Don’t forget my giveaway!
Last night Kevin and I had an interesting conversation.
We have this phenomenon going on in our lives.
I call it Stuck.
Simple, huh? Yeah. Well, Stuck looks like this: we both are not satisfied with our work, but we have not gotten to a place where we’re comfortable breaking free. (By not comfortable I mean, if we both quit today, we would not be able to pay the rent. We haven’t done the work to get Unstuck.)
Last night we talked about what to me seems to be the only way out of Stuck. Starting a family business. I’m way more comfortable with this than Kevin. I grew up with my dad working for himself. As a single mother with a high-needs kidlet, I was the princess of figuring out how to make money in unconventional ways.
Kevin has always had a standard 9-5 (well, he’s worked grave yard shifts at a casino for twenty years) job, as has his father, and his mother, and his grandparents. I’m sure his great-grandparents, and every aunt, uncle, and cousin as well. Where I tend toward the free-thinking spectrum of workdom, Kevin is firmly on the side of doing-the-familiar.
I have had a successful vintage store on Etsy in the past. I had my items on the front page every week. Blogs featured my offerings. Somewhere along the way I’ve developed a good eye for design and classic style. (I don’t really know where that came from, because I don’t have a super sophisticated personal style. I did have a penchant for altering vintage finds in my Material Girl days.) I added a bit of fixing things up to make them slightly more modern, and it was a winning combination.
When we lived in Vegas I figured out a way to connect professional photographers with professional models and my stylings (oh that sounds important doesn’t it?) and got pictures like this taken for free:
(I sold each of those dresses for $100. That model on the right ended up on Project Runway this past season.)
When we moved and I didn’t have access to fancy pants models and photo shoots, I bought a dress form and did the best I could.
(That dress started out as a ankle-to-neck-to-wrist full-coverage pink pouf of a 70s prom dress. I sold it for $200.)
At the height of my business I was making about $500 a week in sales. I’m sure there are people who blow me out of the water, but it was a living. A real one. Then Etsy made some changes, and the sales slowed way down. And I got offered a job substitute teaching at the local high school–then another one to be a substance abuse counselor–and now I’m kicking myself for not appreciating what I had.
I’ve been evaluating why exactly I was so willing to give up my store. And I realized that a big part of it was that it was a lot of work. A whole lot of work. And after a while I wasn’t happy doing it by myself. I love the photography, the shopping, the fixing up, the washing and ironing and mending–there is art in vintage, and I honestly believe that I found away to express myself creatively in it. But I also had to organize, find the things that had sold, package and ship them. I didn’t like those things so much.
So now I have an entire room filled with vintage clothing, shoes, purses, and kitschy home stuff. And a strong, deep desire to be home again.
I also have some ideas for handmade things to add to my store. I want to join the handmade revolution! I’ve been thinking about the things I write about here. The things that are important to me, and my interior homestead. And I have this head full of ideas for things to make and add to our store.
So when we were talking about it last night, Kevin started getting into it. He started thinking about things he could make to add to the family shop. He also pointed out that organization, putting things where they belong, and the whole shipping thing–right up his alley.
In a perfect world, Live Once Juicy: the shop, would be our ticket to freedom. It would mean that we could move to Seattle, or where ever we end up, without having to worry about jobs. We could bring our work with us.
So I’ve been slowly crocheting wash cloths, and sewing up little goodies, and filling notebooks with ideas. I’ve been slowly getting back in the habit of hitting the thrift stores and finding the hidden beauty in things that others might not even see. Kevin has been paying attention to the things I bring into the house to add to our stock. He’s thinking up ingenious ideas for organizing the stock and keeping track of what’s listed and what needs to be sent out.
This is how we combat Stuck. And it works for us.
More Works For Me Wednesday here.