A Good Idea at the Time

Magnet by Chicalookate

I have a feeling this is going to be a favorite stopping-in place on this blog. A large part of succeeding is failing. If you haven’t learned that yet, then just wait. It’s quite the humbling experience.

I love to work outdoors! Like the old Poison song warned us, every rose has its thorn. Well, the thorns around here are very literal and are often camouflaging the poison ivy. Up until about 9 years ago, I only had to worry with the thorns. Of course, my feet were also a perfect size 8 ½ before my two pregnancies. Lots of things about your body change when you bring a baby into the world. Unlocking my allergic reaction to poison ivy was one of those changes in my body. I have since grown to appreciate the social networking skills of poison ivy and the beauty in my stretch marks.

Bath Soak by Cindy Devore

A few years back, it was brought to my attention that alcohol will cut the oil, if you can get it applied to your skin within a few minutes of contact. So, the smart one that I am, alcohol pads were at the ready the next time I went out to clear brush. Feeling so right with the world after tearing down ancient vines, I wiped down very thoroughly: my arms, my hands, my neck, and my face. With the same pad! So, basically, I smeared all of the poison ivy oil from my arms and hands onto my neck and face. If I had a picture, I would show you. It really wasn’t funny, but I couldn’t help but to laugh at my stupidity. I tried every remedy under the sun, but nothing worked. I’m telling you, I even put Preparation-H on my face to help with the inflammation. Nothing helped. (Maybe I should have tried Cindy's product?)  You have never felt pain, until you have scrubbed your poison-ivy-infected face with a baking soda scrub. Relief was not to be mine. Eventually, it went away. You would think I would have learned to be more careful, but here I sit, with poison ivy on my arms and legs from my recent plum tree detail.

That had nothing to do with Etsy but everything to do with life. We all do stupid things. As Megamind imparted to us, "The best thing about losing is learning from your mistakes."

Here are some mistakes that my interviewees have admitted to:

When I bought my first kiln (a.k.a. "the little kiln of horrors"), I was relatively clueless about firing a kiln (ok completely clueless). I used to have my work fired by someone else. Well, I loaded it with some of the most beautiful work, detailed, oh... pretty stuff, I promise you. Well, when the time was up on the firing, I thought, "That was pretty fast. I'm going to let it go a bit longer." I'm not sure what I was thinking at the time. Maybe that everything would be more awesome if it fired longer? What could it hurt right? It's just clay. Famous last words: it's just clay. Well, clay melts! Who knew? I way over-fired the load, and let it cool over night. I was just pleased with myself thinking I had done something great. Well, the next morning, I rushed to the kiln like a child at Christmas running towards the Christmas tree. I reached to open the lid, and I remember being so excited, smiling and happy.

When I opened the lid and saw it, my mouth dropped. I gasped so loudly that my neighbors probably heard me. My heart sank like a rock into the pit of my stomach, and I cried (and cursed some very colorful words). There before me was an entire load of pottery melted into puddles. I'm not kidding, I have pictures. I had puddles of mugs. I can laugh about it now but, wow, at the time I was devastated. I won't do that again! LOL

Wood Elements

I considered getting into woodturning and purchasing a lathe for about a year before I actually made that leap. My thinking was, "Here is something that looks like fun, it won’t cost much money, and it won’t make a big mess." I was right about one of those... It is fun! Most of my free time is devoted to standing in front of a $4,000 wood lathe with an array of $100+ tools, ankle-deep in wood shavings, wood chips, and a fog of sanding dust.

Beantown Handmade

One thing that came back to bite me in my first year was offering free shipping in the shop without considering how much some of my items would cost, especially combined, to ship internationally. I ended up eating several hundred dollars in shipping costs from just a few days of offering free shipping. It was way more of a loss than just offering a discount. I did make some sales I wouldn't have otherwise, but I didn't realize until I crunched the numbers just how much money I was sacrificing. Free shipping isn't the best deal for every shop owner. It's also important to weigh all your items separately and in possible combinations to make sure you aren't eating some of the regular shipping cost. It adds up!
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