Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
Tell us about yourself.
I was an “oops” baby in our family; born several years after my three older sisters. As a result, I was the recipient of all of their “hand me downs” – from their clothes to their record albums. When everyone else was listening to Duran Duran and the Bangles, I was rocking out to Janis Joplin and the Doors. To this day, I have a deep appreciation for ‘old’ things, passed down from generation to generation. Maybe my “hand me down” childhood experience is the reason for that or maybe it’s simply because I love anything with a story.
When did you open your business and what make you decide to do so?
The Gypsy General Store was officially open for business in 2010 and is the result of my roaming free spirit and the “road less traveled”… I’m always up for an adventure! I enjoy treasure hunting at thrifts and estate sales to find new pieces. I love to discover exciting new crafts, meet interesting people and to add fabulous new items to my “gypsy wagon” inventory.
Tell us a bit about your products.
A passionate collector and enthusiastic crafter, the Gypsy General Store is a stockpile of my wanderlust creations, homespun treasures and vintage keepsakes. I’ve recently been adding some of my original artwork to my inventory. That’s been a slow process for me, but I’m coming along.
What inspires your work?
My desire to create is probably my biggest inspiration. I just love the creative process – regardless of the final outcome. I have many pieces that no one will probably ever see because it wasn’t about the end result, it was about the creative journey.
What are your future goals for the business this year? What is your dream for this business?
I want to continue to learn. If I’m learning, I’m succeeding. I want to grow my business and start incorporating more of my artwork into my retail inventory. So much of “me” goes into some of my pieces… it’s hard to put it out to the universe – let alone put a price tag on it and hope someone will appreciate it enough to buy it. I admire those who can do that and do it successfully. That takes courage and I’m working on that.
What makes your business stand out from businesses that sell similar products?
Each item has a story that I am happy to share and tell. I enjoy hearing about what my customers plan to do with the items they purchase from the Gypsy General Store – if it’s a gift for someone else or simply something they had to have for themselves because it “spoke” to them. When I find vintage treasures, I know there is someone out there looking for that very item – it’s wonderful to find homes for orphaned keepsakes from the past. When I create something to sell, I know there is someone out there that will find meaning in my efforts – creativity can mingle souls. I love to connect with my customers on a personal level. Every customer receives a hand-crafted, hand-written thank you note from me… their business is appreciated and I want them to know that!
Tell us a bit about your work space. Do you have a separate studio?
My work space and my creations evolve from my home-based studio, affectionately named the “Hyacinth House” – it a magical place that inspires me every day! Despite my studio space, there is often traces of my gypsy endeavors around the house. The dining room table is often the location for my “spill over” projects and I tend to leave a trail of glitter wherever I go.
What have you learned since opening your business that you wish you had known before hand?
Everything has a season… life ebbs and flows… but never lose sight of your passion. A friend recently asked me, “What would you do even if you knew you would fail?” The answer came easily, “CREATE!,” was my rapid response. Staying true to your passion and keeping your focus is so important. It’s easy to be get frustrated. Disappointments will happen, but you will learn from them. But, be open to failure – it’s a great teacher.
Any advice for those thinking about selling on Etsy?
DO IT! Etsy is a great community of supportive people who are willing to share their ideas, advice, experiences and offer feedback. Be sure to join some teams and network. I have made some wonderful friendships through Etsy!
When you’re not working, what do you like to do to unwind and have fun? Do you have any hobbies?
I love to garden – there’s magic in the dirt! Gardening gives me a chance to reconnect with nature and the beauty of creation. I never get tired of seeing a seed sprout out of the ground, having a conversation with a crow or watching a butterfly drift from flower to flower.
Dirt therapy is great – the fresh flowers and veggies are an added bonus, too!
What is your favorite quote?
“Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” ~ Steven Pressfield
Where can people find out more about your business?
I keep my shop announcement updated with information about my upcoming pop-up/vintage markets, craft shows and people are always welcome to contact me on Etsy!
If you would like to be featured, please go to the CIJ Etsy Forum and fill out the questionnaire. Please note you must be a member of the CIJ Etsy team to be featured.