Since I had my first child 4 years ago, I have been brainstorming and taking actions to start my own business, or buy a small business.  When my oldest was about 4 months old, my husband and I put an offer on a laundromat that was for sale.  That deal fell through due to poor booking keeping by the seller.  But I didn’t give up there.  I haven’t tried to buy another laundromat; good ones are hard to find (although actually there is one for sale right now that I would like to at least visit with a broker).

After my second child was born I opened an Etsy shop called The Jewel Farm where I sold jewelry making supplies.  I had recently taken up jewelry making as a hobby and was able to find a wholesaler for the supplies.  I bought semi-precious stones, silver and gold plated findings from overseas then split them into smaller quantities for sale.  Unfortunately, the jewelry supply shops on Etsy are dominated by sellers from China and they have much better prices and larger selections than I could offer when I was just starting out.

And ultimately, jewelry making is not a real passion for me.  I didn’t want to learn everything about it, soldering metals, setting stones, etc.  I just liked making simple beaded necklaces.  Sewing is my passion.  And the longer I do it the more I love about it and the more I want to learn about it; the fabrics, pattern making, and I even enjoy quilting now.  I have tried so many crafts over the years.  I have had supplies ranging from dyed lambs wool for needle felting to canvases and oil paint.  I never did much with any of them, but all the while I always had at least one sewing project going on.  Even in college, when I didn’t have a sewing machine, I would sew skirts for myself by hand!

All in all, the Etsy shop was a good experience and I’m glad for all I learned during the past 3 years of managing that shop.  I must give credit to my sister, of Smarty Pants Paper Co., who helped me get started and showed me the ropes.

She showed me how to set up my Etsy shop and use the correct policies and shipping profiles.  She also gave me a photography cheat sheet to help me take the best possible picture of the merchandise and then edit them in Photoshop.  I have a nice camera, tripod, and a light box, but I still struggle with the settings on my camera.  I had to take a few lessons to get better using Photoshop, but even though my Etsy shop is closed, I am so glad to have that skill set (limited as it may be) because I edit pictures all the time now, even just pictures of my kids that I post to Facebook!  Speaking of, she also helped me set up the Facebook page for my Etsy shop and recommended I start a blog.  All excellent lessons that I will be able to use in my future endeavors.

My favorite thing that my sis did for me was make a logo for the shop.  It could not be more perfect!  I still love it and wish there were some use for it today, but it’s pretty specific to The Jewel Farm:


And this is what the banner looked like for the Etsy shop.


I still have a lot of supplies left, which means that financially The Jewel Farm was a failure, but overall I count it as a success because I learned so much from it and the experience really prepared me for my next steps as a small business owner.  Plus, I can make myself a lot of cool jewelry if I every get some free time.  Ironically, my jewelry collection could use some serious updating!

Until next time…

Happy Sewing & Crafting!