Whether you are needing a daily, steady word of encouragement or a comic relief moment, the Country Workshop has a sign for you!
You have quite a successful Etsy shop. But you didn't start out on Etsy. Share with us a little bit about your journey.
I have been so blessed. Many years ago, I looked for a way to be home with my two daughters and found that I could create at home and sell my items at craft shows on the weekends. With the help of my wonderful husband, who cuts my wood, sprays the finish, carries everything into a show, and sets up the display, I was able to be a stay at home Mom. For several years my husband and I promoted a small show called The Basket Accessories Roadshow which catered to Longaberger Basket Consultants and their customers. We traveled the east coast from MA to FL, and the girls went with us.
Well, things change. We are now "empty nesters". Our first daughter is married to a wonderful young man. In July of 2009 our first grandchild was born--a wonderful, amazing child. The younger daughter married her high school sweetheart, and they are living Happily Ever After.
We now have a very spoiled cocker spaniel, Lucille Esmerelda McGillicuddy, who is our "baby". (Yes, I am an "I Love Lucy" fan) And things have also changed as far as promoting our product. We still participate at various shows...but now there's this wonderful thing called the internet which has opened up an all new experience in selling.
Do you manage both the Etsy shop and your other store at www.countryworkshop.net?
Yes. I do manage both the Etsy shop and my website along with one on Ebay and one on Artfire. My husband does help with shipping, which is very time consuming, and jumps in with base coating if I need him to.
I started selling items on Ebay in 2005. Daughter 2 told me about Etsy, and I opened a shop there in 2008 and on Artfire in 2009. It will be a year this month that I opened my own website, which has truly been an experience. "If you build it" doesn’t mean "they will come". I know that some handmade sellers feel that having more than one shop would be too much to do. But if you set up a listing for one shop it’s just cut and paste to put up a listing on another venue. I find I have very different customers on each site and that means buyers are finding me in various ways.
Have you had to face any hardships in your business?
I have been very lucky through this journey and had no set backs or hardships. I believe I would have to say that friends and family who work 9 to 5, Monday-Friday, just don’t understand what I do. Because I work in a shop behind our home, there are people who think I don’t work and will ask me to take a day do something for them because they can’t get off of work. But missing family gatherings is hard for me. I had to not attend our family "Cookie Day" where all the women get together on a Sunday in December and bake sugar cookies for Christmas. I had so many orders to fill and really needed to be in the studio painting.
Were your daughters inspired by your example to start their own businesses?
Both of my girls actually have Etsy shops but neither have anything in their shops at this time. They both are so talented. However, as with so many young people, they need to have a steady income and we all know that selling handmade online doesn’t always fill that need. My older daughter, Holly, has her Master’s Degree in Biology, is working in research and has worked on developing HIV and HPV tests to be used in 3rd world countries. My younger daughter, Meagan, graduated from Maryland Institute of Art, with a Fine Arts Degree. She is actually working at MICA in the Student Affairs Office.
You have such a great selection! I want them all! Especially the one about the slinky. Which ones do you have in your own home?
I only have two of my own signs in my home. One says "The Chicken Coop", which is a memory from childhood. The other is "The Welcome Home Doggie Dance Done Here" in honor of our cocker spaniel, Lucy. I do have one sign by the front door of the shop which says," If you have nothing to do, don’t do it here!" That is to keep the hubby’s home improvement buddies from stopping on days that they are rained out on the jobs.
And that settles it, folks! I want my shop to be like hers when it grows up! All products are beautifully made with much love and care. They're cute and quippy, just like I imagine myself, lol. With all of the great events to celebrate in life, give Country Workshop a walk-through. Even if there is no special event, just celebrate today. After all, today is a gift. That's why it's called the present....
Etsy Shop: http://www.countrysworkshop.etsy.com/
Country Workshop's Blog: www.countryworkshop.blogspot.com