Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Crafter of the Month
Meet Betsy from American Country.
Here's a nice little story about her.
My husband Tom and I have been "crafting" since 1991. We make handcrafted furniture and shelves. Our pieces are relatively small so that we can easily ship them. Our biggest seller through the years has been our Country Bench, we make them in 4 sizes, 2 finishes and 14 colors. We also sell a lot of shelves. We started out small, doing things for ourselves,family and friends. Then we did craft shows for several years. During this time we were raising kids. We had a blended family of 6 kids. I went to college to get a teaching degree, so we slowed down in the craft business for awhile. Then in 2004 we picked up again, and decided to resume our business online. We opened our website with the help of Donna from Gone Country Crafters. She was wonderful! In 2005 we started advertising in Country Sampler magazine after they approached us. Our bench has been featured on the cover of Country Sampler twice. The last time on the cover of the January 2009 issue. The website has had it's ups and downs as all businesses do, but we have weathered through the lean times. I always dreamed of having my own country store, and I knew I wouldn't be satisfied until I had tried it. So...last spring we opened a small shop in Shipshewanna, IN, a small town about 20 miles from our home. I have visited and shopped in "Shipshe" for over twenty years and I knew it would be the perfect place for "my store" . (Shipshewanna is an Amish community and the town is known for it's flea market and quaint shops. Visitors come from all over the country.) We happened to spy a "FOR RENT" sign on a small building on a weekend visit. We checked it out and before long we had our storefront. You know what they say about Location, Location, Location? Well, it's true! We were in Shipshewanna but it seemed no one knew it! Then after a couple of months, another rental became available on the main street where all the traffic and customers were. Well we had signed a year's lease 2 months earlier, but thought we'd inquire anyway. Long story short, we moved into our new location on July 5, 2009. It's amazing what opportunities and blessings come your way when you leave it up to God and trust in Him to work out all the details! Business improved tremendously and we had a great summer and fall season. We have been closed since Christmas and are excited about the coming season. We will be rearranging our interior and increasing our space. We are located in an old house, 100 years aprox., and will have the entire house now. Tom retired from industry 5 years ago and this is now his fulltime job, I'm still teaching 2nd grade. Our daughters also help out by making things for the store and several of our grandchildren, we have 14, help in the store too! Someday soon I'd like to be able to be a shopkeeper fulltime. Then my dream will be fully realized.
My advice to anyone starting out is simply this--if it is truly what you want to do, you can make it happen if you don't give up on it AND if you ask God to go ahead of you and open the doors for you!
Posted by Shari Kraft at 6:32 PM