Monday, February 1, 2010

A Year Ago

A year ago this month, I screwed up my courage and put a few pieces of my work up for sale on Etsy. I had never really sold anything that I had made before, and for some reason I was terrified of what the faceless public would think. (This is also why I have never shown any of my other artwork.)

The first few months of business were gratifying. When I made my first sale (not including the first one from my sister!) I celebrated by taking my boyfriend (at the time) out for pho. But I am a perfectionist, and for these first few months I agonized over every piece and the wording of every email exchange. It quickly became overwhelming. I was so afraid that someone would receive a piece of jewelry and hate it (and by extension, hate me)! But as the wedding season approached I found that I had to let go of my perfectionism (to a certain extent...perfectionism can never really be cured) in order to deal with the volume of wedding jewelry I needed to make, and just trust that things would turn out all right (and if someone didn't like their jewelry, that was okay didn't mean I was no talent hack who shouldn't be making rings...).

I still struggle with that. But for the most part I have learned to trust my skills and to believe in the quality of my jewelry. I've been helped in this by the incredibly kind support and enthusiasm of my customers. While dealing with people can sometimes be (extremely) frustrating, that is more than counterbalanced by how kind and supportive total strangers can be. Maybe I was jaded, but I didn't expect to find such a great crowd of people. They really just want you to see you succeed. It's crazy and awesome.

And now I just need to conquer my lack of organization. I have plans for this year that include a bunch of new designs and maybe placing some of my work in galleries or shops. But for now, as I sit at my desk in Portland, watching the pugs bask in front of the "fireplace" (i.e. this old school heater in the shape of a brick fireplace...yes, it is as awesome as it sounds), I can't help but feel grateful that this little venture of mine worked out so well. I truly am so thankful (and surprised) that people actually like the things that I make! (And now I just hope that they will keep liking it...will they like the new stuff just as much?!? What if I ruin things!? What if people stop liking what I make!?!?.....Onward 2010!)


Bean said...


I am proud of you for mustering up the courage to put yourself out there. It's oddly ironic that I say this because I experience panic attacks putting my writing out there(for fear of rejection, failure and all of the other nameless, faceless fears out there).

You are truly talented.

I hope you continue to be blessed with an ever-growing business, the kindness of (faithful) strangers-turned-customers and better organizational skills.

I don't know anything about your organizational skills but since you want that for yourself, I stand behind you. :)

You're doing great! Your fireplace sounds awesome! So much to cheer about! Huzzah!

Carla said...

Justine, the video was so much fun to watch. I've sent you a few encouraging comments via Etsy and am now sending positive thought vibes your way. You're an inspiration for me in my own struggles with finding the courage to put my creative talents out there.

Speaking of positive vibes, keep yourself free and clear of those unpleasant spam messages that come through Etsy. By posting their emails on your site, you drag yourself just a teeny bit into their world. Just look at that great new banner of yours: fresh, sparkly, pure and YOU. Don't let the yuck distract you for one more bleepin' moment from all you're accomplishing in your life. Can't wait to finally become a customer of yours, but for now this will have to do.


bdeclee said...

I have really enjoyed watching your talent & business grow. And your banner is EXCELLENT! Great photography. You go! I'm cheering. - Barbara