So you want to know why we started our website? Well the answer to that question is sort of a story in itself. We'll try and answer it here. If you'd like to read about us first, click here.
First of all, being a family touched by MS, we have always been in a unique situation. When Cir stopped working about 11 years ago, (as 0f 2000), we had no idea how we would make it. Other than his social security disability insurance, what could we do.
At the time, Cir was a bit more mobile than he is now. But I was still his caregiver and at the time I was homeschooling our 3 children. I had not worked outside the home since my children were young.
I could have possibly gotten work as a cashier or with a cleaning agency. And I did work for a short time as an assistant in a seamstress shop before Cir stopped working. I was creative, though, so I started thinking of ways to make money at home.
(Note: Clicking image above will open a new window).
This way we could continue to homeschool. Also, I would never be forced to choose between needing to stay home and care for my husband and going to work to keep a job. He wasn't always able to keep the children, either.
I needed to be there. He was taking Avonex at the time. Every week he had flu-like symptoms. Sometimes they were really bad. He did switch to Copaxone and that helped, but he still had occasional relapses.
Either way my working outside the home wasn't a very good option. We did think about it occasionally from time to time. But we always came to the same conclusion.
My creativity carried us through many years by bring us a little extra every month to help with the bills. I painted. I sewed. I crocheted. You name it, I did it.
We started at flea markets, then went to craft shows. Cir was a natural salesman, so we were the perfect combination. Eventually a customer led me to Ebay. This was perfect for the winter months. Now we could sell things year round.
We were able to sell, but it was never enough to actually sustain us. If you deducted gas money, time spent making, packing, setting up, and tearing down; the amount we made was probably not even enough to break even.
But we had fun and we stayed motivated and never gave up. Cir's health, however, did get progressively worse. Things got a little more difficult every year.
Eventually it just got too hard to do. That was when we decided to focus mainly on the internet. We'd heard of all the people who made money on the internet. Surely we could do it, too.
I set up an Ebay account and slowly made a name for myself. The holiday's were my best selling times. And for awhile, it worked.
But I still made everything. Time and space became the deciding factors for the products we sold. I went from painting rocks, (yeah, I did say rocks), to cups, bowls, and complete dinnerware sets. I painted on curtains – even shower curtains, which I also sewed!
Again, the amount of time I put in to making the items did not compensate us for the amount we sold them for. We had no idea how to price items to make a decent profit.
I eventually burned out and tried my hand at sewing and designing little girls clothing. I did well, but now space was an issue. We had moved to a smaller, accessible apartment because of Cir's increasing disability.
So, even though I was doing pretty well, I now had no where to work. Next came crocheting. The projects were small and portable and I loved doing it. I loved painting and sewing also, but they took up too much space.
Crocheting was perfect. I designed my own patterns so my items were unique. I didn't count on my success causing another problem. My wrists began to give out. Now, what...?
I noticed a few of the other sellers were actually selling their own patterns. Voila! I could do that. I asked my friends on the internet how they wrote the patterns they sold. I looked at tons of crochet pattern books and taught myself how to write a pattern.
Anyway, fast forward to a couple years ago. I sold my first pattern, (opens a new window), and developed a few more. I made a few ebooks with my collections and that's where I am today.
The sales are doing well, depending on my marketing efforts, and I don't need to work as hard. I take an occasional custom order for someone who can't crochet. But now I can handle the work load.
This isn't the end of the story. Go to Why We Started Our Website Part 2 to find out what happens next...