Bumble & Be flies over to...

Come and (et)see for yourself: BumbleandBeMakes is open for businesss on Etsy! It has has been months and months (and a few millenniums) in the making, yet it was still a surreal moment when I clicked  the launch shop button. I'll be honest, my anxiety was so high that it may as well have read launch Armageddon.

Nevertheless, the proof is in the trending and I've spied no #EtsyShopEndsWorld in the twittersphere; we're all good|! All we need to worry about now is actual World Leaders threatening Armageddon... oh, and Crimes against Caramel #GrainGate #WaffleWoes. Speaking of waffles, I'm treading dangerously close to Waffle Wood, where I get completely sidetracked and lose about 99% of readers - if I'm lucky.

So let's head back to Etsy Land and start at the very beginning (aka, how my bumbling  business idea actually came to be.) I've been a devoted Etsy shopper for many years now, whether it be customising christmas or discovering doggy tea. Yes, DOGGY TEA is a thing and Millie approves! That being said, I never really thought about the other side of the Etsy fence: the land of makers and whimsical dreamers (cue image of Luna Lovegood + knitting = lifetime supply of House Elf hats...)
This began to change two years ago, when I discovered the therapeutic wonders of wool during IP treatment (thanks to post-meal 'observations', you get a lot of sit-and-knit/stitch-and-bitch time...) From knitting to crochet, I have been quite hooked ever since and have a particular love of "make-it-up-as-you-go" projects. It also sparked my love for Pinterest, which led me to widen my craft horizons further.

In the past year,  I developed a love for calligraphy, typography and, most recently, digital illustration (as illustrated by the photos in this post!). Like with knitting and crochet, I find it hugely therapeutic. Not only does the process distract me from negative thoughts, but it has recaptured the creativity of my childhood. In recent months, my therapist and I have incorporated "creative therapy" into CBT, which includes sharing my creations on Instagram/Twitter and challenging perfectionism. I've never really spoken about this before, but it is one of the reasons you say have seen more crafts on social media!

On occasion, I vocalised my wish to open an Etsy Store; however, it's always been that. A wish. Yet over the past few months, more and more people started to ask me if I sold my makes. At first, I was taken aback; as the 'perfect' perfectionist (see what I did there), I couldn't see people spending actual money on a crochet cat... I've only ever given away my crafts as gifts. During my second admission, I developed a bit of a signature gift -  crochet animal coasters - and people were always so delighted to receive them! However, I was convinced they were just being polite.
Nearly one year on from treatment and Eight months into CBT, I admit that part of me still believes this. My mind still tries to default to self-criticism... it even tries to criticise the fact that I'm still so self-critical. Work that one out?! In short, these moments make me question if I've actually made any progress. However, I can think of one example to disprove this...

BumbleandBeMakes is officially live and on sale! My crafts, that is, not an actual bumblebee: No animals were harmed in the making of my Etsy. Cruelty-free, always. Speaking of Always, that brings me nicely onto one of the biggest inspirations behind my products: Harry Potter, along with Game of Thrones, Lord of The Rings... can you spot a theme here? Perhaps I should crochet a "captain obvious" for my christmas range. Yet for now, at least, I'm starting small.

I decided to launch my products in stages, starting with predominantly my digital prints. They are all designed and drawn by me, using Adobe Illustrator and my English Literature Degree (aka Catleesi and Dograki puns). I'm selling these as instant downloads, which will remove initial uncertainty over product stock/reliance on the fickle postman! This also mean that you receive it straight away after purchase and can can print them as many times as they like.
Once I am a bit more established and can see which designs are most popular, I may also sell them as physical prints. That being said, my crochet creations will have to be an  exception to the "no posting" rule, unless I can locate Hedwig or figure out the flu network! There is currently one fantastic beast in my store - Nahla the Niffler - and I am in the process of photographing some Niffler/House Elf companions to join her. In the coming months, I would love to sell patterns too; all my creations are custom designs and this is something I'm learning to be proud of!

Less than a year ago, BumbleandBeMakes was a mere compilation of dreamboards, doubts, drawings, doubts, demiguise wool, doubts dograki puns... oh, and did I mention doubts? I'll be honest, there has been a lot of over-thinking involved, which doesn't exactly follow my plan to remove negative over-analysis (NOA) from my life. My main anxiety right now is photography; I've spent whole days on photoshop/with my camera, trying to decide a 'look' to go with. If you have any thoughts/opinions on the photo front (for example, which photo style is your favourite in this post), please do let me know!

Yet I've done it. I've actually done it! I know I've said this before. I know I'm waffling again and Prue and Paul left the tent about twelve hours ago. I do hope you'll stick around though, especially if you are a fellow crafter/Potterhead/Khaleesi or anyone who wants more magic in their life. I would also love to hear any ideas for future projects, whether it be DireWolf coasters or anything else the kids are Tolkien about these days...

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