Indie Business

Blissdom, Las Vegas, and Janery: Dilemmas of a Handmade Biz Owner

One of my biggest challenges as a full-time corporate employee and part-time handmade business owner is finding balance.

It’s my dream to someday earn my living as an indie biz owner, so that I can work from home on my own terms while I raise our children. But a lot of work is required in order to achieve that dream.

Aside from the day-to-day difficulties of balancing the regular tasks, there also arise bigger dilemmas about what external events or tasks I should commit to.  When I consider a weekend trip out of town, it’s not just “can I take that weekend off” – but how will I prepare ahead of time for the time that the shop will “lose”?

Janery was accepted as a vendor for the Handmade Marketplace at Blissdom, the annual blogger conference in Nashville, TN.  That should have been awesome, except it happened to butt up against a conference I have to attend in Las Vegas (for my day job).

Before I found out about this conflict, the plan was to pack my car full of Janery awesomeness, and drive to Nashville – becuase shipping my products and display items would not be cost effective.  When I realized I’d have to drive home overnight Saturday (12 hours) so that Sunday morning I could catch my flight from DC, I started to seriously worry about spreading myself too thin.

On the other hand, there were potentially some great benefits from just biting the bullet and making this work.   My booth and my products would be seen (and likely photographed) by hundreds of bloggers.  While sales might not be big, since everyone would have to fly their purchases home,  it would probably offer great exposure for Janery.

At the end of the day, however, I was really worried that I was biting off more than I could chew.  I’d need to have a ton of product made ahead of time for my display, and I worried that trying to build inventory for that would detract from running my online shop smoothly in the next few months. That, coupled with having to leave early and drive all my stuff home, just started to feel overwhelming. Finally, I really want to focus on my pet beds this spring, and those are not the ideal product to sell to conference attendees.

I struggled with this, and then I had a realization:  I can’t do it all this year.  It’s a great opportunity, but the timing is nearly impossible, and the customer base doesn’t really line up with my product goals.  Blissdom will be there next year, and maybe this will be my full-time job by then.

So with that decision, I emailed the organizers and let them know I could not attend. I felt bad, and worried that it could affect my chances of getting accepted if they do the marketplace again next year, but that’s a risk I’ll have to take.  There are always other conferences and other markets, after all.

If you’re interested in Blissdom, you can find my posts about last year’s conference here:

My Unusual Journey to Blissdom (Don’t try this at home!)

Social Media Tips from UnMarketing

Brene Brown, Keynote Speaker

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  • Reply Ainhoa Vega at 8:22 am

    I’m so sorry to hear that you won’t be able to attend, but I’m sure you made the right decision. And the goal you have is a great goal indeed!

  • Reply Jen on the Edge at 10:24 am

    This is good wisdom to have. Not only will you benefit this year from letting go of those things you can’t do and do well, but you’ll benefit in future years. You won’t go through life remember 2012 as the year you almost had a nervous breakdown, plus you’ll have other years in which you will prioritize just as well and remember what’s important. Good job, my friend, because not everyone learns that lesson so well or so easily.

  • Reply Kalanicut at 11:49 am

    Wow Jane, sounds like a big decision, but it seems like the right one for you and that is what is most important. Way to make peace with it! Impressed.

  • Reply jenn@ahomeinthemaking at 1:10 pm

    What a tough decision! But I agree with Jen …. it’s such a good thing to learn what you can and can’t do. And, it’s so important to be able to say no sometimes!

  • Reply Funnelcloud Rachel at 6:11 pm

    Oh, Jane, you’ve touched on so many things that I struggle with here! I want this year to be a big art market year for my shop and am trying to figure out what to apply to and what I can reasonably attend. I’ve thought about doing out-of-town shows, but can’t figure out the logistics of transporting my merchandise, etc. I’m not sure how the people who travel all over the country doing art markets make it work and how they afford the transportation costs! The good news is that there are plenty of local shows within driving distance to keep me busy!

  • Reply Amanda B at 10:34 pm

    just wondering, can you do the cushions as covers only that way not as much to post or cart around? I think you have worked out your priorities well (remember you are also organising a wedding..) I believe things happen for a reason and timing is everything.. next year may very well be your year or even so, you may not need Blissdom to propel you into further Janery awesomeness… it’s all about balance and you do have to look after yourself/family as well.. (oh and another reason I mentioned the cushions (or pillows I think you may call them) as covers only.. is that then you could maybe send to Australia!! (purely selfish request ;))..x

    • Reply Jane @ The Borrowed Abode at 6:50 am

      Hi Amanda! Yes, I absolutely would like to offer the cover-only option with the dog beds to provide a more affordable option for shipping. Great idea!

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