A Music Shop’s Request. Custom Orders. Landscaping and Tax Season. Oh My!

It has been very busy over at our house. Exciting things are happening. When you set up shop you never know what is going to happen. It is exciting when things do start to happen but at the same time it causes you to have to readjust your schedules daily and think fast on your feet.

I had placed ads on Craigslist for my husband’s guitar stands so that there was a way for local people to find us without necessarily paying the shipping through Etsy. Two connections happened from this.

First of all, Jonny, my husband, has been contacted by a music shop. They are interested in his guitar stands and want to have them in their shop …to display their instruments and to sell! They are the Kouri Flute Academy in South Burnaby and they actually just opened a second shop, Play Music Inc., on Kingsway in Vancouver. They are wanting to carry stock from locals in their shop …our kind of people! And, they are having a Grand Opening this weekend.  You can find their website here and their Facebook page here . (If you are looking for a sale go see them Sunday and Monday). Jonny is working on getting some guitar stands made for them as I write this. I have to admit we were pretty excited when a local shop contacted Jonny to carry his stands. I had thought about approaching some independent music shops but hadn’t gotten that far yet. Even better when they come to you!

Secondly, Jonny received a custom order for a ukulele stand. The fellow’s ukulele was a little bigger than mine so he needed to make a new one up. We completely underestimated how long it would take to have it done. This was mostly because Jonny’s schedule was too full and we had a sick bug hit our household so he just couldn’t get to it. It doesn’t help that he works night shift because he can’t really be cutting wood and drilling in the middle of the night when he gets home. He finally finished it and lucky for us the person wasn’t in a hurry and seemingly still wants it. (They plan to come pick it up when they are in the area next week).

Jonny also loves to do landscaping and odd jobs so we put an ad up on Craigslist for that as well. He has also been helping out his sister and brother-in-law with fence building and what not at their house. Between the two Jonny hasn’t had a day off in over a month. He likes to keep busy but I don’t think he was expecting this! The goal is hopefully to become busy enough that he can give up his regular job which causes him all sorts of misery (except it helps pay the bills).

I, too, have been a little busy. I put an ad up on Craigslist for simple income tax returns. I have the experience and I have 15 returns that I am not using in the program I buy to do our taxes so I thought why not. We can certainly use the extra cash. I have had a couple of people bring their taxes. I must say it is a bit challenging to schedule the time in to complete them when you have a 3 year old and a husband who is working all the time. This is why I have had to say no to doing returns with self employment income. I just don’t have the time.

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Custom British Columbia flag.

I also received a couple of custom orders. Yay, me! The first was someone from Craigslist (yes, I put ads up locally for my Etsy shop, too) looking for me to do a British Columbia flag just like my big British Flag. Yes, the big one! It was a challenge right from having Jonny track down the wood to use to designing and painting it but I finished it tonight, finally. I am pretty happy with it. I hope he is, too, when he sees it.

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Custom tea and coffee sign set.

The second was someone from Texas who had seen my tea sign in my Etsy shop. She wanted to know if I could make a set of both tea and coffee. Another challenge. Jonny had done the edging on the original tea sign some time ago before we moved. He, of course, is super busy so we don’t get to talk often. I did manage to put my request in and with the help of the neighbour’s friend they got me pieces of wood of suitable length to make the signs and did the edging for me. I had a bit of a hard time in that I kept looking at the wood meant for the coffee sign and imagining that it would be perfect to put Jonny’s guitar stand shop name, JD original, on it. I guess it is true that the material speaks to the artist. In the end I made the coffee sign but only because I didn’t have another piece of wood I could use instead. I am pretty happy with how they turned out, too.

So, it’s been pretty crazy around here but fun, too. We have also been learning those lessons of a new business that you can only really learn once you jump into something with both feet. The important ones like how to not over schedule yourself and how to not under charge and how to not under estimate your time requirements. I am sure it will all become clear(er) with time and experience.

