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Quit Your Day Job: thedreamygiraffe

Dec 1, 2008

by Mary Andrews

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Kathy, the one woman powerhouse behind thedreamygiraffe, quit her day job without really having a plan B.  While living off of the savings she had in mind for a down payment on a house, she discovered that her paintings were a way to bring in additional income while doing what she loved.  Not too long after that, she found Etsy as a platform to showcase her work and realized she wouldn’t need to return to a conventional day job to stay on her feet.

Your full time selling experience on Etsy is what some may consider “backwards”. Can you give us a little back story on how you found your success on Etsy to empower your full time art career?
My story is indeed a bit backwards! Most of the time, you hear about people working 9 to 5s and growing their businesses slowly but steadily in the afternoons and on weekends until one day, maybe even years later, they’re successful enough can say “I quit!” and walk away from their day job.  My story actually began with “I quit”…and at the time, I really had no intentions of making a living as an artist.  First, I have to explain that I am not a girl who flies by the seat of her pants. I am not Miss Spontaneous. I am a girl who like to have a Plan C in case Plan B doesn’t cut it.

I worked as a legal assistant at a law firm and though I’d once really liked my job, over time I’d become completely miserable there. The phrase “emotional basket case” probably wouldn’t be too much of a exaggeration.  One day, in August of 2005, my boss and I had been having a conversation and he said, “I think that’s it, unless you have anything to add?” And I knew, at that moment, I couldn’t be there for another minute and I found myself saying that I did have something to add and when he asked what it was, I said, “I quit.”

I had no Plan C. No Plan B. I actually was a bit in shock, I think: I just quit my job. Oh, my goodness: I just quit my job.  Somehow, in life, things tend to happen just when they’re supposed to, though, and I can honestly say, had I not quit at a different time, things would’ve been totally different. Had I quit two months earlier or six months later, I probably would’ve, after saying “I quit”, immediately spiffed up my resume, sent it out to a dozen potential employers, and right now, at 6:30 a.m. on a Monday morning, I’d be getting ready to go in for another week at the office.  But, when I quit, my sister, who lives two and a half hours away, happened to be very pregnant. So, I decided to take a two week vacation and put off job-hunting until after my first niece was born in September.  While waiting for Kaylee to arrive, I discovered little collectible works of art called ACEOs (Art Cards Editions & Originals) being created and sold on an auction site. ACEOs were hugely popular at the time and some people were selling these 2.5″ x 3.5″ pieces for a hundred dollars or more each. So, I bought a set of Prismacolor colored pencils and did a few ACEOs. And then a few more. And I put them up for sale…and people bid! People were willing to pay me for them!

After Kaylee’s birth, my sister had some complications and I didn’t have a day job to hurry back to, so I was able to be there for her and that meant so much to me. I loved that freedom and wasn’t ready to give it up yet. So I decided, hey, I’ve made a little bit of money selling ACEOs. Maybe I could try selling my other art, too.  This whole new world that I hadn’t even realized was possible — wait, people can actually make a living as artists?!?! — appeared. And I wanted to explore it. I didn’t want to close the door on it.  So, I decided I’d give it four months or so, until the first of the year, and see what happened. And, of course, four months passed, and I couldn’t give up yet, so I decided to give it a couple more.  Though Etsy actually was launched about the same time I quit my day job, it was almost a full year, June of 2006, before I discovered Etsy and it was definitely a turning point for me. Before Etsy, I was floundering and grasping at straws. I honestly didn’t have much of a clue what I was doing. But I was determined that somehow I was going to make this work. Without Etsy, that wouldn’t have happened.

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Did you have savings? How were you doing financially?
I was preparing, but a career as an artist was not what I was preparing for. I was very, very fortunate that I had been very frugal while working that “real job”. I was actually scrimping and squirreling away every cent to be able to buy a house one day. When I first started, I truly had no income coming in. I’m single, so it was just me, the sole breadwinner — and I wasn’t winning much bread!  The first two years, I mostly lived off my savings account. I decided to trade in my dream of that little house with a white picket fence for something else, for this. To be able to do what I love for a living. And it was worth it. I look at it this way: I could possibly maybe be a homeowner by now. But I’d be living in that house truly unhappy. It’ll be a long while now before I can buy that house…but, though I may not own it, I have a roof over my head and I’m happy.

How long were you selling on Etsy before you realized you would not need to go back to a day job?
I was actually selling on Etsy a year before my sales became regular and consistent enough where it went from “I’m going to make this work” to “Hey, wait a minute…This IS working.” It would’ve happened a lot quicker for me, I think, but I was under the same assumption I see a lot of new sellers making: That all you have to do is list it and people will buy it. You just make art and it’ll sell! Wheee!

Once I realized that there’s a lot more to it than that, that the sales don’t just come rolling in…once I started doing more than just making the art and sitting back and waiting…then things started happening.  I’d been having to make a trip at the end of every month to the bank, to transfer money from my savings account to my checking, to pay the next month’s bills. I kept saying my ultimate goal would be to NOT have to make that trip anymore, to finally, actually make the money each month to pay for the next month’s bills without having to dip into my savings account. And it took a while…but I got to that point!

