After trying to turn my jewelry design business into a full-time career for six years, I came to a realization.
I HATED it!
I had spent SO much time trying, doing shows, promoting, with next to zero results. What started out as a passion had turned into a stressful and frustrating "job". It became depressing to even think about making another piece! Not to mention that after six years, I really needed to do something that was going to show more than a 3 figure income.
It took me some time to "let go" of the thought that I was a failure. However, after doing some research, I found that a lot of the etsy shops I had "favorited" in the years prior were not in business anymore. A couple of boutiques that had carried my pieces had also closed their doors. I realized that my lack of jewelry sales was not a reflection of me or my talent. It was simply the times, the environment, the over-saturation of the market.
About the same time I was preparing to change course, I had begun shopping at Goodwill, buying and reselling a few items on Ebay to maintain some cash flow while I figured out my plan. In the summer of 2012, a Goodwill Outlet store opened in my area, and I decided to check it out. After one shopping trip, my course of action was decided. At 79 cents a pound, and literally 50 bins full of discarded clothing, I knew I had stumbled onto a potential gold mine.
I have been selling name brand pre-owned clothing on Ebay now for almost two years and I am making money. Not a fortune, but I am able to contribute financially to our family and I am having FUN again. It's not for everyone...those bins can be quite smelly and unsightly, but I have learned to never, ever breathe through my nose. It's amazing how many clothing items are discarded by people after one season of wear, or not worn at all! I frequently find items with tags still attached. I still work very hard, laundering, inspecting clothing, shooting it, etc., but it is becoming a profitable business for me. Seeing my labor generate income has been a welcome sight after struggling for so many years in the jewelry design business.
Although my jewelry design has taken a back seat, I still whip out new creations once in a while, but only when I want to, and without that nagging thought of having to sell a piece to justify my effort. I contemplated closing my etsy shop, but couldn't bring myself to completely abandon it. I'm glad I didn't, because, ironically, I made more etsy sales income in 2013 than in the two prior years...without any effort! Go figure.
If you are in a similar situation, perhaps at a crossroads, lacking the sales to justify maintaining your business, believe me, I feel your pain. Don't give up, but do open up to other opportunities and other avenues of income. Sometimes, stepping away for a while can be a good thing!