 

 

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So, My Husband is Crafty, too! The Beginnings of His Etsy Shop, JD original

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The guitar stands my husband made for his and our daughter’s guitars. This is one of the photos we used for his Etsy shop, https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/JDoriginal

I have touched on wanting to get an Etsy shop up and running for myself but not really ever getting there. It so happens that my husband is crafty, too.  He makes these fabulous guitar and ukulele stands. I love how simple they are and of course, I love how rustic they are.  We stand them on the floor and display them in the corner of our living room. They turn the guitars into art. Aren’t they gorgeous?

He decided, with my encouragement, to sell them. So, it being easier to market someone else’s creativity than my own I started working on an Etsy shop for him. Wow, it sure takes a lot of work! I had bought this book, How to Sell Your Crafts Online, almost a year ago when I was first getting serious about doing a shop for myself. So far it has helped a lot but I still have a ways to go. And it has taken me hours to get this far.

At first we didn’t have the greatest pictures but I was getting frustrated with the stop and start of setting up the shop. I was hoping to set up all the details of the shop and then put in the photos and listings later. However, it appears Etsy doesn’t let you do that. You almost start with the listings. So I threw the crappy photos up to begin with because it was starting to look like we were never going to move forward on this otherwise. My husband works night shift and does his 40 hours in 4 days. So we don’t actually have much time to talk to each other during the week and usually that time is reserved for the essential stuff that relates to our girly and such.

Once we had the listings up and running my husband had himself a shop. I did a quick shout out on his Facebook, my Facebook, and my twitter (he doesn’t have one …yet).  And amazingly we got quite a few views. Now to only get some good pictures up, a few more listings and fill in the shop descriptions, etc. The other big stumbling block we had was shipping. I did a rough estimate based on the Canada Post site but this still requires some more work. We don’t want to over charge people but we also don’t want to end up paying too much shipping ourselves and losing money altogether. Also, we would like to be able to figure out how to have no shipping if their are local people who can pick up. This is obviously going to take more hours of research and figuring. I also have more reading of that book to do.

This last weekend we got quite a lot done with new pictures. That alone took hours. But now that we have done the initial work of what works and what doesn’t it will take much less time in the future. I found (after a long time spent looking at loads of different ones) a font my husband liked for his shop title, printed it out and traced it in chalk onto our chalkboard table. I love the way it turned out. You can see it in the picture above. Then I spent a bunch of time taking pictures of the guitar stands. This also took a lot of time. They didn’t stand out against the black chalkboard background so I had to find something to put them on that would make them stand out. Finally, I found this pillow case and I think it does the trick nicely. Of course, I had to pull out the iron and iron it first. After all that I had to still make adjustments for lighting. And then it all came together and we have new lovely photos for his shop. Yay!

My sister loves the guitar stands, too and she nicely posted the shop on her twitter and her blog, too. We are a lot closer but we still have a lot of work to do. My husband is busy making a ukulele stand for me and for us to take photos of for the ukulele listing. It is now done so I will be back to the picture taking soon. My daughter has taken over the table with play doh though so I will have to wait to clean it up and see if I can save the smudged font. If not I can start over. That’s okay, too. When I go into creative mode I tend to block out the world around me. I couldn’t have done the above photo shoot if my husband hadn’t been home to play with our daughter while I did it. Otherwise it would have probably taken me days. Now that I have the photo set up figured out I can probably get some photos taken quite quickly with just me at home with the girly.

I also have to work on completing the shop message and anything else we might want to say in the JD original shop.  My mind has been working on that in the background as I go about my days so hopefully I can sit down and get it on the screen soon. And, of course, I still have to get to fine tuning the shipping and I have a couple of ideas on how to tweak the listings, too. My husband is also brainstorming other things he can make that wouldn’t be too difficult to ship (he has also made me an awesome counter table for the kitchen, a giant wooden A for our daughter, square shelves etc.) … he loves to create. I suspect this will be an ongoing work in progress for some time. If anything, it has given me lots of great experience for my own shop which will hopefully happen sooner than later. For that first I have to get some crafty stuff completed so I have things to sell.

If you love the guitar stands, too please feel free to share with your friends!