(Brigantine, New Jersey, USA)
About three years ago I was spending the weekend with my boyfriend when he decided to paint one of the duck decoys he’d carved in high school. He had an extra decoy and offered it to me to paint as I liked.
Now, I should mention that at this point I hadn’t done any artwork in years.
Although I painted and drew a lot as a kid, even taking classes and winning a few contests, I stopped around the time I started high school, instead spending most of my free time writing.
But when I looked at the plain wooden duck, it was as if nothing had changed. I started getting all these ideas.
I went a little nuts, covering the decoy with stars and geometric designs in crayon box brights. The work was kind of crude (remember, I’d been out of commission), but my old creative spirit managed to sneak through.
I was so excited that I ran out to buy rhinestones to give it a real wow! factor.
Corny as it sounds, painting that duck flicked a switch in me. It made me remember how much I loved making things, causing me to wonder why I ever stopped.
So, I started making jewelry and painting totes. It was addictive. Even though at first I made tons of mistakes and spent a small fortune in supplies.
When I wasn’t making stuff, I was thinking about making stuff. I never ran out of ideas, just time and energy.
That’s still true.
I didn’t begin to make the leap from hobby to business until I was in Michaels one day. I was paying for my usual haul of baubles when the cashier asked me if I’d ever heard of Etsy.
I hadn’t. She gave me the Web address; I went home, checked it out, and was immediately impressed.
I couldn’t believe how professional it looked, or how much cool stuff people all over the world were making.
I summoned my nerve and began planning my own little shop, The Tote Trove, taking the plunge a couple of months later.
Almost three years later I’m having the time of my life with my little business. Running it has opened my mind, forcing me to keep trying even when I’d rather eat my weight in frozen pizza while watching reruns of “Saved by the Bell.”
I love experimenting with new jewelry styles, improving my Etsy shop and blog, and connecting with people from all over the world.
I may never have pushed myself to embark on this adventure if it hadn’t been for my boyfriend and his unfinished duck decoy waiting to be rescued from a garage.
I love the color!! That’s a show stopper booth.
Thanks, Millie! I had a really good time putting it together 🙂
by: Cathy H.
I love color and you have used it to the utmost degree and I love your booth. How inviting. I would definitely want to come in your booth and shop. I also like all the items hanging in the front of your booth. It looks like you can really see your items well. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks, Cathy H! That means a lot to me 🙂
The turning point
I always love hearing about the moment when someone’s life changes in a “meant to be” kind of way. How fortunate that you re-discovered your artistic path so early in your career! Did you keep the rhinestoned lucky duck that changed your life?
I love your product tags and banner – I think they’re very professional and appealing.
And I bet your color-saturated product lines exert a magnetic pull on folks who love bright, cheery things.
Kudos to your boyfriend for providing the life-changing duck and for encouraging you to do what you love doing.
Thanks so much for sharing the great story of how your jewelry business got started! :o)
Hi, Rena. Thanks for your lovely response. Yes, I still have the duck! She’s perched on a shelf in my craft room, overlooking all of my endeavors. Thanks again for posting my story; I appreciate it and always look forward to reading your newsletter!
Love Your Story
by: Lou Ann W
I loved your story about how you started your jewelry business. It sounds like you are having a lot of fun with it and your booth looks awesome! You’ve inspired me to push forward with my own dream.
Thanks, Lou Ann! That’s really great to hear; in fact, it’s sort of made my day! I wish you the best of luck with your jewelry business.