A Mobile Check-In

I’ve been super busy! Since launching, we’ve gotten orders for three rings – two in a set (the ones pictured to the right and middle above) and another that I’ve not gotten a picture of just yet.

Mostly, I’ve been inundated with orders for my hand poured soy candles. Just over the last few days, I’ve sold eight candles to folks that are just… over the moon about them. We’ve gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews on both Facebook and Etsy and it’s just the most satisfying thing. Seeing people use and find comfort in the things that you stay up all night hoping that they’ll love – that’s my new definition of success.

We’ve also shipped candles as far south as Texas and all the way to New York, NY.

By this time, sales have worked us out of debt (by a whopping $27!), and more people are approaching me daily about how they need to check out my candles.

My original intention was to be a ring maker who sold candles. Now, apparently I’m a chandler who makes rings. It is important to be flexible.

One of my favorite reviews came from a set of customers who requested a leather scented candle. Pretty nontraditional as far as candles go, but their review said I knocked it out of the park.

“Though cheap and smelly typically have a negative connotation, both are assets where candles are concerned. The candle I received has a scent that’s the perfect complement to any room, without being overbearing. As an added bonus, the candle’s burn rate leads me to believe that our home will smell of leatherbound tomes for many hours to come. I’m looking forward to trying out other scents in the future, and the reasonable price will allow me to do just that.” 

When you put yourself out there… when you get out there and have to convince people that what it is that you’ve got is worth their hard earned money – and that it’s going to leave them with no regrets…

Things like that review make you realize that you’re headed in the right direction.

Ladies and gentlemen, when you take a step in the right direction – me thinks that there’s no need to stop.

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Sometimes, when you get back on the bike – you’re better at it.

Ahoy! Checking in periodically to document progress towards learning how to do everything it is that I want to do in life… which seems a very large task to do on a “free” blog.

Eso si que es.

Anyway! It’s been busy! I’ve been busy? I did not take the weekend off as I normally do. I kind of refuse to do my payroll gig on the weekends because that’s time I devote to spending with my son who I get on the weekends. No can do on the weekend off, though. I justified it because I was at home (how rad is that? I can work AND hang out with the family).

On Saturday, I really started this online presence thing. Made my first post here. Tied some things together. Informed my family that I was back on Facebook (ughhhhh… I am not the social-est of butterflies), and buttoned things up until the wee hours of the morning.

On Sunday, I ran to Walmart (…it’s really the only choice around here for things, and that’s awful) and bought a few things.

  • A filing thinger – which I’m going to use to track my transactions month to month. Profits… losses. That sort of thing. It’s kind of like a trapper keeper, without the zipper and a lack of 90’s finesse. And it’s just full of dividers and receipts. Growing up is the worst.
  • A little red notebook to keep with me all of the time to jot down ideas and things that I have so that I can always keep my info on anything that I’m working on with me… which, naturally, I’d forgotten when I left to do my day job today.

I made an attempt to get back into ring making on Sunday – but I was so “on-edge” from all of the business focus and whatnot that I was doing that I screwed up everything I’d touched. But I did get to leave a handful of very, very old rings that I’d found from when I first started making rings with the hopes that Tara (my wife – ze love of my life… seriously. Story for another time) would take pictures of them (she’s a hobbyist photographer – but does weddings and things, too).

Couldn’t make rings, but Tara could take some photos! When I first got into making rings, the cheapest start up that I could find was some sort of Variety Pack on Amazon of different wood types which, naturally, came unlabeled. I was able to identify some of the wood that I used, but it was largely trial and error as far as hardness and things went. I say this to preface my inability to, with 100% confidence, tell you what some of these rings are made out of.

1C

I’m not sure what this wood is – it’s shiny and red… which means, naturally, I’m attracted to it as red is my favorite color. This ring turned out pretty well, and I’ll likely be able to try to sell it to someone.

2B

Really not sure what this one was. Maybe a maple of some sort. The grain feels maple-y.

3E

This one was fun! Ebony with a malachite inlay… it was the first attempt I did at putting in an inlay. I later went on to put an inlay in my first wooden wedding band – jasper. I really liked how it turned out, but ultimately (like an idiot) chipped the inlay while on a business trip to Tulsa (OK) last year. Was lame – I really enjoy the fine stone inlay work.

