Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How My Etsy Shop Saved Us From Starving

January has been rough. One of the roughest months I remember, actually. After paying for a pricey trip to go visit my family in Croatia, we returned home completely broke. On top of that we had to pay some very high hospital bills for my husband, because the VA (he is a disabled veteran) decided that his scary PTSD episode was not really a case for the ER, and refused to pay the bill. And so we had to welcome a serious financial crisis into our life at the beginning of January.

My Family :)

I had just opened my shop on Etsy in December, and since I didn't have much money to invest into my beloved supplies, I wasn't expecting to get much from it anytime soon. But still, I sat down and worked my butt off, as much as that was possible with my 16 month-old son running around and getting into everything. I sold a couple of journals right after I opened, but since I undercharged myself, as well as offered free shipping, I basically lost money on my first orders. It was discouraging. 

However, with the support from the awesome people in the Etsy Success Team, I got over it, and once again went back to work. With the Valentine's Day being close, I decided to focus on Valentine's cards. I was listing and promoting daily, but not with much luck. At that time, we only had a couple of dollars left on our account, and I started panicking because we were running out of diapers, and my husband needed gas money to go to school. We asked family, but no one was able to help.

My son Micheal and I

It is very humiliating when you can't afford to buy diapers for your baby. I felt alone, and like no one cares... but someone did care. The next morning an order from Etsy waited for me. And the morning after that as well, and the morning after that as well. I even got four orders one day. In the last two weeks the only money we had was the money I made on Etsy. And luckily for us, I've been getting orders every day during that period. It was not a lot, like five or six dollars a day, but it was enough to put food on the table for the day. I never thought I'd get 28 sales that quick, but apparently someone way bigger than me knew how desperately my family needed it. I am so thankful for making it through January, and I'm even more thankful that tomorrow is pay day lol.

What about you guys? What are you thankful for? And what positive experiences did you have with your Etsy shops? I would love to hear from you.




  1. Ditto. My Etsy store saved us (my DH got laid off) and continues to do so right now. It's gratifying to see creativity rewarded. Hello from the Etsy Blog Team!

  2. Hi Mary, and thank you for stopping by and commenting. I really appreciate it :)


  4. Thanks for sharing your story. I wish you the best and hope that your lovely Etsy shop continues to grow! 50 sales in just over a month is very impressive!

  5. Thank you, Aman. I have a lot of improving to do, but hopefully I'll get there :)

  6. Great story! I really hope things don't stay so financially tough, that can really wear someone out unless they really really search for positive outlets. But it is only money (that is what I tell myself over and over). I said that to my CPA boss and he kind of looked at me strange before agreeing. LOL! 2008 was very painful for us...still struggling to get out of that hole-moved from beautiful Tennessee to beautiful Kentucky. My husband is a trained artist/furniture designer and works as a firefighter and they are first responders and his therapist says he has "moderate" PTSD-not same things as in combat-he isn't in any real harm unless he goes into a fire-just other people in trauma.

    I pray for the best love for you and that you can continue to create-that is so good for the soul. I will check your blog often for inspiration. I am so glad you got to go to your home country-I've never left the USA-farthest I've been is Nantucket or Key West-still continental.
    ~Wendi <3

  7. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Wendi. Creating definitely is my therapy! I'm still getting used to living in the US, I miss home so much. I haven't seen much of this beautiful country yet, but I'm hoping to do some travelling once our son is a bit older. I will stop by your blog to check you out :)

    Thank you once again!