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Saturday, January 24, 2015

How to have it all


This is Vicki Boster’s Blog Hop weekend; she asked us each to write a little story and post it late on the 24th of January. I hope Blogger is impressed at its spike in postings for this twenty four hours.

The purpose of the weekend is to increase our individual readership. And I have a reason for wanting to do exactly that.

Quite simply, I am a grandmother with some retired careers and one I looked forward to retiring shortly and one I want to get up and running.

My very first job was in a university library in 1964. I told my cat, $3,600 a year, we’re rich! I moved along into manufacturing, became an accountant and retired that career in the eighties, to join my sister as an entrepreneur. I spent the next twenty years exhibiting our handwoven clothing at art shows in the east.

Every spring, if I could lift the hand truck into the van to set out for the first show of the year I knew I had another year in me. All went well until my hip let me down in 2003. On the way out the door to my hip replacement that fall I put my resume in the mail to my township trustees, who needed to appoint a new clerk. It was me, and I have been running for office ever since.

I’m in my third four year term, which ends in 2016. The perfect time to not run again. I would turn 73 on my last day in office and spend my last decade at my leisure. That was the plan, which did not include taking custody of granddaughters and a grandson just as I started this last term. (Those are my granddaughters over in the side bar!) My goodness, I do not know how young parents do it. The time commitment has not changed, but the money! It’s been a long time since I earned anything like that kind of housekeeping money.

I’ll run for a fourth term as township clerk, of course, but what if…. I needed a new alternative plan that did not involve asking local businesses to hire an all around good worker. I bought a loom to think at while I mulled it over.

And it came to me. I still know how to weave. I still know how to sew. The new mystery is how to sell. How to market. In the olden days selling meant explaining the joy of cotton clothing to people, making things they wanted to buy. It meant being in my booth at art fairs, talking to people, helping them try on shirts and jackets, smiling, being sure they had a good day at the fair. Art fairs are a very personal and social venue.

But I no longer have a hand truck, and couldn't lift it if I did. I cannot put up a booth; I could not even stock a booth by myself. I asked folks about Etsy, then opened an Etsy shop. Marketing is still “social”, but now it’s social media. Like the hand truck, I am out of my depth. I decided I must cast a pebble in the water and see what happens, thus the blog hop.

In the olden days we exhibitors would look before the gate opened how many were in line for tickets. My rule of thumb for a two or three day show was, a “gate” of ten thousand meant perhaps a thousand would look at my booth and perhaps a hundred would buy, and that was a good show.

And that is what I hope for this blog hop. No longer thousands, but a lot of new looks at my Etsy shop; the first picture in my side bar is a link. If a lot of new people look and like and even mention, there will be sales and then repeat customers. The pebble in the water.

Thanks for stopping, for looking, and for all your comments. I’ll be around to say Hello.



At my favorite loom, back in the 1990's.
LeClerc helped me date the loom to 1940,
three years older than I am.
Everything Old is New Again.

35 comments:

  1. I have a sneaky feeling you are going to be successful at this.

    Maybe you should change the name of your blog to something that will get you Google hits from actual customers, not just people who enjoy following your posts.

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    1. joeh might be onto something with this suggestion. You could still keep this blog, but start another just for weaving, with a name indicative of your product.

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  2. I hope this strategy works well for you.

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  3. Good luck Joanne. I have the impression I know you better after reading this short bio. I did not know you worked in a library.

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  4. Such an interesting read Joanne - I am full of admiration for the way you just keep going.

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  5. I can see you've already made several sales and that is really something! Good for you and long may it continue.

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  6. Hari OM
    Bravo Joanne - if you don't ask and all that! The other thing which each us, your 'regulars' to the blog might pass on the word... which I have acted upon directly and you are now ensconced on my Meno-Links page! Wishing you 'mubarak ho' for the endeavour... YAM xx

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  7. I hope that you get some deserved success. Your work is beautiful. Really, really beautiful. My partner's sister LOVES the eternity scarf she was given for Christmas.

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  8. Your story is illuminating. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. I hope the ripples run far and wide.