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy busines? What’s you’re best marketing tip?
Honestly, from November of 2006 to August of this year, renewing multiple times a day was what worked best for me and it was pretty much the only promotion I did. However, that’s become an ineffective strategy for me recently. I think it’s still a valuable tool, to keep your shop fresh and from being at the bottom of search results, but it no longer garners the additional views it once did.  Since renewing isn’t working as well as it used to, I’m in the process of revamping my marketing strategies and finding what will work best for me now…but my best marketing tip is to find what works for YOU. Not every promotional tool will be effective for every shop.  It disheartens me when I see people say “This absolutely doesn’t work!” or “This absolutely will work!”, because I hate to see people not try things that might work for them just because they didn’t work for someone else — or be disappointed that something didn’t work for them just because it DID work for someone else.  You have to find what works for you and keep in mind that just because something once worked for you, doesn’t mean it always will. So you have to be flexible, willing to try new things, and ready to dust yourself off and get up and get going again after you take a tumble, so to speak.

What have you found to be unsuccessful promotion or something that’s just not working for your shop?
Personally, any marketing that’s not targeted isn’t going to be effective. For instance, I could friend 1000 people on MySpace. But 980 of them might not be at all interested in paintings of cute big-eyed girls. You have to know your market, and find it. For me, the most unsuccessful promotion is putting your eggs in too many baskets. I know, I know: The most common advice is to not put your eggs in one basket. But I think there’s also a danger of going to the other extreme. It’s better, I think, to have focused marketing than to spread yourself too thin. Creating an account at 1000 different social networks isn’t going to get you very far if you don’t spend time actually using any of them because you’re so busy creating a profile and moving on to the next hot spot. (See our Seller Handbook how-to on social networking for more help on this.)

Would you walk us through what a typical workday might entail being your own boss?
Oh, I wish I had a typical day and I envy people who can stick to a schedule, because it’s so hard for me to do so consistently.  But here’s the order I aim to follow as much as possible:

  • I get up at 5 am everyday. I’m not a night owl. I’m only 31, but I’ve always been a bit of an old lady at heart when it comes to sleep. 11pm is a late night for me.
  • I answer e-mails and Conversations and leave feedback first thing.
  • Then, on an ideal day, I spend the morning marketing and the afternoon painting. I ship twice a week, usually on Tuesdays and Fridays. I used to ship everyday, but it just wasn’t time-effective for me, since I live out in the country and have to drive a good distance to the post office. I do try to actually get orders packaged as they come in, so I don’t get overwhelmed.
  • Balance is a bit of an issue for me. If I’m not mindful, I could spend days and days painting and then realize, hey, wait a second, I haven’t updated my blog in two weeks. Or get really into marketing and realize: Okay, I’ve not picked up a paintbrush in five days. So I work best when I have a set list of things that need to be done, and do them one at a time, varying it up, so I make sure I don’t neglect anything. Sometimes, I even set a timer to keep from taking longer than I’d intended to on one particular task.

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What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? Is there anything you miss?
Kaylee is so special to me. From the moment I found out my sister was going to have a baby, it was super important to me not to be what I call a “Christmas aunt.” I didn’t want to be someone she just saw on the major holidays and got a card from on her birthday.  Getting to do my art for a living will always have a bit of an extra meaning because this amazing adventure began at the same time she came into the world. Even though she lives in another state and I don’t get to see her every day, I’ve been able to be there for her first word, her first steps, and so many other things I would’ve missed out on if I had a day job. That’s my number one favorite thing.

Aside from that, I enjoy just about EVERYTHING about not having a day job: I get to do what I truly love everyday. Work is fun. I’m able to spend each day being creative. The supplies! I actually get e-mails from people telling me that my work makes them happy. I have had the opportunity to send my work to places like Finland and Australia. I don’t need anyone’s permission to take a sick day, if I need one. I can stay in my pajamas all day if I want to. I could go on for days. There’s so much I love about it!

What do I miss about having a day job? I miss getting to spend all day with the wonderful women who started out as co-workers but became some of my closest friends.  And, of course, I miss the steady paycheck.

If you could go back in time before you took the plunge, what advice would you give yourself knowing what you know now? What would you tell someone else?
Don’t expect to make regular and consistent sales overnight. Don’t expect it to be easy. And please, please don’t let yourself get discouraged by falling into the trap of comparing your success to that of others. Everyone has different circumstances and each individual’s level of success is dependent on so very many behind the scenes factors you just can’t know by merely peeking at their numbers.

I’d tell them the above, but I’d add: Read the Dos and Don’ts. Read every bit of advice you can find on the forums. Become familiar with the site and its rules. Buy something so you actually know the process your buyers will go through. Do not wait until your first sale to figure out what to do after you make a sale. Research. Google. Find out all the licenses you will need and local laws you must adhere to for having a small home-based business. Don’t wait until April 15th to figure out tax stuff. Everything can seem so scary and overwhelming…but just make a list of the things you need to do, do one thing at a time, and don’t give up.

