May 18, 2011

Happy Birthday BiblioBags!

I've been planning a birthday post and sale for my shop for months but I looked the other day and realized the actual birthday (May 10) passed me by!

Here I am, a year and a half ago with my very first book purse. I made it from an old college textbook (take that, Dr. Baker!)

To look at it now up close, it makes me shudder! But the book is so fabulous and means a lot to me that someday, when I have the time, I want to red0 it.

Detective Stories Book Clutch with Handcuff

What started out as an exciting project taken from the pages of my beloved "Country Living" magazine quickly turned into an obsession. After a couple of months, I decided to start my own Etsy shop. I was terrified to say the least. I knew nothing about Etsy or selling. I didn't know a thing about shipping. I think the shipping part scared me the most! I know that's silly but it was all fear of the unknown. I worked really hard to put together some nice purses and set up shop in May of last year. Weeks and months went by without any sales. By July, I was ready to give up. I was praying one night and I just got to feeling to not give up on my shop. I decided it wouldn't hurt to give it a few more weeks. Within two weeks, I got my first (non-friend!) sale, this bird purse:

National Geographic Bird Book Purse

As of today, here are my shop stats:

351 shop hearts
38 sales
199 item hearts

If I include my sales at the HodgePodge craft fair last October, I've sold 33 book purses in the past year. I know I've made at least 2 dozen more since there are about 8 in my shop currently and I've made over a dozen for friends and family. I know the numbers may be modest to some but to me it's amazing. A total miracle. If you would've given me these stats a year ago I would've laughed in your face. No way. No. Friggin'. Way. I wouldn't have even thought making that many purses was possible. Not to mention, I also came up with two new designs for book purses: the kind with a widened spine and a snap closure book clutch. A few months ago (and MANY, MANY prototypes later), I came up with the idea for book spine bracelets which are not only unique and chic but also allow me to use yet another part of the book without wasting it.

Pride and Prejudice Book Purse

Before I start bragging on myself too much, I have to give props to my friend Lindsey for encouraging me in this venture and listening to all of my whining. I have to thank my hubby for his full support and his photography skills. I wouldn't have sold a purse without his beautiful pictures! I have to thank my friend Rochelle for requesting my very first custom purse and always "liking" everything I put up on Facebook first. I also have to thank my mom for buying me materials when I didn't have the money to in the beginning and for her advice on fabric choice . . . of which I didn't always agree but she's my best sounding board.


If anything else, I hope that someone out there reads this and is inspired to do something they've always wanted to do. My new rule in life is to never let fear stop me from doing anything I want to do in life. It's not a good enough excuse. All you can do is try and you never know . . . it could the be start of something amazing! I'm so grateful for all the joy Etsy has brought into my life. I'm now surrounded by people that "get" me and I "get" them. That is priceless to someone who thrives on creating things. I feel like I belong and I love being able to share my creations with the world. I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that people actually pay me to make things I already love to do!

To pay everyone back for all the love and support, I'm offering a birthday special coupon code that runs through the rest of May. Go to my facebook page for details!

Happy Birthday, BiblioBags and here's to many more!

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