Announcement We are all about the REuse, REcycle, REpurpose, REconsume, REvolution, since 2007
We are all about the REuse, REcycle, REpurpose, REconsume, REvolution, since 2007
jill of all trades
Firstly, let me write... I have always been an entrepreneur, ALWAYS! As a small child I took my artwork to my mom and dad’s places of work and sold them to their coworkers (not because they were amazing or anything, but the people appreciated my verve, I guess) I had lemonade stands constantly, sold do-dads in front of our house, had yard sales etc. Then in my teens I had become a very proficient seamstress. I made most of my clothing and soon was doing it for friends or teaching them to sew. My mom had an outdoor outfitter company making custom clothing for dog mushers, and I soon found myself designing and making items for Iditarod mushers. My specialty was harnesses and dog booties for every condition of snow and ice. I made thousands upon thousands of them and had quite the living as a junior and senior in high school. :) Once in college I floundered from biology to writing and from college sports to finally deciding that I was an artist at my core, so why fight it... I set out to get a BFA in sculpture. After finishing my four years, I was on my way to get a Masters in Industrial Design but let life sidetrack me with travel and a husband. It was the best distraction I could have ever been given!
My husband was a professional athlete so we moved and traveled for nearly nine years where we had three of our four kids. I rarely created anything during those years. Everything was always packed or buried or the fact that I had 4 kids in less than 5 years and never the space or time to create much of anything.
We settled here in Idaho about 16 years ago and I was able to make the slow ascent back into my former endeavors. My mother now lives with us and she is always an inspiration, so when the grocery bag business reared it’s head a little under 7 years ago, we knew we were back in business. I had read Martha Stewart's book The Martha Rule, and the only resounding thing that kept hitting me was:
Find a need and fill it
Wow, like that is not nearly impossible. We have done every networking business, several direct sales businesses, owned and operated a restaurant, headed up ministries and created businesses for other people but none of them have been long term successes.
I had just started blogging in 2007... no one was reading or at least commenting and I was treating it more as a personal journal than anything, but I wanted to start putting crafts on the blog rather than just rambling about my day. I was having a frank internal conversation with myself about what to make, but knowing that what I really needed to do was go to the grocery store...
This set me off on my utter dislike for my reusable bags - a hodge podge of free type bags that I had collected to do my green part. I usually “forgot” them in the car. Inspiration struck. I ran downstairs grabbed a paper bag and the next 5 hours was designing and making myself some really cute grocery bags. As I was leaving, one of my best friends stopped by, she saw the bags and screamed, “Where did you get those???” She had just returned from So CAL where she bought an oil cloth lunch sack and she wanted my bags...etc.
I informed her I made them... the next 5 hours was convincing me to sell them and go into business. Nine days later our business was up and running, with orders from 5 boutiques (one in San Fran), a website and all the other details. It was crazy!!!! Simple a miracle.
Find a need and fill it...
If it were not for my two outgoing sales minded best friends it would have never left my blog. It would have been a craft that no one saw or commented on. They were the fire and fuel. To this day... my nature is to be the think tank but I have had to market my ideas much more aggressively to potential interest. I have to say it’s credited to my life long desire to live outside of any parameters or negativity. Don’t get me wrong when I see an idea that I was sure was my original effort already in a book or magazine, I get discouraged but I have to keep pushing because it’s what I would do whether I was making money or not.
I read a great quote recently about writing. The editor said, “If you are only writing to get paid, then you are not a writer.”
I’m going to create no matter what, so I might as well look for places to get paid for it but if I don’t... I’m still going to do it, because ultimately I’m not in it for the money.
It’s been a slow and arduous climb and I have not made a ton of money, but I do make enough to supplement our income etc. It’s worth all the late night hours! After running our business from my garden studio for 5 years, we opened a boutique 5 years ago featuring the 65 or so items that I make and we have several other artisans selling in the shop to fill in the gaps, my oldest daughter just added a tiny bakery called Boise's Bakery and our Soda Shop glues it all together with bubbles and fizz. We are having way too much fun!
Owner, Maker, Designer, Curator, Jill Of All Trades
As an artist and all around creative person, I have embraced the idea that everything is an opportunity to be wise, to be green and to create beauty from the things all around me. As a owner of BWG, Soda Works and Boise's Bakery... life is good!
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Returns & exchanges
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