How’s it going so far? Are you supporting yourself?
It took three years, but this summer I finally got to the point of making monthly what I made at my last “real job” as a legal assistant. That was a huge accomplishment for me, so I’d say it’s going pretty well! Of course, this income is divided a bit differently, since quite a bit of it goes back into the business, so I don’t have free spending money the way I did while at my “real job.” But there’s also the fact that, at that “real job,” the salary was set. In that world, I’d get raises here and there, but still, my earning potential was kind of limited. There was a definite ceiling: This is as high as you go. Here, in this world of being your own boss, though it’s difficult at first and there will be struggles and you DO have to spend money to make money — you also have to see that, if you’re willing to work hard and not give up — those limits aren’t there.

In 2008, I’ve doubled the sales figures I had in 2007. In 2009, I’d love to double the sales figures I made in 2008. And it’s possible. At a law firm, I could work hard, but at the end of the day, no matter how hard I worked, there’s no way I’d double my salary from one year to the next.  I think it’s important to give a realistic account of just what it means to be self-employed, to have your own business, to “quit your day job,” so in all honesty, this fall, I have experienced a bit of a disheartening slump. I went from one of the best months ever to one of the worst months ever without changing anything I did. But that’s a very valuable lesson to learn, something to keep in the back of your head: no matter how far you come, no matter how your business grows, there will always be ups and downs. You just have to remember both sides of that. You have to remember in down times that an up will follow. And when you’re in an upswing, you have to remember to be prepared for the lean times, too.

I can pay my bills (including health insurance). I’m able to buy what I need. Do I still have to count every penny? Yes. There aren’t many luxuries — when I splurge it’s usually handmade soap from a shop here! But I’m better off now than I was last fall. And I plan to keep going, keep pushing, keep learning and try, try again-ing. And hopefully, next fall, I’ll be saying: I’m better off now than I was last fall.

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What other goals do you wish to accomplish in the coming year for your Etsy business?
Long term, I’d love nothing more than to completely diversify my product line. I absolutely adore painting, but I also want to be able to, in the future, offer everything from handmade cards to limited edition storybooks and zines to art dolls and softies. I truly can’t think of a creative medium I don’t want to try! Of course, there are only so many hours in the day and I’m a one-woman show, so I’d have to say if I could only accomplish one thing in the upcoming year, it’d be, on December 31, 2009, for a buyer to stumble upon my shop and see just as many paintings of little boys as little girls, and to have each ethnicity and skin color in the world fully represented. It’s so easy, as an artist, to paint yourself, to have your work be sort of be self-portraits…but the most awesome words I hear are when someone sends a Conversation to say, “Oh, my goodness! This little girl looks just like me/my sister/my best friend.” I want anyone and everyone to peek at The Dreamy Giraffe Collection and see a little girl who looks just like them, their sister, their best friend. I want moms of l’il boys to have cute art for their sons’ rooms, too!

Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I think I’ve been long-winded enough, but I would like to thank all of the people who helped me get to this point. My mom (who is the Official Dreamy Consultant For All Things That Need Consulting) and the rest of my family, my friends, everyone who has purchased from my shop, each person who sent a kind convo or e-mail, Etsians (especially JennaAppleton, Stilettoheights, & littleput) who were so generous with tips and advice when I asked, and of course, the guys who created Etsy. I am a one-woman business — but I certainly couldn’t have done this alone.

Thanks to Kathy 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.

This Is A Print Of A Girl Who Is All Packed Up With No Place To Go
This Is A Print Of A Girl Who Is All Packed Up With No Place To Go
Sold
This Is A Print Of A Redhead Dreaming Big
This Is A Print Of A Redhead Dreaming Big
Sold
She Was On Pins And Needles (Original Painting)
She Was On Pins And Needles (Original Painting)
Sold
This Is A(nother) Print Of Peanut Butter Girl and Jelly Bean
This Is A(nother) Print Of Peanut Butter Girl and Jelly Bean
Sold
This Is A Print Of A VERY Girly Superhero
This Is A Print Of A VERY Girly Superhero
Sold
This Is A Print Of A Nutty Superhero And Her Jelly-Bellied Sidekick
This Is A Print Of A Nutty Superhero And Her Jelly-Bellied Sidekick
Sold

171 comments

  • stilettoheights

    stilettoheights said 11 years ago

    I love KJ!!!! I am so excited read this, she is fabulous in every way!

  • MichelleStudio

    MichelleStudio said 11 years ago

    I want to do that, too.

  • dogties

    dogties said 11 years ago

    Congrats.... We love your Art! Great article too.

  • quirkybags

    quirkybags said 11 years ago

    It's fun to put a real face with all of your other faces!

  • KiraFerrer

    KiraFerrer said 11 years ago

    What a great article! Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Kathy!

  • BeadsInTheBelfry

    BeadsInTheBelfry said 11 years ago

    woot! woot!

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 11 years ago

    congrats - what a sweet shop and the little girl is adorable...scrolling back up to read more...

