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Monday, October 13, 2014

My Growing Handmade Business

So it's been an interesting year so far. Since I have not posted much this year, I am going to TRY to write a quick summary of the last year of my jewelry business... 

So, as most of you know, I started my Etsy shop, AWRDesigns, back in May 2011. I started out selling jewelry that I made with Swarovski crystals and pearls, as I love the Swarovski brand and their quality jewelry pieces. So I had a few sales for some of my pearl and crystal barrettes, but it wasn't until 2012 when I began receiving lots of sales, especially several large custom orders for wedding/bridal jewelry. And I was consistently busy, mainly because I had months to work on these big orders, and I was also working full time as an engineer. I thought I was busy then! Lol.

Well, my sales continued throughout the year and I eventually added more items, like bead stitched bracelets and necklaces, along with some Alabama and Auburn jewelry. I also added some beaded bookmarks and some owl necklaces, and some of all of these items sold.

I began getting requests from coworkers at my full time job, for beaded and chain lanyards, so I began adding several different types and colors of beaded lanyards and silver chain lanyards to my AWRDesigns shop. I was getting pretty good sales for a part time business, and it was working well. But I also realized that I needed to do something to my shop in order to market to the right customers. I really enjoyed designing and creating bridal jewelry... making jewelry for big bridal parties - for the brides, bridesmaids, flower girls, mothers of the bride and groom, etc. and I still do. I enjoy working closely with brides to help them pick out customized jewelry in their wedding colors for their bridal party members.

But my lanyards were going to a completely different target customer, so in November 2013, I opened up my 2nd Etsy shop, TheLanyardNecklace, and moved all of my beaded and chain lanyards, and my sports team lanyards, over to my new shop. This turned out to be a very wise business decision. I am now focusing on two completely different target customers using my 2 shops, and I have been consistent with getting sales in both shops ever since this second shop opening. There have been consecutive months throughout the summer where I would get 3-5 sales every day (both shops combined). It's almost been too much for me to handle.

I was laid off from my full time job in April this year, and even though my Etsy shop sales were better than ever, I knew that I was still not bringing in the amount of profit that I could live off of, not even comfortably, not with the high insurance premiums for those who are self employed, along with all of the other bills and debts I have. So I finally got another full time engineering job in June 2014. I love this new job, but I also love my jewelry businesses. I don't have much of a social life! Lol. But for now, that's ok, as I am very happy with my life. I do have a goal to get out of this small 1-bedroom apartment, as my beads and jewelry supplies and packaging supplies are all over the apartment! Lol! So I think that in a year or so, I will be out of debt, can look at purchasing a house, and then we'll see what happens. :-)

So check out my two Etsy shops to see what all I have listed now! :-)

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