Back in April of 2013 I took the plunge and opened a shop on Etsy. I have been building things for almost as long as I can remember. Creating and building have always been a means of expressing myself. In the past few years I’ve had people encourage me to share and do more with what I make. I entered the BarCode Smarcode contest at Shmoocon with an Emcon badge I created and won the contest. On top of winning, I got a free entry into the conference for the following year. I tried again to win the next year with a Steampunk video cube
I didn’t win but I got honorable mention. What was way more inspiring for me was the comments I got from people who saw thecube I made. They ranged from, “what is that?” to “I want one!” The number of people who came up to me and expressed interest surprised me. I think that was what tipped me forward to really go forward with a shop.
The first year I did Etsy I just focused on making vinyl decals. I did some drone themed designs and a lot of Star Wars/SCI-Fi based stuff. It sold some and I was happy. I don’t think I really scratched the creative itch until I started selling some of my boxes and more creative ideas.
I’ve had a CNC machine for about five years and recently purchased a laser cutter. The combination of the two has allowed me to start creating things I never could before. After seeing the cube I had made for Shmoocon, a coworker asked me to create a Steampunk cube for his daughter. I thought about make one as a MP3 player (and still may) but I decided to make it a clock instead. The result was pretty cool.
Another coworkers saw that and asked if I could make a Harry Potter, Weasley family clock. I did and that came out pretty good. I got it down to a repeatable process and put it on my Etsy site. Turned out to be a very good seller. I customize them so people can have their family photos on a Harry Potter themed clock. That word of mouth can you build me one of these is the best. It pushes me forward to keep building and rewards me when I present the end product to a customer.
Now I also do edge lit laser acrylic pieces and laser cut coasters. The point of this being I’ve found a creative outlet where I can share my ideas and make money at the same time. The result is extremely fulfilling. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has not tried it. I also would highly recommend Etsy as an ideal platform to take the plunge. Its easy to get started, provides marketing tools, stats and a great support base.
In the coming year I plan to step it up and cut loose we some creative ideas I’ve been keeping in the back burner. For some reason, I feel that Tron fans are under serviced and deserve more gear ;-).