I have read so many articles about Retirement, creating additional streams of income, making the most of your time etc, that I decided it was time to create a new enterprise. Strictly speaking, it’s not a new enterprise, it’s a re-invigoration of a successful low-key Folksy shop I had in 2011-2013, then real life got in the way. I had an elderly mother to look after, and money, fortunately, wasn’t high on my list of priorities. I also wanted to do some travelling. Blessed with some lovely friends and family, who thankfully covered our time away on trips, my husband and I happily supported my Mum through her last year or two. Small trips to the shops, outings with a nice cup of tea, a visit to friends, or even just some time spent with her at home, all made a vast difference to her last years, so I don’t regret one second of it.
However 3 years on, I have decided it is time to see if I can, or even want to, sell my creations. Over the years, I have given just about everything I made away. Many of my friends have my pieces. A few, honestly, don’t want them. That is their choice. Others just adore them. Last summer, I held a party for a few friends / ex-colleagues. I ‘passed around the box’. I had a huge amount of positive comment. All the ladies went away with something, all unique, knowing that they couldn’t buy an equivalent piece on the High Street. I also took part in a show in December where I sold a few pieces. If memory serves me right, I spent £79 on insurance for the year, and brought in £80 not allowing for the cost of silver.i.e. a loss!
So having spent September to March, reading lots of blogs, books, articles about retirement, being smart with money, building additional income streams, I am considering what to do. Folksy is my first ‘toe in the water’. Do I need to worry about the tax man. I already voluntarily pay the class 3 NI stamp, which is higher than the self-employed stamp. It covers people like me who just have a little extra income rather than making a business out of it. So far my costs far outweigh any income. see above, my one display cost me as much to put on, as I took!
I struggle with putting a price on something I have made. For instance, I am selling a copper jug on Folksy for £20. It took me hours to make, let alone the cost of the copper (c£5). It’s not even minimum wage level. It has lumps and bumps on it, and as a perfectionist, I have to say it’s not perfect, but it is an artisan made product – it’s not meant to be perfect, which is often, (not always), made by a machine…
I like to hide. My online presence is generally ‘hidden’ behind Erith. It is my blog name. I don’t really want to publicise (yet) who I am, but maybe that time may come, as my confidence builds…. I’m not good at selling. I laughed with some friends the other day.
Take 4 jewellers
- Jeweller A – does the most amazing fine wire work, makes amazing pieces. Makes for their own pleasure. Has never sold anything except for charity.
- Jeweller B – makes great stuff. Amazingly well polished. Totally under-estimates the value of the work
- Jeweller C – far more switched on. Goes to upmarket fairs. Sells jewellery at ‘shop prices’. Takes jewellery from Jeweller B and sells it at triple the price (and shares the additional income!)
- Jeweller D – quite laid back, doesn’t really realise the worth of what has been made. Can be found knocking down own prices to make a sale.
I confess, Jeweller D is me. At Christmas, I sold 2 lovely pieces under the price, one because the buyer told a good story, the other because I was feeling kind. Kind does not always make profit….
- I’ll run Folksy – Cracking Gems, at least in the interim. If it takes off great, otherwise I suspect it will just be a Cost Centre…
- I’ll continue producing some silver pieces. The optimum number is 10 for the assay office. At the moment I have 4, so I need to get moving!
- I want to experiment with Pewter – which doesn’t need a hallmark! I have 1 item to list, but I am playing with pewter oyster shells as decorations – watch this space…
- I was inspired by some copper work I saw in New Zealand by David Reese Kean. I hadn’t though of making wall decorations, so that may be my next move. It’s not that I want to copy his work, I just hadn’t thought of 2D rather than 3D work before
Some of my work
So watch this space…
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