better

So my 6th sale was one of my most memorable and maybe the most rewarding.  I got a message from a 1st Grade Teacher in KY that wanted a custom banner for her classroom.  She had a jungle theme in her room and wanted her banner to be a part of and reflect that theme.  My first instinct was jungle colors of greens, yellows, browns etc...  Not the case with this request, she was looking for animal prints with teal, purple, black and white.  So I went to my stash and had nothing of the sort.  As a new shop I was more than eager to come up with the perfect banner her.  I didn't want to disappoint her or have to tell her I couldn't do it.  So I set out on a mission to find exactly what she was looking for.  I hit my suppliers and found some really cool animal print paper, coordinating solids and embellishments to match.  I once again had that vision of how I wanted it to look.  I got home laid it all out and for some reason something just seemed off, but I went ahead and assembled everything thinking it just needed to be together and maybe it would POP!  I hung it up and....that's not what happened, not at all.  I kept looking at it and something was just not sitting right with me.  How could I ship this banner to someone when I don't have that "this is it" feeling.  Once again I don't want to disappoint.  This is what I came up with.  I think it was just to "busy" and a little hard to read.

So I had to do what I could imagine is the worst feeling for any Etsy seller and contact her to say: 

"something is just not sitting right with me on this banner. I feel like the letters don't stand out enough. I want to re-do it with black or white letters. I know I told you it would go out by today, but are you ok with it going out on Monday? I really liked working with you and don't want you to be disappointed. What do yo think?"

In my eyes the worst thing I could do as a new seller.  Great, so much for customer service, there goes this order out the window.  Telling someone their order was not going out as planned had me worried.  I really liked working with this lady and what a great impression that was going to make!  So I went to her class blog and sat down and just looked at the pictures she had of her classroom.  Then it was as if the clouds had lifted and I had a clear vision of how I wanted this to look.  So back at it I went again!  I was not going to let her down, that's not my style!  So I get it all laid out and snap a photo and send it to her.

What came next was "LOVE this! Perfect for my room. Thank you so much for sticking with it :-)"  Whewww, now that was a great feeling!  Eureka, I had done it!  This order was finally complete!  But even better was the response that I got next.  Never in a million years would I have guessed what was going to come next, an incredible opportunity to be a part of her blog and even better a giveaway!!!!  Not only does she have an awesome blog full of creativity but she offers information to other teachers that may be helpful to them in their classrooms, it doesn't get much better than that!  An order gone wrong has turned out to be one of the most important sales my shop has had!  What an fantastic opportunity!  Check it out, how cool is this:


Thank you Queen of the First Grade Jungle!  You have definitely opened new doors for me!

A Great Opportunity

So here I was laying out this banner and I was so excited with my new creation I couldn't wait to - 1.  give it to the teacher it was intended for and 2. make another one to list on Etsy.  I had only made a couple of sales and I thought this was going to be a sinking ship.  I was watching my dream go down the tubes.  I would check out the Etsy Treasurys and think about how cool would it be to be featured in one.  With my listings (and not so great photography on my end) I thought Treasury would be impossible for me.  So I thought why not promote some other sellers shops by creating my own Treasurys, it couldn't hurt and it would earn some views on my shop.  And so it love of Etsy Treasury! 

This was the first Treasury I created:

Then came another (my favorite):

I kept going from there.  As a matter of fact, I think it's time for another! 

Then it happened, I received a notification that the Teacher's Banner made an Etsy Treasury!!!!!  I was in total shock.  I couldn't believe it, was my shop finally going to make it to make it's mark on Etsy?  Treasury's give you tons of exposure, exposure that would hopefully increase sales.  And increase sales it did!  Next think I knew I was getting tons of shop views, people were starting to add my listings to their favorites and then the orders started coming in.  THIS IS AWESOME was all I could think.  I was so busy that I hardly had time to get new listings done.  I wasn't complaining, I was in Heaven, and the best was yet to come!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Turning Those Wheels

So my last day of the 9-5 was on July 15th, I opened my Etsy shop on July 19th, there was no time to waste.  I started out listing cupcake toppers:

You can find others here:

Then I started listing name banners:

And then....I sat and waited for my first sale....and I sat....and I waited....and I sat.  I still wanted to do more, but at the same time I didn't want to go too crazy with listings and then fall flat on my face after all I still had to put food on the table.  Then it happened!  My first sale!!!  I was over the moon!  That feeling is what pushed me to keep going.  The flip side of that coin was by adding more listings I would get to more people so what was it?  Take the risk or play on the safe side?  So I got a notebook and started writing down all of my thoughts and ideas and what came next was possibly my saving grace.

