Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My Little Monkey Business


Five years ago when we moved to Nashville, I started selling handmade items on Etsy.  I found some things I liked to make - picture frames, journals, ribbon wreaths and topiaries... and I set up a store.

I had a few orders here and there, and they kept me busy enough to feel a sense of purpose while I transitioned to life in a new city, but I really didn't make much money.  (Honestly, with the time and money I poured in, I probably broke even.)

When I got pregnant with Cora, I abandoned the business and poured my love of crafts into my house and my family.  It just wasn't worth my time to keep making things that didn't provide any extra income. 

Fast forward to last January.  

My dear friend Janna told me she was pregnant again.  After the tragic loss of one of her twin babies, the pregnancy was a shock and blessing and came with many complicated emotions.  Janna and John wanted to do everything they could to celebrate this new life, so they decided to have a gender reveal party.  Janna gave me the great honor of being the only one to read the doctor note: BOY!

I secretly made a cake with blue filling that everyone would cut into and find out the sex of the baby.  It was a big responsibility, and I was so touched that Janna said she trusted I would "take it to the grave" before I would tell anyone.

Well, you know how I love a party.  I couldn't stop at just making a cake!  I asked Janna if I could make a few themed decorations to go with it, and she told me I could, if I kept it simple.

I searched the internet for gender reveal banners, and when I couldn't find exactly what I wanted, I decided to make my own.  

I decided to go with the "What's It Going to Bee?" theme.  After designing the bee myself, I decided to add matching cake toppers, a voting sheet, and some little pink and blue bees for decoration.

When I showed up at the party and began putting out the decorations, Janna's friends kept saying, "You really made this?"  and "How did you do this?!"  I looked at my stuff and realized... People like these things, and maybe some would even like it enough to pay for it.

I went home and listed photos of the completed items in my Etsy shop (which I had never closed down), and I had my first order immediately.  

During that same month last year, some ladies from my church threw a baby shower for another friend, and I offered to help cut a few things on my Silhouette.  Before I knew it, one of the ladies offered to pay me to make banners and a few other items.

The theme was birds to match the baby's bedding, and I decided to design some banners and shower items to coordinate with the Pottery Barn Penelope bedding.  I added those items to my shop as well, and suddenly I had a few more sales.  

And with those sales, I had an epiphany.

I had finally found my niche!  I love party planning, decorating, and making things beautiful, and people were willing to pay me to help them.  This could be something for me!

Last year I had about a hundred sales, and without looking at the numbers, I would say that more than half of them were for gender reveal banners and coordinating items.  This year, I would like to double my sales and market some of my home decor assistance and party planning a little more.  I need to be willing to take risks, put myself out there, and pursue my passions.  

With three little kids, our expenses are growing every day.  Being a full-time stay-at-home mom (especially in a wealthy county in middle America) is becoming harder and harder, and I had already decided last fall that I would probably need to take a part-time job later this year.  Although that still may need to happen, I am beginning to embrace the idea that maybe this part-time hobby could be something more.

I am very crafty and love beautiful things, but I am also a realist and love the comfort of a job with set hours (and set pay!).  The idea of an unpredictable job is a little lot intimidating.

This is where you come in.  There are lots of people out there who do what I do - and many of them do it SO well!  The only thing that will help me to compete with the market is word-of-mouth support from you!  Besides ordering my products or hiring me to plan a party, you can help me by liking my facebook page, commenting on Lissalaneous facebook posts (which shows up in your news feed), and sharing my photos and posts on your wall.

You can also share my items on Pinterest!  (I have such a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.)  :-)

It's a little awkward to self-promote, but I've promised myself that I would put myself out there this year.  If you like my items or just want to support another stay-at-home mom trying to make a few dollars, I'd love your support!  Thanks, friends!

So, what risks are you taking in 2013?


  1. Good for you!! Being a former SAHM who's recently returned to the 9-5, I can understand your desire for that security of set salary. But you, dear, have the talent and drive AND an already blooming business!! As an event planner myself, I love looking at all of your event goodies - you have such an eye for details and a knack for trends. Now, if we can all get the word out for you... :-) I know I will do my part!!

  2. Glad that our blessing helped kick start your calling as an 'official' party planner. I will put it on my wall in next week to help promote your business. :) You go girl!!

  3. Love this idea! You are very talented. I have been following your blog for awhile because my husband and I are also big Dave Ramsey followers. I will post to my facebook and hopefully we'll be blessed with another baby and I can buy the gender reveal items!!


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