You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘small business’ tag.

So what has been going on the business world of Ellipsis? Well to be honest, lots of catching up mostly. 

Life has been more than hectic. There was a little bit there where I had three part time jobs, this was not conducive to running a business from home. I’ve acquired and sold quite a lot of books, but I am very behind on adding books to the various sites where I sell them. I have about 7 more boxes to add and I am currently hovering at just under 1,000 books for sale on Alibris. 

Many of the books I have yet to list online are vintage or antiquarian and need to photographed and listed on Ebay or Etsy or both! 

Yes I am now on Ebay! I am not consistently listing, but it is much easier than it was a few years ago when I tried it. It also seems to be less expensive, but maybe it’s that I have more money to throw around. Ebay is great for books/DVDs that I cannot list on Alibris. I am also selling non-media items that I am taking a commission on selling for clients. 

As far as jams and jellies go, I have been experimenting as time allows. I made a GingerGinger Peach White Tea Jam Peach White Tea Jam that is the bomb and I also made a classic Concord Grape that turned out quite nicely. In a week, I will be setting up a craft show. My aim is to sell out of the Winter Jams before Spring jumps into full bloom and I am drowning in violet blossoms. 

I am so excited about the garden this year! I dug the smaller bed into a larger bed about 8 feet longer. I bought fencing supplies to keep the rabbits (and my very rabbit like pug) out of the garden and I also bought tomato cages! I know it’s probably silly, but now that I have tomato cages I feel like a real gardener. Staking them up last year just did not work. They just kept falling down. Some of my cherry tomatoes were so full of tomatoes that the bamboo stakes they were tied to actually cracked and broke! Now this year they will be all caged and professional looking.

My compost also turned out gorgeous and a second bin is coming along nicely. I have seedlings all ready to go out and I’m planning a trip to the nursery soon. 

All in all, the business is doing great. I have 300 wedding favors (herbal teas) to package and ship out very soon (pictures will be coming). I am making money instead of loosing it, always a good sign. 

Advertisements

Lately instead of vigorously being creative with every day objects, I have been figuring out if my business is ready to take to the next level.

On Alibris, I have 700 books for sale, sitting in piles and boxes all over the office floor are around 1,000 more to catalog! Now you might say, “Wow! That’s great!” Indeed it is. Now imagine cataloging all those books one at a time and then storing them in my tiny house until they sell and then tracking the book down, packing it professionally, and shipping it. And then doing all the accounting.

Then on top of that, I am running three Etsy shops, all of which are relatively successful. Of course I’m also trying to take classes. I want be certified in Advanced Web Design. I have a basic certification now and I’ve been working on the advanced certificate for quite some time . . . I have a three year old constantly at my feet (or climbing on my back. I was doing planks this morning during my workout with an extra 25 pounds on back!) and I have two part time jobs + a semi part time job. I am also working on the publishing end of Ellipsis. Then on top of all that I have to keep my house reasonably clean, cook meals, and take care of the garden.

All of this, from time to time, gets very old. I have to admit it. Trying to work up to self sufficiency is not easy, especially with massive student loan debt (that’s whole other gripe session.) So I’m searching for ways to do a bit less. One of the ideas I came up with was to open an actual brick and mortar store.

Whoa now, you are probably wondering, how on Earth would that be less work? Well let me explain, maybe by less work I really mean more organized. If we could get our office (my fiancee and I) out of our house, that would be all sorts of awesome. Our daughter could more into the office and have an actual bedroom! Then her tiny room could be a craft room. (!!!)

The plan would be to keep two of my jobs, the library and bookstore, and hire Matthew to work at the store three days a week, whereas I would work the rest. He would do all this graphic and CG work at the office/store. We would do publishing (print and online) and also keep all the online stores running. Our daughter could be there with us. Fortunately Galena has a pretty steady stream of tourists in peak season, unfortunately Galena is very slow between January and March (and I mean VERY slow), and rent is astronomical. So perhaps I could find an upstairs studio apartment or loft with a Main Street entrance? This would be completely acceptable.

So I’m finding myself putting together a business plan. I always sort of had one, but never Grow Your Own Handmade Businessofficially. It’s been wonderful! I am getting thoughts together and organizing my ideas into valid concepts. Really helping me with this is the book, “Grow Your Own Handmade Business” by Kari Chapin. Click the picture for her blog. It is very easy to read and makes a lot of sense. I’ve tried more “traditional” business books, but they are just not in my language. Kari follows a logical sequence and although I will probably need a bit more information once I am finished working through the book, I will have a great foundation. It’s set up like a workbook and has exercises throughout to enforce what is being read. It’s also very real. I feel like she is just talking to me with practical advice and first person experience. I love that if she honestly is not sure of something she says that and then finds someone to interview that does know.

One of the exercises I really found helpful and think will be even more helpful in a “public” manner is to take stock of successes. So what have I accomplished since I opened for business?

  • Registered a real business with the country
  • Opened a book store on Alibris and reached 700 books for sale and sold 500
  • Opened an Etsy shop for used books, jams, jellies, and teas
  • Opened an Etsy shop for vintage items and another for handmade and upcycled items
  • In 2012 I made a significant profit!
  • Set up at my first craft show
  • Found a commercial kitchen for my use
  • Began to sell in a retail location
  • Regularly kept a blog!
  • Found local producers for all of my products!

See now that I remembered what I have already done, thinking about what I still have to do isn’t so bad. Now I can tackle things in a new light.

