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How an Etsy Shop Helped Deal with Losing a Job

Jen from FabulousVintageStore shares her story of how her Etsy shop helped her deal with the loss of her job.

Job loss is tough.  Imagine finding yourself in trouble at work, on administrative leave, with your future uncertain - you may or may not lose that job, and your employer is taking a long time to decide, and you are kind of sitting at home and waiting to find out, what do you do with all that time?  You can’t really get another job, yet.  So you start an Etsy store.  At least that’s what I did!

I had signed up for Etsy last year, having heard good things from friends with Etsy stores. When I first heard of Etsy I thought it was only for handmade things, but then found out you can sell vintage items, too.  So last year, knowing I had a lot of vintage things in storage, I signed up. I chose my store name and username, logged off, and forgot all about it for about a year.

I am by nature a picker- someone who can’t just drive by a garage sale, who spends hours in a thrift store, who goes to estate sales and auctions and flea markets.  I blame this on my mother.  While I was growing up she had an antique store, and I got to tag along when she went buying to stock the store. My own career was to take me down a different path, but I’d go to sales on weekends though, and when my boxes of finds and treasures outgrew the closet they were kept in, I began vending at local flea markets. When I first moved to Oregon I actually lived across the street from a flea and could just go across the street to sell and buy!

My Etsy store made a huge difference between falling into a major depression and just deciding to "keep on trucking".

Then I moved again and got a job and my boxes of treasures went into storage. For 8 years I worked 40 hours a week and weekends were precious down time. I didn’t sell at flea markets any more for a while. I kept going to sales and collecting, though- it’s a hard habit to break. Okay, it’s an addiction!  

This January, after a couple of frustrating months on leave, I began going through my boxes of vintage things and decided to get a booth at a local flea market. I paid for a space and loaded up my car, but the morning of the flea it did not start. I had to call them and cancel my table, and that was the day I looked back into Etsy. I had already set up everything when I joined Etsy last year, so all I had to do was start taking pictures and writing listings. I began unpacking those boxes I had meant to take to the local flea market and photographing things.

My store, FabulousVintageStore on Etsy, opened January 12. I gave myself a simple goal, list five items every day. It was my “job” I gave myself to have something to do because I was technically still employed and couldn’t go get another job until my employer decided what to do with me.  On January 21 something wonderful happened:  My first order!  Followed by one January 23 and another January 28.  Then in February, 17 orders!  I have had the nicest customers - one of them gave me a lot of great advice on how to ship. Another one bought 6 items and returned and bought 6 more!  

When I was officially terminated from work in February I believe my Etsy store made a huge difference between falling into a major depression and just deciding to “keep on trucking.” Though I have not made enough sales to make a living at it, I have done so much better than I expected and most importantly,  it has given me purpose.  Who has time to cry over spilled milk?  There’s estate sales to go to, pictures to take, listings to write!  And hopefully sales to make to the wonderful people who shop on Etsy. I have business cards now, and I always write “Thank You” on them with a big red heart to include in the package.

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