Lucky 13

Beautiful Tattoo Designs by Sarah Antoinette Martin: http://sara-land.blogspot.com

Above is a collection of designs by tattoo artist Sarah Anoinette Martin— if you are lucky enough to live in Brooklyn!

Today is Friday the 13th, a day that always felt a bit lucky.  Maybe it’s just the contrarian in me!  Friday is Freya’s day. There are 13 lunar cycles in a year.  13 witches in a traditional coven.  In a baker’s dozen, it means that extra cupcake.

To celebrate, I’m holding a one day sale in my Etsy Shop— everything is 13% off.  Use coupon code FRIDAY13.

Lucky Cat Earrings by Feral Strumpet on Etsy. All profits from these go to the RSPCA.

The First Four Months: Adventures of an Etsy Seller

Flower Face, Blodeuwedd Rosary Necklace by Feral Strumpet on Etsy

I found myself in a little village in North Yorkshire, after living in London for six years. My fledgling career as a massage therapist suddenly stalled as all my clients were still in London and I knew no one and had no way to build up the business again through word-of-mouth. After working for myself as a therapist I knew I couldn’t work in an office again. Could I start another business and would it be viable? What lessons could I bring from my massage practice to a new venture?

I had long been an Etsy shopper. Whenever I needed anything I would check Etsy first, preferring to buy from an individual maker. Plus, artisans on Etsy usually had unique and wonderful solutions and options. I began to think, what if I sold things I made on Etsy? Friends had often commented that I should sell the jewelry made, but I thought no one would pay me for such things.

I was wrong! It is four months into this journey and already Etsy has helped me make my first mortgage payment. I have found not only a wonderful customer base of friends, internet acquaintances and most amazingly, strangers who have found my shop. But I have also been surrounded by supportive fellow-makers and shop owners. When you wake up in the morning and set up your tasks for they day, they form a kind of virtual team, giving you high fives and thumbs up with messages and “likes” as well as team discussions. They also pose a constant source of inspiration when you see what they’ve been up to. Working alone in my little studio can get lonely and isolating, so having these creative fellows about has made a huge difference.

Four months is a bit of an arbitrary anniversary, except that listings on Etsy go in four month cycles. Everything I listed from that first cycle, save one necklace, has sold. I’ve celebrated by reassessing my business plan and goals for the shop. I’ve gotten serious and invested in branded packaging as well as rethinking things like sales and ongoing promotions (Look for a brand new sale section in the shop coming soon!) Also, I bought a new tool– a Xuron needle nose pliers to replace my little pliers I’ve had for the last quarter of a century. My old pliers were giving out, giving me blisters and the spring was totally gone.

But they had sentimental value. I bought them at the Laguna Beach Bead shop, back in high school. The shop owner (I believe her name is Peggy) was the first person to teach me how to make jewelry. She did it for free, and always took an interest in what I was making. My teen years were difficult– I don’t know if she knew how much she helped me by giving me these skills and being present in my life in that way. This is another reason why local businesses are worth supporting over mega stores! Would I have known someone like her if the only shops left where Michaels and HobbyCraft? I like to think I’m keeping the cycle going on Etsy, building the micro economy and making beautiful things.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me thus far– here’s to the next leg of the adventure!

Happy World Goth Day

Get your black on...it's World Goth Day

The goth scene is home to me, though I haven’t always worn the costume my obsessions have always been the same.  Back before I knew a name for it, I was wearing Victoriana and listening to Bauhaus.  I have met many of my friends in dancing clubs, and this is one subculture where you can embrace middle age gracefully.  I’m happy to be here, whatever Goth Day means (it’s certainly not an invention of Hallmark…yet), it’s a chance for me to shout out to all the other darklings I call my friends– a gleeful carrion call.

(to celebrate I’m having a one day sale in my etsy shop, enter WORLD GOTH DAY at checkout and receive 15% off your order).