Slightly more than 2 years ago, I opened AnGeLICA Brigade – a small handmade silk accessories and chainmaille jewelry shop – and sold my works via Etsy.
One and a half year later, Etsy shut my store down. Even though I post a lot of my work-in-progress photos on my blog and Instagram, and took snapshots of me re-creating the item they want me to duplicate, they refused to re-open my shop unless I show them my trade secret (the only advantage I have, and something I need to guard if I want to survive in the business).
I was shocked, disappointed, angry, and had to go through several stages of grief … but I moved on. A few months after that, I consider the incident a blessing in disguise. I found new ways to market my designs . . . I collaborated with amazing groups of people . . . and I even got my works published in a number of magazines and blogs.
And now, 8 months after that incident, I’m ready to enter the next phase of my life.
Gradually, I will stop selling handmade items and write tutorials on how to make them instead.
I’m also working on a few related projects I’m not confident enough to announce yet. But soon, when I’m ready, I’ll write all about it in this blog (-:
It takes me a lot of courage to do make this rather drastic change . . . shutting down a business I dedicated the past few years to . . . and starting afresh . . .
[Then, why the hell am I doing this, right?!]
I’ve given this a lot of thoughts . . .
- I opened my handmade store because I love making things and I’m good at it. But, from the very start, I’ve always known that I’ll never make a decent amount of profit out of it. There are stores that sell similar but cheaper and less durable mass-produced equivalents. Many people don’t care about the durability of the items they purchase anymore. They want variety and lower prices. They don’t want to wear the same things over and over again. So, spending a lot of money on well crafted items that are built to last isn’t something they will often do. The problem is, that’s the kind of things I produce.
- I can’t push the prices of my handmade products any lower (I barely make any profit at all), and the people who can afford my designs prefer to purchase similar things from more well known brands/designers.
- I need to make a living, too . . . So, I can’t quit my day job yet (especially for an unprofitable venture). So, I have to create my handmade designs after I come home from work. I no longer have enough time to do anything else. I don’t sleep much, I haven’t been to the gym in months, I don’t hang out with my friends as often as I used to, and (from time to time) I forget to eat. Keeping this sort of schedule for a prolonged time cannot be good for anyone . . .
This got to change . . .
I don’t want to stop doing what I love to do . . . but I don’t want to destroy myself in the process.
So, I won’t stop doing what I love to do . . . I just won’t sell the items I make, . . . just my patterns and my methods of creating them.
With no pressure of creating something cheap enough and attractive enough for other people, I can design whatever I want to make. And, I will write the tutorials in a way that other people can adapt the methods I use to create something more affordable/sell-able . . .
As for the other other project I plan to start . . . I will talk about it some other time (-:
Now, let’s move onto my next topic: One of the three fashion shoots I did last month.
A super gorgeous location, isn’t it? The MUA I collaborated with knows someone who has the key to enter this private beach in Corona del Mar (in Orange County, California). I took this photo using my iPhone and did nothing to enhance the photo at all.
And here are some behind-the scenes snapshots I also took using my iPhone
For the first time in many years, I made a top from scratch . . . I made the pattern, cut the fabric, and hand-stitched everything in (approximately) 12-working-hours . . . I can see that I’ll make more clothes for more photoshoots in the future.
This is the same top the model wore in the shoot. It’s a one-size-fits-most 1960s-Balenciaga-inspired piece. The spiky nail jewelry and the beadwork ring is also made by me (-:
I also try to move on from making flower-shaped accessories. It was harder than it seems.
There was 6 different looks in total, and – with careful planning – we managed to wrap the shoot within 4 hours.
All in all, it was an amazing day . . .
Next Week: If you love doing beadwork and embroidery projects, I’ll have some fun and sparkly d.i.y tutorials & patterns to share with you. There are 3 tutorials in total; but I will release them one at a time (-:
Till next time!
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