Shop Etsy

Quit Your Day Job: Elephantine

Jun 14, 2011

by Mary Andrews handmade and vintage goods


Tell us about your previous working situation and how you discovered Etsy.
I worked as a designer in a leading Seattle design/interactive agency. I mostly worked on websites, videos, and other interactive projects. Having that background was really beneficial when I started Elephantine; I understood that my shop needed to be branded in a certain way, from the logo to the packaging to the way I photographed my jewelry. My day job was a great experience with friendly co-workers and free beer. After a while though, I felt the need to go in a less corporate, more handmade direction.

I’ve been using Etsy since 2007. I first joined to buy gifts and craft supplies, and then I started selling felt toys and greeting cards. I only sold enough of them to call it a hobby, and I wasn’t that enthusiastic about it. So I took a break, gave it some space, then re-opened my shop with a different look and a brand new collection: light, everyday jewelry.

What steps did you take to prepare for transitioning into full time Etsy selling?
When I re-opened Elephantine as a jewelry shop, I treated it like a real, honest-to-goodness business, not just a hobby. I registered for business licenses, kept diligent records, put my earnings into a savings account, and spent a lot of time crunching numbers to figure out how much jewelry I needed to sell per day for it to be a viable option as a full-time job. Figuring that out is harder than you’d think — you must take into account the expenses of supplies, postage, taxes, fees, advertising, and most importantly, how much your own time is worth.

What is your favorite part of the process in jewelry making?
I enjoy the time I spend playing around with materials. I’ll grab a bunch of beads and pendants and chains and spread everything out on my desk and see what designs I can make out of them.

Clicking “Publish” on a new listing is also one of my favorite parts. It takes a lot of work to get to that point — designing the jewelry, photographing it, naming and describing it, pricing — and there’s something so rewarding about seeing it finally pop up in your shop, ready for the world.

What are your best marketing tips?
I know that my shop would not be nearly as successful if it wasn’t for my blog, even though I don’t constantly promote my jewelry on it. The majority of my posts are about style, photography, food, my pets, and other Etsy shops. But I know my blog has increased my sales because it gives me more web presence, and it allows people to get to know me outside of my shop. Personally, I’m more likely to buy from a shop if I feel like I’ve gotten to know the seller.

And speaking of blogs, getting your work featured on one that has a huge readership can do wonders to your sales. Make sure you know the name of the blogger when sending a submission to him or her. Trust me, as a blogger, it’s a big turn-off to get emails with my name spelled incorrectly (or with the wrong name altogether — strangely, that happens a lot).

My other marketing advice would be to have sales every once in a while. Jewelry isn’t a necessity, and a lot of people are on tight budgets. I have a mailing list that notifies people about sales and shop updates.

What’s been your most popular item to date?
My libra ring (which is available in both gold and silver) is very popular. It’s really light and looks pretty when stacked. I actually get a fair amount of buyers who don’t even wear rings normally, but something about the libra ring makes them change their mind.

What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
I’ve had really mixed results with advertising. In my experience, buying inexpensive ads (say, less than $100/month) do not result in very many sales or traffic. It’s only when I’ve spent several hundred dollars on an ad that it really paid off — but that’s a scary thing to do when you’re just starting your business.

I’d also be cautious about participating in giveaways. A ton of blogs will be more than happy to host a giveaway for you, and the argument is that it’s basically free advertising. The problem is that nobody wants to buy from your shop when they can just enter the giveaway and win something for free. When my shop was just starting out, I participated in several giveaways on other blogs and only one or two actually brought in some extra sales.

Made any business mistakes you regret?
Yes – bending over backwards for custom requests. I used to feel so bad about saying no. But now I’ve been in enough unpleasant situations (wasted hours, time, and money) where I’ve learned to turn someone down if it’s not going to be beneficial for my business. You have to remember that even though your shop feels like a very personal thing to you, it’s a business, and you have to run it like one in order to be successful and happy.

What is the biggest challenge you face during your daily schedule?
Getting distracted by the Internet (hold that thought, I need to check my email). See, the problem is there’s always something going on. If not new emails, there’s new blog posts, or new Pinterest pins, or new Flickr photos. It’s never-ending, which is simultaneously good and bad.

