The Blog of The Bride of Sesshomaru


Welcome to my sewing, historical reenactment, and CosPlay blog! Here on this blog you will find all of my random thoughts about sewing, the SCA, manga, anime, CosPlay, costume making, embroidery, sewing historically accurate Japanese costumes, and my fandom of Lord Sesshomaru whom I CrossPlay as.

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Thursday, January 7, 2010

NaNoWriMo RE: Trying to earn money in alternative ways?


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RE: Trying to earn money in alternative ways?

[quote=DLDzioba]So, I work fast food for a living currently. I hate (with a capital hate) my job and I would love more than anything to get out of there. So this year I'm going to try and find another way to make a living. Phase one is I am making and am going to be attempting to sell jewelry both online and at the myriad of craft shows in my area. This scheme actually came courtesy of my mother and best friend who pointed out that since many people comment on the handmade pieces I wear I should try to sell something.

Step two will be to find a bookstore or library that is hiring as I'd love to work in a bookish environment. Sadly I've been working on step two for a few years now and one of my local bookstores just closed. But one can dream and I've got a much more solid idea of what I do not want to do thanks to my years of slinging chicken.

Step three is to quit my fast food job when the time comes. Can't wait for that.

Very scary. Very Big.
I hope I can do it.

Your Big Scary is similar to part of mine. (Part meaning that my list had I think 15 different goals on it, this being one of the fifteen. =P) I don't know where I posted my list, I think it's on the second or third page of the sticky thread for lists. Anyways . . .

I started making dolls in 1980. I make a lot of dolls. Big dolls, small dolls, from tiny micro mini doll house dolls to big 32" dolls and everything in between. Here's the kicker: I make my own patterns, so every one of my dolls is 100% one of a kind. It's an expensive and very time consuming hobby. Skipping ahead to Big Scary.

For 2009, one of my goals was to open an Etsy account and start selling my smaller (thus easy to ship) dolls. I created a new doll pattern just for that goal. Life got in the way, seeing how the publication of my 2008 NaNoWriMo incited my LDS bishop to threaten to excommunicate me if I went ahead with the book publication. In the end I set up my Etsy store last spring, than spent the summer trying to deal with a lot of local hate and prejudices, and was not able to get around to sewing up the dolls until this fall, a few weeks before NaNoWriMo. I did complete my goal - I opened my store, I finished a few dolls, I started selling them. Goal complete.

Now moving on to 2010. As a result of church members arriving at my place of work and harassing my manager, I no longer have a job. Thus the need to add job searching to my list of 2010 Big Scary goals. But than I'm thinking, you know what? I really, really, really, like sewing cloth dolls and designing patterns for cloth dolls, and well, why not instead of focusing on searching for a job, I focus on turning my doll making hobby into a full time career?

So, the major goal of my 2010 Big Scary is this:

-- Take my Etsy store and turn it into a full time business
-- Focus on patterns over dolls (they sell better)
-- Get my patterns written down and printed up
-- Design a new set of dolls/patterns each moth until I have a wide selection to sell

My goal is to turn this into a business that pays no less than $20,000 per year (I've checked user stats, this is not an uncommon income for Etsy sellers - at least not for the ones who are really serious about Etsy and handmade crafts as a career.) Of course, that is a big, big goal, because the average Etsy seller makes less than $1,000 per year! Not very many Etsy sellers reach the $5,000 per year income line, and only a few hundred are earning $20,000+ per year. However, the fact that others ARE doing it, means that it can be done if you have the will and drive to stick with it and the willingness to do the marketing and research and product development needed to finally find the item that people will buy. And I'm pretty positive I can do that.

So, since I already had this idea, pretty well mapped out by December, I was ready to go once January got here, and as such, I am well on my way to getting this goal completed!

Since January 1st I have done this:

So far I have got one pattern nearly completed, and the cover of the pattern book completed, the layout for the pattern book nearly completed, and am ready to have the first run printed up as soon as it's finished. In other words, my first pattern should be in print and for sale by the first week of February providing everything goes as planned.

More dolls are made, several of them just got listed, with more to be listed soon, and more to be made after that.

I've started sketching out designs for a series of fairy and mermaid dolls, which I will start sewing, in a few weeks, and writing the pattern as I go along.

If I continue at the rate I'm going now, by the end of the year, I should have 7 or 8 or maybe more patterns finished, printed, and for sale. That translates in to a least 500 sales at about $10 each for a total of $5,000 minimum income by December. (I don't plan on reaching the $20,000 goal in the first year, but I think by 2013, I should be bringing in no less than that per year via my Etsy store.)

Of course, the $20,000 goal is not just figuring in sales of doll patterns, but also the dolls which sell for $30 to $2,000 a piece, as well as selling other items I sew, including dresses, CosPlay outfits, and Halloween costumes, however, I don't plan on adding those sections to my Etsy store until 2011 and 2012. Like I said, this is a long term goal which I plan on progressively expanding in small steps, until I eventually reach the point that this is my full time income.

Most of 2009 was spent in market research and writing up a projected 5 year business plan, while setting up the basics. Now that those things are out of the way, 2010 is going to be spent in product development and "laying the groundwork" while bringing in a supplemental income. 2011 and 2012 will be spent expanding out of a start up business into a full fledged business, and hopefully by 2013 my sewing/pattern making/Etsy career will be seeing big time profits.

So, there you have it. My long term Big Scary.

Waiting for Emmett to come.

What's your take on this? I'd love to hear what you have to say about this post. Leave a comment and share your views!

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