Tuesday, October 13, 2015

etsy lately

As most of you know, Jared started an Etsy shop almost two and a half years ago. Jared has a seriously creative mind. In our house, he always picks out all the paint. Not only is he a good judge of color (Him: Is it more of a purple-grey or a blue-grey?  Me: Wait, what? Grey is grey! Right?), he can envision what things will look like before he ever makes the first cut for his latest project. So his Etsy shop was opened at my request so that our house wouldn't be completely cluttered by all the things he was tinkering around making in our garage.

It was a slow start. 
Which was to be expected. And which was actually a good thing. 
It took quite a while to learn the ropes of it all, especially how to tag listings so they can be found by searching customers and discovering the secret to mailing items so you don't lose your ass in shipping costs.

For a long while we were super excited to get one order a month. 
And months where he got two or three, we were ecstatic about it. Last year around this time we saw huge growth in his sales as people started to shop for the Christmas season. Usually there is a pretty large drop off in sales after the holiday season is over, but for some reason this year that didn't really happen. Thanks to more learning (and lots of research on Jared's part), sales have continued to grow. 

It's been exciting - it's a little rush to know people (strangers!) love and want to buy something you're hand-making - but it is also a little overwhelming. We've both had to gradually change our mindsets. Before when getting only an order or two a month, Jared could easily complete the order before ever receiving another. His goal was to be complete before moving on to the next item. But last month, he had at least one order every single day. 
Say what??! 
We were so not prepared for that. 
And this month has proved to be more of the same.

Now it's not possible to make it down to zero pending orders. He works a full-time job after all. So there is always this "I have 12 orders to get out" mentality hanging over his head - and mine too. I'm definitely a person who never procrastinates. So knowing there are plenty of orders still needing to be completed, and then hearing the little cash register sound go off on Jared's phone signifying a new order, it kinda makes my inner organization queen cringe. 
But it's a good problem to have, as long as Jared can keep up.

Organization is key, and it proves difficult when you are running a small business out of 20 extra square feet in your garage.

Speaking of the little space Jared works out of, here are some photos I snapped the other day of him in action.

More information learned along the way: proper personal equipment is a must. Jared has been wearing the ear protection since the beginning (because he likes his tunes and NPR) but the mask was a recent purchase. Turns out he was coughing a ton from all the sawdust he was inhaling. And purchases like a new sander that is hooked up to a system that collects all the dust is a big plus too - it's annoying to have to clean an inch of dust off your bike daily. 

It's definitely a family affair. 
Truthfully Jared does probably 90% of the work involved, but I do my part in correspondence with customers during the day while he sleeps and packing up and mailing items to be shipped.
Oh, and keeping the kids out of his hair while he is working can prove to a full-time job also. 

Fairly often Graham will collect his tools and head outside to do some "workshoppin'" with his dad. The scrap pile can get pretty large so there is always some wood for him to cut, hammer, or screw.

Bailey and Avery also like to help out when they can.
Bailey actually does helpful things like learning how to apply paste wax to completed wood projects. 
Avery does things more along the lines of playing the keyboard in the basement and singing nonsensical songs loudly while we package. Very loud is her speciality.
So see? they're both helping in their own way. 

And we all have to put up with random stops for boxes, whether they fit in the vehicle or not.

If you're interested in seeing more items that Jared is currently creating, make sure to follow him on instagram @brandnewtome or check out his Etsy site.

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