4C

This one was a more feminine one that I’d made, modeled after something I thought my wife would like. She wears a ring I made her from time to time – which is pretty rad. She hates jewelry (and shoes… but that’s another story for another time). This, I’m pretty sure, is some red oak.

5A

Not super sure, but it might be poplar. In most light, it comes off as slightly greenish. I thought a greenish tree-meat bit would be pretty neat to juxtapose against some leaves. Slightly off-putting!

6A

I had a blast figuring out how to make this one. The inner ring is a hardwood. Not sure what – maybe a maple. Just kind of used whatever I had that would stay solid for me so that I could wrap a burl around it.

Burls are really tough to work with and want to crumble on you if you put any strain or movement through them at all.

So – tonight… nearly six months since my last attempt at a ring (I had to replace my ring that I busted on business), I gave it a go. Twice.

I’d prepared two different kinds of wood – what looked to me like “Orientalwood” which I found identified on formwood, and some FOR SURE bird’s eye maple. I knocked out two rings and I’m just so pleased with how they’ve turned out so far. They’re going through poly finishing right now, but here are a couple of shots that I’d grabbed:

IMG_3953

This ring’ll be used for my personal replacement for my recently cracked wedding band. So excited for the sturdiness and thickness of the ring. When I made it, it was the best band I’d ever made.

IMG_3954

It was eventually passed up by my next ring, which I also made tonight. This bird’s eye maple ring is easily my favorite ring I’ve crafted. I’m really looking forward to being able to get it to someone who can appreciate it.

I also bought some business cards and a special surprise to treat myself for how seemingly badass I’ve become at crafting wooden rings although I wasn’t actively making rings for some time. I’ll upload a photo of that and the logo as soon as I get the items!

I’ll upload finished pictures of my newest rings after I finish final polishing. Until then, be well!

I should sell what I’m making…

It was difficult to come back to social media, but this week I took a massive step towards doing what I’ve meant to do for around a year now.

Honestwood Handcrafts officially opened for business because I was tired of making excuses. I’m positive that the largest reason that kept me from starting my own business was the fear of failure, but a well-timed fortune cookie told me basically that if I never tried because I was afraid of failing, that I was already failing.

I’ve never felt as accomplished as when I make rings for folks and they slide them on and are just… over the moon. The first wooden ring I made went to a friend a year ago, and early this month I saw him still wearing it. Pretty satisfactory, I think.

Buuut, going into 2017, I decided that I wanted to swear off the negativity that was always popping up on social media feeds and whatnot. Everyone hops to the internet to spout off their opinions which are unfortunately way too often not fully developed intellectually and just… serve to strike at nearly half of their audience. I deleted my Facebook and never looked back.

Until today.

Tuesday, when I decided that it was time to start up Honestwood Handcrafts, I thought to myself, “…well, now what? I don’t know how any of this works.” That night, I came home and cracked open my Small Business Financial Management for Dummies book. I swear it exists on my shelf in my workshop – but it’s nearly unreadable with its fast pace and incessant use of jargon out of the gate. By Wednesday, in the office (payroll manager by day, maker of stuffs by night), I knew that I needed to figure out how I was going to get started.

I don’t like to start a thing unless I know how the thing is going to turn out… and since I have zero experience when it comes to launching businesses where I have to decide how much the things I’m producing are going to be worth, I knew I need a resource.

Enter Handmade Marketplace.

Handmade Marketplace

So! Because I’ve decided that the best model I can make based on my location (I live in central West Virginia – the population isn’t massive enough to be able to live off of the demand of local sales) is to create an online presence where I can work to find my niche. I’ve got to just keep at it – which means… yep, you’ve guessed it.

Back came Facebook. I picked up a Twitter. I’ve got to learn how Instagram works. All of the social media apps have been added… now I need to figure out how I’m going to remember to use them.

It’s been about six months since I made a ring (I had damaged my wooden wedding band and needed to replace it) – I just hadn’t gotten the space I needed put together since we bought this house in October. I’m pretty excited to get back into it, figure things out, and sell some of the rings that I’ve got. I’ve probably got a dozen or more down there that I need to get photos of (thanks to my wife – SHE’S the photographer) and get added to Etsy to see how that’s going to work.

I’ll be updating this blog to document hurdles, ideas, and milestones – and I hope that it becomes something that I can use to connect with others.

It’s a work in progress… but now I’m not afraid to fail.