I learned the absolute best way to meet new people is to just throw yourself into the closest group of whatever interests you, no matter how uncomfortable you are. I do not meet people easily, this was hard for me, but I was DETERMINED!
I went to the first meetup I saw posted. It was a greeting card making class. Until then, I was a scrapbooker only. After this class I was in love. Goodbye scrapbooking…hello cardmaking.
I had so many ideas of things I could do, make and create. I obsessively searched for new techniques to learn and honed my skills. I experimented with different mediums, stamping, paper and stalked online sites. I collected supplies and paper like crazy. Long story short…The Paper Crate was born.
My husband and I still argue over who came up with my business name, both of us having different memories of the night in question when I decided to make my dream a reality. I stand by the name being my idea, of course!
On a recommendation of a fabulous jewelry making neighbor, I started selling my cards at a vendor market for up and coming designers in SoHo. It was awesome! Every weekend surrounded by so many crazy talented people. Some weekends I went home pretty flush and some in the red, either way it was so much fun. It just fed my dream that I was going to make cardmaking my full-time gig.
Then it happened, we moved again. Out of NYC to a small town in upstate NY. I still was adamant that I was going to sell my cards, so I did what most business minded crafters do, I became an ETSY merchant (ThePaperCrateNY). My cards did not sell as well in this arena, however my mixed media recipe boxes got a pretty modest following, but still nothing to write home about. But, I kept at it. Insurance agent by day, ETSY crafter by night.
A couple years later we moved to St. Louis, MO. I slightly changed my friend meeting method. I still reached out to a crafting group on Facebook and snagged an invite to a local meetup, but I also decided to start teaching cardmaking and started a Meetup.com group.
My first class had 4 people show up. Four years later my group has 158 members and the classes consistently have a waitlist. But, alas, the classes and ETSY sales alone are still not enough to support my fledgling craft business.
Because I want to give credit where it’s due, I will. A couple months ago my wonderful husband says to me “What about a subscription box?” Now, as I self-admitted subscription box junky and self-defeatist, I immediately reply “No way can I pull that off!”
I like to believe that what he did next is because he believes in me so much, I’ll have to ask him. However, he starts working on the technical details of this idea. I am no good with technology at all, he on the other hand is a master. He starts working on the platform and marketing details. Then explains it all to me, I think “Yes, I can do this!”
Now, I’m writing my first blog post to tell my story and introduce my new monthly cardmaking subscription box by The Paper Crate and pretty much jumping into the deep end with no life jacket. My emotions are HUGE, excitement, terror, and a nauseous feeling that won’t stop when I think about this undertaking.
Box pre-sale starts on September 15th (also my 11-year wedding anniversary!) This is me finally trying to make my goals a reality with lots of help from my guy!