Here's the thing -- my Mother and I started working with beads literally ten years ago during the holiday season, and for us, that's quite a feat. See, we're both a little flighty in our own ways, and I wasn't really crafty before ten years ago. Sure, I could make certain crafts, and bought things at Craft Stores for the kids to play with -- but I was never into doing the whole crafty mom thing. My mother, on the other hand has been through all the crafts you can imagine before beading -- from knitting and crocheting, to tatting, to painting, you name it and while I was growing up, she tried it and got us girls into it -- for a time.
I, on the other hand, have always been super high strung and the thought of sitting down and creating something never seemed like a valuable use of my time. Plus -- my time was limited, first there were all those hours in the Army.
Then there were kids -- all born within three years of each other -- they needed me more than a glue gun or some bead stringing material. Then there was college, a job search that took six months and added too much stress to my already hectic life (imagine being unemployed, out of college, unable to get unemployment because you went straight to college from the Army, but having to keep day care, and paying for it so in case something came up you were not searching for care for three full-time care kids -- not a lot of fun). Then there were hours of overtime working for the government in the midst of two wars -- kids needing my time, a husband deployed seemingly all the time, etc., etc., etc. And after everything finally got normal, and the bills were met, and the time was there for everything, and bam! The Army tells you you have to move.
So we moved, and a job I was supposed to have evaporated in the ten days it took to drive from Washington to Texas -- seeing family along the way, and a new job search was upon me. Then the job I found was short - term and another job search was upon me. Then -- I became so allergic to the area, I had to move the kids to an area where I did get a job -- and that Term but will become permanent, we swear, if you just move here evaporates because Congress fights tooth and nail, where would one find the time or inclination to find a hobby that makes sense considering where you are in the world? It's amazing to me really -- and no I do not mean to toot my own horn -- what I have done in the past year.
Sure, I kept applying for jobs left and right, (and still do), kept working at perfecting that resume, and making sure my suits were ready at the drop of a hat in case I got that magical call for an interview. But it was harder than anything I have ever been through -- it's tough to sit there applying and applying and hoping something will work out and only getting the automated "we got your resume" followed by the "we went another direction" emails. It really wrecks havoc on the psyche.
So -- 18 months or so ago, in the middle of surgery while hubby was still stuck down in another assignment, someone bought a pair of earrings I had forgotten I had listed. Then someone bought a necklace that same month. It was a boon to my ego -- so I said, you know what? My resume says I can do all this stuff -- it's been a while, but let me prove it, if only to myself.
So I did. I relearned how to writing Marketing copy for my humble little shop -- I learned about SEO both on Etsy on off. I worked diligently at photography and 'staging' -- I worked at building my community. And now, here I sit -- looking back at the past 18 months and I am proud. Very proud. While it's been tough, and there have been days I have just wanted to pull my hair out, I can now actually add a few more keywords to my resume.
Tripled both revenue and sales in one year.
Increased interaction through social media channels.
But that's not the big thing -- that's not where my non - resolution is this year.
Where it is is this: I honestly started this year happy.
Sure I don't have a lot of money in the bank, and I work a lot of hours on the shop -- but I woke up on New Years day smiling, happy and ready to tackle this year with gumption and purpose.
And -- I figured out how to better edit my photo's which added to that already over-sized smile.