Having just posted in every social media venue I can find, my Etsy shop online, and chatted with my Aunt Patty recently, the decision is final: I am letting go of my hobby business, Trinity Jewelry by Design.
Sometimes when we are drawn forward to an exciting new opportunity, we simply cannot hold onto the things of the past. I discovered this past week that the creative and entrepreneurial energy needed to make my new company, Two Step Solutions (TSS), a success will require my full attention. Lord willing I will participate in one final public event (my fifth) this coming weekend: a Fiber Arts Fest at a local farm and educational center. How perfect. Hemp, leather, and especially the friendship jewelry made from the Threads of Hope ministry will fit in nicely. Perhaps I will find my niche at last? So sweet. Me and the farm animals, with Border Collies chasing the sheep around too. Since it’s an outdoor venue, I should be fine with the adrenaline rush that usually comes with participating in an event. I am looking forward to it actually!
So humor me if you will with some pictures and a little reminiscing that captures the creative journey of these past 3 years. I began making jewelry to have a low-cost, portable hobby I could pursue in our home office. The first product was an adjustable 3-beaded macramé bracelet designed to represent the Holy Trinity. These were born out of an activity I introduced to a missionary family who was visiting our home for dinner with their three daughters. The bracelets were very basic yet also rekindled my experience with macramé over 30 years prior as a new graduate from occupational therapy school. A macrame lamp shade and a couple of plant hangers were my own “occupational therapy” after moving away from home for my first job out of State. Funny how things come back into vogue, eh?
Eventually in my TJ by D journey, I discovered the world of YouTube videos. Amazing! You can learn just about everything including better knotting techniques, the value of better materials, how to take better pictures, branding, and so more right from your home computer. Etsy furthered my training with it’s excellent resources, support teams, and a relatively user-friendly ecommerce site to get you online before the world. But none of it would have ever happened if my Aunt Patty wasn’t already on Etsy with her own shop, Patches and Pockets. Her initial instruction gave me the courage to start a steep learning curve that would de-mystify much of what I did not know about the internet. I am so grateful for her willingness to show me the way!
And so there I was in the middle of the night when I felt the best and was most productive, making hemp jewelry. I tried selling the precious stone jewelry of an acquaintance but it turned out that my shop wasn’t right venue for either of us. My own skills got better; I learned to take better pictures which is critical to success online. It would be two years before I started experimenting with leather lacing then leather wrist bands. As time went on I sensed that I needed more of a niche product or at least one that would have more utility in daily life than jewelry. I wondered if I might expand into leather tooling or perhaps making leather holsters for women? Etsy had allowed commercial manufacturers into their marketplace and the competition from cheaper overseas companies diluted the quality of work in my media and vastly increased competition. Handmade items made in America seemed to be valued less just as I was developing my own style, my own branding. I joined “handmade” sales teams and implemented the strategies that they suggested but it didn’t seem to make much of an impact on my business. Then my sleeping patterns changed and I lost my creative groove. My personal health situation had become more complicated as well.
I believe it was the Lord who inspired me to start Two Step Solutions. I was praying for direction with my jewelry business, consulting close friends, and checked in with my Aunt Patty over those few months too. My Aunt had already let her Etsy business expire as she pursued other volunteer opportunities with her local gardening group and hospital auxillary. Hmmm. Maybe it was time for me to pursue a venue that would look more like my former profession of occupational therapy yet incorporate all of the skills that I had learned over these past 3 years? Indeed. As it turns out, the vision that the Lord gave me for TSS will bank on most everything I have ever done including enduring a serious illness. Wow Lord!
A couple of weeks ago I had an unusual conversation with a jewelry customer who claimed that the bracelet that she had purchased from me had broken in two places. By the time I received it in a plain business envelope in the mail, it was completely destroyed. I was so hurt that I almost gave up TJ by D that week. I had already launched the TSS website and begun working on my Business Plan, eBook, and Trademark. I knew in my heart that I would be leaving the jewelry business yet I wasn’t sure how to go about it. After several unusual “Conversations” as they call it on Etsy with my customer, I decided to act decisively and resolve the situation with confidence instead of acquiescence. I refunded her money in full. Then I saw a sign in front of a local venue called Salomon Farm Park for their Fiber Arts Fest. Very quickly an “exit strategy” came into view. I even had a few creative nights around this time simply enjoying my craft again. I would participate in one final event, network the heck out of it, and letter go. What a great way to wrap things up!
Some of the details of this transition are a bit vague yet so I’ll just put Trinity Jewelry by Design up for sale and see what happens. Lord willing I am hoping that about $225 will come in this weekend to pay for my filing fee at the U.S. Trademark and Patent Office for TSS. I found a Law School who is ready to file the application via their free clinic. Alright. I know what that means. Better get hustling Just Julie! It’s time to sell some jewelry and get my studio in order. Sometime soon I may be moving on with gratitude and perhaps a few colorful sparklies will linger to adorn my own wrist, my own neckline too.
Of course I’ll be keeping a few of my favorite creations just for me you know. I love this stuff! JJ