small business

How to Solve an Unsolvable Problem

My printer is extremely persnickety. It rejects all types of card stock except one. And sometimes, it even rejects that one. You know, just for fun.

printer

Given that I run a card shop, this is a problem.

For awhile, though, it wasn’t an unsolvable one. The solution was simple: keep feeding the paper over and over until the printer, either out of pity or exhaustion, decides to accept it after all. My printer is a cruel and stubborn machine–but luckily, so am I.

Then came the day when I needed to switch card stock suppliers…which meant I also needed to switch card stock.

Frantically, I tried all the obvious solutions. I requested samples from multiple suppliers. I test printed in different weights and textures. I re-investigated all the possible printer settings. Nothing worked.

At this point, I was pretty convinced that my problem had become unsolvable. My printer was non-functioning, and I couldn’t afford to buy a new one. Futilely, I had looked at the situation from every possible angle.

despair

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Oh, hey.

The funny thing about blogging is that it’s somehow a lot easier to blog three times a week than it is to blog once a week. It’s probably because when you tell yourself you’re going to do it three times a week and you don’t touch your blog for a whole week, you realize you’re already three posts behind. And so you scramble to make up for it. But when you tell yourself you’re going to do it once a week and you don’t…well, technically you’ve only missed one post. So it takes you three weeks to get into “yikes I’m three posts behind” mode. Or, if you’re like me, it takes you a month.

But…I’m back now. So let’s have a catch-up lunch, blogger version! Here are some things I’ve accomplished in the past few weeks:

1. Illustrated  Thanksgivukkah e-cards for JewishBoston.com. I loved working on these! Check them out on ThanksgivukkahBoston.com.

Menurkey

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Experimenting With a Lightbox

I used to think that shipping was the hardest thing about running an Etsy shop, but now I’ve changed my mind. It’s photography.

With shipping, you figure it out once and you’re done. With photography, it’s a repeated learning process. Maybe it’s because I’m still very much an amateur, but I’ve found it’s difficult to take photos in exactly the same lighting (and at exactly the same angle) every time, which means that the editing process ends up being quite varied. The good thing is that this forces me to learn a lot of Photoshop functions. The bad thing is it takes me forever to get any new photo to match the look and feel of my existing photos.

As an attempt to make things a little easier for myself, I decided to try experimenting with a lightbox. I thought that maybe having a slightly more controlled environment would help with producing more consistent shots. Also, I figured that it might eventually be better to use a background that, unlike my current hardwood floor, isn’t tied to where I’m living–since I could very well move in the future.

Below are some test shots (white background) compared to my existing photos (wood background) of some Halloween cards:

Euclid Street Shop Ghost Test Photo

Euclid Street Shop Ghost Photo

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International Shipping? You Got It.

shipping

My shop is now a little over three weeks old. When I think about the actual number of days since I started, I realize it hasn’t been very long at all. Yet it feels like it’s been forever. It’s probably because I’ve had to learn so much every day, which always makes time feel longer.

Last week, I spent a lot of time doing research on shipping. So far, I think it’s been the most stressful part of running the shop. There are so many factors to consider! Should I ship my cards with rigid inserts to prevent bending, even though they increase shipping costs? But would someone pay X amount for a card that only cost $4.00 to begin with?

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My First Sales!

First SaleLast Friday was a momentous day in the history of the Euclid Street Shop. It was the day that, after what felt like an interminable two weeks since the shop’s grand opening, a very exciting thing happened: I made my first two sales!

That’s right, two sales. On the same day! I have no idea what cosmic force was behind this, but I am so happy! I am so happy I am going to use exclamation points to end three sentences in a row!

Anyway, I shipped the orders on Saturday, but before dropping them off at the post office, I snapped a photo to commemorate the occasion. Now, time to celebrate…by making more cards, of course!