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small shop woes

When I opened my Etsy shop, I really thought I had something special. You would've thought I put something in my drink with the amount of motivation I had inside of me. Wide-eyed and ready to make my impact on the e-commerce world. I planned out products, target audience, and pricing structure. I had realistic goals and had no intentions of being an overnight profitable seller. Mainly, I was excited to join the world of creative sellers as Reserved Only.
I felt like I had a small, supportive group of friends and family that would help share my page and spread the word. What I didn't think about were people outside my little circle and their expectations. A couple months ago, I had a buyer purchase one of my pocket scarves.

The scarf was pretty standard so I was able to ship the product within it's processing time. I always get a little nervous because you want that person to enjoy the product. So far, I had nothing but 5 star ratings. Not going into too much detail, let's just say this buyer broke my streak. She pretty much hated my product and wanted to make sure her review was publicly made.

Her review was devastating and so discouraging to read. I went through a whole grieving process: Anger, Denial, get it. I think I even spent a good 15 minutes under the covers wondering 'how did I go wrong?' I felt like poop.

Swallowing my pride, I emailed her and asked her to help me understand what went wrong and how can I fix it. She basically said it didn't look like the kind of scarf she would've bought from the store. I was flabbergasted. I wanted to really respond with telling her... "Are you for real, brah?"

I went back to the Etsy site and looked up their mission statement: The heart and soul of Etsy is our global community: the creative entrepreneurs who use Etsy to sell what they make or curate, the shoppers looking for things they can’t find anywhere else, the manufacturers who partner with Etsy sellers to help them grow, and the Etsy employees who maintain and nurture our marketplace.

I guess she really didn't understand what Etsy was intended for. A lot of these creatives on Etsy really do pour everything they have into their shops. Yeah, Etsy has it's flaws by allowing Chinese manufacturers into their market, but you can tell the difference between handmade and mass produced.

This buyer left me with no choice but to ask for the product to be shipped back to me and offer her a refund.

All just made me reflect back on what Handmade means to buyers versus sellers. As a seller, handmade means something more to me because of what's at stake. A buyer just wants his or her expectation met from a one-click purchase. Handmade means investing the time into creating something you are proud of, and being vulnerable to criticism from people you don't even know.  

Remember, all my pocket scarves are handmade. No reselling goods from China nor mass production from underpaid people in sweatshops based in India. Nowadays, people just expect things to look mass produced even when they go on sites like Etsy.

So remember, folks:

- T


So we had a party...

So we had the twin's birthday party. All I have to say is THANK GOODNESS FOR FAMILY. I don't think I could've done it without the help. We went out of scope for many of things that I swore up and down I wouldn't do, but overall it wasn't so bad...

Here is a summary of the whole event with cost and time spent:

Cake and Decorations:
I spent about a $125 in decorations and cake stuff. I had this master plan of working on a little bit each night for the garland, tissue paper accents, confetti balloons, and baking their cakes and cake-balls. How do I put this nicely...everything was a pretty big fail. I could've qualified for the Pinterest FAIL website. Somehow no one noticed all the major fails which included balloons that lost all their air, lopsided and badly decorated cakes, and lack of decorations. My saving grace was the banner my sister brought over the day before the party.
Party Favors:
We were whack and didn't provide any. It was mainly adults though. Sorry kids. :(

We played ONE game, but I think it was a hit. It was a Frankenstein version of Hot Potato but replace the potato with a water balloon and you toss it back and forth. Naturally, everyone wanted to throw it at it each other by the end of it. 

OK I have to admit, I did a poor job of planning any kind of music. Normally, I depend on my husband to play DJ Random, but I think he forgot and I forgot to remind him. Luckily, my brother had Pandora on the TV and I changed it to the 90s alternative they had to Michael Jackson which livened the party up and drowned out the awkward silence.

Food and Drinks:
We kept the menu pretty simple: Chips and Salsa, Beef and Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Potato Salad, and Vinegar based Coleslaw. The prep work and shopping time was a solid 3 hours, prep work was about 3 hours and split between 2 people mainly and I tried to help out where I could, and cook time was about 3 hours with 1 person mainly on the grill. The cost was slightly higher than I expected. I would say I spent about $300 on food and drinks to cover  

It's July in TEXAS. I think everyone agreed that it was HOT. You would start sweating the minute you got out of the car. We even had a little covered area with seats set up outside for folks. Yeahhhh - no one wanted to sit outside and deal with a sweaty butt crack.