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  10. Wishing you much success with this, Joanne! It is neat that you still enjoy weaving; the work I have seen of yours is outstanding!

    betty

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  11. The best to you for your new (old) business. Your woven pieces are beautiful and are sure to sell on Etsy -- barbara

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  12. Funny, I was thinking of starting a Pinterest board just for showcasing the work of various friends. Looks like I need to get on that.
    Also, my email addy is on my about me, use it please; I have an idea.

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  13. I hope your Etsy shop does really well. You certainly have the drive and determination needed.
    And your cotton fabric is so beautifully woven and soft.

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  14. Hi, So nice to meet you and read your inspirational story.
    Wishing you the best with your retirement and weaving.
    Blessings, Erin

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  15. I wish we had you as a Town Clerk. Oops - I must send that rock...

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  16. Good luck and best wishes, Joanne.
    I used to sell my books at craft fairs, to public libraries, and to book stores. It was fun, but tiresome. I am glad that period of my life is over.
    Now, I am a landlord and rent out a room in my house for $900 per month. It's an easier way to make money.

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  17. That's a pretty good synopsis Joanne. Your working life in a nutshell up to the minute. I wish you well.

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  18. Everything old is new again. I like that.

    Good luck to you! Take it easy this weekend!

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  19. Good luck with your new/old venture. I can't imagine raising kids at my age and I'm a bit younger than you, I don't know how I had the energy to do it when I was young.

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  20. Yay to retirement! I left my day job after 19 years to write full-time about a year and a half ago...but this is a career I'll never retire from--I'll just write until I can't move my fingers anymore. By then, maybe they'll have come up with technology where we can just think what we want to write and it will appear on the screen. Then I'll just have to worry about keeping my sanity intact.

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  21. I'm going to take one of those lovely towels that you made for me and place it in our kitchenette at work. I know the soft durability of it will be noted. Maybe you'd like some customers from the prairie?

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    1. Wouldn't that be nice. Yea for the prairie!

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  22. If you have never had one of these towels, break out the $$ and buy one. You will NEVER have another towel like it..and pass the word in any media you can access.

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  23. Meeting you today through the Blog Hop. I didn't join this year but though it would be good to get around and meet people. I, too, am a grandma raising teenage grandchildren. A boy, 17, and a girl 15. Not how I thought I would spend my retirement. I worked almost 30 years as a nurse and spent the last 3 years taking care of my husband at home. He died in July so this leaves me time to get around blogland and meet new people

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  24. You throw a great party. Thank you for inviting me!

    So that you know, I've become a Follower and when time permits, I'll be back to see what other beautiful things were made by your hands!

    What this party is all about is to GROW your blog and I'm hoping to do the same. When you get to Section One, check out A Country Chic Retreat and SuZeQ Creations, my personal blog, in Section Fifteen I'd love for you to follow and subscribe to.

    Happy crafting!
    SuZeQ

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  25. Even if you can no longer lift a hand truck or put up a booth or stock it, would your two girls lend you a hand for that part? Just a thought, seeing as this is a venture to help them, when you get right down to it.

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  26. Love your story. I'll be sure to check out your Etsy store.

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  27. I'm very excited about this venture for you, and I can attest to the amazing quality and reward that comes from owning something you've woven. I had no idea how much I'd love the dish towels in our kitchen! Just ordered one from you tonight, in fact, as a belated holiday gift for friends. May you make millions!

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  28. You have led an interesting life with all the different things you have done and it doesn't sound as though you are planning to slow down anytime soon. Bless you for taking on your family members and best wishes for success with your new business.

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  29. Joanne, I enjoyed reading about your various occupations and adventures. Good luck with your newest one! I have been known to weave but not for some time now. I have yarn to make some dishtowels due to the fact that the ones I made about 20 years ago are finally wearing out. Handwoven dishtowels are the best!!!! Enjoy the blog party! Susan

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  30. Visiting from GYB, it is taking a long time to get to everyone. Thanks for being a part of the hop!

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  31. It was a great experience. I want to also try to weave. Success, Friend :-D

    MAS OTONG

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