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.