Etsy Seller Imposter Syndrome – Tackling Self-Doubt

This is kind of a hard post for me to make public on my blog since I do have an active Etsy shop, but I am going to make it public for the sake of other people who may be struggling.

Recently, I’ve been struggling with a flare-up of self-doubt – Especially when it comes to the creations I make for my Etsy shop.

Maybe it’s because I can see myself getting better at what I do, but I’ve been so tempted to remove some items from my shop completely, or lower the price of them because, in my mind, they just aren’t as good as some of my more recent creations.

And then there are days where I wonder if I’m even good enough to be selling any of them at all.

I’ve heard from a few different artists that this is a common problem that they have.

Artists have a tendency to under-value their work, and also tend to be overly-critical of themselves. I really have been needing to keep this in mind, and it’s a thing that I constantly need to remind myself of.

I do believe that I do good work, and need to remember that everybody can improve their crafts. Even the artists who I look up to.

Last year I bought a book to help me tackle my own self-doubt. It’s called “Playing Big – Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead” – By Tara Mohr. I heard about it a while back when I heard a podcast in which Tara was a guest. I wish I could remember what Podcast it was. If I can find it, I’ll update this post with a link to it, but I digress. 🙂

I never finished reading this book, but I’m going to start reading it again as my self-doubt is creeping back. The bit I did read was inspiring, and I need to rekindle that feeling in myself. In case you struggle with self-image issues and seeing your own potential, this is a fantastic book.

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you have to say on the subject. I don’t think I’m the only one. It’s a topic that isn’t discussed often at all. For a while I thought that maybe I was the only one, but I was relieved to find that people who I consider experts at their craft even struggle with it.

So in case you haven’t heard this yet, you are not alone in feeling self doubt when it comes to the work you make and share with the public. For some people these feelings keep them from putting their work out there. I think it takes a lot of bravery to start an Etsy shop, or to post your work for the public to see, but it is so worth it.

Edit: I wrote about my self-doubt last year as well. In this blog post, I mentioned this exact same book and the podcast in case you’re interested. It’s been over a year and I still remember it, so it obviously made a pretty big impact. 🙂

 

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Howls Moving Castle Cosplay on a Budget

Every year I tell myself that I will not make a new costume, and every year I dream something up! This year, it was Howl from Howls Moving Castle – specifically the early movie version of Howl where he has blond hair. He is a mysterious wizard in one of my favorite Miyazaki movies.

The costume is a pretty simple one, and if I wanted to, I could have purchased all the supplies online, but didn’t want to spend $50.

My husband did find this awesome cape that I kind of wish I’d bought instead, but that was after I had already bought all the material, so, oh well!

Also hot topic had one on clearance but I already have the material, so challenge accepted!

I found this vintage blouse at a thrift store that was a pretty good match for what he wears. It has shoulder pads, which I’d normally remove, but I kept them in since Howl has a tall, slim physique, and I do not. 😣😏

The pants were ones that I already owned – some plain high waisted skinny jeggings from Fashion Nova.

I bought this wig on AliExpress for $10 and it is perfect. It is by the seller AIW.

I wore my most comfortable pair of shoes with the costume, which were an Oxford style pair of black Clark’s with a chunky heel. The heel helped with the height thing, so that’s good!

I did not buy this ring as part of this costume specifically, but it just so happens to be a similar style to one he wears in the movie, so I used it as such. The ring is by Etsy seller Moonkist Designs, and I bought mine with a labradorite stone.

Lastly, was the coat, and it is what I made from scratch.

I do not love pattern drafting, so I kept an eye out at the thrift store for a jacket in a similar shape that I could take apart to use as a pattern. I settled on this boxy looking brown and orange polyester tweed coat that looked like it was made for a scarecrow – I definitely didn’t feel bad about taking it apart! Below is a picture of it laid out waiting for my seam ripper – (please excuse my feet! :p).

I didn’t take it completely apart. I removed one sleeve, one side of the front, and  for the back cut down the middle since it would be folded in a seam. I used the outer portion as the pattern for the lining and the Shell of the cosplay jacket.

On my pattern, I made the bust slightly smaller, but kept it mostly as is when I cut the pattern out.

I cut a full lining in red cotton, and then made the outside of the jacket using pink and purple cotton.

The front of the jacket was the most challenging to recreate, because it required a quilting technique. I wanted the size and placement of the diamonds to be accurate to the picture, so that required some math. I also had to make sure that the other side was symmetrical.

Below is in image of the diamonds laid out over my pattern. I think I ended up having to add more diamonds because I didn’t make it long enough, but I can’t remember if this picture was taken before or after that. 🙂

Once that was done, I sewed on the sleeves – I did this part before I sewed up the sides because I hate having to sew in a circle… I’d much rather sew the sleeves, and then sew the side body and under sleeve up.

