Sometimes we start something with no plan or idea of where it will go. About 4-1/2 years ago I saw a paper bag scrapbook online and thought it was adorable. I had been playing around with scrapbooking a little bit for a few years…mainly just collecting supplies (ha)…so I thought this type of book would be fun to create…and maybe even use up some of my stash. I made a couple and then decided to try to sell them on Etsy.
This was the first scrapbook I ever sold…in March of 2008. Looking at it now, I just cringe! Ha! I guess we all start somewhere, right? I’m not exactly sure how many paper bag scrapbooks I’ve made since then but I know it’s at least 750! That kinda blows my mind a little bit. AND, it explains a few things. #1…why I’ve gotten a little better at making them. #2…why I have so many repeat customers. And #3…why I’m feeling ever-so-slightly burned out these days.
Over the past year or so, I’ve noticed a huge change in my business. There was a time when I typically had 60-70 books listed in my Etsy shop. These days, however, that rarely happens. In fact, lately I’m lucky if I can bump that up over 35. Am I creating fewer books? Nope…more than ever. These days more and more of the books I produce are for custom orders, some come through Etsy and others find me through different paths. Obviously that’s a good thing…but the competitor in me likes to see BIG Etsy numbers! Ha!
One advantage I’ve noticed, however, in NOT listing items in my Etsy shop is that my best work (wonderful custom items) are not copied by other Etsy artists! I know, having someone copy your designs is supposed to be a form of flattery…but seriously, does anyone really think that when it’s their work being copied? Every time I search on Etsy for paper bag scrapbooks I am frustrated by shops that have either copied my designs or copied my descriptions…or both! I do know though, that it’s just the reality of the business. So for the most part I rarely “search” and just feel fortunate that it hasn’t seemed to hurt my business….proving, I suppose, that there truly is enough business out there for us all!
So, what about the next 750 scrapbooks? Hmmm. I’m guessing there will be a little bit more of the same…and more than a little bit of change coming. Every other area of my life has gone through a major change this year…so why not my scrapbooks too?!!! Now…if I could just get caught up so I had time to change….. ;)
I’d love to hear some of the ways you beat the “burn-out” in your creative life.