The other challenge I face is being alone during the day. Sometimes I miss having company — at my old design firm, there were over a hundred people at the company, and lots of interaction. Now it’s just me and my dog and cat for most of the day. But I do try to make a point of going downtown to meet a friend for lunch, or I’ll bring my laptop to a coffee shop to catch up on convos. The rest of the time, I actually enjoying being on my own. There’s never anybody standing over my shoulder.

What’s the hardest part about running your own business?
It can be really hard leaving work. When you run a small business out of your home, your personal life and your work life are all mashed into one. In some ways, that’s awesome because it means that I can have any kind of schedule I want and I have about a 5 second commute. On the other hand, when I get a shop-related email at 9 p.m., I can’t avoid reading it. Also, doing your taxes is much more of a pain when you own a small business. Luckily, I have a helpful mom.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
At my day job, I was always working for someone else. There was a lot of room for creativity, but I was also given a lot of restrictions. But now, working independently, no one tells me what to do. I don’t have to go to any meetings. I don’t have to have my performance reviewed. That openness is a little bit scary, but mostly it’s exhilarating.

What advice would you give someone considering a similar path?
I strongly recommend that you get your shop to a point where it’s a full-time job before quitting your day job. I think that some people want to make the transition as soon as their sales start taking off, but that’s really risky. Sell steadily for a year before making any big decisions. Give yourself financial goals; I told myself that I couldn’t quit my day job unless I was consistently earning at least the same amount through Elephantine.

Also, as I mentioned briefly, I didn’t start out selling jewelry – this is my second try at an Etsy shop, and it just happens to be extremely more successful than my first attempt. So don’t be afraid of trying different types of products and different ways of branding your business. Sometimes you just need a second (or third) chance before getting it right.

What goals do you have in store for the future of your business?
Since my jewelry line is meant for everyday wear, I’ve been toying around with the idea of launching a higher-end bridal line, but that’s still a long ways off. I’d also like to make more jewelry sets because I often get requests for matching items. My ultimate goal is to just keep enjoying what I do, whatever that means, wherever it takes me.

Anything else you would like to share?
My fiancé, family, and friends (and Internet friends!) have all been so supportive – I feel really thankful for that. And I also feel very grateful for all the strangers who have supported me. Thank you!

Thanks for sharing your story, Rachel. Check out her work  in the Seller’s Items below.

 Previous Quit Your Day Job posts


  • AZCreativeStudio

    AZCreativeStudio said 9 years ago

    Congrats on the feature!

  • AllThingsJo

    AllThingsJo said 9 years ago

    Thank you for all the insight! I'm just now considering putting some real effort into my shop and appreciate your thoughts! Beautiful work!!

  • littlejarofhearts

    littlejarofhearts said 9 years ago

    Such an inspiring story! thanks for sharing :) And congrats! LJH

  • Dragonflyaccesorios

    Dragonflyaccesorios said 9 years ago

    Adorable, really Lovely!!

  • ValerieGalloway

    ValerieGalloway said 9 years ago

    Very inspiring, with some helpful tips! Working from home is definitely joyful:)

  • ColorfulPixelsByLife

    ColorfulPixelsByLife said 9 years ago

    I love elephantine's design..Very soft and fashion.. Realy great!!

  • VitalVintage

    VitalVintage said 9 years ago

    Nice story. Congrats on the feature!

  • littlewhitechapel

    littlewhitechapel said 9 years ago

    What adorable pieces! Congrats on the feature, and lots of luck for the future.

  • SweetOliveSupplies

    SweetOliveSupplies said 9 years ago

    Congratulations! Lovely shop. Great photos--consistent look, but varied enough to create visual interest!

  • katrinaalana

    katrinaalana said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature!

  • dreamyvintage

    dreamyvintage said 9 years ago

    Congrats on the feature and wonderful interview! :)

  • grimmandgrete

    grimmandgrete said 9 years ago

    Congrats and continued success♥

  • pitterpattertutus

    pitterpattertutus said 9 years ago

    It's so true about learning to say no, that bending over backwards can not only make you crazy but compromise your product. It's a fine line to tread! Good luck and congratulations, I'm off to read your blog and hopefully find some branding tips!!!

