My New Enterprise

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!

Pricing

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…

Selling

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….

 Next Steps

  • 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
Cracking Retirement work by David Reese Kean
Work by David Reese Kean

Some of my work

Cracking Retirement Copper creations
Copper Lights
Cracking Retirement my new enterprise
Silver Jewellery

So watch this space…

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4 Comments

  1. These are great! And I love that you are starting on a new business venture. Have you looked into selling on Etsy?

    1. Hi Francesca
      Thanks for the feedback.
      I did look into Etsy a couple of years ago, but never followed up on it. It’s on my list of things to do. Some of the rules about selling in the US are different, so I’d need to do a bit of research on that.

  2. I am the same, Erith. My sterling work stopped with a new job, and now I’m blogging instead, so haven’t carved out time to get back into it. (I don’t have a proper torch, though, so I wasn’t making pieces as advanced as yours). When I used to do the calculations for retail price, I just shook my head, then brought it right back down to cost + postage/packing + 5 or 10%. No time was considered, which I didn’t really mind because it was a hobby and I would have been doing it anyway.

    I attended one full day weekend market, and didn’t sell a single thing. I also attended a local arts show, where I sold a few decent pieces. This, though, was mostly down to my mum acting as a salesperson! I’m very awkward with selling. It’s a little bit due to introversion, more to do with imposter syndrome.

    I sold a few things through Etsy, and I love it on there, but it’s crowded. You need a strong presence to be noticed.

    I think if you focus on it like the blog, keep learning how to market/sell, and set your goals, it will grow.

    1. Thanks for the support Mrs ETT.
      Some people are natural salespeople, I suspect you and I both fall into the non-salespeople category…

      I’ll do a year with Folksy, and I’ll work out how to sign up with Etsy – the real pain is the cost of postage, as many of the buyers are US based.

      Just now, I am trying to post 1 piece a day, which is giving me a bit of focus! So between that and the blog, I’m suddenly quite busy.

      I have 4 torches, and one of those has 4 different heads! Having the right tools certainly helps. My husband teases me that I have taken over the garage and all his tools. I even brought home tools from Bunnings on my recent trip to NZ!

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