Shop Etsy

Quit Your Day Job: thewren

Jul 14, 2008

by Mary Andrews handmade and vintage goods

I wanted to share the “Quit Your Day Job” story of Wendren from thewren with all of you, particularly because her story is a unique one.  Wendren lives in South Africa and worked a traditional day job before deciding to take the plunge.  She found herself preoccupied with thoughts about sewing and her dream for running her own business while at her day job and before signing up on Etsy, decided to quit working for others and start her own business here on Etsy, thewren.  She now enjoys waking up to check her email, walking her dogs at her leisure and canoeing.  Keep reading to take a peek behind Wendren’s business.

When you first started selling on Etsy, did you have dreams or goals of eventually quitting your day job?
Yes. It was always the goal — to be able to do what I love most and make a living out of it.

How long were you selling on Etsy and working your day job before deciding you were ready to switch over to Etsy full time?
My story is quite different: I quit my day job to sell on Etsy without the guarantee that it would work. I was selling my bags locally to friends and family and decided to jump in the deep end, quit my day job and give Etsy the best bash I could.

What made you decide to quit your day job?
Every day I could not wait to get home to sew. Every moment I was sitting at my desk at my day job I was dreaming about Wren and its possibilities. Working full-time and working Wren full-time was not possible. I was too passionate about Wren and it was all I thought about…and to not follow this passion was to live unhappily and a lie.

How did you know you were ready to take the plunge?
I didn’t know I was ready. All I knew was that I was not enjoying my day job (at all) and I needed to do something different. I did not feel I was living a life I wanted to live. I did not want to spend the majority of my day (and week) not doing something that I enjoyed or challenged me. Ultimately, I needed to do something else, and Etsy was that something else.

Did you do anything to prepare ahead of time before taking the plunge?
I saved (money), I wrote a brief business plan, I created a timeline, I wrote out my goals and the goals I wanted thewren to achieve and I tried to prepare myself mentally for the change.

What goals have you set for your Etsy business in the next few months and year?

I would like to move Wren out from my flat (and) have a studio to work from.

What are the most effective ways you have promoted and marketed your Etsy business?
By word of mouth, through blogs and through my own blog.  It is amazing what a bit of viral marketing does.  I have recently discovered forums and I think they are a great medium, too.

How’s it going so far? Are you getting by?
Yes and no. I am getting by with a bit of help from freelance work, but steadily Wren is growing and I believe that if I persevere through the beginning stages, it will get there.

Can you walk us through what a typical workday might entail now that you have quit your day job?
It is quite difficult to say what a typical workday is because every day is completely different (another great thing about quitting my monotonous day job). Generally, I get up and I cannot help but check my email first. I love seeing what has happened overnight. Then I have breakfast and wander back to my computer where I write the day’s post for my blog. Once this is done it is usually around 10 o’clock and I begin my ‘practical’ work. I haul out my fabrics and assemble a few bag stories. Then I head out to the Post Office to ship the previous day’s orders.  I then head back home to take photographs of new bags and upload them into my shop. On odd days I spend some time reading, journaling or playing with fabrics to develop new patterns or ideas. In the evenings I go canoeing as I have just taken this up competitively again. Then it’s supper time, more email and internet browsing, commenting and finally bed. That’s my day in a nutshell.

What do you enjoy most about not having a day job?
I feel as though I have my life back. If it is a beautiful day, I can take my dogs for a walk in the morning. I get to enjoy the sunshine now, I get to do what I love, what challenges me and I can experience the rewards. Every day feels like a gift I am enjoying fully now rather than wishing minutes away.

What piece of advice would you give someone thinking about taking the plunge to sell full time on Etsy?
It is not easy. Financially, it is a huge strain, but I think it is worth it in every way. I am happy now, even if I am more stressed.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Etsy has given me an opportunity to do what I love every day.

Thanks to Wendren for sharing her story and business with us!  Check out the gallery below to see some of her items and you can find some of our previous Quit Your Day Job posts here.

Evening Rose Cosmetic Bag
Evening Rose Cosmetic Bag
Sunflower-Yellow and Indigo Shweshwe Print Bag
Sunflower-Yellow and Indigo Shweshwe Print Bag
Paranya Designers Guild Bird Pouch
Paranya Designers Guild Bird Pouch


  • LieblingDesigns

    LieblingDesigns said 9 years ago

    What an inspiration! Good job and best of luck to you.

  • rafya

    rafya said 9 years ago

    I enjoy from this articles, very uniqe story. wish you a lot of success !

  • ElegantSnobbery

    ElegantSnobbery said 9 years ago

    Good for you!! Fabulous job!

  • PickalaPoopa

    PickalaPoopa said 9 years ago

    If you wake up in the morning and not looking forward to your day, then it's time for a change. It's a challenge, but I agree one worth taking. Best of luck to you thewren, beautiful work!

  • onmybum

    onmybum said 9 years ago

    I have wanted to start my own shop for awhile; thank you for the inspiration!

  • mindseyecards

    mindseyecards said 9 years ago

    If I had a nickel for everytime I thought of "what I might create when I get home" while at my day job...I would be very well off! I admire your passion and that will take you far.

  • shupg

    shupg said 9 years ago

    That's absolutely brilliant, well done and all the best! Having just left a full-time job myself last year, this is great inspiration for me, thank you!

  • OdditiesBoutique

    OdditiesBoutique said 9 years ago

    you are a true inspiration! it is my absolute goal to quit my day job and create to my little hearts desire! i will certainly keep your story in mind as a goal! thank you for sharing it with us!

  • classabags

    classabags said 9 years ago

    Good for you! Way to go! I'm glad you are so happy and wish you a lot of luck.

