Sunday, August 28, 2011

six-month check in!

So, around the middle of march, just before SXSW got going, I left the old bartending job and started peddling jewelry full time. I was standing behind the bar doing the usual, keeping an eye on the drunks, mopping up a constant stream of spilled libations and brooding on the upcoming increase of my already less-than-desirable work hours. For those who don't know, SXSW stands for South by Southwest, a major music festival that takes place in Austin every year. Bands are spread out in venues across the city over the course of a week, and thousands of festival goers swarm across the city for those seven days. Meaning, of course, those in the bar/restaurant business can count of a straight week of 10, 12, even 14 and 16 hour shifts.

What can I say? I broke. I couldn't get over the feeling that I was becoming trapped in the bar business. I was having visions of myself as an overly-made up 40 something with glitter on my eyelids and droopily exposed cleavage still surrounded by drunk frat boys and bachelorette parties. I broke. I left my shift after completing my cleaning duties, and I didn't show up the next day. I just didn't go. It was completely unprofessional and unlike me- I've always given notice, always tried to stay on good terms with ex-employers, but just this one time, I decided to do something uncharacteristic and selfish. It was the best thing I ever did. Sure, I panicked a little when it really set in that I was on my own, but then slowly I started to realize that I was able to think about what the next day would bring without a sinking feeling of despair. I was able to go to sleep the night before a market day without having stress dreams about endless seas of tables and dirty glasses to be taken care of.

So, for the last six months, my little Honda and I make our way down to 23rd and Guadalupe, where I set up my booth and try to make ends meet. They do meet, just barely- the summer has been rough. Most of the students go home, and it's just too stupid hot for most people to be outside. (Anything over 105 is technically known to us scientific types and 'stupid hot'.) I go without coffee shop stops now for the most part, except as a special treat. I haven't bought new (used) clothes in months, and I can't even remember the last time I bought clothes that had never been owned by anyone before. I mostly eat rice or peanut butter and jellys, but I can't give up my wheat thins and laughing cow cheese. And I'm happier than I ever was when I had money to spare. What little money I do have mostly goes towards new supplies, and I love this too. Shopping for beads and findings is just as exciting for me as clothes shopping- it still gives me that spending giddiness that most ladies are acquainted with. If the time comes when I don't find delight in ripping open a new package of chain and metal and glass, it's time for me to move on.

The money's not the only negative. The sweltering heat quickly reduces me to a lethargic, sweat- and dirt-encased excuse for a human. The homeless that prowl the streets of Austin can be frustrating, smelly, and occasionally frightening. Some days, I set up and sit out there for hours, and I don't sell anything. Sometimes my booth and my work seem to be invisible, and it can be incredibly discouraging. Then there are the days when I more than my weekly goal in just a few hours. There are times when someone spots a necklace or pair of earrings on my table, and their eyes light up, and they wrap their fingers around that piece and I know it was just waiting for them to come along. Watching people feel pretty is nice, regardless of the grammatical wrongness of  that phrase! These are the days that make the sweat and frustration worth it.

 People are constantly asking me if I have a business degree, or am planning on getting one. I could be wrong, but I feel like a lot of 'business sense' comes from common sense, good observation skills, and some understanding of psychology. So no, I don't plan on paying thousands for a piece of paper that says I know about business. The fact that I'm 25 with no real ownership experience, and making this work in a crappy economy, that's my diploma. The fact that I've looked at my client base and figured out how to change my approach to suit the whimsy of college-age shoppers, that's my approving piece of paper.

In March when I decided to do this full time, I wanted to give myself a year to make it, and that's still the plan. Six months to go. Next March, maybe I'll reconsider. Maybe I'll decide that this market isn't meant to be my venue. I'd love to go out occasionally, but I can't see myself doing this market for years and years, especially if the economy doesn't turn around soon. Even if I don't end up in this field, I have shown myself that I can make it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

panic time!

So, I'm planning on leaving my bar job next month for the joys and terrors of running my own business and being my own boss. I'm TERRIFIED, but I'm also confident that I can make this work. I'm comfortable with my pricing, my items are different than anything else I've seen in the local markets, but more than anything it's the feeling I get when I sit down to a table full of new supplies. It's this overwhelming joyous contentment, the fact that no matter what I have to do later or tomorrow, I have several hours with my tools and at the end of those hours I will have created new art, something that someone out there has been waiting and waiting to find.

