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  • Kate Lentz

{The Etsy Chronicles}

//Chapter One//

August 30, 2021.

What’s this date, you may ask? A birthday? An anniversary.


It is the opening of my Etsy Shop. *Cue the Nervous Sweats.*

For the last three years, I have been going back and forth with pursuing an art career. Whether I want to work on a major project and present them to galleries, open up commission work, go back to school to study graphic design, illustrate a book, or open an Etsy shop; I just felt a little lost. And if I’m being honest, not good enough (But that’s a whole other blog).

While it would be a dream to be a professional artist, I also enjoy the idea of having a full time job that doesn’t require creativity whatsoever. That way, I can separate my life: Boring VS Creative. Job VS Passion. But with this year shining a whole new light on...everything, I decided to at the very least just TRY to open up my own shop. Sure, it will be a ton of work and I will most likely just lose money on packing supplies and printing. But...other than supply cost, there’s really not a whole lot at risk here.

I want to document the process. Instead of calling it a ‘journey,’ which makes me want to vomit, I am recording my progress and categorizing them into chapters. So here we are:

The Etsy Chronicles, Chapter 1: I Have NO Idea What I Am Doing

When I was on the fence about opening a shop, that’s when I fell into the Rabbit Hole we all know as YOUTUBE. For three years, I have found a million different vlogs about how to run a shop. I have learned a lot about marketing, product design, shipping products, how to be eco friendly, studio productivity….Valuable information for free! But while I took notes, I also felt the panic set in even more. Running your own shop….it’s a lot. Don’t let the aesthetic videos fool you--these artists are not shy about telling you how it is. And if you are a mom or have a full time job, pssh...then GOOD luck. But my thoughts, again, is that there is no harm in at least trying it. If it fails, literally NO ONE will care or get hurt...except maybe me. But I have always known that fact.

At the beginning of 2020, I had pretty much made the decision to give up the idea and just focus on being an admin assistant. A great one. I would work for everyone else, get ignored half of the time, then eventually die. You know. A normal life. But out of nowhere, I finally got hit with a strong branding idea. Before that moment, I didn’t know what kind of art I wanted to sell. I didn’t know if I wanted a name, to use my name, to have originals, prints, stickers….WHO KNOWS. But finally, it was like I could see my shop for the first time. And that’s when I really knew I had to try.

So at this point, I had a ton of information regarding running at Etsy shop (for OTHER business owners, not me) and a Brand. Now I needed a name. An updated website. Branding. Products. Product photography. Prices. Packaging. Promotion. Dammit, all the P's!!!!!!! This is usually the part where I would give up, because this is a lot. But it's even more when there are other responsibilities involved. Other hobbies. And hell, pepper in a little light depression and extreme anxiety into the mix because, WHY NOT.

I go through ebbs and flows of productivity. After I had that light-bulb moment of a more focused vision for my shop, things got a little easier. But then it got harder because...that meant MORE work. Then I moved my art space around and did a bit of decluttering. Suddenly I was a ball of energy and I was constantly working. And I'd hit a wall, wallow a bit, then start the whole process over again. At times, I found it disheartening because I would be glued to my phone, comparing myself to other artists. But then I would perk up when I realized...the kind of art I'm making isn't necessary ground-breaking, however it does stray from the typical Etsy and Youtube art I've been seeing the last few years. AGAIN, I would hit the brakes when I realized I didn't only want to be making art for the sole purpose of turning it into a product. (But HELLO, that is exactly the point of being a shop owner)

Here we are, though. January 1, 2021. I just spent the majority of my day wishing I could eat the leftover pizza from last night, dreading the exercises I promised I'd do, and actually made some progress in the studio. I am fully aware that this shiny, glittery motivation will eventually shrivel like an old balloon in the coming months, but the point is, I AM making progress. I have a (mostly) clear plan, and I don't plan on fully giving up on my dreams before I have even given it a real chance. I feel excited by all of my art goals for this year, even though it's CRAZY to think I will be this creative ALL the time. But the point is to keep trying. I have a couple of paintings under my belt today, plus a new video posted. I have a head full of ideas and a heart encouraging me to take all the risks I can is the time.

So...cheers to the New year. Cheers to you if you also have goals and resolutions. And if you don't? Cheers to you as well because...I guess that means you're perfect then, eh?

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