Thursday, December 17, 2009

that hobby looks like a lot of work

So, check out this article in the NY Times. I find it just crazy to see so many familiar people being discussed. I cannot believe some of them are making the amount of money they are. I sincerely don't know how they do it. I believe, although I haven't gone over to Etsy to double check, that I started enhabiten around the same time some of these folks started their online businesses. I've watched as friends and aquaintances have found some amazing national success selling to places like Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and the new Terrain.
The internet is an amazing democratic opportunity. The people who are highlighted in the Times article are living proof. I see that Yokoo is still doing all her own knitting and working 14 hour days. How long can a person keep that up? How must you change and adapt when you find success like that? And for people with families and those who started their businesses for a certain quality of life and lifestyle, where do you draw the line and how do you keep it managable?
I'm also blown away by this article in the London Times online. There are so many design blogs on the list which I visit regularly and there are many written by people whom I've come to consider virtual friends. These are amazing creative women who have promoted my work and even purchased it. I'm thrilled for all of them. And again, I'm just struck by the power of the internet and the strength of the art/craft/design community I find myself in.
These are the thoughts I will be taking with me into 2010. I'll be taking a little break for the holidays and I plan to really think about all this and what it means for my little business and where I want to head in the future. One thing is for certain, I would never be where I am today without Etsy and without the design blog community. What are your thoughts?


Inklore said...

I've been thinking about so many of these same things recently and am looking forward to a small break to figure some of these things out. I think the key is to have a dream of what you want and to then work backwards from that dream. When I do that, the next step always comes easily...

my Trampoline said...

wonderful post. and i agree with it all.

i started on etsy one year ago this month, making art, and selling it and doing ok, but not ok enough to live off of. so i started to sell vintage, to bridge the financial gap, to allow me to make more art. now, one year later, i can barely see those initial starting days.

i'd be concerned to find out how many of these accomplished sellers have children and families to care for...and for those that do...what their quality of life is. i'm having an impossible time juggling that.

abby try again said...

It's all very funny that I'm reading this article at this time in my life. I've decided 2010 was the year for me to take the "plunge" and really start doing this thing full time.
For the past several years I've worked for a business woman who owns two brick and mortar shops here in Portland (a women's boutique and children's boutique right next door to each other). I see how she is completely involved in almost every aspect; she produces a clothing line, does the buying, some of the financial business, the firing and hiring, cleans bathrooms, and wraps gifts. She has a husband and a son-and they are a big part of her life, too. I've seen what it's like for a person to work 80 hours a week on something they love. Although her life seems chaotic and crazy at times-I am envious of it!
I want that for my art, for my creations...maybe I am nuts. I probably am!
And I don't have kids. So that woud change a lot of things, I am sure.
But I really do love photography, blogging and connecting with this community. The NYT article was sort of funny how (to me anyway) it seemed that being at the post office with 30 orders was a negative thing-to me-I love those days! I feel accomplished and happy to have my photos out in the world. Anyway, I am super rambling....
I guess my point was-owning your own internet business does seem like just as much work as running a brick and mortar (and that is exciting to me).
Thanks for the link and the post-you've made me think about some good things today.

Anonymous said...

Good post. The part that gets me the most is that when people are offered a platform to funnel their effort/passion it's pretty much a given that it'll probably consume you. That's what love and work is all about.

You love your kids or your dog or your partner and it consumes you; takes up your time and headheart space. You love your work and it's the same thing. Etsy, blogs, twitters...they're all the opportunity to make the big world into a small town full of quilting bees and gossip, for example.

Now what do you and I want to do with all that? Speaking for me, I dunno. I am just throwing stuff at the internet, going with my gut. We'll see what sticks and hope I make enough to pay the bills.

Ashley Anna Brown said...

I am really glad this article has so many people thinking and talking about these issues. I think it's really important. I am so incredibly grateful to Etsy for everything they have done for me over the past five years - Etsy changed my life!

But I think it's really good to be realistic and talk about the hard stuff as well as the really awesome stuff (like working crazy hours and feeling like you have no time for yourself or your family).

Having a small business I have been very aware that you need to keep your blog as upbeat and positive as possible. No one wants to read about how hard it is working for yourself, how much you need that next sale (once in a great while is okay, but not all the time). But we're all feeling it, especially with the state of the economy. It has felt so good to find so many great friends here to talk to about the realities of owning and running every single aspect of an online business. I am more grateful for that than for any amount of money I have made on here.

Annabelle said...

Great article! Getting the balance right between family and work must be one of the most difficult things for those running a successful business. I certainly don't think I could knit/work 14 hours days! or that my partner would let me!

I suppose there comes a point when you decide what that balance should be, for you, what you want to do with your business and how ambitious you are with it. There's always the danger that while your working your butt off you postpone what would/should take priority? Hopefully greed doesn't come into it, but maybe the ability to say 'no' to work, when it starts taking over too much?
I don't know, I am nowhere near that stage with my little business but I expect once you are on that train, and you have worked hard to get yourself know, it must be difficult to slow thing down to your ideal pace, and take a step back.

I'm also amazed how the internet is helping so many crafters and artists make a living. The sense of community is huge. I am new to all this and finding it overwhelming and exciting at the same time.

Simple Dreams said...

Wonderful article in the New York Times. Can't believe that she can knit such long hours each day, but I suppose some of us work that long at some of our day jobs and on our etsy shops. Gorgeous work.
Thanks for posting a good read.

astulabee/nicole said...

seriously, who knew they make so much?! It is awesome but mind boggling too. I'm with Ashley completely. I have been incredibly lucky. And owe buckets of gratitude to etsy, kind bloggers and loyal wonderful customers BUT with mouths to feed, chronic lack of sleep, no 'free time' and honestly not enough to live on and I find it hard to shake off feeling, honestly, kind of ashamed. It's hard to reconcile it and even harder to find a public space to talk about it. My family are not my biggest fans after all when they never see me relaxed or able to cover my share of the bills.

IKABAGS said...

Etsy changed my life! yes !

Hi from Paris , I am Feyza ! Ikabags owner now !

I am also started etsy one year ago with hobby things and then my life is changed !
All my bags I am sewing alone and photos , packaging, convos , blog etc etc etc, really really so hard !
I love sewing, i like decoration, i like reading, i like so much things but now , yes now time is not enough !

I have two handsome boys , Tan 6 , Aral 11 now !
Life is not to easy i know, we need to pay our credit for our house and so i need to work much for this, after 40 years old not to easy !
Somethings is really funny lovely etsy but sometime I am crying !...

I am really glad this article has so many people thinking and talking about these issues.
I think it's really important !

Somedays I am remember I sew 20 hours ! yes i know this is crazy but true !!

This year I am thinking what can I do !!!

ps :Sorry my poor english , i wanted to say a lots of things from my heart but words is not enough to say everything !

Tired mom Feyza
Take care