Here is a progress picture after that point.   I think the outside of the jacket turned out okay, although I’m not entirely happy with how some of the corners of the diamonds lined up, but that’s me being nit-picky. (Sidenote: my mannequin’s dress is pinned up because my cats like to play under it when I let them in. Normally it’s a pretty free flowing vintage dress.😏)

After that was done, I attached the collar to each piece and attached some stiff interfacing to the inside of one since Howl has his collar sticking up and it needs structure… I wish I had added more, however, because in the end it was not stiff enough to stick up. It ended up folding, which is unfortunate.

Once that was done, I sandwiched gold bias tape between the lining and the outer shell of the coat, right sides together starting from the lower end of one side, up the collar, and all the way to the other side. After sewing, once I turn the jacket the correct way, the jacket looks neatly finished. From there, I ironed the collar up, and hem the bottom of the jacket.

Since Howl wears the jacket as a cape, with his arms underneath the jacket, I attached hook & eyes to the front bodice of my shirt, and to the inside lining of my new jacket so it would stay in place.

Here’s the completed jacket and hair, and me not channeling Howl’s cool aloofness! I am pretty happy with how it turned out for the price!

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Price breakdown:

Wig: $10

Pants: Already owned

3 colors of Material and bias tape: $12

Jacket for pattern: $6

Stones for jewelery: $ 3

Hardware for jewelery: already had at home

Vintage blouse: $4

Shoes: had at home

Time spent on jacket: 5 hours

Total Amount spent: $35!!! Well under my $50 budget!

 

Sneak Peek: Moonlight Themed Blue Velvet & Black Beaded Lace Journal

Hey everyone! I just wanted to share with you all a picture of a journal that I am currently working on. It will be finished and listed on my Etsy shop this upcoming weekend!

As you can see, it’s made of a dark grayish blue velvet with a thin layer of batting underneath to give it a plush look. I used lace and bead appliques on top and on part of the spine.

The paper inside is exclusively dark tones – mostly black. Silver and gold Gel pen works beautifully if you want to write inside it. 🙂

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The corners are accented with gold book corners.

So far I’m very happy with how it turns out!

Available Now! Dusty Pink, Copper and Ivory Junk Journal Listed on Etsy!

I listed this new junk journal for sale! It is very similar to a journal that I made for myself not long ago – if you want to see in detail my own personal journal, click here. I wrote a blog post about it. I loved the lace and the journal so much, I wanted to make another to share with somebody else. It is quite similar, but slightly different. The spine is lighter, I used pinker embroidery thread, and the inside paper is different. 🙂

I am so very happy with how it turned out!

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Find it for sale here!

I also posted a flip-through video of it in case you’re all interested. Find that here!

Now to start on the Slate-blue velvet journal in a “Moonlight” theme! You’ll be seeing more on that soon!

 

2018 Etsy Shop Goals – Marketing, Purchasing, Learning, and Sharing

For months now I’ve been wanting to shift focus from Poshmark and start working more on my Etsy shop. I have been putting it off due to the fact that I didn’t have very much to list on there at the time.

Now that I have listed more on Etsy, I am going to begin trying to make and reach goals that I have for my shop. Here they are:

  1. Take a class or learn more about product photography. – I feel as though I am getting better at this, but I am not nearly up to the standards that I would like. I want to learn how to take eye-catching photos that will get me more “likes” and views on Instagram where I post some of my journals that I sell as well as on Etsy itself. Photography is one of my weak points. I just don’t have a natural eye for it.
  2. Get more uniform pictures taken for my shop – Now that I have the equipment, I have already started this. I will be trying to stick with the same background. Here’s one example. (The bottom 3 journals in this picture are for sale by the way. The pink one will be listed this weekend.) 🙂 It’s extremely likely that I’ll do another facelift once I am able to get more experience and knowledge on photography.IMG_20180103_203142.jpg
  3. Make my Etsy profile more personal and interesting– Right now it’s very bare bones. I want to share a story with my consumers and my passions. This same thing goes for my product descriptions, which are very spartan for the most part. In general, I want to share myself as a person more with my consumers.
  4. Purchase more supplies from independent vendors and make connections with them– This is a big one for me. As a person starting a small business, I know how hard it is to be noticed and feel appreciated. I want to start purchasing items from vendors that I respect. I started this by ordering some beautiful beads from a shop called BeadsandHoney. Here shop sells amazing wooden beads, some with abalone shell inlays. She also sells these amazing Mactan stone beads from the Philippines also with abalone shell inlays that contain fossilized impressions in them. I will be using these beads as charms on future journals. When I read to her “About” page I really connected with it, because she has succeeded in doing what I have as a long term goal when she had previously been in a similar situation as me (working a full time job, and doing what she was passionate about on the side. I want to support more people like her. The rewards in this will be twofold- I will be providing somebody with income that they can use to continue doing what they’re passionate for, and I will be gathering supplies to use that will make my journals even more unique and special.
  5. Learn more about marketing – This is another one of my weaknesses, and I plan on listening to many podcasts and ready articles on this subject… If I happen across a workshop that may be able to help, I may take it.
  6. Take a hands-on bookbinding class from a professional – This is a big stretch goal that I may not get done this year, but I can dream. :)… It would likely require me to travel since my area does not seem to have any classes (I live near Houston, TX) so it could be quite expensive, but I feel like if I was able to take a class or workshop from a very experienced traditional bookbinder I would become much better at doing what I love and perhaps learn techniques and tools that could make my job easier and my journals better.
  7. Last but not least, I want to start selling my own art prints. I’m very happy to have made the necessary revenue to purchase an archival quality printer between my Poshmark and Etsy sales. Once I learn how to get them printed clearly I will be selling some of my favorite work.

