I've been left speechless & you know that doesn't happen often. Except of course when I'm trying to think of something clever & witty to blog or tweet about, that is. But this is different. This time about all I can think of to say is, "Wow!"
I mean, Wow!
A stranger, who I'd never met & knew nothing about, featured Jeannie Gray Knits, on her blog today. You can bet your bottom dollar that I now know everything there is to know about Mystic Wynd's Etsy shop and her blog though. Mystic Wynd is a wonderful artist and a kind, caring human being and has an office/craft space that I would kill for.
You know, I'd planned to ramble on about Robbie, my recent obsession, in today's blog. Robbie is an 8 year old autistic boy without speech ability who was lost in the woods near my house for six days. Six! I'm not sure why I became so obsessed with this particular missing child. Maybe because of the autism, Maybe it was because he was lost so close to my home & every time I left the house, I drove past the rescue command center & the zillions of news vehicles. Maybe because he was only 8 and had wandered away from his family and the authorities were sure he was lost, not snatched. I was lost in the woods for about 20 minutes earlier this year, and although I had my cell phone, water & a runner's energy gel pack, I have to admit, I was slightly panicked. Oh, and did I mention that when I was lost it was a nice, warm, but not too hot, spring day. Robbie was lost for six days with the nights getting down into the mid 40's. Thankfully, Robbie was found relatively healthy and very much alive on day six. Less than two hours before a very early Nor' Easter hit and the temperatures plummeted and the rain and sleet let loose. Robbie is a very lucky little boy. Anyway, that is what I had planned to ramble on about. Instead, I'm going to talk about Etsy.
Etsy is like a huge, humongous, on-line shopping mall for handmade & vintage items. Each seller has their own shop and does their own thing within the confines of Etsy's rules. I opened my shop, Jeannie Gray Knits back in August. And ever since, I have been totally and utterly amazed at the wealth of information and assistance available through Etsy and its artists.
As I said, I opened my shop in August. By myself! The kids didn't even have to help me with the on-line aspect of it! Since then, I've worked hard to make my shop a success. Ok, mostly I've knit. And knit and knit and knit some more. My husband can attest to the fact that I've been knitting instead of fixing dinner. He's actually lost weight! I on the other hand, have found it. Argh!
But back to my Etsy shop... Admittedly, my shop needs a lot of work. My photo taking abilities rank up there with a two year old's. My modeling abilities are even worse. But every day, I spend a little time making improvements or learning how to make improvements or learning about things I should be trying to improve. At first, I became one with Google. I Googled how to start a business. I Googled how to build a light box. I googled tax laws and copyrights and shipping costs and a ton of other things I won't bother mentioning. And all that time I spent Googling, I stayed fairly confused and/or overwhelmed.
One day, while staring mindlessly at my shop wall, Max, by lunk-headed dog bumped my hand like he likes to do and my finger came back down on a link called "Community." I'd never clicked on this link before. New things scare me, you know. Plus, I still have that slight uneasy feeling that the next button I push is going to cause my laptop to go up in flames. Will I ever become computer savvy enough to get over that fear? Probably not, but as a friend recently suggested, I'm letting go of my fears. Or at least trying to.
Anyway, Community brought me a new menu of links. One of which was Teams. Well, you know how I like to join things. Within minutes, I'd filled out applications to join a zillion teams. And as it turns out, each team has it's own wealth of knowledge. And each time you go to a team's page, there's this little button off to the side that says Seller Handbook. In fact, Seller Handbook shows up on just about every Etsy page. Well, you know, I should probably read that sometime.
O! M! G! The amount of information contained in that one little Seller Handbook link is incredible. It's like Google reincarnated. That handbook could probably even tell me my mother's maiden name if I asked it correctly. Every single thing you could possibly want to know about Etsy or running a craft/vintage business is there. Every Single Thing! Once again, the wealth of information available, for free I might add, is absolutely incredible.
And then there are the other crafters. Each artist that I've come in contact with so far has been friendly and more than willing to give helpful advice or at least to tell their story. And then there are the artists like Karen from MysticWynd who go far beyond simply answering my questions in a kindly manner. Karen actually sought out me and a few other "under discovered" shops (you gotta love that term!!) and blogged about us. She did this without asking for anything in return and with no expectations. Just out of the kindness of her heart.
As I said, I'm speechless.