EJD: Back in Business
If you've been following the shop at all this year, you've probably noticed that things have been in a state of flux. The year started off pretty normal, but in March I was invited to participate in my first live event. Emily Jeanne Designs made its marketplace debut on April 14, 2016, at the What Women Want event in Charleston, Illinois.
In order to get ready for the event, I had to do a big push to make extra inventory so I would have something on hand to sell. I also had to figure out how to take an online shop and turn it into a mini-boutique, which is no small feat. I had to make display props for my products and design business cards to hand out. I ordered the Etsy card reader and learned how to accept in-person transactions (it's really easy, I highly recommend it!). Up to that point, I had worked out a good balance between kids, library, shop, and life, but doing the live marketplace maxed me out. I decided to take a break from making things for the shop, let my new larger inventory earn its keep, and work on some personal projects I'd been neglecting for a while.
Then suddenly, two weeks after What Women Want, the house of our dreams came up for sale. We had known that a move was in our future at some point, but we hadn't decided if we would try to find a home in the short-term or if we wanted to wait for the day we could build our own dream house. Then come to find out, someone had already built it, our very own dream home, right here in our hometown. It was an opportunity we couldn't pass up.
Well, that really threw everything into a tizzy! We went from possibly living in our house for a few more years, to suddenly buying a new house and needing to get our old house ready to sell, all in nine days. I essentially packed up my studio (you know, for staging and things) and put my shop on hold. I tried to sew here and there over the couple of months that our house was on the market, but honestly, keeping a house picture-perfect with two little kids is a full time job, and I didn't do much other than clean, clean, clean until we sold our house.
When it was time to actually box everything up and move, I put the shop on Vacation Mode on Etsy, essentially leaving the main shop landing page as a placeholder but removing all my listings until I could get them moved and unboxed in the new house. You might be surprised, but I've noticed it's rather hard to ship something out when you can't find it... ;)
I left the shop on Vacation Mode for around a month, during the time that we were boxed up in the old house, through the move to the new house, until finally the main part of the new house was livable enough that I could actually take a moment to think about my shop again. I unboxed my products first, laying each one out lovingly as I re-discovered some of the beautiful things I'd forgotten I'd even made, all those months ago. It felt like a lifetime had passed between building my inventory for What Women Want and moving to our new house. It couldn't have been better timing though--I had already built up a strong inventory, I had already been planning on letting the shop slow down for a bit, and once I got the shop back live, there was no pressure to move faster than I could handle.
....although really, if you've been following the shop at all, you'll know that's not exactly how it went! I've been trying new thing after new thing ever since I opened that big box of pretty products. I guess I was just so enthused to get back into my shop that I couldn't slow down.
I had been planning to try an End of Summer Sale, so I created my first sale through the website Etsy on Sale (I highly recommend it!) at the beginning of August. The End of Summer Sale lasted from 8/14-24, with all Premium Nursing Scarves discounted 20% during the sale. That just ended this past week.
I also decided to start a shop blog, and I realized it would make sense to attach it to my shop website... which I hadn't created yet. So I researched website builders, found Wix.com, and in the space of a weekend, I built and launched my entire shop website! Tada! To its credit, Wix is extremely easy to use (and yet again, I highly recommend it!). Then once I got my website up, I had to actually, you know, write a blog... and now I've done that too, twice! Look at me go.
So as you can see, it's been something of a whirlwind last few weeks for me. So much for no pressure!
Partly all this excitement has come out of my lack of a sewing space. My studio has been in disarray since the move, and it's been a laborious process to get it to where it is today: almost functional. Honestly, my mess of a studio is what inspired me to start the blog (and thus the website) in the first place. As I was wading through all the boxes from my shop, I realized that the DIY aspect of turning a partially-finished basement into a full-out sewing studio with a budget of essentially zero dollars might be kind of fun to see. If you're like me (that is, if you have an entire Pinterest board filled with craft room ideas for that someday when you finally get to implement them), you'll enjoy seeing my studio's transformation from a large, overwhelming space into a cozy, functioning sewing space. It's not perfect--like I said, I'm trying not to spend any money on the new studio, since I was at least hobbling along tolerably well in my old spare bedroom--but I always love looking at other people's solutions for making their craft spaces work for them. Here's a teaser of what it looked like right after the move:
Totally overwhelming. But I chipped away at it little by little, and it looks so much better now! Be on the lookout for more pictures of that transformation soon.
Now, what's next for Emily Jeanne Designs? Honestly, I'd just love a return to normal! I started work on my first new product in five months this morning, and I'm pretty pumped about it. I'm still working on refinishing my new (old) serger table, and once that's done, I should be truly able to dig in and start making things again. It feels so good to be able to say that!
I'm definitely ready to dive back in. Earlier this week I opened up all of my boxes of fabric for the first time in months, and it was such fun. It was like going shopping all over again; there were so many fabrics I didn't even remember I had. The experience has left me rejuvenated and now I'm excited and ready to sew some beautiful things. I am so very blessed that I get to spend my time sewing for Emily Jeanne Designs!