Thursday, February 21, 2013

Etsy Anniversary

Although the blog has been around for a few years now, today is my one year anniversary for my Etsy shop! I'm excited about the progress and direction the shop has taken in this past year.  I feel like I got off to a rocky start and had a few bumps in the road along the way too, but especially in the last few months, I'm more excited than ever about Handmade by CJ!

One year ago today, I opened up my shop with one painting.  When I had sat down to do this painting, thoughts of Etsy and sales were not on my mind.  I was just so happy to be painting for the first time in a long time.  After I finished this one, I did another, and another.  And then I made a decision I wanted to share my art.

After a while I came to realize the importance of this painting was more than a sale.  When the listing expired, I didn't renew it.  This painting has been hanging on the wall in my kitchen ever since.  It's a reminder of where I started, and where I want to go.

If you've followed the shop from the beginning, or even if you've only discovered it recently, you'll notice there are more than just paintings at Handmade by CJ.  In the past few months, I've started adding my crochet projects to the shop, and I'm fairly certain that is the direction my shop will stick with.

As much as I love painting, it's much more difficult to stop and start in the middle of your work.  It's more time consuming to clean up and put away the supplies, and drying, sealing, storing, and shipping are all more challenging.  It's something I plan to keep up with for myself, and my kids (who definitely caught the painting bug!), but not where I want to spend my focus with Etsy.

So back to the crochet.  I think this may be one of the best things I've taught myself to do.  It's relaxing.  It's easy to put away and pick back up right where I left off.  As a mom of young children that's the priority.  I can set my project down and return hours or even days later with no problems.  I can't leave a painting like that, or else I'd be spending a fortune to replace my brushes all the time!

I'm enjoying the challenge of figuring out new patterns and techniques, working with different types of yarn, and truly feel I'm creating with my hands.  Somehow I think when I chose the name "Handmade by CJ", I knew that it wasn't going to be an art shop forever!

With the crochet projects came the newest part of my shop, the doll fashion section, and the introduction of Maddie, my neo Blythe doll.  She's a beauty and the perfect model.  I really enjoy designing new hats and accessories for her, and for the shop.  I even foresee in a few years, branching out into designing for American Girl when my daughter is old enough to have one.  It's neat to think ahead, in terms of years, where my shop will be!

And lastly another question that's on my mind and one you may be asking as well based on my recent posts about photography, will Handmade by CJ add prints?  The short answer is no.  Although, that doesn't mean I won't open up a second Etsy shop when I feel my work is great enough to be sold.  It's a time consuming hobby that I can already see getting in the way of my current Etsy venture!  And I have years of experience yet to acquire!

In the meantime, I'll continuing posting some of my favorite photos here, as I learn new techniques both with the camera and in editing.  I've also already chosen a name and logo for when that time comes!  See, sometimes I plan ahead, and sometimes I don't!

Captured by CJ Photography

With all that being said, Happy Anniversary to Handmade by CJ.  The shop has come so far, and still has so far to go and achieve!  Today only, I'm offering my largest discount ever in the shop:  25% off your purchase with coupon code 'HAPPY1YR'.  Don't miss out on this special offer if there's something you've had your eye on!

I'm also still planning a giveaway in the coming weeks.  I just need to find time to make the product before I kick it off!  Stay tuned for that, and keep checking back to see what's new and exciting.  I hope to always provide both!

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