I find it ironic that I sit by a window with a spectacular view of my wooded property while I navigate my way around the road less traveled via the information highway. I am mesmerized by brilliantly red-orange cardinals at the bird feeders and amused by the tribes of robins that arrive every spring like an army and organize to build nests for the mothers of their children. I stare eagerly at my beloved pink dogwood, waiting anxiously for it to burst into bloom. I watch the ancient, statuesque Norweigan spruce trees curve into the wind as their long sleeves of needles swoope like kites at the beach. The beautiful Hanoki spruce sits placidly in the garden establilshing itself as the solid Buddha that it is. I project myself easily out the window to commune with the beauty of nature and imagine the warmth of the soft spring sun warming the top of my head. The dog barking at the back door, trying to warn a squirrel that he is about to come outside and kick his ass jerks me back to the fact that I am sitting before an LED screen that is impatiently staring and waiting for me to tell it to do something.
Since I decided that I wanted to show and sell my wares on the internet, I have purchased a fancy laptop, a new digital camera, set up an etsy site, built a website from a five paged templet, joined Facebook and maintain a personal and fan page, taught myself to take, load, edit and move pictures around the cybersphere and now check my email daily, sometimes twice a day. I have acquired a Blackberry and use it for everything including grocery lists and my to-dos for the day. I have different bells, tones and whistles for calls, emails (business or personal), appointments, texts, Facebook - all distinct signals in a code only I understand. I have joined business networking sites, set up a paypal account and do my books and banking online now, able to move money and numbers around as easily as dealing cards. I often venture out of the "neighborhood" and explore shopping sites, blogs, wists and subscribe to various hipster newsletters that keep me abreast of the coolest trends and grooviest finds and can subscribe to those alerts from any major city in the world. I save favorite websites and bookmark places I can easily do business with and source odd necessities like maniquin heads and vintage jump rings. All in all, I appear to be a tech savy broad and my teenaged son seems to be the only person in my life that is not particularly impressed with what a big, fat, gigantic, awesome, staggering, mind-bending, mind-altering accomplishment this is for me.
Let me just share with you a chapter from the past, when I first sat down in this placid spot of mine to to begin the journey of setting up the oh-so-simple etsy shop. Please take note that the "oh-so-simple" part of that sentence would be dripping with bile and sarcasim if I could graphically illustrate it for you here. I chose etsy because it was pre -structured and all I needed to do was fill in the blanks with my own information. Easy-peasy! Really. No, not if you don't know your upload from you download it isn't.
Step one. Choose a name for you shop. Easy. I already had a business called Special Affects and that was the name I was going to continue to use. I entered SpecialAffects (no spaces in the names at etsy as they are also web addresses), waited and....taken. No! It can't be taken! Now what? Think. I have to use that name. I've been using it for 3 years. Let me see who has it. I did a search and up came a blank page. You're kidding! Someone used my name, threw it away and now etsy won't let me use it because someone else touched it! Now what? I pulled NellsBelles out of my memory, entered it and...bingo! NellsBelles is mine for the taking. Okay. Made it through the first step. Now in no time at all, I'll be in business. Okay. Next step.
Step two. Upload your artwork for your banner (esty for sign) which must fit into this exact sized templet. At this point it didn't manner what size the templet was. I had no art work and even if I did, I hadn't the slightest idea how to get it onto this page. I had to refer back to the etsy handbook but wait, I have to minimize this page and open a new page to access the handbook so, let me see, shit! That closes the page. Crap. Now I have to go back and find the page again and damn! It won't let me because someone has already taken that page but that someone is me and I accidently closed it but I can't figure out how to get it open again but I didn't really close it but...NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!
That was the end of work day number 1.
Fortunetly for me, there were people on etsy that were making a busness of creating banners for people and I found this great girl in Maine named Juli to build a banner just the way I wanted it and thank God, she had the patience to load it for me and it didn't cost me and arm and a leg and it was a huge relief and I am forever indebted to her. I could still be sitting in front of that page, nearly a year later, trying to figure out how to get the design I had painted on my foyer wall onto my etsy page. Shout out to Juli Lamb!
So with the name claimed, the banner done the next step was to create alot of text. I am a bit of a type A personality so when I am prompted to describe my shop I immediately launch my mind into mission statements, brand establishment and all manner of thinking not so relevant to the little sapling that is my etsy site. Least that not deter me, I spent the next week contemplating and drafting, drafting and redrafting chipper chatter to introduce myself to the etsy-sphere and grab a little attention for my basement studio treasures. I have some ability with the words so this part was not torture and in fact I felt a bit of a wiz hitting a patch for which I felt I had some understanding. Of course, my spelling is atrocious and having someone who spells like English is her second language edit her own copy is a bit of a farce. (And don't you know, all the spelling and grammer freaks in my life could not comment on my work until I contacted them to discuss the mess that was my proof reading.)
The copy was written and posted and my store policies established (for the time being). I spent several days researching the most cost efficient way to ship everything from a necklace to a 25 inch lamp and could give rounded numbers to shipping costs anywhere in the United States (I have yet to reach beyond our shores to ship outside this country.) I had composed a little bio hoping to make it more entertaining than something to urge my customers to take me seriously, as if I were practicing medicine. Okay. What's next? "List your first item". Okay. Here we go. I wrote a description, again, trying to be fun and entertaining while attempting be the salesperson I don't believe myself to be. I gave measurements and suggestions for uses and reccommendations on how or where the piece might look it's best. Okay. Not bad for a beginner. There's a style there. Yeah. Kind of like a brand. A distinct voice is emerging. I kinda like it. What's next? "Upload your first image."
Okay. Day's over. Save. Close tab. Red or white? Bring on the vino.