What are some of your goals for 2018? Do you know of any good online or in person workshops that you think I could benefit from? Also, if you’re an Etsy seller or independent artist that sells charms or paper, or general handmade stationary style supplies, please share your shop in the comments! I’d love to check it out!

 

I made my own Lace Junk Journal!

The end of 2017 was extremely busy for me, between prepping to celebrate the holidays, purchasing gifts, baking, and meeting deadlines in my personal business.

Despite all this, I managed to finally finish making my own journal! I’d been wanting to do it for a while now, but never really found the time, or knew what I wanted it to look like. That changed when I found this really pretty lace. I found it at a fabric shop in Houston. I’d always admired the lace there, but it’s always so expensive and I never knew what I could use it for… But then it hit me – I could use it on my journals! I have no idea why it took me so long to figure this out to be honest. :p
Isn’t that lace just gorgeous? I layered it over scrapbook paper. The spine is regular brown toned scrapbook paper under this metallic copper toned paper. The lace is this beautiful dusty pink, slightly mauve color with a floral design The edge made a fantastic trim between the spine and the front of the journal. It is kept relatively simple since I wanted that lace to be the focal point. I finished it off with gold book corners.

For the spine, I sewed the 6 signatures in using light Dusty pink embroidery thread and a large decorative pendant which hangs through a gold eyelet.

And of course, I had to choose this beautiful Renaissance inspired paper by Graphic 45 as my first page. This is definitely my favorite brand of scrapbook paper. It’s a bit expensive but totally worth it- and it’s double sided! The pink and brown inside cover detail was hand diecut and hand embossed.

Honestly, This may become a niche of mine – lace journals or fabric journals, because I have such a love for fabric and lace as well as for paper. My mom taught me how to sew when I was just a girl, and costume design has always fascinated me. I love that I can combine my love of fabric and my love of paper and books into one pretty thing.

I didn’t really have a theme for my journal although it ended up being a bit parisian. I created it with a color scheme in mind – Pink, copper, and ivory.

This journal was so much fun to make and stuffed full of all kind of interesting textured paper in different sizes. I didn’t have to use any mixed media paper in it – I actually had to really thin out the paper that I had selected for it because there was so much that I wanted to use. It would’nt have stayed closed! It’s so much fun to thumb through and just stare at. 🙂

I recorded a somewhat awkward rambling video here if you’d like to see a detailed flipthrough. I also have flipthroughs of most of the other journals I’ve made. Maybe someday I’ll get used to doing these kinds of videos! :p

I liked this journal so much, that I decided to make a similar one to sell on my shop since I have some of the lace left over. I will share that when I get it listed this weekend!

A few other journals I plan on making  and listing soon:

  • an Indian/Bollywood inspired junk journal in bright jewel tones with lace and beaded teal cover
  • a plush solid velvet junk journal in a jewel tone with metal embellishments

I’ve honestly never been more excited about making these journals. I feel like each one that I make gets better and I feel like I’ve had an”aha” moment as Oprah would say when it comes to using fabric on my journals. I’m expecting big things in 2018. 🙂

To see my current work for sale, feel free to visit my Etsy shop, or if you like awesome pre-owned womens clothing, check out the items I have for sale on Poshmark! Also if you would like to keep up day to day, follow me on Instagram @mermaidcoveart

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year!

 

January 5, 2018 Update: I listed a very similar lace journal on my Etsy shop today! See it here!

List of things I’ve collected

Thouroughout my life, I’ve been a collector. Here’s a list of things that I collected in the past or that I currently collect purely for the pleasure of it:

  • Rocks/fossils
  • Beanie babies
  • Notebooks (plain)
  • Decorative Journals
  • Crystals
  • Tiny animal figurines
  • Trail of Painted Ponies
  • Wrapping paper
  • Evening gowns & vintage dresses
  • Artwork
  • Stickers
  • Mugs
  • Really Old books
  • Washing tape
  • Scented candles
  • “Found” objects: (dried flowers, seashells, etc.)
  • Botanical & natural jewelery
  • Vintage lingerie

And then there are the things that I have a desire to collect, but haven’t started yet because I know that if I started, I would want to buy everything, and go broke or I would simply run out of room:

  • Nenderoids
  • Fabric dolls
  • Wedding gowns
  • Corsets
  • Tarot cards
  • Kimonos
  • Vintage Edwardian clothing
  • Animal skulls
  • Elaborate Headpieces

What kinds of things do you collect?