  • LabyrinthLeather

    LabyrinthLeather said 9 years ago

    Awesomeness! Congrats and many well wishes for the future :)

  • SoliDeoGloriaSDG

    SoliDeoGloriaSDG said 9 years ago

    Congratulations - lovely work!

  • peacesofindigo

    peacesofindigo said 9 years ago

    Such a great interview. Congratulations on your success!

  • whichgoose

    whichgoose said 9 years ago

    Great advice! Way to go you! :)

  • BunniesandAvacado

    BunniesandAvacado said 9 years ago

    Great job. Thanks for the tips.

  • handprintlady

    handprintlady said 9 years ago

    I can appreciate the second try. I did that also. Took a break, cleaned house, then picked one good thing and ran with it..

  • JasmineLund

    JasmineLund said 9 years ago

    I loved this article! Everything was approached in such a commonsensical way. Congratulations on the feature! Blessings, Hannah Jasmine

  • amandapiver

    amandapiver said 9 years ago

    Thank you for taking the time to share such an awesome and inspiring story! I love the simple lines in your jewelry and I wish the best to you.

  • BigTinsel

    BigTinsel said 9 years ago

    Wonderful article. She and I have to much in common, and this seemed to come out at just the right time for me...

  • GOLDhearted

    GOLDhearted said 9 years ago

    Congrats, Rachel! I've always been a huge fan - so glad to see you getting this recognition!

  • TheIDconnection

    TheIDconnection said 9 years ago

    Wonderful Monica

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 9 years ago

    Beautiful works. Congrats.

  • REDbytina

    REDbytina said 9 years ago

    Great article!

  • JulieLillian

    JulieLillian said 9 years ago

    Congrats on the feature. Such a lovely shop!

  • ThreadbareWhimsy

    ThreadbareWhimsy said 9 years ago

    Thanks for all the great advice :) I think it's really true what you said about trying out different things. I just started my shop and I worry all the time that it's not going to work out the way I want it too but I feel a lot better knowing that it took you a second attempt to be really successful. I think it's easy to get caught up in the thought that we only have one shot to make it and it if doesn't work out, that's it, but you really prove that it's important to learn from mistakes. Thanks for that , and your jewelry is beautiful!

  • LetsAllMakeBelieve

    LetsAllMakeBelieve said 9 years ago

    Lovely shop & great interview! :) congrats!

  • ElisaGomez

    ElisaGomez said 9 years ago

    Your work is simple and very beautiful. I just think it's great. Thanks for letting us into your world :)

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust said 9 years ago

    I admire artists who make beautiful simple pieces with big presence, congratulations for the feature interview, my best to you for future successes!

  • lindaketelhut

    lindaketelhut said 9 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry Rachel. Enjoyed reading your feature - and so much great advice. Congrats on your success this time around!

  • theroyal

    theroyal said 9 years ago

    cute stuff. congrats

  • modernrubbishsf

    modernrubbishsf said 9 years ago

    Such great practical advice! Thank you!

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 9 years ago

    Wonderful! Your shop is beautiful! Congrats!!!!

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 9 years ago

    Awesome shop, thanks for sharing a tidbit about your daily life along with great advice, congrats to you and we wish you continued success always....!!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 9 years ago

    Your work is so beautiful and delicate, was lovely to read your feature. Good luck with your shop!

  • ArtMasquerading

    ArtMasquerading said 9 years ago

    Great read!

  • quirkyshop

    quirkyshop said 9 years ago


  • cartwheel

    cartwheel said 9 years ago

    I love your blog! It has inspired me to be more creative with food and photography :)

  • paramountvintage

    paramountvintage said 9 years ago

    i love your jewelry. it's so clean and sophisticated. also your packaging is adorable!

  • TheBloomingThread

    TheBloomingThread said 9 years ago

    love your jewelry! (and your outlook!) congrats on your success!

  • TheZestyDesk

    TheZestyDesk said 9 years ago

    I love the simplicity of your stuff and your practical business advice! Way to go and thanks for the encouraging tips and advice!

  • memake

    memake said 9 years ago

    Your work is beautiful!

  • misty714

    misty714 said 9 years ago

    This story is so inspiring! I am making jewelry too and I know exactly what you mean about internet distraction!! WOW! I am so glad you mentioned that! I am going to be more disciplined .I also love gathering materials and putting them together. You really do not know what the outcome will be!! Thanks so much for sharing your story.

  • ParadiseBodyShop

    ParadiseBodyShop said 9 years ago

    Great story, and highlights as to works and doesn't work for your business. Love your blog, too!

  • FindingFelicityLLC

    FindingFelicityLLC said 9 years ago

    Your shop is absolutely lovely. Such beautiful pieces! Many congrats on your feature. Best wishes for continued success -- thanks for being an inspiration!

  • NotYourGrandmasAttic

    NotYourGrandmasAttic said 9 years ago

    Love your jewelry and thanks for sharing your story.

  • JoDeneMoneuseJewelry

    JoDeneMoneuseJewelry said 9 years ago

    Lovely, simple, pretty jewelry obviously inspired by a lovely person : ) Thanks for sharing you insight. JoDene

  • Vitique

    Vitique said 9 years ago

    Another story of a person that I am completely jealous of :) Congrats on the feature. Gives hope to the rest of us.

  • sadiesez

    sadiesez said 9 years ago

    Lovely jewelry-- I'm not much of a jewelry person myself, but I like the subtelty of your pieces :)

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 9 years ago

    Lovely jewelry, and great advice. Congratulations~ Heidi

  • LaurasArtCottage

    LaurasArtCottage said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your Feature! I enjoyed reading your story :) Laura

  • beyeler

    beyeler said 9 years ago

    I'm reading this while wearing one of your necklaces. Love your jewelry and your blog!

  • jammerjewelry

    jammerjewelry said 9 years ago

    Loved the article, Thanks!

  • amberike

    amberike said 9 years ago

    Lovely shop and congrats on the feature.

  • OneFineDae

    OneFineDae said 9 years ago

    YAY!! Congrats on this feature Rachel. Great interview and answers. =)

  • ParkDayAdventures

    ParkDayAdventures said 9 years ago

    I love reading stories like yours....thanks so much for the inspiration to keep trying, even if the first attempt fails. :-)

  • CrownWillow

    CrownWillow said 9 years ago

    You are a very talented and smart woman. Keep up the great work, everything is just beautiful.

  • ChasingtheCrayon

    ChasingtheCrayon said 9 years ago

    Interesting feature and beautiful delicate jewellery! Thank you

  • DiscoBeach

    DiscoBeach said 9 years ago

    As an Etsy newbie, I truly appreciate the great advice! Your pieces are really lovely as well. The best to you!

  • HouseHoldWords

    HouseHoldWords said 9 years ago

    So beautiful. Love your work! keep up the awesome creativity!!

  • Baisimu

    Baisimu said 9 years ago

    Beautiful work! And I enjoyed reading this article :) Your workspace seems really lovely!

  • blessedvintage

    blessedvintage said 9 years ago

    great feature! blessings

  • NeedlesnPinsStichery

    NeedlesnPinsStichery said 9 years ago

    Great story! Thanks for sharing! :)

  • Aqualune

    Aqualune said 9 years ago

    Thank you

  • Aqualune

    Aqualune said 9 years ago

    Thank you

  • ikabags

    ikabags said 9 years ago

    Nice story ! Congrats on the feature !

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 said 9 years ago

    Simple, pure designs. Lovely. Congrats and continued success to you.

  • CelebrateToday

    CelebrateToday said 9 years ago

    Congratulations and thank you for sharing with us!

  • fullcircleimages

    fullcircleimages said 9 years ago

    inspiring and realistic. thanks for sharing! :)

  • LisamariesPiece

    LisamariesPiece said 9 years ago

    Great advise! Your work is beautiful, I love the simplicity. I also love how you store your findings! The glass corked jars are pleasing to the eye. My mantra....surround yourself with beauty to make beauty. Congratulations on your success!

  • Barnaclebags

    Barnaclebags said 9 years ago

    Thanks for all the wonderful advice! Very inspiring. Beautiful work!

  • wahlrus

    wahlrus said 9 years ago

    Gorgeous, simple, light work! Thank you for sharing your story with us! EtsyLove from, Jamie and John

  • RuebiRetro

    RuebiRetro said 9 years ago

    Congrats on the feature! You're jewelry is beautiful!

  • Adornedbymorgan

    Adornedbymorgan said 9 years ago

    What an enjoyable and insightful post! Thank you for sharing!

  • hoosiermamma1

    hoosiermamma1 said 9 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry and great advice. What more could a country girl ask for?

  • Agriel

    Agriel said 9 years ago

    Congrats! As a new Etsy "person", It makes me feel a whole lot better knowing that someone else went through what I am now going through before making a success out of it. Thanks for sharing... Your jewelry is beautiful!

  • CarlaRaeVintage

    CarlaRaeVintage said 9 years ago

    A very nice article and shop. I really enjoy learning about other shop owners way to a full time shop. Thanks and your items are great too. Congrats.

  • ivision

    ivision said 9 years ago

    your work is beautiful....

  • BelowBlink

    BelowBlink said 9 years ago

    Congrats! ;-)

  • melaniegs32

    melaniegs32 said 9 years ago

    Oh such beautiful delicate pieces, well done on taking a leap and believing in yourself

  • RyallwayWood

    RyallwayWood said 9 years ago

    Beautiful! And thanks for the tips!

  • RyallwayWood

    RyallwayWood said 9 years ago

    Beautiful! And thanks for the tips!

  • asileoriginals

    asileoriginals said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on your feature and success!

  • thevelvetheart

    thevelvetheart said 9 years ago

    Great tips! Congrats on the feature!

  • elishalong

    elishalong said 9 years ago

    I love your shop! Gorgeous jewelry. Thanks for the tips and your yummy recipes on your blog! :)

  • TheWhimsicalBlossom

    TheWhimsicalBlossom said 9 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature. Your jewellery is so lovely and simple. All the best for the future!

  • MagicMarkingsArt

    MagicMarkingsArt said 9 years ago

    Rachel, thank you for insightful and humble answers. Your work, from start to finish is lovely. Continued success to you.

  • pepperpressny

    pepperpressny said 9 years ago

    Been viewing your blog posts daily for a while now, and admiring your jewelry and your style - Congrats on QYDJ post, Rachel!

  • mycartouche

    mycartouche said 9 years ago

    Your story is very inspiring. I enjoyed reading it very much. Thank you for sharing and best wishes for continued success !!!!

  • VilletteJewelry

    VilletteJewelry said 9 years ago

    Your jewelry proves that sometimes the simplest things can be the most beautiful! p.s. I love your blog!

  • FishesMakeWishes

    FishesMakeWishes said 9 years ago

    I enjoyed this reading this interview so much! Congratulations on the feature and for quitting your day job :-)

  • TheCakeStandBoutique

    TheCakeStandBoutique said 9 years ago

    &hearts your jewelry! Congrats on quitting your day job :)

  • MossFrogDesigns

    MossFrogDesigns said 9 years ago

    You have such lovely jewelry! Congrats on the feature!

  • perebags

    perebags said 9 years ago


  • KitschDesigns

    KitschDesigns said 9 years ago

    This was really good, candid advice. Thank you for taking the time and congrats on the feature. Good luck to you in your endeavor.

  • craftyscrappyhands

    craftyscrappyhands said 9 years ago

    Im so inspired on your story. Congratulations! I just opened my etsy store today and my items are also handmade. I know I have a long way to go but your story just make me so inspired to put my 101% dedicationt and passion to my work..

  • MammaKnits

    MammaKnits said 9 years ago

    What a great feature - I am just about to open my shop and wasn't sure where to start - thank you for all your tips and advice!

  • jenkra

    jenkra said 9 years ago

    excellent tips for artists wanting to create full time!! Congrats on the feature!

  • lakeuka

    lakeuka said 9 years ago

    Great jewlery and a Great inspiration! Thank You Much!!!!!!!

  • LowlaBug

    LowlaBug said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story. It was really inspirational

  • Lolasjewels

    Lolasjewels said 9 years ago

    Your jewelry is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. I feel very inspired. I hope to get to where you are one day! Best wishes!

