Monday, November 15, 2010

~The buisness of bliss~

"Most people live and die with their music unplayed. They never dare to try"

 I thought I would try to encourage any one who has thoughts about starting their own business.
Big or small.
Weather you are a seamstress, cupcaker,
papiermache artist, felter, or ceramist

I start everything I do because of a feeling.
I love the feeling when I create.
I honestly don't care that much about the end's the journey.
...the more things I can invent and create the happier I am.
I get tremendous satisfaction in doing.
Ever heard Deepak Chopra use the phrase " human being" vs. "human doing".
I am a "human doing".
(not in the negative sense)
There is always something to explore and learn.

Now then, you have a specialty or specialties that people are admiring
 wondering where they might purchase them.
That is the first sign.
A good sign.
You loving something you create and other people are noticing and inquiring about it.
(By the way this could also be a service .i.e interior design or landscaper.)

Lets say you have a product
( I know it sounds horrible to you artists, but just for the sake of making it simple)
" a piece"
I would explore the area you live in if there are any boutiques,
farmers market
(these are super to get the word out and there is always a buzz)
shops or coffee houses where you might be able to either have a display or to sell your item,
either wholesale or consignment.
I like consignment because I feel like I have more control over my work and  how it is presented.
Selling your work wholesale can be be hard because you might be undercut quite drastically
(everyone wants to make money)
even shop owners can be viscous sharks.

 I took 50 or skeins to a local shop in town- that I had put my heart and soul into.
Mom sat on the floor for 2 days, helping me weigh, measure, figure cost
 design a spread sheet.
Excited to meet the shop owner and ready to present my work
I was greeted by this crazy woman (shop owner) who couldn't care less about my yarn and the beauty and feel of the wool. 
She kept on punching numbers on her calculator and trying to undercut me as much as possible
to make a buck.
and she was rude about it!

You'll meet this "endearing" style of personality.

I stood up for myself, looked her in the eye and thanked her for the opportunity to meet with her.
Told her I wished I could sell my work for that little
and hightailed outta there.

The good news:
There are plenty of wonderful and sincere retailers out there. 

You might consider advertising?
Find your target market.
I can't stress this enough!
Older, younger where do they frequent,
what are their hobbies etc.
Word of mouth people!

Frequent those places,
the coffee shops, parks, gyms what ever these folks hang out.
Make friends.
Spread the word.

Flyer's work to some degree- library, and other bulletin boards.
You could also have an add in the paper.
(I have not had much success with this- and it can be quite expensive)

Another thing to watch for is..
Do you want to sell your item more exclusively for a higher price
...or at less cost and produce more?
Figure this out before you tell the world about your business

How much or how little do you want to work?

I was a baby photographer a while back and had to learn this lesson the hard way.
At one point taking on 5 clients a week and working my tail off
became a complete burn out
(with my children and my little baby boy)
Didn't work for me.
As a mother of 4 children I found it easier to sell a product rather than a service.
This is why Magnolia Handspun is perfect for my lifestyle

Try joining a group of people that are interested in the same thing
 i.e "knitting guild" if you are a hat/ scarf maker.
...a place to be inspired and bounce ideas around.
Or give pottery classes and let them know you also sell your work.
Have little demonstrations on "how to" at schools, preschool, elementary school
 get kids involved on creating. talk alot
and they are most excellent spreaders of fun and interesting stuff-
and will talk you up for free.
Give a class at your local College.
or church?
Don't forget the wise and elderly...maybe something for the seniors.
 at the community center.

A few years ago I met an incredible woman thru The Church Mouse in Seattle that encouraged me to become a knitting teacher for kids after school.
I did.
I met some incredible people young and old.
Made friends.
The community was so supportive.
Made money and kept my family happy by not working a 9-5 at the office.

Make sure your home is zoned for this though.
I had to go to city counsel meetings to get permission for this.
(Funny thing, one of the boarder members was a father of a girl I was teaching and a huge supporter.)

Don't forget the internet.
Start a blog...(ehem)
Blog about your work and why you love it
why people need your beautiful and fabbity fab item.
There are many places to open up an online store: 

How about a website?
Google there are a bazillion out there you'll find a style and price point that works for you.

Don't forget to get domain name
 A great place for this is Go Daddy

You are eventually going to need branding
i.e logo
that defines your business
( make sure this is crystal clear- you only get one chance to "wow" people)
Don't forget biz cards.

There are AWESOME designers on ETSY

You also need to consider making a business plan
 there are several sites online that you can google to help with this.

I am only scratching the surface here.

It's fun to have your own little business.
Weather it's extra spending money or it down right pays the bills.
You create, meet people and it it takes you to many wonderful places.
Remember this is your business
 you are the owner.
You decide what works for you
and what doesn't.
...if doesn't change it.
Circumstances are ever changing and so your business.

On the other hand it can hectic and sometimes hard to balance family life.
Sometimes I tell Gabe he has to sit and draw next to me for a while or watch Robin Hood
so I can catch up on emails, or list items on Etsy.
That's life- he has to deal with it sometimes ...and he does.
There are sacrifices.

Read, read, read!

A few helpful books to get you started:

Helpful sites:


one last thing...
-don't forget to THANK people.
being grateful and gracious in this world
is mucho importante!
A kind word goes along way...people will remember that.


So go forth and may the Force be with you!
You can do this.

If there is a will there is a way.

Hop to it-
nothing to it, but to do it!

( Man, I sound like a mom)

"Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn't be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn't know it so it goes on flying anyway.”


  1. GREAT post...what an inspiration...and I LOVE the bumblebee story...I heard it years ago at a Women of Faith conference and it really stuck with me. Blessings on your business...I'm so glad you get to make a living doing what you love to do!!

  2. Camilla
    It is so great that you share this insight with all of us readers.
    It is very evident that you have a passion and I am so happy you have found this! You rock!

  3. You say it all so well! As always, thank you for your kindness to everyone! I really appreciate that!

  4. thank you for your encouraging words! they couldn't have come at a better time!

  5. you are a wise and talented woman,my friend~xx

  6. You are one amazing lady!! Thank you for this...

  7. What a lovely post!! So inspiring. I have just discovered you are selling your lovely yarns. I haven't been in blog world for so long. :) Nice to read what you are doing.

  8. you are truly inspirational!! thank you!

  9. Thank you for such a lovely and thoughtful post!I'm printing this post so that I can read it daily and have it inspire me to overcome my inertia and fear.

    Best wishes for every success as you embark on this most wonderful adventure!

  10. Excellent advice and inspiration. Someday I may consider it on a personal level.

  11. You are an inspiration, my dear Camilla! You embody so much that is good and strong. I thank you for sharing what you deeply know. Much love from Maine and best wishes as you bring more beauty into the world...xoxo


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