I am so excited for the new year, I am going to blog! It’s been a very long time, but I feel like I need to get back into it and also vent about how awesome 2012 ended up being.

This past year flew by me with the speed of light. Seriously I cannot believe it is over. Thinking back I am really quite happy with it. Ellimena turned two! She learned to count to five and some of her letters. She loves to read books and can name all the characters in Doctor Who. She says EXTERMINATE and makes the TARDIS sound! I am proud of my “nerd in training” She also makes her own scrambled eggs (with close supervision) and loved to be an independent yet loving human being. I am so proud of her.

Ellipsis has grown! I am now making the jams and jellies in a commercial kitchen at Ramona Sunny’s Bakery and Delicatessen in Galena. They are also for sale there and have been selling quite well. Jelly for sale at Ramona Sunny'sI am planning to approach other retailers in the area soon.

I made a great friend, Rachel O’Neil of Ayerish Designs. She does amazing knit-work and upcycled jewelery as well as sells vintage clothing. Rachel and I set up at craft shows together this holiday season. I’m looking forward to setting up at more in the Spring!

Business was great this past year. It is the first year I turned a significant profit. Not only did I run Ellipsis, but I also ran two other Etsy shops, Dodge Street Antiques and SisterCollective.Dodge Street is a place to vent all my vintage obsessions. I love vintage games and miniatures, but never indulge myself, now I can help others indulge themselves! SisterCollective is a collaboration between my sister and I. We create different forms of fiber art. Thea makes beautiful hemp jewelery with high end materials and I make needle felted wool sculptures and well as knitted items.

I want to really delve into fiber art and upcylclinNeedle felted owlg fabrics. I have loads of ideas for felting, I am becoming more of knitter, and my new sewing machine should be here soon (thanks mom) I bought a book on crocheting, The Happy Hooker, and I want to pick up that skill as well. I am so happy to be working in fiber again. I love tactile arts.

I am amazed and proud of my sister, her jewelery is beautiful.

Amber Piece with Troll Beads

Necklace with Shells and Blue Glass Charm

I worked my butt off this year, even with all three Etsy shops aside, I added 400 books to my Alibris shop and sold close to 200. I served on the steering committee for the Northwest Illinois Food Co-op and designed their website, maintained their Facebook, and set up their Paypal. Unfortunately it didn’t work out and the efforts were abandoned. I worked two part time jobs as a server in a restaurant and a clerk at a book store. Right at the end of the year I was blessed with a new job offer. I will start at the Galena Public Library as a Page this week. No longer will I be serving schnitzels and frites!

I am also very proud of my garden efforts! We put up the green house this summer and grew seedlings in it. I revamped the garden and even though we had a horrible drought, I think we did pretty well. I learned a lot about how to deal with drought conditions. This Spring I plan on extending the gardens and growing more fruit. Huckleberries and ground cherries as well as some other interesting varieties. And a big shout out to Rachel O’Neil! She allowed me access to her wonderful property where peaches, wild plums, apples,mulberries, pears, and pumpkins were to be had and they made delicious jams, jellies, and fruit butters.

Fortunately, the world didn’t end last week! Bring on 2013!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. I’ve been hard at work remaking the Ellipsis logo to embody the mission statement, drying herbs, canning jelly and jam, and experimenting with baked goods.  The most exciting thing I’ve canned up is lavender jelly. It’s a beautiful pink color. There is something magical about jelly. I paired it with clotted cream and vanilla bean scones. Add a cup of tea and it’s perfection. The photo below shows the pink lavender jelly and the dark purple black raspberry jam on the vanilla bean scones with clotted cream.

Homeade Jelly and Scones

I still have plans for a borage mint jelly, a cherry jam, and a Queen Anne’s Lace jelly recipe I found that looks very intriguing. Also I dried some mint to make a mint tea and I’m coming up with a summer blend that I think will be a delicious iced tea. So far I’ve been able to grow everything myself or acquire it locally. It’s a good feeling to support local businesses while being as self sustaining as possible.  Soon I will have to figure out exactly what I’m doing for labels. The new logo is finished, but I’ve decided not to reveal it online until everything is ready to launch. There is also the issue of business licensing when selling food. I’m doing research on what Illinois requires.

How are all of you working to live sustainable lives? I would love to hear about it.

LED PhotogarphyAlso I’ve recently started selling my photography on Etsy to raise money toward Ellipsis. If you have any money to spare (the prints are $15 and $18) please help. The link to the Etsy shop is here.

LED Photography will not be my only fundraiser. I’m also working on and Indie Go Go campaign that should be very exciting! Keep an eye out for different ways to help. I know money is tight for everyone, but I really appreciate any support. This business idea means the world to me.

Another great way you could help me out is if you have any books you no longer want/need. I need to increase my stock by  . . . a lot. If you have any unwanted/unneeded books please let me know. A donation of books would be wonderful, but I will also buy them from you if you would like.

And a third way is to give me access to your gardens. I need herbs, fruits, and vegetables to make my teas, jams, and baked goods. And of course I need guinea pigs to try these things!

And spread the word! I don’t know where we are going to end up at this point, but I’m only giving the job search two more months before I just make a decision and start this thing. If you know anyone who would have any interest in this type of business in any way, please let them know I am working to get it started and all support is appreciated.

Thank you so much for the support I’ve already been given in all sorts of ways! Enjoy your day! Summer is fleeting . . .

Summer

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 347 other followers

Goodreads

Follow us on Twitter!!