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

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Original Post

Happy Wednesday all. I appreciate you all taking time out of your busy flagging reseller schedule to take a peek at this installment of the DQYDJ series. Today we have a very special guest, BlackStar.

An extremely talented artisan who has been around the etsy block a few times, BlackStar was gracious enough to answer some questions. After we got into a fist fight about Elvis's whereabouts, we sat down cordially for this chat.

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

Picture a little BlackStar, hopping up on the bathroom vanity and rummaging through the medicine cabinet. I'd pull out the perfect ingredients for my 'perfumes'. I'd sit there and shake, squeeze and pour who knows what into a pyrex dish. Sometimes it would foam up, but most of the time, it would just turn out to be really carpy smelling perfume. Where was my mother when I was doing this? Who cares, I survived and I'm still mixing ingredients. No, I don't sell them on Etsy. Yet.

Q. What made you decide to sell your wares?

I have a strong dislike for computers. I figured that I’d open a shop, not knowing WTF I was doing, and torture my brain. I mean improve, not torture.

Q: Tell us about your previous working situation:

I moved to TN from NJ in the late 70's. Shortly after moving to Nashville, we moved out to the country. Way out in the country. After a while I got tired of driving to town to work, so I got a job at a local factory. It was pretty interesting, but very surreal. I felt like I was in one of those old black and white movies that I used to watch with my mom.
Then on August 16, 1977, while we were working away, a report came over the loudspeaker. Elvis Presley died. That place went crazy. I was surrounded by southern women from the Elvis generation, with their big hair, babbling and boo-hoo'ing. I went home that afternoon and never went back. I've been self-employed ever since that day.

Q: When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job? Well, maybe sometimes. I can’t remember. I plead the 5th.

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

I did work in construction for years and was around paint, stain and other toxic solvents. It built up my tolerance for working with LOS and E-6000. Don't know what those things are? Run a forum search.

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

My avatar. It's a picture of our cat. She has a tatoo of my business logo on her forehead. I use that photo everywhere. Everyone knows me by that. And no one wants to yell or get snarky at such a cute kitty. They have no idea that she’s a devil in disguise.

Q: Walk us through your typical workday:

My workday is never the same. I don't believe in keeping schedules or lists, but one may go like this:
Wake up early. Really early.
Turn on the Espresso maker.
Pick up cat who demands attention. She has a way of getting in my way and tripping me if I don't pick her up.
Bring coffee to dh and dump cat on his lap.
Head upstairs to check Etsy and all my other stomping grounds.
Eat breakfast or drink a beer.
Write a blog post. Or not. Read blogs. Maybe. Fling tweets back and forth on twitter for a while.
Check the forums, if I'm not having a 'forum break'. Try to be helpful, if I’m in the mood. Type and delete is my friend. Sometimes I put some quarters on the track.
Check emails and convos.
Get any orders ready to mail and hop in the truck. Look down to make sure that I still don't have PJ's on. BS with the postal workers and head back home.
Have I made jewelry yet? Let me reread this.
OK, nope. So, now I make jewelry, if I'm in the mood. There are days when I'm not, so I just order more beads.
Take pictures of my finished pieces. Wander outside with camera. Get lost and or sidetracked.
Get online throughout the day to check up on things.
Blah, blah, blah, blah.
Get up and do it again~

Q: What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
Saving money on clothes. And not having to smell everyone's perfume, colognes and laundry detergents.

Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Only open one shop. There’s no way that I’m going to be able to run three shops in a Bambi Airstream. What was I thinking?

Q: What advice would you give someone else?
Don't wait for Elvis to come back. Those Elvis sitings are not real. He's not coming back. If you're going to quit your job, do it now. Elvis had left the building. For real.

Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
Not share, but ask. Etsy, please get rid of the resellers. Please!


Thanks so much for your answers BlackStar!

If you would like to be featured in the DQYDJ series, just send us a message. We think everyone has a unique and insightful story to share. Since etsy can only spotlight a select few, we'd love to take care of the rest.

Posted at 11:41am Mar 3, 2010 EST


Beebeebee says

Thank you Blackstar for that slice of your life.

It makes me want to be a better Etsy'er. (As if that's even possible.)

Posted at 12:53pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

Thanks for the interview! I dream of the day when I do this full time!

Posted at 12:56pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

LaurieRyan says

very entertaining! runs off to check blackstars shop again

Posted at 12:57pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

Dying laughing about the Elvis deal! Great job, as usual, knot!

Posted at 12:59pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

Q: What advice would you give someone else?
Don't wait for Elvis to come back. Those Elvis sightings are not real. He's not coming back. If you're going to quit your job, do it now. Elvis had left the building. For real.

Thanks for the lols!

Posted at 1:00pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

Thank you for the fun read...put a smile on my face!

Posted at 1:01pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

SHAbang says

Have I told you how much fun these are? Well, I'll say it again anyway. THESE ARE FUN.

I love it when something isn't so cookie cutter cheerleading & takes a humorous approach.

**tiny voice** but I also love Elvis **runs away**

Posted at 1:03pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

Oh very fun--thanks for featuring one of my favorite Etsy sellers!

(P.S. Elvis is living in my basement. For real.)

Posted at 1:03pm Mar 3, 2010 EST

Thanks for another great interview! Now I'll go finish my peanut butter and nana sandwich....

Posted at 1:03pm Mar 3, 2010 EST