  • Monarchdancer

    Monarchdancer said 11 years ago

    You are as adorable and beautiful as your art :) I really enjoyed reading about you!!

  • JustFeltHungry

    JustFeltHungry said 11 years ago

    Dreamy story! Congrats!

  • SoooMe

    SoooMe said 11 years ago

    I love seeing and reading about the lady behind that dreamy-eyed girl. Congrats on your success.

  • LJNixonartist

    LJNixonartist said 11 years ago

    Wow! I enjoyed reading about your good experience. I hope to be able to leave my jog sometime in the immediate future. You have given me inspiration.

  • craftgasm

    craftgasm said 11 years ago

    Such cute paintings, and such lucky timing with getting out of a day job! I'm glad you were smart enough to take advantage of the timing when it came along. :)

  • Krystyna81

    Krystyna81 said 11 years ago

    oh what a good article! I hope everyone listens to her wonderful advice. I LOVE the part about doubling her sales!!! And she's right - the return for your effort here making and selling your passion is so much more rewarding than what you get busting yourself up at an office or retail job...thanks for the positive article!

  • justaddcharm

    justaddcharm said 11 years ago

    I've loved your work since I first laid eyes on it. Thanks for an inspiring story, may your success continue!

  • christinececelia

    christinececelia said 11 years ago

    GREAT STORY!!!! and I love your pictures- there beautiful! :)

  • TheSingingBird

    TheSingingBird said 11 years ago

    this is really inspiring, thank you!

  • anda Admin

    anda said 11 years ago

    Great article! I agree, it's great to put a face to the art! :)

  • barkingbirdart

    barkingbirdart said 11 years ago

    So fun to see the face behind the dreamy giraffe. Congrats!

  • janicej

    janicej said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing! Congrats on your success!

  • stellaloella Admin

    stellaloella said 11 years ago

    Yay, KJ!

  • Recy

    Recy said 11 years ago

    Such an awesome article! You rock!!

  • TheBrassHussy

    TheBrassHussy said 11 years ago

    yea dreamygiraffe! Your story and your art rock!

  • westcorinthstudio

    westcorinthstudio said 11 years ago

    How nice to meet the real the dreamygiraffe!

  • gorjuss

    gorjuss said 11 years ago

    yay - so lovely to hear your story !!!

  • willywaw

    willywaw said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your story and your realistic thoughts on working doing what you love. I appreciate the encouragement! Cheers!

  • krisybird

    krisybird said 11 years ago

    Fabulous article! I printed it out to show my hubby when I'm ready to 'quit'!! Thanks so much for the inspiration and advice!

  • happywhosits

    happywhosits said 11 years ago

    Another great "quit your day job" story. Each one is unique, but all are inspiring! Eileen...

  • teepetals

    teepetals said 11 years ago

    I love the dreamygiraffe!!!!!!

  • devancarol

    devancarol said 11 years ago

    Awesome article!

  • KreatedbyKelly

    KreatedbyKelly said 11 years ago

    Ohhh Dreamy!! I love your story!! Thanks for sharing it with us!!

  • weeLUXURIES

    weeLUXURIES said 11 years ago

    What an inspiration! I'm actually a little teary eyed! I've been a secret admirer for some time and what a DELIGHT to read about your story! Thank you very much!

  • MechelleDesigns

    MechelleDesigns said 11 years ago

    Your an inspiration dreamy!

  • sassmama

    sassmama said 11 years ago

    Thank you for the advice... I guess the key is to not give up! Love your paintings.

  • ArtMind

    ArtMind said 11 years ago

    O boy, this is super inspiring! I'm so glad things worked out for you in the end - it must have been a shock not having a plan B at first. But look where you have come now... congrats to a strong woman! :)

  • myzoetrope

    myzoetrope said 11 years ago

    What an inspiring article. I heart The Dreamy Giraffe!

  • yaelfran

    yaelfran said 11 years ago

    amazing artist

  • jamieribisi

    jamieribisi said 11 years ago

    Congrats!!!!!

  • nfall2rt

    nfall2rt said 11 years ago

    very inspirational. Great to know there are so many etsians out there living off of just their art!

  • walkingwardrobe

    walkingwardrobe said 11 years ago

    Great story and very inspiring. Many thanks! Wish you more success to come :)

  • mksupplies

    mksupplies said 11 years ago

    I love the dreamygiraffe artwork! This was one of my favorite quit your day job interviews! Thanks for sharing!

  • PiroTheFire

    PiroTheFire said 11 years ago

    I find your art very charming and this is one of the most inspiring stories I have read here

  • chachingck

    chachingck said 11 years ago

    You are my inspiration!!

  • hypnoticjewels

    hypnoticjewels said 11 years ago

    thank you for your honesty and for the advice that there really is no "one size fits all" approach for any aspect of running a small business.. the advice is so very much appreciated.. good luck and happy holidays!!

  • jazjewelz

    jazjewelz said 11 years ago

    dreamygiraffe is soo cute! Congrats!

  • froydis

    froydis said 11 years ago

    This is so great! I've had the Dreamy Giraffe in my favorites for about 2 years now! Her items are wonderful, and Im so glad to see her get this kind of recognition!

  • Lirola

    Lirola said 11 years ago

    Such amazing talent! wonderful paintings

  • strawberryluna

    strawberryluna said 11 years ago

    SO awesome and well deserved. Congratulations lady!

  • obiobi

    obiobi said 11 years ago

    oh, I loved this interview, she is so sweet

  • loisellen

    loisellen said 11 years ago

    What a great interview! I am so inspired I think I might just leave my day job a little early this afternoon for some crafting time : )

  • LushPunk

    LushPunk said 11 years ago

    Fantastic story, thanks so much for sharing it! I love that you just up and quit your job... I would love to do that! One day... :D

  • BelleReverb

    BelleReverb said 11 years ago

    I love this! Thanks for making me believe that it can happen if you keep working hard at it! Such cute paintings and brilliant advice.

  • ArtByShameka

    ArtByShameka said 11 years ago

    DANGEROUSLY inspiring!

  • jascamille

    jascamille said 11 years ago

    Truly inspiring!

  • LexyArt

    LexyArt said 11 years ago

    ok, I've said this before, but this is my favourite "Quit Your Day Job" article yet! Especially since in just 3 days, I'll be out on my own too! I love to read something so positive.

  • EJPcreations

    EJPcreations said 11 years ago

    So inspiring esp today. Thank you for the story!!!

  • littleredbear

    littleredbear said 11 years ago

    so sweet!!

  • matouenpeluche

    matouenpeluche said 11 years ago

    WOW! What a terrific story!

  • alienfreaksd

    alienfreaksd said 11 years ago

    It must be great to be able to craft for a living. For me, it's still just a dream. :)

  • poppylane

    poppylane said 11 years ago

    Hi Kathy ~ it's been an absolute pleasure reading your interview. You are a huge inspiration and a wonderful fellow Etsy seller. Congratulations to you on all you have achieved thus far, and may you continue to achieve all you wish for.

  • madeinlowell

    madeinlowell said 11 years ago

    You are so wonderful at expressing your experience, I noticed you on the forums for the fair and reasonable way you handle everything and this interview just confirms what a neat person you are, congratulations!

  • EmpyreanStudios

    EmpyreanStudios said 11 years ago

    Thanks for this, lends some support to those who are told it can't be done! Congrats!

  • VedaArts

    VedaArts said 11 years ago

    Kathy, You are my mentor! Love Brooke

  • theseawithin

    theseawithin said 11 years ago

    Wonderful article!

  • jelene

    jelene said 11 years ago

    awesome!! lovely article!! :)

  • Quiltngbug

    Quiltngbug said 11 years ago

    Great story of how you got started. Your advice on getting started and about not get discouraged are very true. Good Luck in your art !

  • aisle3studio

    aisle3studio said 11 years ago

    great article! the paintings are so cute too

  • ModFarmgirl

    ModFarmgirl said 11 years ago

    Congratulations, Kathy! I'm so happy for you! Your story gives me tingles, you are very inspiring!! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • psychedelictara

    psychedelictara said 11 years ago

    Wow! I was truly inspired to read this. The artwork is so endearing, and really touches me deeply. Thanks so much for the article!

  • RabbitHoleArt

    RabbitHoleArt said 11 years ago

    Adorable art! Congratulations, Kathy!

  • kaze0no0nemui

    kaze0no0nemui said 11 years ago

    i love this interview...and your work is gorgeous!

  • riskybeads

    riskybeads said 11 years ago

    awesome interview. I had a blech day and now I feel much better about it!!

  • AllChic

    AllChic said 11 years ago

    You are an inspiration. What wonderful artwork!

  • juicychristians

    juicychristians said 11 years ago

    I really really love this story because I LOVE your shop and I visit everyday!!!! Congrats and I wish you the best of luck!

  • turtlepapers

    turtlepapers said 11 years ago

    i love your inspirational story and beautiful artwork.

  • talchen

    talchen said 11 years ago

    What a story! Beautiful art.

  • NanaHuang

    NanaHuang said 11 years ago

    It's always great to read wonderful articles/stories of Etsians successes. I have been researching for jobs online and nothing really seemed to appeal to me. This article sure caught my attention and makes you think twice! Wonderful and What Great Artist you are Kathy! You are truly an inspiration!

  • kmwatkins

    kmwatkins said 11 years ago

    Cool Artwork! Great article too.

  • BrazanDesign

    BrazanDesign said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story and advice. I'll be taking the plunge myself this summer. Keep it up!

  • AikoArt

    AikoArt said 11 years ago

    Beautiful work. I enjoyed your honesty. It is appreciated that, it's not all roses all of the time but Optimism does prevail! Thanks for sharing! Much Success to you!

  • BACLORI

    BACLORI said 11 years ago

    Just lovely! What a pleasant reminder of how lucky we are to be able to do something we love as "work". Thank you so much for sharing!

  • MaggiesAtelier

    MaggiesAtelier said 11 years ago

    A very inspiring story. Thanks!

  • Amberlly

    Amberlly said 11 years ago

    I love this article. Thanks for sharing.

  • swellvintage

    swellvintage said 11 years ago

    So brave! Very inspiring x

  • vixigirl

    vixigirl said 11 years ago

    You truly are an inspiration. I love your paintings, love your style and just love your Etsy story. Thank you for sharing it.

  • ShapeYourWorld

    ShapeYourWorld said 11 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing your story. Great tips too. I love your paintings.

  • dottyral

    dottyral said 11 years ago

    Dreamy!!! Yay. This was fabulous! Congrats!

  • BeeDazzlesGifts

    BeeDazzlesGifts said 11 years ago

    Awesome story!! You GO, girl!! :)

  • realisationcreations

    realisationcreations said 11 years ago

    So thrilled for you! So very very deserved! xoxo

  • bigetan880410

    bigetan880410 said 11 years ago

    i love ur paiting..

  • FlanneryCrane

    FlanneryCrane said 11 years ago

    Continued Success to you! Your work is very beautiful!

  • shopitsybitsy

    shopitsybitsy said 11 years ago

    great story, congratulations! i am truly inspired and hope one day to be just as successful!

  • DeborahVoizin

    DeborahVoizin said 11 years ago

    Congrats to YOU! I will Keep Dreaming BIG! So Inspiring!

  • funktionslust

    funktionslust said 11 years ago

    Neat to hear a story of someone who "quit" before having a plan C or B! Makes me tempted to walk out the door right now! :)

  • ArtWhims

    ArtWhims said 11 years ago

    Congrats!!! You're paintings are great!

  • neosewmama

    neosewmama said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring. Been waiting for a story like yours. Thanks for sharing!

  • twocreativechicks

    twocreativechicks said 11 years ago

    you absolutely rock, KJ!!!! Love your stuff!

  • idecastro

    idecastro said 11 years ago

    Kathy's picutres are amazing! I have 4 in my office - displayed to tell a story, and have bought 4 others that I gave as gifts. She is wonderful to work with!

  • saranorris

    saranorris said 11 years ago

    Congratulations on your success! Your paintings are so great! I can't wait until the day when I can quit my job!

  • unconventionalida

    unconventionalida said 11 years ago

    What a wonderful interview~ Congratulations!!

  • andymathis

    andymathis said 11 years ago

    Congratulations- You really, REALLY should be licensing and publishing your work.

  • stefanivance

    stefanivance said 11 years ago

    So nice to finally put a face to the beautiful illustrations! Congrats, and continued success!!!

  • craftedbyteri

    craftedbyteri said 11 years ago

    Such an inspiring and informative article. Thanks.

  • WillowCrafts

    WillowCrafts said 11 years ago

    I opened my shop recently and it's so good to read what you wrote. Gives me the hope I need to keep doing my little things so someday I can quit too! :) Thanks!!

  • jcjewelrydesign

    jcjewelrydesign said 11 years ago

    I always admired your work...I am so glad I finally get to see the "artist" behind this awesome art!! Very inspiring!

  • harmonyvanlue

    harmonyvanlue said 11 years ago

    This article was really really inspiring. Thank you so much!

  • ElegantSnobbery

    ElegantSnobbery said 11 years ago

    YAY for you, KJ!! You already know that you are my #1 Etsy inspiration! Good luck as you continue to paint and build your business!

  • bagladiesinpa

    bagladiesinpa said 11 years ago

    A truly wonderful and inspiring story of a fabulous artist! Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  • CraftyAllSorts

    CraftyAllSorts said 11 years ago

    Totally Awesome!! The interview, the artist & her art ... very good :)

  • Bransfans

    Bransfans said 11 years ago

    Great article it keeps me going!!!!!

  • HaydenJ

    HaydenJ said 11 years ago

    I really enjoyed this one... thanks.

  • bluestarbutterflies

    bluestarbutterflies said 11 years ago

    Thank you for sharing and congrats on your success!

  • Lundberg

    Lundberg said 11 years ago

    Hey this is great... funny thing though.. I always imagined the dreamygiraffe had super long hair and giant glasses.. and I don't know why. :)

  • michellekeller

    michellekeller said 11 years ago

    Great article!

  • bobbinalong

    bobbinalong said 11 years ago

    A very inspiring article, Thedreamygiraffe and MaryMary. Very uplifting, very promising to all Etsy shopowners.

  • thedreamygiraffe

    thedreamygiraffe said 11 years ago

    I don't know what the proper etiquette is insofar as the "quitter" commenting, but I just wanted to thank everyone for their super sweet words! I've read (and blushed over) every one! P.S. to Lundberg -- I don't wear giant glasses but I do have super duper industrial strength contacts that serve a similar purpose...and my hair would be super long if I had the patience for growing it out! ;)

  • StephanieFizer

    StephanieFizer said 11 years ago

    I've been following thedreamygiraffe since she stumbled onto Etsy a couple of yours ago and I"m so very proud that she is finally "making it!" Congrats to you!

  • risabeads

    risabeads said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's very encouraging!

  • shamila

    shamila said 11 years ago

    you really do lovely work. So dreamy and just so cute!

  • southernladysvintage

    southernladysvintage said 11 years ago

    Great story! Thanks for the inspiration! Love your work!

  • michelemaule

    michelemaule said 11 years ago

    Inspiring! Great story! Thanks so much for sharing. You really gave me some hope :)

  • peaseblossomstudio

    peaseblossomstudio said 11 years ago

    Thanks so much for the inspiration dreamy! Now I feel like working a little bit harder! :-)

  • soap

    soap said 11 years ago

    Congrats!!!! :)

  • analoukopoulos

    analoukopoulos said 11 years ago

    Love your paintings adorable.... congrats!!!!

  • FluteTeacher

    FluteTeacher said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It is quite encouraging.

  • bellacruz

    bellacruz said 11 years ago

    and here I would have sworn you'd have huge dreamy eyes:)! Great experience and thanks for sharing. I especially liked your thoughts on promotions that work/don't work for you working/not working for someone else. And being focused with marketing attempts. Sometimes I feel all over the place too! Thanks and best wishes dreamy.

  • BluCille

    BluCille said 11 years ago

    Wow. Another brave one takes the plunge!

  • simpledream2

    simpledream2 said 11 years ago

    It's 1:00am and I just turned the lights out in my sewing room. I worked on a couple more projects this evening (after spending a full day at my day job) and decided to check Etsy one more time for a "Quit your Day Job" story for inspiration to get me thru another day at my "day job" tomorrow, actually later today. Thank you, Lisa

  • simplywillow

    simplywillow said 11 years ago

    Great story! What an inspiration.... I so desperately need to just walk in to my boss' office and do just what you did. I am emotionally and physically drained.... these "Quit your Day Job" stories give me hope that one day i can leave my day job

  • scrapbookcompleted

    scrapbookcompleted said 11 years ago

    Congrats on being featured in the "Quit Your Day Job" Storque article - very encouraging and real. Yesterday my day job turned into an "on call" job (I work in an admin position in a construction office -- not the best place to be in this economy). In other words, I don't have a job and now have extra time to post my crafts on Etsy. There's no time like the present! Thanks for inspiring me! I love your paintings! I wish you would make a series of greeting cards! Let me know if you ever do! Keep up the good work!!!

  • laurabrownart

    laurabrownart said 11 years ago

    i love this series, but this interview is one of my favorites. it is good to hear about someone who is single and making it--sometimes i feel like everyone has a husband/manfriend/partner to back them up, but this is really encouraging for me as i am flying solo. thank you!

  • kilsook

    kilsook said 11 years ago

    as someone who is just getting started with an etsy shop, i found this interview to be very helpful and encouraging. thank you.

  • kilsook

    kilsook said 11 years ago

    as someone who is just getting started with an etsy shop, i found this interview to be very helpful and encouraging. thank you and congrats on the feature.

  • kilsook

    kilsook said 11 years ago

    do you see how new i am at this? i just tried to edit and instead entered it again. nice.

  • glorygifts

    glorygifts said 11 years ago

    Great artwork! I love the Big Eyes! :) Congratulations for finding your "dream job"!:)

  • 1920

    1920 said 11 years ago

    I'm so moved by this story. I wish I was that brave to quit my day job, but this story relly encouraged me. Thank you!

  • Timeless

    Timeless said 11 years ago

    I love your work and I love seeing the face behind your beautiful girls (and boys, and animals). You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  • alankarshilpa

    alankarshilpa said 11 years ago

    Your paintings are beautiful, so is the spirit of the artist behind those doe-eye girls in your paintings. Your story inspires me as a new etsy entrepreneur. I like your advise -one, not to make a thousand baskets to keep the nest eggs and two- not to compare your self with others. It's true your doe eye girls, though unique are also universal, they can be found in any ethnicity.With all the best- Dita.

  • rifferaff

    rifferaff said 11 years ago

    what a great interview with real, common sense advice from someone who has been there herself. congrats kj and thank you!

  • ScrappyDees

    ScrappyDees said 11 years ago

    You are a great inspiration, thanks for sharing your story. DJ

  • cicadastudio

    cicadastudio said 11 years ago

    Wonderful interview. Congratulations on all your well deserved success!

  • emilybetti

    emilybetti said 11 years ago

    Very inspiring. Love your work!!!

  • urbanheirlooms

    urbanheirlooms said 11 years ago

    Bravo!!!

  • lesleecreighton

    lesleecreighton said 11 years ago

    Lovely story! Thanks so much for sharing!

  • earthsouljar

    earthsouljar said 11 years ago

    I've read a few of the quit your day job articles, and I just think it's awesome for you (and all the other moms, dads, aunts, uncles,grandmothers, etc.) to be able to spend more time with their kids. It's so important to be a significant part of a little ones day, and I bet you're proud to say that you aren't just a christmas aunt! Good luck and keep up the awesome work! :D

  • Nafsika

    Nafsika said 11 years ago

    I wish i could do that!Great story and i love you work!Keep going!

  • Suesun

    Suesun said 11 years ago

    Your story is awesome and so inspiring..thank you so much for sharing it with us! I quit my full time job one month ago and I will do everything I can to let this new life working! It must work because I don't want to be overwhelmed by sadness, as I was before, and I don't want to be unsatisfied and frustrated 8 h a day again..

  • JeanygsStudio

    JeanygsStudio said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's very encouraging!

  • Jujie

    Jujie said 11 years ago

    amazing story.. thank you for sharing!

  • jewelsanddreams

    jewelsanddreams said 11 years ago

    This story was so inspiring to me - the best Quit Your Day Job story thus far! Your paintings really make me feel happy. I like to look at all of them. Thanks for this!

  • Midnightcreations

    Midnightcreations said 11 years ago

    What fun to read, thanks so much for sharing it all with us. Congrats!

  • IMeltGlass

    IMeltGlass said 11 years ago

    I have a friend who has tried to give me the same advice...be proactive, don't expect instant success. This is great advice.

  • imwithsully

    imwithsully said 11 years ago

    What a great article! The item about renewing may or may not be a good idea is something I never thought of.

  • CottageGardenTherapi

    CottageGardenTherapi said 11 years ago

    I loved you before, I love you even more now! Keep up the great work!

  • aprilfoss

    aprilfoss said 11 years ago

    I LOVE your work, as you know. I want so many of them. I have a little collection started:) It is nice to see a face behind the art. You have a great story! I wish you all the success!!!

  • sherrytruitt

    sherrytruitt said 11 years ago

    Kudos to you. A great, realistic article. Continued success.

  • adorebynat

    adorebynat said 11 years ago

    I love your store! Love the fact that you include in progress pictures. Congrats on your success! Very inspiring.

  • Leelinau

    Leelinau said 11 years ago

    Memorable work for sure. Great job! ^__^

  • waltersbeads

    waltersbeads said 11 years ago

    great job

  • dragonhouseofyuen

    dragonhouseofyuen said 11 years ago

    that's fantastic Kathy! - what a super interview! I also have to set a time limit when I do something, then move on to the next thing, so I get all my bits and pieces accomplished during the hours allocated. Good luck to your shop for 2009! Annette

  • FussyCrabbyCritters

    FussyCrabbyCritters said 11 years ago

    I love no plan b or c....I got layed off and happened to be to be looking on the web and happened on Etsy and fell in love with it. You are an inspiration...

  • UnamourdeLilise

    UnamourdeLilise said 11 years ago

    Très belles ces petites "poupées"

  • Sylf

    Sylf said 11 years ago

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's very inspiring and couraging! I wish you a lot of success in 2009! Sylvie

  • BlueSeaBlue

    BlueSeaBlue said 11 years ago

    Thank you for your honesty and warmth!

  • Softpencil

    Softpencil said 11 years ago

    I love your art and your story! thanks for sharing ;)

  • thefemalefan

    thefemalefan said 11 years ago

    It's not that any of your art looks like me, it's that your story is like me! I had a very lucrative job and walked in my boss' office one day and quit...without a real plan. Didn't really know if I could be self-employed (and single!) and make it, but I'm doing okay so far. I just knew I didn't want to do THAT anymore. I love being in charge of my day, and I am a much, much nicer person without that environment that I hated (typical - loved the people, hated the job). You are right...this isn't always easy and it's very stressful (especially being single and having to deal with it all on your own). Many peanut butter sandwiches later, and I still do not regret my decision. Thanks for a great story!

  • MyJunkyTrunk

    MyJunkyTrunk said 11 years ago

    I must tell you that I was so inspired by your interview! There is such a vibrant, pure, organic energy about your art. I really enjoyed having a little glimpse into your journey, and I am grateful for all of the advice that you shared from your heart. I am 100% optimistic that very soon I will be able to fulfill my dream of becoming a successful full-time artist/entrepreneur. Reading stories like yours helps me to imagine what is possible. May God bless the work of your hands always! ~Unessalyn

  • bryankite

    bryankite said 11 years ago

    I am going to bed smiling after reading this, I hope to accomplish your optimism.

  • ShayGon

    ShayGon said 10 years ago

    I have only just read your interview and I feel so inspired. I quit my job two weeks ago. My circumstances were not as dramatic as yours but the "happy-what-are-you-doing?-happy" feeling is just as real! Thank you for sharing your experience. I wish you continuing success and life-long happiness in your journey. ~Melanie "Shay" LaRocque~

  • FurryTwang

    FurryTwang said 10 years ago

    I absolutely love this story and your art. Thanks for inspiring me(a newbie to Etsy). A lot of what you said reminded me of myself.

  • Tepuisjewelrys

    Tepuisjewelrys said 10 years ago

    Yes DREAM big is the anwser

  • ellesbeads

    ellesbeads said 9 years ago

    I just came across thedreamygiraffe this morning and she has really great work. This is such an inspirational story (and one I can understand being a paralegal myself).

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