The past few years have shown me that I'll never be truly happy working under another person. I have too much pride and stubbornness and too little regard for authority. I know I have the drive and discipline to make this happen, but it might be a struggle. If it was just me, I might not be so worried, but doctor boyfriend hasn't been making a bundle of money at his job and I'm doing a lot of the bill-paying and food-buying these days.

I figure I'll need to clear 600 a week, gross, to net enough to live on. When I've done these markets in the past I've made anywhere from 40 to 300 dollars in a day, with less-than desirable tent spots and an equally iffy booth setup. it's an incredibly variable venue, but things can only get better with improved displays, and I'd like to double my inventory. I waver madly back and forth between doubt, panic, and confidence that i really CAN do this, that I can be my own boss at 24 and be happy and fulfilled doing what I love. Even if I fail miserably and have to crawl back to the bar industry, I'll know that I did my best, and that I learned enough to try again when the opportunity presents itself. 

Monday, January 10, 2011

I like em, so sue me

 Maybe it's because life has been getting monotonous lately, what with being completely broke, disliking the day job and sharing one car between two employed people, but I've been craving the most mushy, emotional, cheesy chick flicks known to man. Some movies guaranteed to squeeze a few tears out of me:


 The number of people who have never seen this astonishes me. One of the best animated movies ever. It's not just about a silly unicorn, there's all kinds of deep profound stuff like the nature of truth and lies, and, uh, a witch's face gets eaten by a Harpy. Don't worry, she totally deserves it. Pssst.... has released a glorious set of perfumes based on the Last Unicorn! BE EXCITED!

I'd always loved Cinderella and I think this is a lovely retelling. Costuming is all just beautiful, I've always liked Drew Barrymore, and Angelica Huston does a wonderful job being an AWFUL person. The part where she throws the chicken at Prince Henry is pretty freaking amusing, i always giggle a little.

 Ok, yeah, I know. But it's all so PRETTY. And sparkly. And there's a seductive elephant, and John Leguizamo is a lovely little Toulouse Lautrec, and Jim Broadbent and Richard Roxburgh do pretty much the best version of 'Like a Virgin' ever. I was a kind person and looked it up for you, Here you go.   I even liked Nicole Kidman's pompous self in this.

I remember reading this in school back in 6th or 7th grade and being completely humiliated that I cried a little... it's just such a sweet, sad story and as moving at 24 as it was at 11. The movie does a really good job of capturing the same feel; the characters are perfect and the scenery is beautiful. Parts get a little cheesy but what is teen romance if not cheesy?

Oh, and if anyone has any good suggestions, especially things I can watch online or on netflix, fess up.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hello, blog enthusiasts! Today I thought I'd share some of my favorite items from For anyone who isn't familiar, Artfire is similar to Etsy in that it's a venue for artists and retailers to sell handmade and vintage items. As of now, it's a bit smaller than etsy but is growing every day and houses some extremely talented people! Just a few items that sparked my interest....

Blue Gem Mine Turquoise Long Triple Layered Statement Necklace by epicetera

Going Down the Twirly Slide - Whimsical Spiral Earrings in Goldfill by Ms Belle

Aphrodite Dress by Poppy

Flower Shaped Copper Enamel Earrings, Teal and Red by Teka and Zoe

I know it was just Christmas and all.... but I feel like shopping:) Share your picks, get your favorite shops some exposure! Go!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Giftmas!

It's my first christmas away from family... we recently moved to Austin, TX from Louisville, KY and I couldn't afford the plane trip home, not to mention I would have felt awful leaving Dr. Boyfriend all alone. Brother is sending me phone pics of Christmas dinner, informing me that 'my seat has been taken by biscuits.' ha! I didn't think I would feel so lost about not being home, but I'm realizing how much I always look forward to it! The house always smells good, there are mimosas and snow and awesome christmas tv.

But all is not lost! We have a few presents to open here in the morning, and a potluck dinner with some friends/coworkers later on. Although I don't think there were any assigned dishes, so it could very well end up being a table full of cookies and macaroni... what's wrong with that?! Have a lovely Giftmas!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


beetle and i had quite the lovely day in the park today! planning on listing a few things on artfire tonight, but in the meantime here's my evidence of fun and relaxation:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

oh herro there

hello! delighted to be making my first blog post for all you internetters. I'll be discussing the ins and outs of running my jewelry business Unoriginal Sinner, my random household craftyness (or attempts at it) and anything else my pointy little head feels like sharing. for now, if you need some amusement until i get this thing fully functional, try,, or enjoy!