In the middle of all of this school was getting ready to start and I was trying to think of a personal gift to get for a teacher.  Then it hit me!  Here I am with all of these ideas swirling around in my head and I can't come up with a teacher's gift?!?!  Was I nuts?  Here it was right in front of me, within the pages of my black notebook staring me in the face.  A banner!  I sat down and wrote it out.  Exactly how I wanted it to look, the colors, the embellishments and so on.  I ran to my scrapbook stash and started to piece it all together and what I envisioned in my head is what I laid out.  It was perfect and then the 2nd light bulb went off and all I heard was...Ummmm, hello, McFly, how about banners that can be customizable for any classroom or teacher?  Not just kids name banners, but something for both the teachers and the kids to enjoy.  And so it was...the Teacher's Name Banner:

Check out the listing here:

Now the best is yet to come....but I'll have to share that tomorrow. :)

The Birth of a Dream

So while I was doing this research, I was still working for a title company.  That is until what I thought was the worst thing in the world, but possibly a blessing in disguise.  I got the call saying that the company I worked for had been another victim of the economy and had decided to close up shop.  What was I going to do?  I have a family to support and bills to pay, how could this happen!?!?  After going thru an array of emotions, the wheels started to turn.

I have an overwhelming supply of scrap booking supplies and Etsy is right in front of me, what was I waiting for?  Fear of the unknown was holding me back.  Then that little voice got a little louder...JUST DO IT, JUST DO IT!!!  WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO LOSE?  And so it was born, Meadow's Brook.  (A special name to me, maybe we'll get to that later :) 

In the Beginning

I have always been intrigued by blogs, but for some reason have never had the guts to start one myself....until now.  It has a little something to do with my new minuet slice of the web, a new little venture if you will. 
It all started with the first cross-stitch kit, I received as a gift from my Grandmother.  I was probably around 8 years old at the time.  It was a little heart with the word Mother back-stitched in the center.  That little kit took me forever!  But when it was complete I remember the gratification of knowing that I made this little creation and it looked pretty darn good!  From there it went on to larger cross-stitch kits and then designing my own little patterns.    I soon grew out of the cross-stitching so it was on to the next thing…floral design.  I would make wreaths, dry and silk flower arrangements and misc. home d├ęcor.  After I went through that faze it was on to knitting.  I think I must have 50 scarves and 25 wash-cloths, not to mention the countless gifts I have made for people.  I love the feeling of giving someone something hand- made and them knowing that it was a gift made especially for them, it’s a win / win situation.  I used to dream of setting up a little gift shop and selling nothing but hand-made creations from all aspects of the crafting spectrum.  Then I discovered scrapbooking!!!  I have been hooked for the past 10 years! I still go back to knitting, especially in the fall / winter months, but I have always been a sucker for paper crafting and all the cool supplies out there!  Always still dreaming about that magical little shop in my head.
Thinking that it was impossible to make my dream happen, on a whim, I got into the Real Estate Title Industry.  It was a career, right!?!?  As I sat for the next 15 years copying the same ole’ papers and putting together the same ole’ files I would constantly think to myself…there has got to be something better than this!  I knew there was, but didn’t know how to get there.  Then about a year ago I saw and advertisement for Etsy in a crafting magazine.  SERIOUSLY!!!!!  When did this come about?  I had dabbled in EBay before, but it kind of started to get a little ridiculous and I wanted a place dedicated to hand-crafted creations, could Etsy be it?  And so the research began…