More Than an Etsy Blog

Yes, I originally started this blog to go along with my Etsy store. Yes, I would love it if you bought something. But only if it brings you joy- after blogging for exactly a year now (say what??) this blog has evolved in a way that I did not expect, and has led me to realize what I really enjoy doing: a deeper kind of self reflection that is hard to come by. Other blogs will give you listicles, or scratch the surface of things like depression and purpose (while advertising their ebook).

To be frank, I lose money on this blog, but I have enjoyed it so much it’s worth it to me to continue paying for hosting and provide a nice, ad free experience for my friends and family 🙂 this blog is not about making money for me, it’s about sharing what I have learned over the course of probably the toughest year of my life. It has been a valuable experience for me and I hope it has for you all too- I have been touched by the friends and family who have reached out to me after reading my posts. I love hearing their thoughts, and it makes me feel even more connected to all of you 🙂

And I wouldn’t be a true KonMari-ite(?) if I just told you to buy my Etsy stuff. If my greeting cards bring you joy, definitely buy them, display them, gift them. I don’t want them to be bought out of guilt, only to sit on a dusty shelf. I’m not trying to shill my Etsy products in the guise of self-reflection, because as I hope you have realized, this blog has become more than that to me.

A greeting card allows us to get deeper than we often would in person. The words can be reread time and again, offering encouragement when you feel doubt. They can remind you of the happiest days of your life, or they can be irreplaceable reminders of people who have passed on.

I do not create products to ‘sell’. I create products because I enjoy doing it and it makes me happy. Greeting cards are a new venture for me and more meaningful to me than any other product I have created. I hope that comes through and I hope they provide value to you.

I didn’t feel like I could launch my new collection without explaining ‘why’. I have launched several collections in the past, but this has been the most time-consuming and personal. This is it. My thoughts, my blog, and my art. I hope you enjoy 🙂

Lots of love,

Deidre

How to Choose a Product to Sell

I am having a great time looking through old posts I wrote like 3 years ago for a blog that no one read (don’t be sad for me, it’s okay). So here’s another gem from the Deidre vault that has held up over the years:

(October 2016)

At any given time I have a million ideas, all of which I usually think are great (though they definitely aren’t all winners). I can share what I’ve learned so you can make a lean, light products that won’t break during shipping. After all, money spent replacing broken items is money you’re not making.

Make it Light

Maybe you love outdoor patio tables- there is a time a place for that heavy product, but with the amount it would cost to ship, it may not be worth it for you or your customer if the shipping is around the price of the product! Not to mention, it could also break. Choose something under a couple of pounds, the lighter the better.

Make it Unbreakable

One of my first product fails were these cute little fairy jars made out of clay. After transporting them to the office for an employee craft fair, several of the flowers on them broke. My bad. I much better product idea was a silicone muffin pan which would not be affected by being tossed around during shipping. Which leaves me to my next point:

Make it Sturdy

If your true love is selling mugs, who am I to stop you? They aren’t quite as indestructible as silicone, but we all need and love mugs, so I get it. Either bubble wrap that thing tightly, or find a way to make it more secure. To solve my fairy house problem, I started using strong glue to make sure the parts were secure, and I also made flatter pieces with less things sticking out. (The artist in my was like Noooo! I can’t sacrifice art in the name of shipping! But the business side of my was like: yes, yes you can.)

Make it Something People Want

Ok, I’m not going to lie, the fairy houses were probably the worst product I ever created and were the opposite of everything I am suggesting here. They were heavy, time-consuming, breakable, and worst of all: NO ONE WANTED THEM.

The artist side and business side will always be at war, but there is a way to keep both sides happy. To sell, create simpler designs that are at a cheaper price point (and are faster to make). Keep the intricate things for my family in friends who will appreciate it.

Make it Easy on Yourself

My fairy houses were very time consuming to make. But how much would people actually pay for a small intricate sculpture with no purpose? $10. I quickly realized that was not sustainable at $5/hour, even though I loved to make them. They weren’t very practical, but they made great gifts for my mom who loves everything I do. I love you too mom!

Give it a Theme

One thing I learned from marketing class is to give it a theme. Which party would you go to? A Halloween Party or a Murder Mystery Halloween party? Yah. Themes make everything better. 

When thinking of a product, go easy on yourself and your customer. What do they really need? What is sustainable to produce? Will it be cheap and safe to ship? Asking yourself these questions will save you heartache and money in the long run.

Fun with Pantones

You may have heard the term Pantone thrown around before, but until now it was just another mystery like RGB and CMYK.

Pantones are extra special (meaning expensive) colors that you can print with. They are super vibrant and consistent, and offer you a larger variety of colors than the dull CMYK ones. Did I mention they were expensive?

If you’re working with a company that has a large budget, shouldn’t be an issue. But for yourself, uh probably not going to happen.

In my class we got to print something with Pantones. This scanned image won’t do it justice, but just know that it makes your eyes vibrate.

We also learned about fancy things you can do when you print something, like get coily binds, or open binds, and basically any kind of bind you want for your book. They can make it happen. They might have to outsource it, but they’ll do it. I saw a book that was literally made out of sails and a book with a Menard’s tile as its cover.

You can also add cool textures like embossing, debossing, foils, and that cool orange peel textures gloss!

I am excited to venture into more creative greetings cards. I like the ones that have a holographic foil. What are your favorite kinds of greetings cards?

