This post is from Jo in New Zealand, the writer of a popular blog, No Matter Where I Go, I Always Meet Myself There, focusing mostly on crazy quilting and other textile ventures.
Jo’s had some really good success with her latest Etsy ventures. Selling the products of one’s creative ventures is vastly popular today, as popular sites such as Etsy and Artfire attest. I thought it would be of particular interest to readers on Needle ‘n Thread to hear about Jo’s adventures, since it isn’t unlikely that there are many of you who do, or plan to do, something similar with your arts and crafts.
I think you’ll enjoy Jo’s article, her sense of humor, and her creativity! Here she is:
No Matter Where I Go…I Always Meet Myself There. This is a saying I heard many years ago, and it stayed with me. I am not sure why, but at the time, I was at a low point in my life, and I thought “Well, that’s it, then. It’s all up to me isn’t it”. I was responsible for me, my own happiness, or conversely, my own unhappiness; there was no one else who could ‘fix’ it , except me.
Over the years I have moulded this it fit the needs of my life at the time. To me now, older and wiser, it means I have to be happy with the end result. I feel it revolves a lot around integrity and doing what I feel is right, and being happy to live with the outcome. Looking at my blog title almost daily reminds me of this.
How am I going to lead this nicely into an article about my craft…I don’t think I am, to be fair (lol), but I don’t think I have ever told the story of my blog title before, and when Mary honored me with a “guest spot” while she is enjoying her down time, I had to think what to write about.
I have been blogging for a number of years now. I never dreamed it would lead me to where I am now. Many friends and acquaintances all over the world, with wide and varied interests that I get to experience and enjoy. I have Round Robined, Swapped, Exchanged, ROAKed, Moderated and Donated. My recent ventures, though, have taken me into the world of ‘retail’….
For a good while, and after a few suggestions from various quarters, I had been considering a book. Just considering, no formal plan (or even informal plan for that matter). It is difficult to know what people would actually want to read. It turned out, however, that words would be surplus to requirements in my foray into publishing. One night – I am a night owl, never in bed before midnight – I received a discount coupon in my email box from an online photo service. It was for a small, spiral bound photobook. I thought it was a good idea.
As a part of my ‘offline ‘life, I spend many hours in conferences. Although usually work is highly embellished with beads and ribbons, sequins and silk ribbon embroidery, my “conference box” has pre-pieced fabric postcards, and a selection of threads. Back to basics, and no plan, except to stitch and experiment. It keeps my brain engaged, and therefore able to listen.
So, I got my coupon, loaded up my photos – deciding to focus on layered seam treatments for Crazy quilting – picked a template, ordered 6, thinking I can give them away if nothing else, and waited for them to arrive. During this time I blogged about my “book” and people expressed an interest. “Great, I might actually be able to sell a couple of these!” I thought. I needed a venue to do this. I have been a member of ETSY for a while as a buyer, so I set about creating my shop and I listed 4 copies. You cannot imagine the thrill to open up my email box the next morning and see that two copies had sold. The other two copies had sold by the end of the day. Within 3 weeks I had sold 30 copies!!
This little venture has been successful beyond my wildest hopes. The reason for its success? Well, it all comes back to blogging, links and connections with people, finding common denominators. Joining yahoo groups, ning groups, facebooks (I haven’t embraced twitter yet…) building a network of likeminded and interested and interesting people, that, 20 years ago would have been next to impossible without the internet. In fact, I believe, next to impossible without a blogging presence online. I could have put this book out, but without those people who take the time to read my words and admire and comment on my work, who would my client base be? I am incredibly lucky and blessed to be part of this online community, and lucky to have been supported so well by its members.
With the success of my wee book, I added some bags I had made to my shop. Both of those sold and I am now working on custom orders for 3 more. I have added a range of Victorian inspired pedestal pincushions, beautiful and functional handmade pieces. They are slower to sell, but then I create “just because”. It helps keep me sane in a life busy with 3 young children!! I am also adding some postcards as I finish them, and I would like to invite you all to enter my monthly giveaway for a hand embroidered fabric postcard. Finally, to link back to my blog title, I strive to create well made, long wearing items, that I know I can be proud of, because no matter where I go…I always meet myself there.
I feel a bit like an advertorial, but when Mary suggested advertising an online shop, I felt it was a great opportunity. I hope that I have offered you some other insight along the way, not being too blatant with asking you “stop by.” However, of course, I would love for you to “stop by”! You can find me here at my Etsy Shop and on my blog, No Matter Where I Go, I Always Meet Myself There.