So Close I Can Almost Taste It!!

I adore my shop. Really, adore. I often log in and wander the pages, sometimes with a critical eye, and other times just to admire all the time, work and effort that I've put into it. When I opened up Simply Smitten in February 2009 I was focused solely on handmade cards. I had recently stopped scrapbooking and found it filled that paper craving gap.

 When I actually figured it out, I was probably making about 50 cents per card. It really didn't feel worth the
tons of effort I was investing.

I was very naive, and really wasn't aware of how the whole Etsy thing worked at that point. I spent some time in the forums, and quickly decided they weren't for me. I created tons and tons of cards, but sold very few. By autumn of that year, around the time the girls and I dove back into our schoolwork, Simply Smitten received less and less of my attention. Items expired. Things gathered dust. I wasn't sure what direction I wanted to head in, and so I left it alone. Then last year we took our family vacation. We went in early June so as to avoid the summertime rush. One of the many perks to homeschooling! ;) One lovely afternoon I was sitting on the porch of our little one room cabin, in a near empty state campground and I felt the juices start to flow. (If you click on this link to Tay's blog, scroll down the post and you can see a photo of our cabin)

Simply Smitten was coming back to life, and I couldn't wait to get started! Last summer found me in a crazy creative state of mind. I just kept trying any and every craft I had ever done and enjoyed. My shop was loaded with tons of different items, yet I still wasn't sure where I was going.

 Handstitched Sunbonnet Sue with custom wooden frame

 Needle felted giraffe, I ended up giving this little guy to Riley for Christmas! This is a relatively new hobby. I enjoyed it thoroughly for awhile, but my needles have been silent for some time now.

 My favorite, he's sitting in my office keeping me company! Needle felting takes hours. Sometimes many, many hours. After awhile I knew that this wasn't something I would be able (or motivated) to keep stocked. I wanted something that wasn't quite so time consuming. I did sell several though, before I deactivated them.

 I had several gift bags, all different. This was my eco-friendly version. I had already begun introducing my all natural and safe products, not yet named Inspiration Earth. Headbands too, soft and reversible.

 Made tons of earrings, kept most all for myself! ;) This is one of my favorite pairs.

I did some quilling, a hobby I'd done for some time. This is one of the samplers that actually sold.

Several bags ~ this one took me forever and a day to create. I ended up keeping it. Noticing a pattern here? Not so many sales... but lots of gifts I gave to myself! ;)

 Then, last January I decided that I wanted to learn how to make all of these amazing decorated clipboards I was seeing everywhere. I just loved them. I must have thrown away at least a dozen before I perfected my techniques. I wasn't planning on selling them at this time, they were just great, personalized gifts. I don't remember at what point I thought to start listing them, but once I did there was no stopping me. I loved (still do) creating clipboards. There is something so satisfying about taking a blank board and making it into something lovely. Plus, I still have an excuse to shop for paper!

 This was one of the first ones I sold. She liked it so much that she came back for two more! :) Now that was a satisfying feeling!

Around this time I decided it was time to get serious. I deactivated all the cards and miscellany in Smitten and narrowed my focus to things I loved to create. I only wanted things in my shop that screamed me. I wanted products that I would love to create, even if someone ordered 100. (Slight exaggeration...) I wanted products that stood for what I believe in, earth friendly was very important to me.

 It was also around this time, I decided to introduce my own line of eco-friendly items, my Inspiration Earth products. I already had some in the shop, but I spent hours redoing labels, perfecting details. And then I retook photos. Over and over and over and over... Until I got them just right. There are actually still some in there that could use a little help, but for the most part, I'm pleased. I wanted the first photo in each listing to grab any potential buyers, make them look closer. Recently doll clothes have made a come back too. My current passion.

And so, slow and steady, here I am. My goal is a sale a day right now. Some weeks I seem to be getting there, others are slower. But, as of this post, I am at 97 sales. I'm so close to that magical number 100 that I can taste it. :) I'd like to celebrate somehow, and came up with my plan when I settled down to meditate. (Many of my great ideas come when I first sit down to clear my mind in the morning.)

My idea? I'm hosting my first giveaway. Anyone who comments on this post will be entered. If you are also a fellow Etsian, please feel free to leave your shop name so I can take a peek. The lucky winner will recieve this clipboard, personalized with any name of their choosing (first names only please.)

 This clipboard is made from 100% recycled materials and the paper is also recycled!

 And what the heck, I'll throw in a lip balm too, you choose the scent!

So, the giveaway is open until I hit that lovely number 100. That could be in a day, it could be in a week...hopefully no longer!! Any comments on subsequent posts before the giveaway closes will get their name thrown in again. My way of saying thank you to all of you wonderful bloggers out there that take the time to read my very long posts and leave such sweet and kind comments. I have come across so many amazing people, I'm having a blast with this aspect of my work. Good luck, I wish I had a board to give to each of you! :)

Peace ~ Melinda