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Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Newer venue FleaBids featuring Droxy's

When I was about 6 years old, which makes me way older than I care to admit, my mother taught me how to knit and my grandmother taught me how to crochet. We started with simple things, knitted scarves, crocheted lace for towels and pillowcases. I was excited as soon as I finished my first piece, to think that I had created something beautiful with my hands and a bit of yarn or thread. That was the start of my life as an artisan over 45 years ago.

It wasn't much later, probably around age 9 or so, that my mother bought me my first beading loom. Fortunately it came with instructions as my mother had no idea how to use it. I learned quickly how to make beautiful bracelets, necklaces and more with that loom and started creating my own patterns.

Somewhere along the way both Mom and Grandma also taught me how to sew. Mom used to make us matching outfits, so I thought it was just great that I could do the same. It also came in handy much later in life when I was raising my children. Most of the clothes they wore back then were handmade and they just loved them. They could choose the fabric and I would turn it into clothes for them.

We didn't have a lot of money then either, being a single mother of 3, so I started using my skills to earn some extra money. It wasn't long before I had built up a small clientele of women that needed clothes for work, so I quickly turned a room of my home into a sewing room. That room was my savior on many days as I found myself escaping there when I was stressed and working on some sewing.

As time went on and I mainly used my crafts to make gifts, I realized that I was beginning to get quite a large collection of things I had made that hadn't found a home, so I began selling some of them. First I went to craft fairs and fundraisers, until I was introduced to the wonderful world of online selling. One of my friends showed me how to do a listing on one of the major auction sites and that was it for me.

Even though I worked full time, I used the evenings to work on my creations and put them up for sale online. I gradually expanded by adding supplies to my line as well and had a pretty good little business going. I joined a couple of other artisan sites over the years and was able to sell even more of my creations.

I hadn't done much beading over the years and focused mainly on my sewing, knitting and crocheting, until my mother took me shopping to a bead store one day. When I saw all the amazing beads there it started a fire to get back to that, and so I did. I found some great patterns created by other people and used those as ideas to create my own jewelry. I was never sure why, but I seemed to be attracted more to the Native style of beading and soon had store owners asking if they could buy it to put in their stores. Of course I was honored, so I was able to put several items in a couple of stores.

After many years of online sales and shopping, I found that I wasn't making as much profit as I would like, even though I didn't depend on my crafts for income. I also met many other artisans along the way that had the same problem. Artisan items take not just money for materials, but also time and in some cases a lot of it. While there were plenty of people that appreciated that and were willing to pay a bit more for handmade, there was also a large chunk of the profit taken out by the sites that I was selling them on. When it finally got to be more than 50% of my profits I decided to do something about it.

I had taken a partner into my business and added resale items to our line. We also had a friend who was an IT specialist and webhost. My thought was that with our experience and skills we could create a place where artisans and resellers could offer their products for sale and keep most of the profit in their own pockets. That was the birth of

We put our heads together and worked many long hours to create a safe shopping and selling community for anyone with something to sell. It makes me most happy to see other artisans, who put love and time into their creations, able to sell them for reasonable prices and not have to give a large portion to someone else for the privilege of selling it. Even though I don't have much time for my own crafts anymore, it gives me great pleasure to be able to help other artisans along the way. Most of all I cherish the friendships I am making with members of our site and look forward to many more years as we grow and change.

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