A Shell of Strength

Good afternoon, Internet-Land!

I’ve been mulling something over in my head, and today I’m going to put it out here in hopes that it may be helpful to someone. A lot of times, you will hear people say, “Go for it!”; “Just do it!”; “Make it happen!” But they never tell you “how” or what that might “look like” in reality. I want to give you an explanation of my process for “making it happen.” Having been a teacher for over twenty years, I’m really big on “visual aids,” so I have some corny little diagrams to help me out. Here we go!

It all starts will thoughts. Things and ideas that jumble around in your head. Sometimes it’s all your own ideas, and sometimes you are inspired by others or the world around you. You sift through these thoughts and form an idea. Sometimes it’s big and sometimes it’s small. But an idea is the seed that can then grow. My idea was to make a few bucks by doing something from home with my dolly creations. The first step in my process was to assess my skills. I wanted to highlight the skills that specifically dealt with this idea. For example ~ I love to creatively bake, but those skills aren’t needed for this concept.

Now that I had an idea of what I could do that would  apply to my idea, I thought of projects that I could complete. This included not just my skill set, but time and materials as well. Then I had to find places where I could show my projects. The first two venues were selling on eBay and showing at local craft fairs. This also included learning some new skills. I had to set up my eBay/PayPal accounts and obtain the dates, locations, & contracts for local sale venues. I needed to learn the costs for shipping. I needed to find table skirtings and lifts for table displays. I readied my venues first, so I wouldn’t have all this “stuff” and nothing  to do with it.

Once I had my venue opportunities established, I needed to go to work making my actual “stock.” I had to get busy sewing doll clothing, making several of my doll cases, and getting my paper doll collections ready for market (putting on CDs & getting print work done). With all that in place, I listed my first set of items on eBay. It was fun to see my first items get “views” and even more exciting to get “watches!” I was so excited to sell my first item. I also went to my first craft fair and sold a couple of my doll cases!

Through eBay and the craft sales, I was able to connect with people. From these new friends, I learned new things and gained new ideas. One of my eBay collectors introduced me to the world of Doll Shows. I hadn’t realized there was such a thing, apart from the highly expensive Doll Conventions. That prompted me to take a trip up to Portland, Oregon to visit one of these shows. There, I gained a contract for a type of show/sale that was specific to my own venue. From that show, I learned of other doll shows around the state. I now host tables at four different shows that operate six times a year, with a new one in the works. My new vendor and collector friends have given me lots of new ideas for products as well as opportunities at new shows.

Through all of this, I continually stay anchored to my original idea. Each new venture builds upon the last. I meet new people at each show and with each eBay sale. It’s then fun to have friends return to my table/site. I love visiting with you, and I try to have a couple new things at each show to keep it fresh! As I move forward, I try to incorporate new avenues of productivity. Last year I was excited to start my own website/blog and facebook page. Here I can connect with yet more people, finding new friends and ideas. I love having free stuff on my sites to inspire fun and creativity. Little by little, layer by layer, my experiences ~ always linking back to my core idea ~ build an ever growing shell of strength. I learn from successes as well as failures, and still reinforce my process!

So, there you have it. This is my “how to;” it’s my “what does that mean?” Every person will have a different idea, a different set of skills, a different set of experiences ~ but this idea of building and linking back to that first concept is something that will hopefully be helpful to anyone’s journey. Wishing you joy and wonder on your adventure! ~ missy

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