  • pishcota

    pishcota said 9 years ago

    Inspiration to keep going for it! Thanks! and I agree with you: "every day is completely different, another great thing about quitting my monotonous day job" !! u couldn't be more right! Good Luck Wendren!

  • emarie

    emarie said 9 years ago

    What a wonderful, inspiring article. Best of luck!

  • RaeGun

    RaeGun said 9 years ago

    love it! best wishes

  • winniel

    winniel said 9 years ago

    What an inspiration! Thanks for sharing :) & All the best always!

  • CositasSeriasVintage

    CositasSeriasVintage said 9 years ago

    i also quit my job and started selling etsy full time along with other freelance activities... i enjoyed your story... best of luck!!!

  • MariekUniek

    MariekUniek said 9 years ago

    I would love to quit my part-time job to spend more time creating and selling my work. But I guess I'm still a bit chicken to do so because my family counts on my bringing home a steady income. So I really must say I really admire those who dare to do so!

  • shinyblackshoes

    shinyblackshoes said 9 years ago

    That's great! Best of luck!

  • Mizdragonfly

    Mizdragonfly said 9 years ago

    Great story - thanks for sharing! I loved this part expecially: 'What do you enjoy most about not having a day job? I feel as though I have my life back. If it is a beautiful day, I can take my dogs for a walk in the morning. I get to enjoy the sunshine now, I get to do what I love, what challenges me and I can experience the rewards. Every day feels like a gift I am enjoying fully now rather than wishing minutes away'

  • claynfaye

    claynfaye said 9 years ago

    You are very brave and I admire you and wish you the best of luck. Your products are beautiful, especially your little bird purse the design is just ingenious. Thanks for sharing.

  • katelynjane

    katelynjane said 9 years ago

    I love these stories!! Good luck with everything Wendren, looks like you're working hard and accomplishing a lot!

  • bedknobsnbroomsticks

    bedknobsnbroomsticks said 9 years ago

    I LOVE these articles. It really give me hope that one day (hopefully soon) I can quit my day job.

  • junebird

    junebird said 9 years ago

    I was always curious about your process and background. Thanks for sharing Wendren!

  • knittydirtygirl

    knittydirtygirl said 9 years ago

    You are lovely! I totally know what you mean about the "Are you getting by? yes and no" That is a more accurate answer sometimes! Doing this full time is worth it, but it does not come without sacrifice. Congratulations! That is such a creative goal, to get an out of your flat studio, here is some inspiration for you: XOXO

  • stefanivance

    stefanivance said 9 years ago

    Thank you for sharing! I am the same way (day-vs-what-I-could-be-doing) but I have yet to leap! Hopefully I will see you soon on your side of the road! BTW... very creative work! Keep it up!

  • dorirhodes

    dorirhodes said 9 years ago

    Ha! I GOT a job to support my habit so I can quit later on! It was something going back to school full time at 52 AND teaching full time AND having had neck surgery. I spend those "free" summers in my studio as much as possible until the wee hours, thinking "ugh" September is almost here. You are awesome! Great story.

  • galimbj

    galimbj said 9 years ago

    Inspirational story! I'm sitting at my desk now wishing I was at home making more jewellery. My dream one ay it to quit my day job to. I'm not brave enough to do that yet & I'm still learing to photograph my work. But I have a little saying cut from my desk top calendar & I look at it everyday; " You've got to create a dream. You've got to uphold the dream. If you can't, then bugger it.Go back to the factory, or go back to the desk." - Eric Burdon. You've made your dream a reality. I wish you well & hoe to be writing my own 'Quit your day job' story soon.

  • thewren

    thewren said 9 years ago

    Thank you everybody for your encouragement and for sharing your stories. It is tough on your own but comments like these make my day and make my decision worth it in every way. I wish you all the best of luck.

  • xxthcenturyfroxx

    xxthcenturyfroxx said 9 years ago

    Lovely work and great story, good for you! your 'typical day' I did not read anything about you actually doing the cutting and sewing of all the bags which is the nitty gritty of your you make them yourself or do you outsource them?

  • AmandaYuDesign

    AmandaYuDesign said 9 years ago

    Great story, such a pleasure life to busy with the stuffs that we enjoy the most! Thanks for sharing your story, Wendren! I think you have a really good time management too. :) Have a wonderful day! //Amanda

  • muyinmolly

    muyinmolly said 9 years ago

    What a beautiful and inspiring story!Everyone knows it's difficult to pursue our dream, but only few undrestand it's more difficult to live unhappily and un-fulfilled.I've been so much happier since I quit my day job :)

  • faunci

    faunci said 9 years ago

    I love your designs. I have had a hard time deciding which prototypes I would like to put on esty. I make bags also.But after reading your story I think the best choice is to just pick the ones I like and go with it. Thank you for the inspiration.I am not working at this time either and to stay home and make money doing what I have done for years, which is sew, would be a great relief.

  • matouenpeluche

    matouenpeluche said 9 years ago

    Good for you! I like the way you say you're more stressed but happy! That sounds like the honest truth to me! Thank you for your story!

  • NikiJewellery

    NikiJewellery said 9 years ago

    What a great story and good on you for following you heart and dreams! IT is true that working for your self is stressful but it makes you waay more happier than working for someone else :)

  • iomiss

    iomiss said 9 years ago

    wow, Fantastic!!!!! I love all your stuff!

  • littlepinkpebble

    littlepinkpebble said 9 years ago


  • tatertotcc06

    tatertotcc06 said 7 years ago

    Your bags are beautiful!

  • CabinOn6th

    CabinOn6th said 7 years ago

    Love your work!

  • pattyvieira81

    Patty Vieira from LeCharmeJewelry said 5 years ago

    What an inspirational story! Thanks for sharing! ;)

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