Thursday, March 21, 2013

Following your path...

                                                                                              Following YOUR Path...

Many people dream about working for themselves
and the freedom, enjoyment and satisfaction that
come with it.

Of course, there is a lot of hard work, stress, and
doubt and, sometimes, it still results in failure.

We've all read the success stories about people who
reached the goal of successfully working for themselves. Many of us have drawn inspiration and motivation from them. But...

What fun is it when you know the outcome before you read the story? Where's the suspense?

That's what this blog is about; following the journey of a few brave souls who, along with us as readers, don't know the outcome. We'll be watching how things unfold in real time (or very close to it). The joys, frustrations, doubts and successes of fellow Etsians trying to make their way.

This blog will feature a few shop owners who are kind enough to invite us along on their journey. We'll update you on a regular basis about the things they are facing, and how they are moving along - in their own words.

Followers of the blog will get a chance to offer support and encouragement to each of the shop owners and we all get a chance to learn and grow from each other.

I am still looking for 2 more shop owners who are willing to share their experience - please contact me if you are interested.

Introducing: Sarah from  Wonderstrumpet

Name: Sarah Trumpp

Craft: I paint, sew, needle-felt, sculpt, fold, spindle, and mutilate, and I change my focus as often as I change my clothes. I try to infuse everything I make with either guileless joy or utter oddity.

ExperienceI have been making things for myself, my friends, my dolls, and my mud pies since I was a kid, but I've only been making with intent to improve on things consistently in the past five years or so.

Leap of Faith: I had been a medical transcriptionist working from home since 2002, hating it since about 2004. I originally opened my Etsy shop in 2009 with the intent of getting it set up so that I could quit my job, but I never listed anything. I was petrified of failing, so I didn't even start. 

 In 2011, I started with four
other artists, and, even though I didn't have a lot of time to make stuff and therefore didn't sell a lot, I still was able to see that there were actually people out there who liked what I did. A couple of the wonderstrange artists left, and the three of us who remain decided to make the jump to Etsy (we still blog on the site and give away free lineart, but we deactivated the on-site shopping cart). 

I opened a tattoo shop out of my home in December, and I have been tattooing rarely and working on art the rest of the time, so opening the shop was the push that I needed to quit the day job and go for this full time.

What's at Stake: own inner critic will force me to go back out to working some soul-sucking drudgery if I can't manage to make enough money with the art and tattoos to at least pay the bills.

I guess my soul is at stake at this point.

What Gives You Confidence: Honestly, I'm not yet at a place where I'm confident, as sad as that sounds. I am still hoping that the faith my husband has placed in my ability to make this work isn't unfounded, and I'm trying to force the confidence.

Goals for 2013:
1. Force my short attention span into a few definite discernible "lines" - products that obviously go together.

2. As trite as it sounds, make money. List more so I can sell more. I have a bunch of shows lined up, one per month from April to October, as long as I get past the juries. If I don't get past the juries, that will be on the goal list for next year.


         Coming Soon....

The Jury's out - going through the juried process of craft shows

Show Time - another month, another craft show

Highs and Lows -  reflection on the last few weeks


  1. Great post Al! And Sarah -- I enjoy your strange, fun , wild creations! Best of luck to you!

  2. Love this blog, love your honesty and ability to be completely honest about your fears Sarah! You are VERY talented I love your quirky pieces and am going to be messaging you about tatooing...I'm in the market for a new one and would love to see pictures of your style! All my best of luck to you...GREAT job Al...loved it!

    1. Thank you! I read your etsy convo first thing this morning, and it was a wonderful thing to wake up to! :D

  3. AWESOME blog, Al... well done!

    Sarah, first of all, I'm happy that you joined the Buffalo Etsy Team recently and that you were ready to jump into a feature, very cool! Your candor made this interview so interesting! Thanks for allowing us to follow your story and props to the hubs for supporting your efforts to avoid soul-sucking drudgery! Looking forward to updates!

    1. Thank you Carla! I'm nervously awaiting part two.. lol!

  4. I love this! Sarah is such a wonderful person.
    Great Job Al!

  5. Thanks so much, Al, for putting this all together - this is going to help me order my chaotic brain going forward, so I really appreciate the opportunity to bare my dirty laundry. ;)

    I hope someone else will step up, too!

  6. I've always loved reading about creative people and what inspires their work, how they manage their business along with their personal life. It can certainly be a struggle trying to do it all and I think it will be so beneficial to all of us to be able to read interviews such as this one.

    Thanks Al! Great job!

    Sarah, I love your work. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us.

    Best of luck!

  7. You left out the part where you are Wonder Woman! Seriously, though, there is nothing this talented, smart, amazing woman can't do. She manages to make unique and stunning art while also raising exceptional young humans. And will still pause for a phone call to encourage a friend. Truly one of the best people I'm proud to know, and whose art I crave to collect. Thank you for this blog. I'm excited to read more about the Buffalo Etsians!

  8. Great post! The honesty of it is so refreshing.