Thursday, October 14, 2010

Genesis Revisited

For those of you new to Through The Grapevine here on Blogger - WELCOME! If you were previously my follower on WordPress, you will hopefully enjoy this new platform as much as I do.

For the new readers, I would like to provide you with a bit of information about how Wild Apple Design got started. The post titled "Genesis" premiered on WordPress last May; if you have read it before, please indulge my new followers.

As always, thanks for reading!!

Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ . . . . Ƹ̵̡Ӝ̵̨̄Ʒ

If I think about it hard enough, I would say the seed for Wild Apple Design was planted more than 30 years ago. The word CREATIVITY is what comes to mind as the strongest building block for what has turned into modern day business. I remember watching over my grandmother's arm as she sewed on her yellow Singer sewing machine. She could hem up a pair of pants in about a minute. She could rip out a stitch and improve it with her own on no time flat. I recall one time that the waistband in a pair of shorts I had was a little too big. My idea was to put safety pins in the back and pull my shirt over the top so you couldn't see the pins. She wouldn't hear of that. She took my shorts, sewed elastic into the waistband and VOILA! They fit perfectly. I was amazed.

My grandmother would indulge me if I asked her to teach me something. Whether it was learning how to sew, trying to play the piano (HA!) or painting the fence outside, she really allowed my creativity buds to blossom.

I also recall hearing the word CREATIVE from an early age. And who better to hear something affirming from than your mother? Sure, when I brought home painted macaroni art my mother gushed just like we all do as mothers. But my mom did an amazing job promoting my creative juices the whole time I was growing up. My tie-dye shirt from YMCA camp was THE best, the pages I ripped out of coloring books covered our refrigerator. She even saved the ashtray I made in 5th grade pottery class - and no one even smoked! (It worked great for coins on the dresser though).

However, once I was an adult, had moved out of the house and had children of my own, something really wonderful happened. I had been going through some old Christmas decoration boxes with my mom and we were gushing for the sake of sentimentality. I removed the dusty lid from one of the cardboard boxes and under some gold tinsel that had obviously seen better days, I found two red Christmas stockings. Let me clarify. These were stockings cut out from plain white paper. The paper had been colored red with crayons and embellished only with the names of my brother and I, Matt and Jenny. This would strike you as strange if you knew that I NEVER (never, ever, in a million, trillion, gazillion years) go by Jenny. There are about five people on the face of the Earth who are allowed to call me Jenny. Anyone else is risking life and limb. But, I had made these paper stockings myself, so that was just plain CRAZY!

I pulled the stockings out of the box and said to my mom, "You saved these?!?!?" My tone was utter disbelief.

"Of course" she answered, "you made them".

How do you counter that? Every year at Christmas, they get hung up again. I cringe at the fact that SOMEONE says, "Oh look, JENNY" or "Those are nice stockings JENNY".


Paper stockings aside, I have worked hard to ramp up my skills over the past couple of decades. I have traded in my notebook doodling for journals. My plain white paper, glue and scissors were boxed up in favor of various weights of cardstock, photo-friendly archival-quality adhesives, paper shapers and crimpers. I have given up stringing big wooden beads onto a piece of string to make a bracelet. I now turn to wire, glass, crystals, digital art and any other medium that will hopefully amaze my audience.

Like anything else, it had to start from somewhere. My grandmother helped to plant those seeds of creativity when I was young. My mother did a fabulous job of cultivating that crop, year after year, making sure my creativity got lots of attention. When I was down, she lifted me up. If I didn't think my work was good enough, she showed me why it was better than good enough. My mom was my own personal Miracle Grow!

I had a period of years where I still dabbled in creativity here and there on a personal level ~ painting techniques around the house, flower arrangements as gifts, photographs of the kids, handmade cards for holidays ~ but nothing that really kicked my creativity gene into full gear. I was, as my mother always told me, "missing my calling".

The year my husband was deployed to Iraq was quite possibly the most difficult year I've experienced in my life for many reasons on many levels. One of the things my husband and I discussed before he left was this whole business venture thing. Sure, we had talked about it casually here and there, but you know what happens - people get busy, life gets in the way, there are kids to raise.

One morning while my husband was away in Iraq, I was alone with my thoughts. The kids were at school, the house was empty, the TV was off. I remembered the discussion my hubby and I had about me finding something to do that I LOVED. Funny thing about us women, we can hold onto things our husbands say for years - good or bad. This one was pretty good. My husband told me, "Jenn, I want you to find something that you LVE to do. Something that makes you leap out of bed with joy in the morning with excitement to do it."

LEAP out of bed with excitement? Wow. Now you know why I had to give this a lot of thought!

After I had asked several people's opinions, the answers I got kept pointing me back to the same thing ---> CREATIVITY. I learned about Etsy from a friend at church. (Thanks Dawn - YOU ROCK!) I learned some more about Etsy from every source I could. I was impressed. Here's the thing about ideas; you can have the best idea on the face of the Earth. If that idea is rattling around inside your head, it's the same as not having the idea at all. Finding the time to breathe life into an idea like starting a new business while running a household, raising kids, paying the bills and everything else that a deployment entails - alone - is another story entirely. To make an already long story a little bit shorter, I took the plunge. On October 1, 2009, I became an official Etsian and opened up shop. Does anyone want to guess who my very first customer was? MY MOM!! She even opened a Paypal account just for Etsy - way to go mom!

I will also add that my mom is my single best method of advertising, bar none. She wears my jewelry. She distributes my business cards. She talks me up to her friends, acquaintances, people she doesn't even know!

My shop has now been open a whole year!  Wild Apple Design hit the 150-mark for number of items listed, which is pretty exciting for me. I have had 29 sales so far.

I ventured into a Facebook Fan Page:

I even started Twitter!

Of course, the pièce de résistance would be my actual website: where you can find all the items I have for sale, my shop policies, a little bit about me personally, and make a custom request order.

Let me say that one more time. You can make a custom request order. If you see something you like on my site that you would like personalized, a component on someone else's site that you would like to use, or have an idea of your very own, let me know! There are a couple of places you can contact me from my Etsy page, there is also a feature to request a custom item. I would be more than happy to work with you to create something for you or that special someone in your life. You can also email me directly from this blog page.

Lastly, please share this information with your friends, contacts, family members. With social networking (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) as popular as it is these days, connections are imperative personally and professionally. I like to call it sharing the love!

Stay tuned for giveaways and promotions too.  I really enjoy collaborating with others on advertising and fun ideas.


~ Jenn

The Links:

Bottle Cap on Swivel Clip - We Didn't Come Here To Lose Zipper Pull

1 comment:

  1. You are so lucky to have had a childhood where your creativity was encouraged and nurtured. I discovered mine as an adult and am trying to make up for lost time. :-) Found you on etsypreneur, hope you will follow my blog as well: