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Quit Your Day Job: Surly

Feb 16, 2009

by Mary Andrews

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods
Amy of surly has found great success selling through Etsy, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. After facing bankruptcy and a stint in the service industry, Amy refused to let bad fortune get the best of her. She learned from her previous mistakes, and with that knowledge created a successful and sustainable online Etsy business, finally letting her inner artist surface. Keep reading to follow the detailed and candid success story Amy has thoughtfully and openly shared with all of us. 
If you’d like to ask Amy questions of your own or listen in on her advice in real time, we invite you to join us in a follow-up Question and Answer session this Tuesday, February 17th, 2009 at 4pm EST in the Auditorium room of the Virtual Labs (the VL schedule is magically in your local time).

When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?
I didn’t just have dreams, I had hardcore, serious, white knuckle determination. I was going to find a way to make a living as an artist. The truth is I had already quit my day job when I was fortunate enough to find Etsy. I had been out of work for about a month and had just finished building my personal website when my best friend Heather, a hair stylist in New York, called me up and said, “You really should check out this handmade site called Etsy.” Apparently all the girls at the hair salon were talking about it, and if all the girls at the salon are talking about it, well, I suggest you listen!

I really found Etsy at just the right time and quickly realized that Etsy’s built in community far exceeded my hope for traffic on my personal site, and this was when Etsy was still relatively new. I immediately began dedicating my time to learning the ropes of this new handmade marketplace. Etsy boosted my business and gave me such an amazing ability to connect with buyers all over the world that would have been extremely difficult otherwise. There is no way I could have become so successful without Etsy.

How did you originally get into ceramic jewelry making?
My grandmother painted amazing landscapes of upstate New York and my aunt paints beautiful life-like fairy paintings. All of my cousins are artists and even my great grandfather is legendary in my family for his painting ability. My mother has published books on paper making, the art of making puppets and marionettes and how-to books on stuffed animals. Those books were published in the 70’s when I was just a little squirt and you can see photos of me clutching the toys to my chest. I’m pretty sure the stuffed toys my mother made were my best friends growing up. One of my earliest memories is playing under the table at a craft fair.

I was raised to create. Whenever I said I was bored my mother or grandmother would tell me to go make something. I made all of my own clothes in high school and I painted prolifically with acrylic paint on canvas, wood, paper, used furniture, walls, and anything else I could get my hands on. One time I even painted all the phones in the house in floral designs. Not sure if everyone else in the house appreciated it, but it sure was fun! I was taught that artists are special and to be creative is the best thing you can be. Artistic expression is simply my way of life. I went to school for graphic design and worked in the field for about 8 years and I also worked for a short time as a professional photographer.

I first began working in clay by helping my mother (Charlene Roth) when I was just a kid after school. At the time my mother had a small business that made porcelain awards for horse shows and about that same time my mother began seriously sculpting in clay. So I would be painting the designs on the plates or applying decals to the porcelain mugs in her studio and I would watch her form her creations. She made huge earthenware pieces that would totally blow your mind. Like a smurf with a skull face with the skyline of Los Angeles growing out of its head and hundreds of little creatures with deconstructed arms and legs, and the whole thing would end up being a completely functional cookie jar. She makes salt and pepper sets that can completely change the way you look at dinner time.

This was my mother and I was really, very influenced by her work even though I probably didn’t know it early on. I had always painted. I had never formed anything or sculpted anything at this point myself but I had been raised with such extreme creativity. Her highly detailed ceramic work and use of color has without a doubt influenced my work. More on how I actually began making jewelry in a moment.

How long had you been on Etsy before taking the plunge into selling full time? What made you decide to do so?
I had an art business before I had Surly-Ramics. It was an art gallery in North Hollywood, California and it was called The Art Coalition. I was so darn proud of myself. I really honestly thought I was making a difference in the art community and that I was born to be a painter. I was young and had absolutely no idea how to run a business or sell art, but I tried. I displayed the work of up and coming outsider and low brow artists in Los Angeles and provided wall space for unknown artists. It was so romantic. I sold some of my mother’s ceramics pieces and then together we started making jewelry. We were trying to come up with things we could sell to keep the struggling gallery afloat. I had a little too much idealism and not quite enough foot traffic.

Looking back, the jewelry was the best idea we ever had! If I would have focused on the jewelry then like I do now, it may have saved the gallery! Unfortunately, after a two year run, a bad location, combined with my lack of business sense at the time, the gallery went belly up, leaving me bankrupt, without a car or a place to live. (Of course my mother let me come home for a spell.)

But, I had stopped making art. I was truly heartbroken and literally flat broke. Art was my life and that gallery had meant everything to me. I filed bankruptcy and then I got really depressed. A year went by. I got a job as a waitress. Anyone who has ever worked in the service industry knows it is a much harder job than it seems. I had been waiting tables in a Hollywood diner for about a year and a half and I started to get more and more annoyed with people and I had really become SURLY! The service industry can really suck the soul out of you, especially if you’re a creative type and you do it for too long and it starts to show.

It was somewhere during that time that I thankfully started creating again. I think at one point during that time I painted 8 paintings in 3 weeks while still waiting tables at night. You hold in the creative energy for too long and it can just explode out of you! I remembered how much I enjoyed making the ceramic jewelry in my mother’s studio, so I started making necklaces again and wearing them into work. I loved making them and when I wore them it reminded me that I was still an artist despite my job title and that the creative spirit was still alive in me. It gave me hope.

Then a funny thing started happening. People fell in love with the jewelry. All the girls at work wanted to wear them and the guys, too! Then suddenly people wanted to buy them. I had people buy them right off my neck! I literally couldn’t make them fast enough! It was amazing. Surly-Ramics was born! Within a few months I had started a new business, one where the location didn’t even matter and I no longer needed to wait tables.  Luckily it was right around this time that my path crossed with the wonderful world of Etsy!

Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time?
I had definitely planned to start a new business, but I did it with a very tiny start up account. I had saved up enough money from my waitressing job to buy a Mac, a Canon Camera and a 1980 Mercedes. I sold the car for $2,000 and used that money to get a business license, some clay supplies and to sign up with some well respected craft shows. I set the remainder of the money aside to pay for rent and online costs for a few months. The rent in my apartment was very low, so I was lucky. I had learned a lot from my first business, like not to spend more than you have. Often times people start a business and quickly get themselves into debt by thinking,  “Oh, I will earn that money back when I sell this or that.” The reality is that small businesses have a lot of hidden costs and you need to have money set aside: you must stay within your budget or you will regret it. The art and craft shows got me through the first few months by putting me in contact with a some boutiques who decided to carry my work, and luckily I found Etsy soon there after.

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business? What’s your best marketing tip?
Running an Etsy business is absolutely a full time time job and I can honestly say that not a single day goes by that I don’t do something to promote the business. I pass out cards and stickers to anyone who gets near me, I practically force my friends to wear my art when they go out and I post on blogs and forums and social networking sites daily. I participate in a lot of art and craft shows in and out of town where I pass out cards and tell anyone who will listen about my site. I occasionally pay to advertise online and in magazines. I also regularly donate pieces to charity events.

I honestly think that the best advertising or marketing tool for my business has been from the online blogging community and I highly recommend participating in forums and other networking sites in (and more importantly) out of Etsy. I am personally a big fan of the science and skeptical community and I try to design jewelry that scientists and educators might enjoy. This particular aspect of my design work has opened the door to a large customer base that has really boosted my bottom line. I started designing my “smart jewelry” line just because I am a huge science geek but it ended up being great for my business. I donated a lot of pieces to bloggers and podcasters that I respected to keep or give as gifts to their audience and in turn a lot of people who never thought of buying handmade found out about me and became loyal customers. So I would recommend looking for niche markets in an area that you love and then bringing your product to that market.

What have you found to be an unsuccessful promotion?
There have been a few events that I donated work to that did nothing for my business at all and were time consuming, but you have to take the good with the bad. I have done a few lame art and craft shows as well, but I have never done an event where I didn’t at least make a new friend. So the moral is to research events and don’t waste your product or your money but still try to put yourself out there as much as possible.

Walk us through what a typical workday might entail.

  • I wake up and before I can even see straight I have the happy Mac up and running so that I can print out orders and respond to any emails or convos. Nothing makes me happier that getting in orders while I’m asleep. I’m sure there are a lot of Etsy-ers who feel me on that one! It is such a happy feeling to wake up to sales, makes me feel like everything is right in the world.
  • After the orders are printed and the emails have been replied to it’s time to pack up orders. I love packing orders. It is so satisfying. I take great care in packing my pieces. I think it is very important that the customer receives a beautiful package. Part of the handmade buying experience is knowing that a person who really cares made and sent what is purchased.
  • I ship everything in gift boxes with matching colorful tissue paper. Anyone who has bought from me in the past knows that I send a different special quote from a famous artist, writer or philosopher in each box. I like to think of my packages as artistic fortune cookies.
  • Next step after everything is packed up is to head on over to the post office. Luckily for me it is right across the street from where I live. I’m there everyday Monday through Friday. Everyone at the post office knows me by name. I think of the local postal employees as extended family now, they are so nice to me. Sometimes Suling (one of the employees) brings me avocados that she grows, I bring her necklaces. It is a happy part of my morning routine.
  • After the post office it is time to either form pieces out of wet clay at home or head on over to the ceramic studio where the kilns are (a 2 mile walk) to paint the already bisque fired pieces. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I make art everyday. I have to in order to get everything done.
  • I usually work on the clay pieces either forming or painting them till about 7pm, then I fire the kiln, then it is time for dinner with my husband (Surly Johnny), then back to the computer at home to check messages and post new items in my shop. I try to post everyday, and at the very least every other day. I’m usually done with my day around midnight. I don’t watch TV.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss?
I am very self motivated and I am passionate about creating and marketing my work. I never felt like I was truly reaching my potential at any of the jobs I held in the past. I am grateful that I had the experiences that I did, some good and some bad because they prepared me for all of the hundreds of little jobs involved in running a small business and put me in a position to truly appreciate my successes however small and to overcome my failures however large.

I don’t really miss anything in particular about a day job other than “actual” days off, but even that is no big deal because I absolutely love what I do and so it’s not a sacrifice to do it everyday.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself, knowing what you know now?
I would have to say that I made the most mistakes with my first business, the art gallery. The best advice I can give is to be realistic, don’t overspend, avoid using credit and be willing to work 7 days a week for the first few years and if you fail, pick yourself up and try again. One other important aspect I have learned about this type of work is that you must pay attention to the customers’ needs and wants. It is important to create from your heart and to produce items that are unique to you as the artist, but you have to ultimately create something that people will pay money for. Therefore, it is important to design with the customer in mind.

Pay attention to trends and colors and be willing to cater to the need of the market. Ultimately all businesses provide a service and one must listen closely to the subtle demands of the marketplace. I adhere to a Darwinian approach to my designs. I create a lot of different designs and then I put them out into the selective pressures of the marketplace. The pieces that sell well get reproduced and replicated. The designs that don’t sell well slowly vanish from production. I as the artist am involved in the creative process of their evolution, but ultimately the customers and the market dictate what jewelry designs will remain and be reproduced. It is important to distance yourself emotionally from the finished product so that you can make rational decisions. Some of my most favorite designs simply did not sell. I had to learn that was okay so that I could dedicate time to designs that did sell.

What goals do you wish to accomplish in the coming year for your Etsy business?
I am always interested in expanding and perfecting my designs and product line and I make sure to stick to my mission statement:

  • To provide our customers with affordable jewelry created with innovation, quality craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  • To produce beautiful little works of art that are accessible to the everyday person.
  • To create and to offer new styles on a regular basis.
  • To pursue beauty, creativity and truth.
  • To make art you can wear.
  • …And of course I hope Surly-Ramics will grow along with Etsy. I am also interested in finding ways to educate the public through various visual art projects and I plan on dedicating some time to exploring that avenue in the coming months.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I would have to be completely out of my mind if I didn’t mention my husband “Surly” Johnny (we were just married 6 months ago). He is literally my right hand man and the love of my life. He encouraged me to start this business and dusted me off after the last one tanked. When he isn’t diligently working at his job (TV editing) he helps me with Surly-Ramics in so many ways. I taught him how to make the ceramic jewelry and now he works right along side of me. There is actually no way I would be able to produce the quantity and quality of pieces that I do if it wasn’t for him. As I sit here answering these questions he is quietly sitting behind me at the art table forming little masterpieces out of clay. It takes a special man to put up with a crazy, ambitious, entrepreneurial artist/crafter and I truly love and respect him for it.

I read the following quote each morning when I start my day and again sometimes when the “technical work” part of my day wears me down. It is posted on the wall right above my computer: “Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”  – Andy Warhol

I’d like to thank the entire Etsy community and staff for being part of my favorite art project, life.

Thanks to Amy for sharing her story and business with us! Check out the related items below to see some of her work.

You can find some of our previous Quit Your Day Job posts here.

270 comments

  • odiliafu

    odiliafu said 11 years ago

    Your jewelry is original and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

  • NestaHome

    NestaHome said 11 years ago

    Yo go girl!!!!! Awesome work :)

  • MyissaG

    MyissaG said 11 years ago

    Beautiful!!

  • EpicBones

    EpicBones said 11 years ago

    oh wow! very impressive! i love these quit your job articles!! i want to quit mine so bad!!!!!!!!!

  • KisforCalligraphy

    KisforCalligraphy said 11 years ago

    Hooray for Surly! Amy you and your work so deserve attention and recognition! Great and informative article! I agree with Nesta...You go girl!!!!

  • novadesigns

    novadesigns said 11 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry! So happy that things have worked out for you. Thank you for all the great tips on running your business.

  • BabbidgePatch

    BabbidgePatch said 11 years ago

    Beautiful work ~ great article!

  • TroveDesigns

    TroveDesigns said 11 years ago

    Another inspiring story! Congratulations and thank you. :)

  • MyDearest

    MyDearest said 11 years ago

    great stuff! it's always encouraging to see someone make it out there! congrats!

  • Osmanthus

    Osmanthus said 11 years ago

    I love your idea of reaching out to scientists. I'm definitely a nerd! (see my avatar? it's MY brain. seriously!) I'm so happy that your johnny is able to help out. Congrats :)

  • BluLima

    BluLima said 11 years ago

    Yeah...I love to read these stories and am so happy you were able to bounce back and make a great business for yourself. Way to go! Sharon

  • airyfairyjewelry

    airyfairyjewelry said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring, thanks for sharing :D

  • pouss

    pouss said 11 years ago

    Gorgeous! Thanks for telling your story

  • metalicious

    metalicious said 11 years ago

    Lovely work! You are an inspiration!

  • vozclothingandart

    vozclothingandart said 11 years ago

    Love your work! Very inspiring article- I hope to quit my job one day too!

  • NatureVisions

    NatureVisions said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring! And I love how you lifted yourself back up & started creating again - can definitely relate:-)

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 11 years ago

    My favoirte part of Monday is reading the quit your day job articles. Another truely inspiring one thank you :)

  • krakenmosaics

    krakenmosaics said 11 years ago

    awesome awesome awesome! surly is one of my all time FAVE Etsy sellers and her jewelry rocks. She made me some fantastic custom octo pieces and is a totally cool artist.

  • deebeale

    deebeale said 11 years ago

    Inspiring.

  • KiraFerrer

    KiraFerrer said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story, Amy! Great story, very inspiring! And, your jewelry is fantastic!

  • urbanfusions

    urbanfusions said 11 years ago

    I appreciate the truth within your story. Great work.. keep it up!

  • DeNovoStyle

    DeNovoStyle said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the wonderful interview!

  • FancifulForm

    FancifulForm said 11 years ago

    You are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your story, amy! ^.^

  • ClareBears

    ClareBears said 11 years ago

    That's a great story. I must keep working so that I can do what Surly has done. Congratulations!

  • 4TheSparrowsNest

    4TheSparrowsNest said 11 years ago

    Super gorgeous jewelry. Loved the interview!!

  • LaireMarie

    LaireMarie said 11 years ago

    Such a nice story - congrats on your success!!

  • sherrytruitt

    sherrytruitt said 11 years ago

    Great interview, and continued success to you.

  • CabbagesandQueens

    CabbagesandQueens said 11 years ago

    Beautiful jewellery - congratulations!

  • SkyDreams

    SkyDreams said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring. Wish you continued success!

  • visionquest

    visionquest said 11 years ago

    Surly Amy ROx!!!!!!!!

  • LaveMeSoapCo

    LaveMeSoapCo said 11 years ago

    yea surly!

  • DirtyRottenPaper

    DirtyRottenPaper said 11 years ago

    How fantastic!!!!

  • maiziedesigns

    maiziedesigns said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is much appreciated that you are so honest about what has and has not worked for your during your life as an artist.

  • pixyst6

    pixyst6 said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing about your success on Etsy. You are an inspiration!

  • Mystikart

    Mystikart said 11 years ago

    Great article. I've failed in several business's before ,and made all the classic mistakes. My bankruptcy lawyer advised me to get a job, and to forget about my self employment ambitions. I told myself ..who does this guy think I am . A few years later I had the best business ever.. Keep up the good work Surly ....

  • CharlotteRice

    CharlotteRice said 11 years ago

    Congrats! Your story is very inspiring and encouraging. Thanks.

  • spareGus

    spareGus said 11 years ago

    this story is great! surly has a fantastic shop!

  • GemmaBeads

    GemmaBeads said 11 years ago

    Very encouraging! Thanks so much and continues success to you!

  • NaturalAmber

    NaturalAmber said 11 years ago

    Wonderful article!

  • surly

    surly said 11 years ago

    Thanks for all the kind words everyone. I appreciate it. xoxo Amy

  • vohandmade

    vohandmade said 11 years ago

    Very beautiful art, I love your style! Your story is inspiring too. Stick to it.

  • pengpengs

    pengpengs said 11 years ago

    cool! I love the winged heart pendant :) Great article!!

  • artisticflair

    artisticflair said 11 years ago

    Surly was one of the first shops here that I hearted! Its so nice to read about your background and the passion you have with your art. Your story is great and it is inspiring to hear your words of wisdom and advice in this business. Thanks. Cheers, Deb:)

  • PeppermintDaydreams

    PeppermintDaydreams said 11 years ago

    i really admire the honesty in this interview. great work, best of luck!

  • starfalljewelry

    starfalljewelry said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing. My fiance is an artist while I'm a scientist. I have my day job and make jewelry at night (recently). Your story is inspiring and I'll share it with my fiance who's had more than his fair share of struggles making it as an artist. Thanks and I love your work!

  • lovelygifts

    lovelygifts said 11 years ago

    What a great story and very inspiring!

  • aimeesarmoire

    aimeesarmoire said 11 years ago

    Congratulations, Surly Amy! Inspiring story, and I love the playing-under-tables-at-craft-fairs memory. My sister and I thought we'd invented the game of "tickle-toes," where you mischieviously tickle the toes of unsuspecting shoppers while hiding under your mom's display table, but I get the feeling it was a favorite pasttime of MANY crafters' kids! Okay, back to the BEADS!!!!

  • phydeaux

    phydeaux said 11 years ago

    Yay Amy! What a delight to see you and read about you! I love my Surly-Ramics pieces - gorgeous work - what an inspirational story from a great gal and streat team mate. xoxo

  • SweetAndKindOf

    SweetAndKindOf said 11 years ago

    Always so inspiring to read these articles - thanks! All the best to you!

  • blcrone123

    blcrone123 said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring! Obviously meant to be!

  • buttercupbloom

    buttercupbloom said 11 years ago

    That's Our Surly! What a lady. xo

  • charmingladies3

    charmingladies3 said 11 years ago

    Beautiful pieces!

  • ikre84u

    ikre84u said 11 years ago

    I purchased a piece from Amy about two weeks ago and I love it. Great work and congrats on the article!

  • BlueTerracotta

    BlueTerracotta said 11 years ago

    Very encouraging and inspiring! Thanks and I wish you continued success.

  • surly

    surly said 11 years ago

    Oh yes...shout out to CCCOE my happy California Crafting Street team! xoxoxo

  • 1337art

    1337art said 11 years ago

    What great advice! I am truly inspired. Thank you, thank you!

  • vivikas

    vivikas said 11 years ago

    wow... awesome work.

  • bunnyboutique

    bunnyboutique said 11 years ago

    Surly, you are such an inspiration to me. Your story has just been amazing and has encourage me and made me realise that I'm on the right track by also following my dreams. I can tell how passionate you are about your art from your story and that it is the most inspiring of all. I look forward to seeing your art excel even more than it currently is.

  • janedeaux

    janedeaux said 11 years ago

    Awesomeness!

  • AntoinetteDesign

    AntoinetteDesign said 11 years ago

    wow...so inspiring! I really appreciate your honesty..congrats on your beautiful business (and on your wedding :)

  • sewordie

    sewordie said 11 years ago

    I bought a hair dresser necklace for my stylist about a over a year ago.... she has since bought more for herself and her friends bought some and so on... I think it safe to say that surly jewelry is pretty awesome!

  • OceanGrrl

    OceanGrrl said 11 years ago

    soooo awesome!!!

  • TheOldWhiteCottage

    TheOldWhiteCottage said 11 years ago

    Amazing story! May you have much continued success.

  • jodieflowers

    jodieflowers said 11 years ago

    Awesome and Very Inspiring!!

  • surly

    surly said 11 years ago

    Reading all the posts and again... I do really appreciate it. Please join me Tuesday in the Virtual Labs! Love to chat with you all. :)

  • voleurdebijoux

    voleurdebijoux said 11 years ago

    Fabulous article and congrats Amy!! :)

  • analoukopoulos

    analoukopoulos said 11 years ago

    Very original love it!!!

  • autumnsanticsstore

    autumnsanticsstore said 11 years ago

    Fantastic article! Congratulations on your success!

  • elindseyhornkohl

    elindseyhornkohl said 11 years ago

    Thank you for your honesty and straightforwardness. It's stories like these that can keep us newbies going.

  • joyousorca

    joyousorca said 11 years ago

    Amazing talent and dedication. Your passion really shows in your work...I LOVE it!

  • MadEarth

    MadEarth said 11 years ago

    Do what you love and success will follow. It worked out fabulously for you! Thanks for the peek into your life and work.

  • faraharia

    faraharia said 11 years ago

    Great interview! Thank you for telling your story!

  • shellieartist

    shellieartist said 11 years ago

    awesome!!!

  • behjat

    behjat said 11 years ago

    good for you...congratulations!!!

  • ChocolateBeachFlower

    ChocolateBeachFlower said 11 years ago

    really beautiful fun jewelry and great story telling:) very inspiring!!! thank you!

  • LeeLeesCloset

    LeeLeesCloset said 11 years ago

    Your story is very inspirational, thank you !

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 11 years ago

    Fantastic Amy! congratualtions on your success, insight, painful experiences and dogged determination! would it have been Surly if you were not? I loved reading this article - and I share many of your thoughts and - I have seen many new poignant ones! Thank You! so inspirational and it is a delight to read about you and your work. Congratulations on your newly married life! kind regards, Annette

  • zannesart

    zannesart said 11 years ago

    Great interview, I see myself in it. I can relate to always having the urge to create even when the day job sucks the life out of you. The yearning is still there. Thanks so much for all your sharing and experience.

  • glintgear

    glintgear said 11 years ago

    This is such an inspiring story, Amy! Congratulations on everything! Thanks so much for being willing to share it with us. I'm so new to Etsy selling, and my dream is to also some day "quit my day job." I feel I have a long way to go since traffic to my site is slow coming. But stories and advice such as what you've shared are taken to heart as carrots! Your work is awesome!!! Wishing you all you desire, Celena Diamond

  • betsyandiya

    betsyandiya said 11 years ago

    Wow. This seriously just made me cry. I am floored by your willingness to share and straight from your heart, no less. Your inspiration, humility, and ingenuity will be felt for decades to come. I really appreciate both you and Etsy for sharing this awesome story. It seriously is what makes all this business worth it to me. Thank you. -betsy

  • gloilocksandbody

    gloilocksandbody said 11 years ago

    great job Amy! i love seeing these, and reading them! thank you for your very inspiring story :D

  • amimages

    amimages said 11 years ago

    i've never been fond of ceramic wear, but it would wear these pieces. they are definitely more unique than I expected. Even if I didn't already appreciate the art, I would read such a well written article. good work and thanks for sharing your know how! i am taking notes! ;)

  • SteppingStones

    SteppingStones said 11 years ago

    I LOVE her work!! Great job Amy!!!!

  • denimee

    denimee said 11 years ago

    HiAmy! I am completely devasted with the "credit storm" right now, and reading your story is such a relief. Thanks for this, you have served as an inspiration. I too need to tap the artist in me.. I still haven't gotten the balls to roll it out...'til your story...wonderful creations as well...mwah!!!!

  • surly

    surly said 11 years ago

    •••Hey friends the virtual lab date is tomorrow the 17th not the 10th (that date has obviously passed) there is a typo up there at the top. at 4pm eastern time...Please stop by and say hello to me...:) •••• and keep the comments coming...so completely fantastic of everyone to take the time to read and comment! xoxo

  • LANYARDLADY

    LANYARDLADY said 11 years ago

    wow, it really can be done! truly unique jewelry and an inspiration to all of us, no matter what stage we are in life, to follow our heart.

  • 1920

    1920 said 11 years ago

    always love to read stories like this. love Etsy family!

  • quiltdee

    quiltdee said 11 years ago

    IT DOES TAKE A SPECIAL MAN TO PUT UP WITH CRAFTY WOMEN AND OUR MOODS GOOD LUCK

  • LiamDesign

    LiamDesign said 11 years ago

    Very informative story, thanks for being open and sharing your highs and lows!I totally agree about distancing yourself from even your most favorite pieces. And of course not spending more money than you can really afford especially with whats going on in the work place it can be scary to buy supplies and things you need but without it you can't make what you want. The trick is it needs to be a balance. Thanks Again.

  • dancesippydance

    dancesippydance said 11 years ago

    love surly! love amy! live in my surly necklace! great article.

  • TheHouseOfMouse

    TheHouseOfMouse said 11 years ago

    wow what an amazing story. It's great to know that you can pick yourself up after disaster and learn from your mistakes. Thank you for sharing it with us. Truly inspiring!

  • aymujer

    aymujer said 11 years ago

    I've gotta say: this is the best 'Quit your Day Job' article I've read. Totally inspiring. Thanks, Surly.

  • OakenstoneHandmade

    OakenstoneHandmade said 11 years ago

    Beautifully Inspiring! Love this shop =)

  • RebeccaDarling

    RebeccaDarling said 11 years ago

    Another inspiring tale - go Surly!

  • squareware

    squareware said 11 years ago

    Thank you for your candour and openess. Great tips, great answers. I will take your advice. And your kiln look identical to mine, except I melt glass in mine :).

  • shopwhimsy

    shopwhimsy said 11 years ago

    Ms. Amy-you rock!

  • kittytrishia

    kittytrishia said 11 years ago

    Wow the wrap around necklaces and the bracelets are drool worthy! Wonderful story thanks so much for sharing it with us!

  • eraseandrepeat

    eraseandrepeat said 11 years ago

    Inspirational!

  • matouenpeluche

    matouenpeluche said 11 years ago

    Wow! What a gal!

  • Junkartist

    Junkartist said 11 years ago

    wow that story was fascinating,I walked out of a 9 - 5 job with no money coming in so I can totally relate although I'm at the broke part now!

  • empapers

    empapers said 11 years ago

    My god, I just LIVE for this series! Each one of the artists is so inspiring! These stories are so helpful for those of us gathering our courage (and our spare change in savings accounts) to quit our day jobs.

  • HarrietsHaven

    HarrietsHaven said 11 years ago

    What an inspirational article! I really enjoyed reading this one, as you give many reasons to keep your head held up high and keep trying to work for your ultimate goals. I love your work too - you're definitely a new favorite :)

  • photoworksbydawn

    photoworksbydawn said 11 years ago

    Very cool! You have a unique style to your work, and I loved reading about your road to success.

  • DanutaDesigns

    DanutaDesigns said 11 years ago

    You have worked hard and I hope you enjoy your deserved success.

  • ArtonSilkbyLouise

    ArtonSilkbyLouise said 11 years ago

    I really enjoyed your article very positive makes me want to get busy

  • KaraMiaSofia

    KaraMiaSofia said 11 years ago

    Inspiring is an understatement...to much more success!!!

  • bbbennyandthejet

    bbbennyandthejet said 11 years ago

    SWEET!! how have I never found you before this article!.. awesome work.. off to drool through your shop.. (good thing it's the online one.. not the old B&M one.. )

  • juneshin

    juneshin said 11 years ago

    This is such a great article; thanks so much for sharing! Your jewelry is beautiful and I wish you continued and growing success.

  • blithegardens

    blithegardens said 11 years ago

    I loved your article. I am amazed at the hard work you put into marketing. Obviously all contacts you make can grow exponentially! Your designs are beautiful!

  • FlanneryCrane

    FlanneryCrane said 11 years ago

    I love your work-gorgeous designs...

  • Oleofox

    Oleofox said 11 years ago

    Totally love your work. Can't wait to get my next paycheck so that I can buy a piece. Your article was very inspiring.

  • jackkpot4

    jackkpot4 said 11 years ago

    :) U go girl... I am soooo proud of you!!!

  • bellasparty

    bellasparty said 11 years ago

    Great interview and wonderful designs! Thanks for sharing with us.

  • JAdamsDesigns

    JAdamsDesigns said 11 years ago

    Amazing art! And what an inspiring story!! I think you are living the dream of so many, and being able to do it after picking yourself back up from the down-times, Good Job!

  • KnitTwits

    KnitTwits said 11 years ago

    wow what a story! Very inspirational. Love your work L x

  • BeadersBoutique

    BeadersBoutique said 11 years ago

    Just gave my daughter one of the beautiful heart pendants for Valentines Day. She loves it!

  • annsquiltnstuff

    annsquiltnstuff said 11 years ago

    Very awesome and helpful article! Love your purple horse bracelet. Will be back to see what else you come up with!

  • BeadsInTheBelfry

    BeadsInTheBelfry said 11 years ago

    This was a very insightful article. Thanks surly and congrats!

  • wristcandycreations

    wristcandycreations said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story and your beautiful art!

  • SandySimone

    SandySimone said 11 years ago

    Yay Surly!! So happy for your success! I remember last year when I spotted someone at the Vegas airport wearing one of your creations- Of course I asked her where she got it. She was from the east coast too... so randomly awesome!

  • MintyFreshFusions

    MintyFreshFusions said 11 years ago

    I started my first Etsy shop at the same time as Amy, and hers was the first shop I bought from, a bumblebee that looked like he was in space, still one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. She had wonderful professional packaging, and the best business card I've ever received, just top notch all the way around! Thank you Amy for taking the time to do this interview, I've found your work inspiring for a long time now.

  • VinMo

    VinMo said 11 years ago

    Your work is so beautiful, and you have such an inspiring story! I think there are many of us here that would love to quit our day jobs, and hearing all the great stories is wonderful inspiration for all of us.

  • Squier

    Squier said 11 years ago

    Fabulous inspiring article. Thanks for sharing!

  • ohmay

    ohmay said 11 years ago

    fantastic feature article. You give us hope in making it and taking the plunge. You make some fantastic pieces and I just spied the I love to knit piece. I must have that.....

  • KellysGifts

    KellysGifts said 11 years ago

    Thank you! Very inspiring.

  • edieart

    edieart said 11 years ago

    Such an inspiring read!! And gorgeous work! I just added my very first clay sculptures to my store! Clay is great!!

  • petalandpink

    petalandpink said 11 years ago

    what fantastic creations, and a great article, too!

  • BabyNest

    BabyNest said 11 years ago

    Great article! Thank you for the inspiring words. Your shop is fantastic!

  • dennisanderson

    dennisanderson said 11 years ago

    Surly rocks my socks off! Fantastic Article.

  • jensingh

    jensingh said 11 years ago

    What a great story-I love to hear about people who get knocked to the ground and then turn around, get back up and kick some butt!

  • RubyStudios

    RubyStudios said 11 years ago

    Wow, Amy, thanks for the great article. I'm happy you have such a great support by your side. I am so fortunate to have the same and I know how fundamental it can be. Congrats on your success--both of you.

  • cthings

    cthings said 11 years ago

    Wowhoo!! Congratulations!! That is wonderful!! Great to read about you!

  • TheBearAffair

    TheBearAffair said 11 years ago

    I love a great success story and yours ranks right up at the top of the list. Congratulations and you are certainly an inspiration to those of us new to the industry. Keep up the good work because you really have inspired me to work harder to hopefully soon enjoy the fruits of my labors:>}

  • surly

    surly said 11 years ago

    I wuv you guys....:)

  • Carolinaclaydaze

    Carolinaclaydaze said 11 years ago

    Loved your story and congratulations on being so successful in something you love doing. I like the idea of your walking to the kiln! Going to check your shop out right now and may you have continued happiness with your art.

  • FluteTeacher

    FluteTeacher said 11 years ago

    Wow! What an uplifting and inspiring story. Thank you for sharing so much with us...especially about your overcoming your failures. I feel much more hopeful after reading this article. Thank you!

  • LaCometaLab

    LaCometaLab said 11 years ago

    You rock Amy, this is trly inspiring!!!

  • PrecociousPaper

    PrecociousPaper said 11 years ago

    I read all of these articles and am inspired by each and every one, but especially so by your story. Thank you.

  • BohemianThings

    BohemianThings said 11 years ago

    Your work is beautiful, and nicely priced. I wish you continued success!

  • joymaker

    joymaker said 11 years ago

    i worked for a retail store as a asst. manger so my jewerly making got put on the back burner as my time was never my own,until i injury my knee at work, since then i have had 3 surgerys on it and am no longer able to work, so i was pretty down in the dumps when my husband said why don't you go back to what you really love doing, making you're jewerly, iam new to etsy and need to learn a lot( i just love this place) this moring i was back in the dumps again, so i went to etsy and by accident youre story hit me in the face, i agree with everyone, it is very inspiring to pick you're self back up, thank you for your'e story

  • Stellula

    Stellula said 11 years ago

    Inspiring and encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  • LeftHandHats

    LeftHandHats said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story and suggestions for "quitting your day job". Hopefully, at some point, I'll be able to write one of these! Your jewelry is awesome!

  • beaneandco

    beaneandco said 11 years ago

    Truly inspiring...makes me feel like I CAN do it!

  • InVincibleDesigns

    InVincibleDesigns said 11 years ago

    awesome work love the style

  • tomtenlady

    tomtenlady said 11 years ago

    Yay for your mom being so encouraging and thanks for being brave and living your life. You inspire others just by being who you really are!

  • cthings

    cthings said 11 years ago

    Just want to thank you for your virtual lab time!! You have a great positive attitude!! Again congratulations you deserve it!!

  • SouthernSucre

    SouthernSucre said 11 years ago

    I love these type of stories!...very original work also:)

  • bluemooncrft

    bluemooncrft said 11 years ago

    Thanks, Amy. I always learn at least one new thing from these stories. In this case, I was impressed to find that you post new items every day! I wonder how many others can say that.

  • Lunatiger

    Lunatiger said 11 years ago

    Very cool! You go girl! You're living my dream...if I don't make it...live it for the both of us...^_^

  • SummerSongDesigns

    SummerSongDesigns said 11 years ago

    It is always so great to see someone making a living doing what they love! And your work is so great, thanks for sharing!

  • chezart

    chezart said 11 years ago

    I read your article and it really got me motivated. Thank you, I really needed that kick in the bum especially when I see u working so hard and having so much fun, luv Chez

  • GaGa4Vintage

    GaGa4Vintage said 11 years ago

    I quit my day job today and joined Etsy...look for my fun vintage items soon!

  • adornnatural

    adornnatural said 11 years ago

    Beautiful pieces, congratulations on the great article!

  • timeforbeads

    timeforbeads said 11 years ago

    inspirational! love to see artists making money

  • SwangoArt

    SwangoArt said 11 years ago

    clear, informative article! Thanks for the mentoring and the inspiration.

  • AmandaKLockrowJewels

    AmandaKLockrowJewels said 11 years ago

    So inspiring! Keep up the wonderful work.

  • OriginalDesignUK

    OriginalDesignUK said 11 years ago

    Great inspiring story well done!

  • thehangingflower

    thehangingflower said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring! A fantastic success story that I'm glad I read.

  • naturabellus

    naturabellus said 11 years ago

    Your art is beautiful! Thanks for your inspiration! The Natura Bellus Team

  • ilovehearts

    ilovehearts said 11 years ago

    Great article! Thanks!

  • noahslandingart

    noahslandingart said 11 years ago

    How encouraging! Thanks so much for sharing your story of strong will and determination. Congratulations on your success!

  • rschreiner

    rschreiner said 11 years ago

    I can definitely relate with Amy on having a great partner who sticks by you no matter what and is your rock. It's good to hear about the ups and the downs of business and great to hear that your business is going so well! Excellent article.

  • AlphieBug

    AlphieBug said 11 years ago

    You inspire... And in these tough times, thats what we all need... We all just have to believe in ourselves..

  • ladaworks

    ladaworks said 11 years ago

    I visit your shop often - LOVE IT !!!!

  • nightcloud

    nightcloud said 11 years ago

    may your perseverance, honesty, instinct lead others to keep going, keep trying, there are mountains after valleys... thank you for sharing the ups and downs of your favourite art project!

  • bananastrudel

    bananastrudel said 11 years ago

    Great interview and very inspiring. Thank you very much for the tips.

  • 51art

    51art said 11 years ago

    Amy. This is all good stuff. Thank you for your inspiration. Continued success!

  • teamzvonik

    teamzvonik said 11 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! Thank you for sharing your story.

  • gemsdirect

    gemsdirect said 11 years ago

    This was a great interview/article. Thanks for sharing your experience and insight.

  • missficklemedia

    missficklemedia said 11 years ago

    What an awesome person Surly/Amy is! Thank you for adding that bit about bankruptcy, while I wouldn't wish that experience on anyone, it is good to know you can pick yourself up and try again. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • rubyandbeeboutique

    rubyandbeeboutique said 11 years ago

    Amy, I loved reading your story! You are an inspiration for artists everywhere. Thanks for all the tips- I wish you continued success. Oh, and I really love your shop too.

  • daisymadedesigns

    daisymadedesigns said 11 years ago

    Great article with many new tips and insights that I have not seen before on this forum! What a gift to be able to say you do what you love and your love, hubby, also is a part of your creations! Kudo's to you both!

  • oldpuebloearringco

    oldpuebloearringco said 11 years ago

    wow! what an inspiration. you are awesome. I am hoping to do this full-time eventually. your work is amazing as well. much more success to you!!

  • sophiori

    sophiori said 11 years ago

    WOOOOOWWW!!! That is soooo inspiring! Thanks for the Andy Warhol quote and the "artsy fortune cookie" tip. Your success is no surprise!

  • momomatic

    momomatic said 11 years ago

    Gorgeous stuff!

  • thyme4creating

    thyme4creating said 11 years ago

    Thank you for your inspiring story. I'm a retiree and hoping to get something going on Etsy. Life keeps getting in the way! Articles like yours helps me get back into focus.

  • re4mado

    re4mado said 11 years ago

    great story...thanks for the inspiration.

  • melissammarch

    melissammarch said 11 years ago

    Thank you for such an honest look at the life of an Artist. I could relate in so many ways! Your work is beautiful and your story inspiring.

  • bradleybeads

    bradleybeads said 11 years ago

    This is so motivating that I have to run back to the studio ( http://carolbradley.etsy.com ) before I can finish reading the article!

  • BirdWingProductions

    BirdWingProductions said 11 years ago

    Keep it up!! Whoo-hoo!

  • darcyarts

    darcyarts said 11 years ago

    Beautiful!

  • sycamorestreetpress

    sycamorestreetpress said 11 years ago

    i love that quote from andy warhol, too. way to go, surly!

  • LindaGJ

    LindaGJ said 11 years ago

    Way to go Surly! So inspiring!!!

  • artbymsr

    artbymsr said 11 years ago

    You are so inspirational, Surly! Loved your story and your honest sharing. Kudos to you on your success.

  • wingedwomanart

    wingedwomanart said 11 years ago

    I have a similar story to yours, including the failed attempt at changing the artworld through my own gallery. But I met some incredible people along the way, and like you, let my vision grow and morph into what my art, my life, has now become. Being a new and struggling Etsian, I found your article very inspiring. I recently quit one of my day jobs, so that I could devote more time to my art again (or at least daylight hours, instead of staying up all night creating amidst a 60-70 hour week working for other people). Now that I've gotten some reproductions going that I've been working on, and my website is no longer an embarrassment, I'm attempting to make my Etsy store something to be proud of! Your story might be just what I needed for motivation. Thanks for sharing~really appreciate it.

  • HowSweet

    HowSweet said 11 years ago

    Your story is so uplifting. I truly love to create my bracelets and as one who is trying to break into the market and live off my art it can be discouraging. I refuse to give up hope and will keep trying. Thanks again.

  • Warmth

    Warmth said 11 years ago

    I love your product but it is the lessons of life that you shared with each of us that I liked the best. I'm so happy you dusted the ceramic dust off of yourself and started anew. I also envy you having a lifemate who is willing to create along side of you...ah bliss. You definitely are threw to the next round!!!

  • CREATEHAPPINESS

    CREATEHAPPINESS said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story- It is so encouraging to me...God Bless

  • kittybblove

    kittybblove said 11 years ago

    Wow, what a great story- thanks so much, especially for sharing the emotional journey you went through!

  • LarryNicosiaPhoto

    LarryNicosiaPhoto said 11 years ago

    Thank you, Amy. For a new "Etsyite" like me your story is inspirational and your advice priceless.

  • beatrixmoldesigns

    beatrixmoldesigns said 11 years ago

    Thankyou for sharing your story Amy, it gives such good advice and hope to everyone slugging away at their day jobs. I've taken the plunge too and even though it's a 24 hour a day job I wouldn't have it any other way. Congratulations, you deserve all the success you get

  • SEOWebDesign

    SEOWebDesign said 11 years ago

    What a wonderful success story. I have learned the most from my past mistakes and know how these can help me go forward in better ways. Amy has moved past her mistakes and created success.

  • WingsDove

    WingsDove said 11 years ago

    Inspiring story of perseverance and ongoing success.

  • realisationcreations

    realisationcreations said 11 years ago

    What a fantastic story! Amy, you are very inspiring!

  • handbagcave

    handbagcave said 11 years ago

    Love this story! I waited tables about a years and a half for almost 2 years....sure you start hating people! and guess what? I might get into it again...part time just to pay bills! Good luck with your shop!

  • musthavemellicom

    musthavemellicom said 11 years ago

    Great story! You are working SO hard! I am a big time self starter, boundary pusher, but I am stumped by how to "work" etsy. Sorry I missed your on line on the 17th! Is there a posting of it? I get on this site and I don't know where to begin. I have bought several showcases but have yet to sell one item, despite lots of praise and compliments. oy. Keep up the good work! And give that sweet husband a smooch for me! Mine is a gem, too!

  • urbanwoodswalker

    urbanwoodswalker said 11 years ago

    Surly! I am so proud of you. And what a great story! Thanks for being my very first mentor on etsy, as well as my very first purchases! Its so nice to finally put a face with all the love ♥

  • VirginiaWho

    VirginiaWho said 11 years ago

    I just found etsy and I love it! I really want this to become my full time job so reading your story makes me think YES! I'd like to do your online thing, but being from Australia I've gotta get the time straight! Nice work and keep killin it!!! eartha virginia

  • Jenifersfamilyjewels

    Jenifersfamilyjewels said 11 years ago

    You make wonderful fun pieces and your story is quite inspiring! Thank you for sharing this one!!!

  • SimpleTraditions

    SimpleTraditions said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much for your story! I love your work. Your an inspiration to all of us!

  • JewelryByIrene

    JewelryByIrene said 11 years ago

    I loved reading your interviews! Great truth in all you have spoken about! Keep on keeping on!!!

  • somethinspecial

    somethinspecial said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring and honest story!

  • Plumbeadacious

    Plumbeadacious said 11 years ago

    I am truly encouraged and inspired by you. You have combined your artistry with good business sense. I appreciate your candor in sharing your past experiences. Your work schedule is rigorous. Congratulations on much deserved success!

  • CosmosMoon

    CosmosMoon said 11 years ago

    cool shop! congratulations on your success

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 11 years ago

    This was really a good article. I love these success stories. I really needed to read this today. Thanks for such a good article may you have much continued success.

  • Karramandi

    Karramandi said 11 years ago

    What a fantastic article. I love these stories, they really boost my motivation. Thanks for sharing and long may your success continue.

  • kathleenkrucoff

    kathleenkrucoff said 11 years ago

    Nice to read about how people achieve their dreams. Congrats on your success.

  • onegarnetgirl

    onegarnetgirl said 11 years ago

    You freaking rock! Awesome article, even better work.

  • cathygee

    cathygee said 11 years ago

    This was really interesting and helpful, especially considering I'm trying to get my ceramic jewelry out there and selling! Great stuff told really well...thank you!

  • doingitherself

    doingitherself said 11 years ago

    Thanks for the inspiration!! A huge boost to the motivation for sure. Keep up the great work!

  • ZoeFletcherGallery

    ZoeFletcherGallery said 11 years ago

    Thanks, Amy. What an inspirational tale for any artist. Having recently quit my part-time shop job, I was/am fully there reading that part of your story. You've convinced me to really start filling up my Etsy shop, to work harder to learn this online world - and to stop watching tv! Australia is very hard on any kind of artists. We don't have your population base, there are no real big craft shows (even New Zealand has more)and postage costs are a disadvantage, so it gets us down (and your economic downturn hasn't even really hit here yet)- but you have lifted me right up there. Art is Life and Life is Art, including Business, so let's all start living! Thank you.

  • laralewis

    laralewis said 11 years ago

    wow, i really needed to read this article right now and it's made a huge improvement in my overall state of mind. thank you, amy for sharing your story!

  • JoyandWhimsy

    JoyandWhimsy said 11 years ago

    A great inspirational story!

  • kimoneill84

    kimoneill84 said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. I really appreciate reading such positive articles, as I tend to be more on the negative side.

  • chatool

    chatool said 11 years ago

    So fantastic Amy, bravo. You are a definite Star in your field!

  • SunflowerCreations

    SunflowerCreations said 11 years ago

    Beautiful work!

  • surly

    surly said 11 years ago

    Thank you so much. I really do appreciate all the wonderful comments. xo

  • Cglasscock

    Cglasscock said 11 years ago

    Great story!! You inspire me as I begin my own artistic endeavors. Thanks for sharing!

  • swellvintage

    swellvintage said 11 years ago

    Great article! Very inspiring x

  • nightcloud2

    nightcloud2 said 11 years ago

    Surly --you also have a gift for self expression--your article is so clear and well ordered, being chaotic myself , I really admire you for it. The story itself is inspiringand your products so well done no wonder you are successful. I wish you growth to the level that pleases you but doesnt overwhelm you and happiness in creation that obviously you spread to the people around you Natan

  • LoveKnotDesigns

    LoveKnotDesigns said 11 years ago

    Amazing story which I'm sure many as well as me can identify with!! Very hip jewelry, too!

  • artsyfingers

    artsyfingers said 11 years ago

    As a professional ceramic artist and a teacher I can say that your work is pretty neat.Thank you for sharing.

  • tiedyedmonkeys

    tiedyedmonkeys said 11 years ago

    What a wonderful journey! Thank you for sharing it with us. Hard work does pay off! It also helps to create something beautiful.

  • MakeMeOver

    MakeMeOver said 11 years ago

    FANTASTIC!! So much energy & love in your work. Great motivation! It's always so interesting to hear others stories & how they've morphed into so many new things. The ideas just keep coming - gotta love it. Thanks so much for sharing.

  • tomelimania

    tomelimania said 11 years ago

    Cool! jewelry. Inspirational story.

  • blackeyedsuzie

    blackeyedsuzie said 11 years ago

    awesome article - so inspiring! Your work is beautiful!

  • howlindoggie

    howlindoggie said 11 years ago

    great article! and a great inspiration to all etsy sellers!!

  • PagesbyNat

    PagesbyNat said 11 years ago

    Wow is right. I have tried so many things and won't give up. I really appreciatethese articles especially being a new etsian!

  • gardendiva

    gardendiva said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring! Good lesson...never to give up doing what you love. Great Work!

  • adornedyou2

    adornedyou2 said 11 years ago

    Gorgeous work surly!

  • hjmart

    hjmart said 11 years ago

    Very interesting article! Thank you! Beautiful work!

  • wevegotpaper

    wevegotpaper said 11 years ago

    This is my favorite "Quit Your Day Job" interview! Amy, you sound like such a positive person with a great outlook on life! I admire you very much.

  • bijougirldesigns

    bijougirldesigns said 11 years ago

    Love it!

  • BirdTrouble

    BirdTrouble said 11 years ago

    What a great inspiration. My knuckles are white too... be patient, birdtrouble, be patient...

  • PracticalCatCrafts

    PracticalCatCrafts said 11 years ago

    Beautiful work and story, a real inspiration! I really must put some items on to sale, I need to cross that line between thinking about it and doing it. Your story helped, thank you!

  • samsstuff

    samsstuff said 11 years ago

    Inspirational! I have these same dreams (& many of the same problems! There is hope! (patience, definitely!)

  • classicbead

    classicbead said 11 years ago

    And people wonder how to get ahead.......good job, girl! Take a break from time to time....it's good for the inspirational spirit.

  • zuppaartista

    zuppaartista said 11 years ago

    what an inspiration!

  • molecularmuse

    molecularmuse said 11 years ago

    Hooray! Your stuff RAWKS so much, Surly!

  • Softpencil

    Softpencil said 11 years ago

    Beautiful jewelry!!!

  • pillowhappy

    pillowhappy said 11 years ago

    i love reading quit your day job stories! so inspiring...thank you for sharing about your mom, your childhood...and how you came to be where you are now! it's fun (and contagious) to see how passionate you are about you art and your business! thank you!

  • IHeartThis

    IHeartThis said 11 years ago

    thanks so much for this inspirational success story and for all the business tips.

  • inthepink

    inthepink said 11 years ago

    I quit my day job 2 weeks ago to do In*The*Pink full time alongside graphic design freelance work, so its inspiring to read articles like this to make me feel like im not crazy and with hard work and determination it CAN work!

  • glutamatedesign

    glutamatedesign said 11 years ago

    Surly, I love your attitude and I think you're great! I have had a similar career path to your own and your story so far gives me no nonsense courage to carry on doing what i believe in. Thanks!

  • elisasherejewelry

    elisasherejewelry said 11 years ago

    Incredibly inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing your story, you deserve nothing but sucess!

  • lynnetteapriljewels

    lynnetteapriljewels said 11 years ago

    Amy's Jewelry is so In!! She has found her nitch. Continued Sucess!!!! Dreams do come ture!!

  • lcullers

    lcullers said 11 years ago

    You've given me hope! Some great suggestions. It makes me realize I can't expect buyers to just come to me, I've got to make more of an effort to go to them. I'd much rather stay in my studio and "create" my dichroic glass pieces and not have to worry about selling! But I need to keep selling so I can make more! I need more of your "go-get-emness!" Best wishes!

  • UrbanAdornments

    UrbanAdornments said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the insight, it was very inspiring!

  • LittleAesthetics

    LittleAesthetics said 11 years ago

    just discovering the "quit your day job" series and it rocks! I'm inspired by you all.

  • BritmericaLane

    BritmericaLane said 11 years ago

    Great story. An inspiration. After having a series of misfortunes ourselves, I can totally relate. Stories like this give everyone hope that they can make it in this world, doing the things that they enjoy the most - crafting in whatever form they do best.

  • kristinenoel

    kristinenoel said 11 years ago

    Fantastic story thanks for sharing!

  • OmMama

    OmMama said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the heartfelt story and the great tips, and for your lovely art!

  • Perceptions

    Perceptions said 11 years ago

    Wow, what a inspiring story! Thank you so much for sharing, and your advice is invaluable. Best of luck for continued success in your business and marriage!

  • rabbitdance

    rabbitdance said 11 years ago

    Like so many other have said, this is such an inspiring story! ^_^ I know what it feels like to have to get up and dust yourself off. I have two computer art degrees and was never able to find any work other than the occasional bit of freelance. My husband and I were flat broke (he had to spend 60 hours a week on his Masters degree schoolwork) so I tried to get a job, ANY job, but no one would hire me because I was overqualified! So I had to rely on chainmaille, a hobby I had taken up to pass the time while my computer rendered frame upon frame of animation, to keep us afloat. Luckily I soon realized that I loved making real things as opposed to working in 3D graphics, and now I couldn't be happier.

  • meshedesigns

    meshedesigns said 10 years ago

    Thanks i found some really helpful advice I am really taking my time putting together a plan for my future business in selling on etsy. YOur Inspiring!!

  • Patsysbeads

    Patsysbeads said 10 years ago

    What fun. I love your pieces.

  • warmandhappy

    warmandhappy said 10 years ago

    This is probably one of the best "Quit your Day Job"s I've read so far! Truly inspiring. Never be afraid of failure- just pick yourself up and remind yourself who you really are!

  • cleobelle

    cleobelle said 10 years ago

    Such a brilliant story and wonderful work!

  • pixiecampbell

    pixiecampbell said 10 years ago

    i love this story-so much of it resonates with me. i am not an etsy seller yet, but what i love most about this is that you just took action without creating many obstacles for yourself to get in the way of your creativity and productivity. thank you for inspiring! pixie

  • blackbird72

    blackbird72 said 10 years ago

    surly: i am soo happy for your success! i remember the art coalition and i was seriously trying to figure out how to do it and create new art at the time. we may have talked too :) congrats! i'm in n.j. now with my family, but still consider myself an honorary CCCOE member :)

  • OnceAgainDesigns

    OnceAgainDesigns said 10 years ago

    Very inspiring!!

  • TalkingHeathersHemp

    TalkingHeathersHemp said 10 years ago

    Wow- Lovely work. Why didn't i think of doing that before! :-)

  • pebblewear

    pebblewear said 10 years ago

    your work ethic is inspiring. live your dream--dream your life

  • realmind27

    realmind27 said 10 years ago

    beautiful, amazing work all i can say is wow..great job..:)

  • Tepuisjewelrys

    Tepuisjewelrys said 10 years ago

    Way to go cool...

  • hipclothing

    hipclothing said 10 years ago

    i love your story Amy. congrats!

  • kissthepotter

    kissthepotter said 10 years ago

    I am new to the Etsy family and it great to hear of your success. Thank you for taking the time to share. One of my favorite quotes is: "If success turns your head, you're looking in the wrong direction." It looks like you are most definately looking in the right direction. Congratulations!

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