As I was managing Christmastime orders in our Etsy store, I noticed that it has grown so significantly! The first year I opened it I made $25. Not enough to make it worth my time. I even shut it down for a while because with the listing fees, it was actually costing me money to keep it open. Once Dan felt comfortable with selling some of his blacksmithing work I reopend the shop, and it started resulting in some modest sales. Year by year, I've added things as I learn to do more and it has done progressivly better in sales as well. I feel like I'm at a turning point where I can really make it a serious way to generate some income, so part of my plan for early 2017 is to make it shine! Dan has already purchased a large order of raw steel so he can make some new items and create enough inventory of hand forged items so that I will have not only things for Etsy, but a nice stash to offer at the farm stand in the summer, when it is too hot and busy for him to spend much time in the forge. I have some ideas about better photos for some listings, making sure shipping is being offered at the lowest cost, and other basic things that are part of the work of having a digital storefront that ships nation- and worldwide. And of course, having more things to offer is always good, so I am working on some new items to craft and create here.
I'm excited to have listed some of my herbal salves recently, and I want to keep exploring with essential oils and body care items, both for myself and for sale. I'm trying to carve out more time to do some stained glass. It's somehow easier for me if I look at it as time working on creating things for my digital store/farm stand inventory, and less like a hobby, although in truth it is kind of both. I've seen a quote somewhere about if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. I find some truth to that. I'm OK with the line between work and fun blurring. I'm also excited to be doing a bit more sewing, starting off with some simple things at first and seeing where it goes. I've had an interest in sewing for years, but my vintage 60's Singer has had tensioner issues for years which makes it maddening to use sometimes. I'm hoping to get it fixed sometime, but in the meantime I am excited to be learning to use another machine, a Singer treadle that dates to 1913. (That is a story in itself which I promise to tell you more about later!)
I'm also using the slower pace of winter to do more and better things online as well. I'm learning a new photo editor, recommended by my sister, to help show off the farm online. I've also opened an Instagram account, so we will see where that goes. And I do hope to keep investing time here in this blog as well. Possibly work on writing a cookbook too, that's a longer term goal of mine as well. I'm excited and optomistic that this will be another year of growth for our business, both online and here at the farm stand when we reopen. I know 2017 can be the best year to date, but that it doesn't happen by magic or by accident, it takes work and resolve, and that in the end, what I get out of it will be proportional to what I put in. But work pays off- I recently noted in my jam listings that although the shipping price may be high for a single jar, I can ship up to 6 for the same rate. Before the New Year was 10 hours old, I had an order for a box full of jams to ship out tomorrow. That and the addition of 3 newborn lambs in the past 36 hours, the year here is off to a very positive start, and I hope to keep that energy flowing as long as possible!