Don't Quit Your Day Job- An exclusive interview with AllegroArts

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Original Post

We're back with another installment of the DQYDJ series. We think these interviews are a great source of advice for other shop owners. Everyone's experience with their businesses are valid, even those of our resident skirt chaser, AllegroArts.

Yes, you may recognize AllegroArts from his many suggestive comments in Etc. But there is more to this talented man (which we hope to see in his avatar at some point). I traveled to St. Louis to meet him, where the Budweiser flows like water (and tastes like it too). There he was kind enough to keep his hands off me for our interview.


Q:How did you originally get into the business of making things?

Ive always been fidgety and need to do something with my hands. In a previous job, we had a lot of long bus trips, so I would keep occupied with cross stitching or origami. I once made an origami scale model of stonehenge in the bus aisle. that was a long trip.

Q: What made you decide to sell your wares?

My wife made me do it. I think she was tired of pretending to like and wear all the jewelry I was making, and wanted to see my creativity inflicted on others.

Q:Tell us about your working situation:

I work for a pretty big company doing IT Asset Management. Thats a fancy way of saying I buy and keep track of all the computers. Im stunned by the amount of money I spend in a typical day, and how little im paid for it.

Q:When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job?

Ah, yes... and how quickly they were crushed. I got my first sale in about a week, and had dreams of telling my boss to kiss my ass. Six months later, I had only 4 sales, and pragmatically lowered expectations.

Q:Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?

Prepare? I had no idea what I was getting into, I just faked it. At least the business classes I took in college helped out, I had some idea about things like profit margins and taxes, so I could sound like I knew what I was doing.

Q:What are the most effective ways you've marketed your business?

That depends on how you define "effective". Hanging around the forums has worked, i meet lots of people there. I do facebook and flickr and a blog about beer. I think my best marketing has been happy customers. I once made an origami chicken pendant for someone, and they liked it and posted a picture of it on flickr. I got two other sales from people who saw that and wanted one.

Q:Walk us through your typical workday:

1) 5:30 - wake up, feed the dogs, shower, shave, get dressed
2) 6:00 - wake up wife and daughter, get out the door
3) check email on the phone while driving. lament lack of sales
4) get to work, get coffee, complain with coworkers about poor quality of said coffee
5) pretend to work while checking out the forums
6) check etc on the phone during boring pointless meetings. if caught, pretend its work related email
7) go to lunch. walk past company mail room, thinking "wow, if i ever make a sale, i could ship it right here!"
8) update item descriptions and edit photos while pretending to work
9) flirt on the forums and send suggestive convos
10) time to go home! check email on the phone while driving. lament lack of sales
11) get home, make dinner, walk dogs, have a beer
12) log into college classes on laptop while checking facebook and forums
13) walk past craft room on way to bed. wonder why i cant get any new items made

Q:What do you enjoy most about having a day job?

The high speed internet access.

Q:If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

Dont marry the first wife!!!

Q:What advice would you give someone else?

Dont marry my first wife either.

Q:Is there anything else you'd like to share?

1) multitask whenever possible. it makes you feel like you're really accomplishing something.
2) lists are good. they make organization easier.
3) beer makes everything better
4) lists about beer are therefore very good


Thanks so much for your answers AllegroArts. Remember, if anyone would like to be the subject of a DQYDJ interview, just let me know. We think everyone deserves a chance to be heard, and since only a select few can be featured by etsy, we'll take care of the rest.

Posted at 9:41am Feb 25, 2010 EST


Poocheze says

Great interview! I love your DQYDJ threads. ;)


Posted at 9:45am Feb 25, 2010 EST

Hurray for allegro! Entertaining as always knotwork :)

Posted at 9:46am Feb 25, 2010 EST

booglass says

Great interview. It helps to hear my experience isn't so unusual and that I am smart not to quit that day job. And I promise not to marry his first wife.

Posted at 9:47am Feb 25, 2010 EST

LOL! Love it

Posted at 9:48am Feb 25, 2010 EST

great interview!

Posted at 9:48am Feb 25, 2010 EST

Love this!! My first laugh of the morning! :)

Posted at 9:49am Feb 25, 2010 EST

this is great -- and so is high-speed internet access!

Posted at 9:50am Feb 25, 2010 EST

im shocked! and stunned!

PaperAffection - I LOVE your modular origami stuff. Its really difficult to get that to turn out correctly.

Posted at 9:50am Feb 25, 2010 EST

Yippee Allegro!!

Posted at 9:50am Feb 25, 2010 EST