Don't Quit Your Day Job- An exclusive interview with NeatThings
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Happy Friday all! Welcome to another addition of Don't Quit Your Day Job! Like Festivus, these articles are for the rest of us! Those of us in the trenches who want to hear from fellow forumistas about their experiences.
I traveled far for this next interview with the woman herself, NeatThings. I'd always wanted to go to Colorado and was happy to have the excuse of my fake pseudo-journalist responsibilities. She wasn't hard to find as her home has a giant billboard of her head shot on the roof. We sat down on luxurious designer furniture and after sampling one of her daily pharmaceutical cocktails, we got down to business.
Q: How did you originally get into the business of making things?
It's interesting, because more often I break things. I suppose being born with opposable thumbs contributed a lot. Then there was my design-challenged mother who cut my bangs too short, dressed me in cheap hand-me-downs, and fed us canned vegetables. (Which I don't really understand, because she was smokin' hot in the 60s.) Add to that dad's inappropriate sense of humor and love of pontificating and the natural outcome was a design-conscious humor company.
Q: What made you decide to sell your wares?
A desire to expand my wine and shoe collections. I started out on Etsy selling jewelry. I did okay, but once I launched something similar to my "Obnoxious Little Parking Notes" late in 2008, the shop exploded. Really? People were buying my screwed up sense of humor? Within 2 months, I had developed an entire line of greeting cards and given away all the jewelry to friends and family.
Q: Tell us about your working situation:
I drove by a university and they threw in a BBA in Marketing and half of an MBA in the window. I spent 15 years working for other people until I realized I was the only person I could stand to work for. I started a consulting business in 2006, which I abandoned last year to work on this business full time. I'm also a humor writer. Not that this has anything to do with anything -- I just thought you'd like to know.
Q: When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams of quitting your day job?
No. I had dreams of doing something with my time other than harassing people and drinking too much wine.
Q: Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?
Q: What are the most effective ways you've marketed your business?
I find that generally being annoying helps. I don't Twitter seriously. I don't blog really. I don't do anything that bores me. The best marketing is having an unusual product that people want to buy.
Q: Walk us through your typical workday.
Wake up with the sun. Eat something. Drink gen mai cha green tea. Sit at computer. Brainstorm. Walk dogs. Sit at computer. Eat something. Sit at computer. Plan things. Walk husband. Eat something. Sit in front of television or book. Lift some weights. Do some yoga. Get naked. Sleep.
Q: How does having a family affect your Etsy business?
Not at all. I keep everyone locked in a closet during the day and only let them out at dinnertime. Seriously, I don't have kids. They scare the hell out of me. Nobody like me should ever be responsible for malleable lives.
Q: What do you enjoy most about having a day job?
Making smart people laugh full time.
Q: If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Get those Christian Louboutins.
Q: What advice would you give someone else?
1. Be yourself. If you don't know who that is, go live in a cave until you figure it out.
2. Explore all potential outcomes before making decisions. Assess risk/reward.
3. Buy me those Christian Louboutins.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share?
No. I don't like to share. I think I was absent the day they taught that in kindergarten.
Thank you NeatThings!
Posted at 10:22 am Nov 5, 2010 EDT