Just a little disclaimer: I really wanted to record and remember all the things that have led to starting a little business this past week. So if you don’t have any interest in why or how that happened, feel free to skip this post 🙂 If you’re interested in my little story or some lessons I’m learning, read on!
As of this week I can finally check off something I’ve been wanting to do for about seven years: OPEN AN ETSY SHOP!
Sidenote/background: Growing up, my childhood answer to “What do you want to be” was always twofold: mom and artist. I felt called to ministry when I was about 12 and always wondered how that would play into my dreams of being a mother and making art. Thankfully, God is kind and has allowed art to be a huge part of my ministry. In addition to the relational ministry I get to do with college students, I am responsible for all of our design and branding, which has stretched me and taught me so much the past few years. When the time comes to be a mother, I would love to continue investing in and meeting with women even if it’s inside my home, but I trust God can work that out!
So art has always been something I’ve loved since I was a kid, but for a long time I wasn’t sure how to incorporate it into my life outside of work without it becoming more than I could handle. I’ve taken on some freelance jobs — friends asking for a design for their events, chalkboard art for weddings, or art for their homes, or a birthday present for fill-in-the-blank. And I’ve LOVED those projects! They give me such freedom to create and make and offer something special to the ones who have requested those pieces. I’ve been hand making gifts for people for as long as I can remember – I’m pretty sure I got in trouble when I was younger for cutting up pictures to give my mom a handmade Mother’s Day card, but I just love the intentionality that comes with something made by hand, from the heart. There’s just something so precious about offering a little piece of yourself in a gift to someone that they couldn’t get anywhere else!
For a long time now, I’ve dreamt of making that freelance work a more steady, regular part of my life. I was hesitant for awhile – if I do well, will I have the time to stay on top of everything? If I don’t do well, will I be crushed and feel like a failure? Plus there’s the fact that there are SO many incredible people out there making art, and what if everything worth doing has already been done? There are a ton of hidden costs to starting up a little business – from the envelopes you need to mail prints, to the actual printing costs, to postage, to etsy fees, etc. – it can really add up! That risk was something I’ve been anxious about for awhile. But after a lot of prayer and really thinking through the pros and cons, I felt very sure that this was the right step. If things go great, then I know God will provide the strength to do this well. If things don’t go so great, life goes on and I know my worth and value is not found in business success. So this week I opened an Etsy shop called OpenHandStudio.
I’ve loved Psalm 145 for so long, and that scripture really was the propelling force for just opening my hands, letting go of all that I’ve been anxious about, and asking God to be blessed and glorified through this process – whether I sell one piece of art or not. The thing about having open hands is that it means I have a loose hold on anything I’m given, so if this little adventure goes poorly and nothing comes of it, then I can let go with ease and trust that it was just not meant to be. However, for now, I’m really excited about this opportunity. This weekend I’ve had a few sales through the shop and with each one, I just feel so happy that someone would allow me to contribute a special piece of work they can display in their home. My prayer has been that I could create something that points back to God, pieces that reflect an attitude of the heart that is pleasing to Him, and that through this new step I could glorify Him in each and every print that comes from my shop.
I’m eager to see what comes next. Even if this is just a little extra job on the side, I get so much joy from the process and the people I’ve been able to work with. That in itself is a sweet part of this little shop that I think I’m going to really love. So one half of my childhood dreams have officially come true, I call that a pretty good weekend!