What I learned from my year in business: Don’t give up, Ever!

I decided to start at the top and work my way up.

Sometimes things don’t work that way. Let me explain: I decided to make beautiful

furniture that I spent a lot of time on and wanted good money for.  I didn’t get the prices I wanted for my pieces. But try try try again. This is what I have learned from my year in being in business for myself. Don’t be afraid to take risks, learn from your mistakes and on’t give up, don’t give up, don’t give up, ever!

I love my Etsy business at my online shop Caribbean Style Decor, my obsession with all things blue, white and shiny; that business is wonderful but erratic $200 one day no money the next day.  I am starting to save for a house I need a steadier source of revenue. I went back to the drawing board and looked the items that brought me the most money, my furniture. I stopped working on my furniture because I didn’t get the prices I wanted for the time and energy I put into refinishing and re-painting.  It is important to pay attention to what the market will bear. I looked over my techniques, I am a perfectionist, my techniques take a lot of time and are

exacting, one table took over 40 hours. I call that one “The Table”.

I sold my furniture in two places a local retailer and on Craig’s List.  I rethought everything and came up with a plan to make My Craig’s list prices profitable. I knew this retailer wasn’t the place to get the best prices for my pieces but they were easy to get into and to work with. I sold all the pieces I had consigned to them and working with that store helped me to figure out where my prices needed to be to sell.

I made up a new set of rules for myself. There were a lot of things I could do to save time and

still achieve the look I wanted. I would spend no more than 8 hours on any one piece. These adjustments would get my prices into the Craig’s list zone.

That’s fantastic news because I LOVE doing the furniture. I love taking furniture ugly ducklings and turning them into gorgeous one of kind pieces.

I have two chairs at home waiting to be worked on. Stay tuned. I’m back at it. …Melissa

I Can’t Hear You

I can't hear youI’m that girl!  You know the girl who says she going to do something that doesn’t seem possible and then  the next thing you know she doing it. Before I decided to be that type of person I knew another girl like that and I found her incredibly annoying. I would think all the time how the heck did she do that. Then I decided to be like her.

Am I a suborn person? I would say not really but when I decide I am doing to do something  I don’t listen to anyone, unless they are telling me I can do it. But let’s go back a little bit. When  I was 16 I went to a Catholic High School in Brooklyn New York, sounds pretty safe, right? For a nerdy Caribbean girl it was no joke. With a funny accent and a tendency to make faux pas like asking

I don't look that stubborn do I?

I don’t look that stubborn do I?

for a rubber instead of an eraser, I became a target. Kids were threatening to beat me up for extreme nerdiness. I wasn’t used to dealing with that and I wasn’t going to deal with that. I found a college that I could attend early and get into at 16 years old. I had the grades, I was number 1 in my class. When I discussed it with my mother she said absolutely not. She probably said No God damned way, or over her dead body something final like that. When she made a decision that was it, she was hardcore strict, no talking back EVER. I don’t know what came over me I freaked out and started yelling and screaming, you didn’t yell and scream at my mother.

Next thing I knew I was on my way to that college, I have no idea how I accomplished that. I didn’t know how I did it I just knew I was going to do it.

The Finished Table

One of my pieces that saved me from my boring job

Fast forward to present day, well recent past. I had a very boring but well-paying job. I went home and would  furiously make Art and Furniture and then go back to my job were basically I tried to look like I was doing something all day. Believe me it was hard and stressful to occupy yourself mentally all day long when you aren’t doing much, not to mention trying to look busy. I know ya’ll are wondering what I was doing. Well, I was working in high end retail in store that would sometimes have 2 people a day coming in, really 2!

So after I sold some furniture and paintings in my own business I quit. I didn’t tell most people what I was doing I just did it and I was fine. Friends and random people would ask me wasn’t I scared, didn’t I lay in bed in terror over not being successful. No I was too busy thinking about being successful. I knew I had the grit in my body and in my soul to make this thing work, and I did. Yep I don’t tend to listen to anyone when I decide to do something unless they are helping me along my chosen path. When they explain to me I can’t do it all I hear I wah wah wah, like Charlie Brown. Does that make me stubborn? Maybe a little.

When I say Festooned I mean Festooned

The Blue Stenciled table, a little stenciling is not enough

The Blue Stenciled table, a little stenciling is not enough. Now its Festooned!

To me the word Festooned means to be totally covered with a design. The dictionary says I means totally covered with flowers, that’s close enough considering I have been using it for a few months to describe my uber stenciled furniture.

As I was finishing up on this table I decided to go to the next level and absolutely cover every possible surface with stencil. This project was complicated by the fact that the color I selected although beautiful came from a paint line with zero coverage. Can we say 6 coats of paint. I ended up rescuing myself with a similar color from another brand of paint. That prompted me to write my paint recommendations  I wouldn’t want someone else to be seduced by the sexy can and be a slave to six coats of paint to get some decent coverage. But back to the table, as usual I’m not done yet, with much touching up to do. I unveiled it a little earlier than normal to get on Claire’s  Rustic Pigs, creative Tuesday (yes its Wednesday) But I love it! Yes its dizzying to look at. I’ll put a warning sign “May make you dizzy with Beauty!” but is lovely and exotic, just how I like it.  Contact me if you are interested in purchasing. Till next time.

Melissa