It struck me today that some of you might be confused when you hear me talk about my day job but then see that I’m at outdoor craft markets but also sell stationery online. That I don’t make. Even though I make stationery myself. Huh? well, here’s the deal: Monday through Friday, from 7:30 to 4 my desk is here: Unedited. Horrible yellow lighting an’ all. My full-time day job is an administrative assistant at an engineering firm. Can it BE any more left-brained? You’ll notice my moonlighting alter-ego popping up behind my monitors. That’s my wall o’ cards. Also I have packages of copy paper propping up said monitors and they are covered in stickers from fruit. Class. I have it. When I leave the office, THIS is my desk at home…
Looks a little more my speed, yeah? Rolls of printed tape, cute notepads *cough no fruit stickers and other brightly colored fun accoutrements. Not that I ever really sit at it unless I am designing cards. Most of the time, I’m here:
This is my point of view from the time I get home until the time I go to bed. Making coasters for my shows and markets. Which brings me to my next “desk”…
Outdoor markets, selling those damn coasters and my cards. On the weekends, I sell at the South End Open Market and other cool fairs across Boston to make spare scratch until the shop gets off the ground. So how do they all tie in? Let me tell you a story… I started selling at the South End market in ’07 and actually began with party invitations. Then came cards.
In the beginning they were illustrated, but then I moved to typography. Somewhere in the middle, after many attempts at expanding my product line, I tried my hand at those coasters you see on Pinterest made with Mod Podge to incorporate all the cute papers I had. Since Mod Podge is water-based, THEY. DON’T. WORK. But people loved the coasters with my patterned paper! Shit! After much research, I found a system that was time-consuming but worked and the coasters really started taking off. Big time. Now back up a bit.
All this time I was thinking I wanted a scrapbook supply shop one day. I SERIOUSLY love paper. But then I also really love stationery. BUT. I didn’t want to build a shop with my own work only. Or really at all. So I kept on truckin’ with the markets and started plotting. You know the story (hopefully?) I came to a point where I needed to act or I felt like it would NEVER happen and I would basically be scrambling to keep up with a REALLY expensive hobby (selling at markets) just to get my creative outlet. The biggest risk to date, in May I went to the National Stationery Show and started the shop you know (please?) and love (YES??)
Now back up again and remember…I am still 1.) working 40 hours 2.) making and selling at shows and now 3.) maintaining my new shop AND my Etsy shop. One day, I will open a brick and mortar shop and pull the plug on market life. Until then…this is what I do. All make sense now? Right now, this very minute, I am throwing myself headfirst into holiday season. I have a potentially huge show in less than 2 weeks and every night (and some mornings before work) I am making coasters as fast as I can. ONE. BY. ONE. With only my 2 hands. Since my house is small and I have no studio, I make them in my office, pour the resin in my laundry room and now, my guest room, and then attach the cork at my dining room table.
I buy resin and Mod Podge by the gallon, and cork in yardage. I have no time for TV, scrapbooking (sigh) or really anything else. Sometimes eating. I squeeze in hang-out time with friends and Husband here and there because if I didn’t I would completely lose my shit. And I probably am developing a tumor from Mod Podge fumes. But. DAMN I love to make them. I love to bring them to various venues and have people adore them so much. I love making people smile. If I knew, 7 years ago, that this would be my life: get up at 4:55, go to the gym, go to work, come home and walk the dog, then make these friggin’ coasters all night until bed, then get up and do it all over again, every day and most weekends…I would still have made the first step. This business I have built is the reason I moved from a city I love and live in a house I hate. I needed more room to work. It’s the reason I am leaving a house I hate and moving even FURTHER from Boston so I can have MORE room. I wouldn’t do any of it if I didn’t love YOU GUYS so much. And if I didn’t get all this cute stuff wholesale.
If I sold out everything and quit…I could move back to Boston. But at what cost? The thought of only having this 40hr/week job in front of me forever, even if it means I could wrap myself in the comforting landscape of my city, is crushing. So I move forward and keep at it. Three jobs. I guess now I know what it means to give up everything; sacrifice your life, and your routine, and your comfort, for a child. This business is my baby. I would do anything to keep it alive, healthy, and allow it to grow. Thanks for reading.