Our phones basically died the minute the party started. I didn't get to take photos, but my sister-in-law did take some with her camera. Based on the preliminary reviews of the photos, you can see how exhausted we look.

The kids were SUPER CRANKY the entire day until towards the end of the party. It could've been the fact that they weren't on their usual weekend schedule or the fact that they were showered with attention. Needless to say, they were grouchy and wanted to be close to the parents. This clingy showdown prevented us for doing a lot of things. Mainly, we couldn't devote ourselves to decorating or help cook like we intended on.

If you are wondering what cranky kids look like... here is an example:

  Lesson Learned: 
  1. Parties at home is harder work, more exhausting, and costly than I realized. 
  2. Cranky kids make everything more difficult.
  3. Thank goodness for family.
  4. At the end of the day, everyone seemed pleased. 

Maybe next year will be better organized...HAH!

Late To The Party...

I tend to consider myself as a go-getter. I make plans, set goals, and achieve them. The only thing I don't do well is party plan. The kids are about to hit their big milestone of ONE YEAR. I understand how important this is. Not only is ONE YEAR significant for the babies, but is it is for me and the hubs because that means WE SURVIVED.

You think getting married is a big feat, but parenting is a completely different. Being new to this parenting game has been a new experience.To be honest, I thought puppy parenting was going to be the same as being a parent to these two humans I created. I was wrong. Puppies don't talk back, puppies don't cry for no reason, puppies don't have COLIC or EAR INFECTIONS or FEVERS. You get my drift.

So in preparation for this "big" event, I had to make a "simple" mental checklist:

Twin's First Birthday
  1. Create Pinterest for ideas
  2. Size of the Party
  3. Budget
  4. Location
  5. Theme
  6. Date/Time
  7. Food
  8. Cake
  9. Games
  10. Party Favors
  11. Invitations

So while I am going through this list, I start wigging out [mentally] because where the hell will I have time to do all this? Don't get me wrong, I would love to throw a big party with a moonwalk, smash cakes, and more BUT WHY? These kids are turning ONE. They aren't going to remember it. Also, I can't justify spending more than a $100 on them. OK - maybe $150 but for what?? Additional stress and potentially being distracted from the big picture which is...MY BABIES AREN'T GOING TO BE BABIES ANYMORE.

So as I write all this out, I came to the conclusion that I am boycotting a big birthday party for the kiddos. I want something small, intimate. Something that allows me to relax and really enjoy myself with these two things that I created. I think most friends and family will understand and not feel offended, but in these last few months I realized that these times are crucial with my kids. I just need to enjoy it while I can.



Headband Giveaway!

Obviously, I haven't been able to post as often as I would since because work has been EXTRA busy. It's not a bad thing since it ensures job security and stable income, but it sure does keep me away from the fun stuff.

Not to mention, the kids have been sick. This week is going on week 3. We have been dealing with fevers, ear infections, and strep-like issues. The doctor finally gave us new prescriptions that are stronger and should clear it out so we can go back to a normal way of living.

To make up for missing in action, I am hosting my first Facebook giveaway! Since it's Summer and most of my readers have kiddos, I figured a baby headband would be best. I mean, look at this cutie wearing this headband. Who wouldn't want it?

All you have to do is head on over to my Facebook page and check out the details. Entries close at midnight on Sunday, May 29th! Winner will be announced on Monday, May 30th!

Ode to Martha...

Friends who have known me know how much I love Martha...

I mean...she's [my] everything. Iconic, classic, entrepreneurial, successful, and totally gangsta. Come on, who else can build an empire, go to prison, and still come back with a profitable empire. Not to mention, she's pretty much my goddess when it comes to DIY & crafts!

The highlight of my life in 2013 was my marriage and my husband's gift to me for XM radio for the car which included the MARTHA STEWART RADIO STATION on channel 110. I loved it and was so heartbroken when they cancelled the show. I really wish they would bring it back or at least have access to the podcasts. 

If I had to pick my dream job, it would be to work for her and be on her creative team to test and create projects. I most likely will be on the team who deals with project fails since most things don't come easy to the average person. Hence, probably why the site pinterest fails is so popular.

One day, I think I will try to attend one of her events or book tours so I can meet her in person. Who knows...I have to come up with a plan of action or it's only a wish.

On another note, I am in Iowa for the week. How exciting is that? Much different weather than Texas, but at least I can extend my winter clothes a little bit longer.

Signing off,
- TPain