Why I turned to online retail


This post is a little more background about me and explains why I turned online retail as a job.
Online retail, side hustle

As many as you know, I was officially medically retired back in 2009. I tried for many years to apply for work elsewhere and even volunteered in some places, but I found that as hard as I tried I simply couldn’t make it past 1 p.m. in the working day. I was too exhausted and in too much pain. I finally had to accept that I was never going to work in a normal capacity again and this came as a huge blow as I’ve always been someone who has been very independent.

Shortly after I lost my job my ex-husband left me and my daughter to fend for ourselves. I was surviving on benefits and generous handouts from family members. It was the worst time of my life being betrayed in such a horrible way.

However, everything has a silver lining and in this case, a very big silver lining as it helped me to think more about the future and what I wanted as well as what I was becoming. I might have been chronically ill but I still had ambition and drive. So what if I couldn’t get a formal job! I would simply have to work for the best boss on the planet, me!!

To fill the void that losing my job left behind I had taken to doing crafts again, something which I all but stopped doing since I met my ex-husband funny enough. I was rediscovering my love of creation. Seeing something that is formed by your own hands has an immense feeling of satisfaction, pride even.

I set about creating my first online retail shop on Etsy after a recommendation from a friend. This is where I began to sell my ceramics. I had so many by this point that I need a much bigger house to display them all so why not let someone else enjoy them as well.

My first Etsy shop is called Ty Siriol Ceramics and was followed by my second online retail shop, co-hosted by my mum Christina, called Ty Siriol Crafts.

 Ty Siriol Ceramics

For a few years this provided me with a small trickle of money, enough to cover Missy’s school trips and her violin lessons. However, due to circumstances last year we found ourselves in need of some more side hustle cash when my (new) husband lost his job and had to take a much lower paid one. I opened another online retail shop on eBay where I’m currently selling jewellery and craft kits that I order in from abroad and sell on.

I had to take a leap of faith at this point and invest some of our precious cash into buying stock. I was nervous I can tell you. I mean what if it didn’t sell? I’d be stuck with stock that I wouldn’t be able to recoup the cash for.

I did consider drop-shipping where I don’t have to buy in advance but I worried about the possible poor service from the shipper. I wouldn’t have any control over that. So I decided to bite the bullet and buy in the stock first so that I could control the customer service and shipping.

Thankfully I had done my research first and I found a product that really does sell. I’m absolutely in love with these new mosaic kits and it seems I’m not the only one. I even have repeat customers now! The jewellery doesn’t do so well as there is so much out there already, so I’ve reduced prices to sell off the stock.

I’m still working hard on my squirrel. I didn’t realise how big the one I bought for quality control would be!! It’s a long term project for me in between everything else I do.  Here he is, coming along nicely.

Mosaic kit of a grey squirrel

I’m so happy to be able to help out with the household finances again. It’s not a lot as I have to reinvest in the business as well but I hope to cover Missy’s school and music costs. Violin lessons are no longer paid for by the council and are expensive, not to mention orchestra and music books etc. on top of it all. As things pick up I’m hoping to also be able to help out with emergency bills.

So as I have got a little bit more money in the pot I’m doing some more research now to see if I can find something else that would be suitable for my market, primarily looking for hobbies and crafts to help disabled people manage their time and find a passion.

I’m thinking that painting by numbers kits might be worth exploring. I look in the shops on the high street and no matter where you go, be it Hobbycraft, The Range, The Works, wherever, the kits that you find are all the same. They never seem to have new stock and quite frankly, I don’t want the same as everybody else! So I’m looking at lots of different kits and there are so many I can get hold of. But I’m actually having trouble narrowing it down to a smaller number to start off with. I love them all!

What do you think of painting-by-numbers as a hobby for people who are housebound or have a lot of time on their hands? I’m thinking that it’s very similar to the therapeutic colouring, only with a paint brush. I always prefer a paintbrush as it is more sympathetic to my shaking hands!

I have ordered one painting-by-numbers kit for me to try out. I like to do a bit of quality control research first as I would hate to sell something that was substandard. For instance, only my best ceramics every make it to the shop. This is the one I’m waiting to try out. Peacock painting by numbers

So! Research time. I would love it if you could add your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.

What style of paintings would you be interested in? Landscape? Animals? Mythical? Religious? Anything you name it and you never know what I might find. Even if painting isn’t your thing I would still love your opinion.

It’s always good to have opinions from others because not everybody is going to have my tastes in art. I’m trying to provide a more varied cross-section so I would have something to suit most people. After all, my main aim is to provide hobbies and crafts for those who desperately need them and they won’t necessarily have the same taste as me. For instance, I love the animals and mythical paintings but other might prefer a colourful landscape. Let me know what you think.

Love and spoons,

Cath xx


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