Thoughts on Regret

Last year, before I even knew there was going to be a TV show, I got into the KonMari craze. My husband happened to check it out from the library. I didn’t read it at first because I was like, “I am already super organized and make monthly trips to Goodwill.” But then my husband was like, “Just read it. I can’t explain.” My husband’s mysteriousness surrounding the book intrigued me, and the rest is history.

I have about a 600 square foot apartment that I share with my husband- so not a lot of space. How could I possibly have anything to purge?

6 bags full later, I learned that I did indeed have a lot of stuff, and I was good at finding places to hide it.

More organization is not key; the key is keeping the accumulation of stuff at bay. Especially stuff that does not bring you joy.

As the blog post title suggests, I began to have some regrets. It’s been about a year since I KonMari’d my apartment and my bedroom in my childhood home. For the most part, I don’t even remember what I gave away.

When I went home for Thanksgiving, it was nearly the 1 year anniversary of my KonMari adventure. I got rid of a measly 6 bags from my apartment, but from home, I got rid of 8 giant TUBS. Like, full trash cans of STUFF. My entire childhood went to Goodwill and the dumpster.

I was so into the Life Changing Magic of Tidying up that I read it very quickly. I couldn’t wait to purge, because I actually do love getting rid of stuff, and I had just discovered this new and different way of getting rid of MORE STUFF.

And I am happy that I got rid of all that stuff. I feel lighter, and better knowing that my parents are unencumbered by my stuff at their house.

With one exception:

My beloved Digimon

I was very on the fence about getting rid of them in the first place. I only saw them once a year, so did it really matter if I never saw them again? If I brought them back to my apartment, where would I store them? Wouldn’t it be weird to display my childhood toys?

If you’ve read the books, you know there is a certain order to the things you get rid of. You start with clothes first, because those are easiest. Then you move to books (slightly more sentimental), and then odds and ends. The last part of the book is sentimental items.

At the time, I was simply thinking of them as toys. But as I realized on my return home a year later, they were my childhood friends. Silly I know, but we all have things we are attached to and can’t really explain. I felt such a hole when I returned home and realized I couldn’t unearth and admire my Digimon. This was my favorite thing to do every time I returned home, and home felt empty without them. I cried over my lost plastic friends. I cried even harder when I realized that unlike Pokemon, Digimon swag was hard to come by, and according to eBay, they were ‘rare’. I knew then that I could never replace them and that I had made a huge mistake, because I had been asking myself the wrong question. Instead of asking, “Do they bring me joy?” I was asking “Where would these fit?”

According to the KonMari method, if you have 30 stuffed animals and they all bring you joy, you should keep them. It’s not about purging, it’s about keeping what brings you joy. And on my first pass through the method, I missed that key element. Next time, I would take it a little slower, and definitely save sentimental items for last. I was so worried about losing my momentum that I got rid of my treasured items in a crazed-purging haze. Luckily, the Digimon are the only items I actually regret. Also according to KonMari, it’s okay to sit on items for a while as you decide if they really bring you joy. Had it been a different day or a different mood, I probably would have kept them.

If something is really important to you, you should find a way to display so it can bring you joy on the daily. KonMari is really about curating and making room for the things that make you happiest. And I did learn so much about myself from the process (like, everything I own is pink, cute, a unicorn, or glittery. Sometimes all four). Konmari can also apply to feelings. If a memory isn’t bringing you joy, you can thank the memory for the lesson it taught you, discard it, and move on. It frames things in a very positive way so that nothing has to feel like a loss. Everything is a lesson.

After stalking eBay for 2 weeks, I managed to acquire back my 2 favorite Digimon toys for a reasonable price. It was definitely a good lesson in listening to myself and honing my joy-radar, and I won’t be letting them go in a hurry again. So parting with my original Digimon toys was not for naught 🙂

It’s okay to take your time with the KonMari process even if it is exhilarating to discard everything, the bags pile up, and Goodwill starts to recognize you. KonMari method is wonderful and I do not mean to discourage anyone- rather, I encourage you to follow the process, to take it slow, and listen to your heart.

Peace out, 2019.

This year has been the hardest and most transformative year of my life.

I quit my job.

I worked part time.

I transformed my store.

I started this blog.

I began believing in myself and that I am good and worthwhile.

I lost some family members this year. Nothing in life is guaranteed, which is why you need to be nice to yourself and make choices towards happiness. Do the thing you’ve always wanted to do, or start taking steps toward that thing.

I finally started making good decisions for myself.

I kept happiness as the baseline and not the exception.

I also started taking small steps to where I ultimately want to be.

I started being nice to myself. We’re all just doing the best we can, right? So be nice to yourself too, because you deserve it. Treat yourself like you would treat your best friend.

I did yoga consistently and practiced self-love. I personally really like Yoga with Adriene, which is free and on Youtube.

And finally, I learned about power. And I don’t mean like, physical power, or like Dragon Ball Z glowy power. I mean the power that you have. That I have. And how it’s important not to give it away.

I used to be very afraid of what people thought of me. What they thought of my Etsy store, what they thought of my blog, what they thought of my career. I realized that I was giving complete strangers (and sometimes family members) too much power over how I felt about myself. Any comment that wasn’t 120% supportive had me spiraling downward. But then I realized, I don’t have to give them that power over me. I can choose to be like, “no thanks, I’ll keep my good feelings.”

I am on my own journey, and everyone’s journey looks a little different. I am trying, failing, succeeding, and doing the best I can. So their negative vibes are irrelevant.

And those are my thoughts for 2019. Peace.

-Deidre