Making the leap to run a creative business isn't for the faint-hearted! Today we are chatting with Melinda from Min Cards & Things, who has some great advice for anyone considering starting their own creative business.
How did you start your creative business?
I've always been a crafter since being able to pick up a pair of scissors. I have made projects with decoupage, handmade boxes, origami and lots of paper crafts, as well as embroideries, cross stitch, sewing my own small handbags and probably lots more. I've always made cards for my family and friends. Later, I started to get paid requests from family and friend to make them custom cards. So with that boost of confidence, I opened an Etsy store.
What drives you to keep creating?
Every time I sell a card online I do a happy dance - just ask my partner. He helps me with my market stall set ups and is a great sound board for my ideas. So every time I make a sale this encourages me more and I can't wait to get back to my little studio (well, spare bedroom that I've taken over - but studio sounds so much better!) to make more!
We'd love to get to know you a bit more. What are three things you are passionate about?
I love my cat - the dear little boy is 17 years old! I have to keep my studio door closed when I'm not in there as I know he gets up to cheeky stuff. He can always be found close by when I'm in my room crafting away, but he doesn't always seem to understand that my lap is just not for him when I'm painting and working away.
I'm seriously not a morning person! My crafting days start with going through e-mails, social media, cleaning and odds and ends, and then I get into my cards and designs. I can be at it for hours on end and not even realise the time, which to my man's angst means that dinner can be a little later than usual. Oops - sorry honey! I would love to just craft away all the time if I could.
I love my science fiction movies and t.v. so I'm a bit of a geek that way. When I just need a break, or time to sit and relax on the couch with the cat, I'll have something sci-fi-y show on telly. Of course Game of Thrones was my weakness during the past few years, and I love a bit of Doctor Who too.
How do you balance work, family, and your creative business?
Easy for me - I work 2 days a week, so I have plenty of time to craft away and catch up on my t.v. when I'm home later in the week. My new employer was worried I wouldn't take the job because it wasn't full time, but I jumped at the chance! Perfect for my lifestyle and card business. I don't have any kids (apart from my fur-baby) so my lifestyle now is about fitting in my craft markets with food and wine festivals!
What's one piece of advice you would give to a new Etsy seller?
I opened my store with terrible pictures and poor SEO (heck I didn't even know what that was until a year later), but I had sales. If I had just kept on researching and waiting for everything to be perfect, I still wouldn't have opened my shop by now. So my advice - just do it! Open that shop if you haven't. Add your listings and tweak photos and tags later. Just let it roll. Etsy keeps on improving and changing their platform which means that every shop has to change with the times. And you'll find your own style in writing and photography too over time. It doesn't have to be perfect, just good!
Where can customers find you?
Meet Melinda and grab some handmade goodies at Etsy Made Local Melbourne 2017!
25 November, 14 Gaffney St, Coburg