  • dovetailvintage

    dovetailvintage said 9 years ago

    Rachel, This was very insightful and helpful for me. Thanks so much for sharing your story and tips with us!

  • sanjdesigns

    sanjdesigns said 9 years ago

    Love your story and inspiration! I am just starting out on etsy and I can use all the advice I can get. Good luck and continue your success! Keep smiling!

  • readyruthieoriginals

    readyruthieoriginals said 9 years ago

    Congrats, and thanks for the practical advice. These are always so helpful. I especially like reading a QYDJ that is from someone who had to think about and plan for the quit vs. someone who might be independently wealthy or supported by another family member. Your advice to wait a year makes sense too!

  • pamwares

    pamwares said 9 years ago

    great story, even better business advice! thank you for sharing. And congrats!

  • Plumbellina

    Plumbellina said 9 years ago

    Thank you for the advice and inspiration!

  • nnsideout

    nnsideout said 9 years ago

    great advice, congrats

  • nnsideout

    nnsideout said 9 years ago

    great advice, congrats

  • nnsideout

    nnsideout said 9 years ago

    great advice, congrats

  • DLJDesigns

    DLJDesigns said 9 years ago

    great advice

  • TidbitsOfColor

    TidbitsOfColor said 9 years ago

    I like the "delicateness" of your jewelry. Thanks for sharing.

  • SewCarolineSew

    SewCarolineSew said 9 years ago

    Congratulations to you on your second try on Etsy. I really enjoyed reading your story. All the very best to you on your success.

  • SandollarDesigns

    SandollarDesigns said 9 years ago

    What a nice story. I just took my time reading it and enjoyed! Congratulations to you, Rachel and you have given me such good advice and "hope". Love your jewelry.

  • BagNoir

    BagNoir said 9 years ago

    I love ur style!!! Congrats :)

  • NeverMidnight

    NeverMidnight said 9 years ago

    Beautiful Article!

  • EllieBdesigns

    EllieBdesigns said 9 years ago

    Great feature - & your work is lovely

  • GeorginaKay

    GeorginaKay said 9 years ago

    Oooh I'm so envious! Congratulations! I wish you lots of success your items are so pretty! I've bookmarked you for my christmas shopping! :)

  • luckyflaggboutique

    luckyflaggboutique said 9 years ago

    Thanks ever so much for sharing your advice and experiences!! Best of luck to you :)

  • HookableDesigns

    HookableDesigns said 9 years ago

    I enjoyed reading your progress and process of your business. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  • customcrochetbyterri

    customcrochetbyterri said 9 years ago

    This was truly a encouraging feature. Thank you, very helpful!

  • DamselofDainty

    DamselofDainty said 9 years ago

    Love her!

  • BettyAndFrank

    BettyAndFrank said 9 years ago

    Fabulous story and advice. Thank you x

  • CollectionsbyTracy

    CollectionsbyTracy said 9 years ago

    Your story is very inspiring . Thankyou for sharing!

  • humunuku

    humunuku said 9 years ago

    Your work is so beautiful!! :)

  • HoneybeeCreek

    HoneybeeCreek said 8 years ago

    Great story! I learned a lot about running a business from your information. Thank you for sharing! :)

  • DianeOneilArt

    DianeOneilArt said 8 years ago

    Congratulations on the feature! As winter approaches I would love to be able to give up my commute to work!

  • HILDEBRANDTfashion

    HILDEBRANDTfashion said 8 years ago

    great and inspiring article, your work is beautiful!

  • snotbooger

    snotbooger said 8 years ago


  • jenniarcher

    jenniarcher from TheMiniSprout said 8 years ago

    I love your jewelry line and your outlook on life and work. Best wishes for continued success!

  • wwcsilverjewelry

    Lynda from Pintody said 5 years ago

    Absolutely Awesome!! I read many of the quit your days job articles and this is the best ever!! I'm with you on the distractions during the day. That internet can suck some time up. As for being alone I love it!! I love that it's only my dog and Kitty. I talk to them like they are people and they think I'm so cool. LOL

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    Google We like to honor lots of other internet sites on the net, even if they aren’t linked to us, by linking to them. Under are some webpages really worth checking out.

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