I don't know how many of you know that the scrabble tile pendant was a fluke. (This is my original Etsy claim to fame for all you newbies.)
I started my career as an artist by making and selling books. Like many of you I *wanted* to be full time, self supporting and in the beginning (2002) I wasn't even close.
But I was persistent and as a bookbinder I pushed to think of new book styles I could bind that would sell. I remember not sleeping one night when I got the idea for game board journals. Excitedly I spent the next day hunting goodwill for the coolest boards I could find, I bought a Scrabble Board, a monopoly, chutes and ladders and a few really obscure ones. I made them all into journals and popped them on my shelves at The Portland Saturday Market that weekend. The Scrabble book sold almost immediately (yay) and I knew I was onto something.
Over the years I sold close to 600 at the Saturday Market (which is a LOT for a book binder) and accumulated thousands upon thousands of tiles (each game comes with a set of 100!)
When I started on Etsy I was still a bookbinder. My second day there I made my first sale, my 5th, my second. I knew I was onto something again. (this was September of 2006 so Etsy was almost brand new). I set out to make new things, just for Etsy. I wanted to taste the victory of a sale and I continued to be persistent.
My journals and albums were selling well but well is never good enough, so one day I sat down in the studio and tried to figure out how I could use my plethora of scrabble tiles for some thing.
I was thinking, a little bit of paper on the top of a tile would look cute glued to the cover of a journal. What I didn't intend was for it to look cute all on its own. When I saw the finished product I knew I had something that was more valuable than a journal embellishment.
Want to hear the funny parts?
First, I "wrapped" the pendant in the paper, not good, too bulky and well, silly.
The second time I got it right and cut the paper away, but, I didn't like the letter showing so I glued the paper to over it hide the it. Lucky for for me the letter showed through on some of the tiles so I had to "deal" with the unclean look of the letter on the back, thus ever branding it a Scrabble Tile Pendant. :D
After I had the first few bases made, I didn't have the right bail so I attached this little loopy thing to the back.
I knew I could do better so I researched bails, bought millions of papers and had the serendipitous idea of putting them in the now famous slide top tin. (I had them on hand for a different product I make).
Soon I was selling hundreds a month, then a week and during the holidays, 100s a day! (don't do that, not fun.)
I unintentionally made the top selling craft item on Etsy by simply trying to make something new for something else. But there is a moral here beyond this story of dumb luck.
Its about persistence. It's about not becoming complacent with our work. It's about seeing a good idea and making it into a great one.
If I hadn't taken the time to think of how I could be a better bookbinder I wouldn't be here. If I hadn't taking the time to redo the bail on the pendant, it most likely would have died out or been improved upon by someone else. I took an accidental discovery and turned it into a great product, not because I am super awesomely perfectly smart but because I am PERSISTENT.
The end.Ps. I still sell the tutorial for those of you who don't already know how to make them and want to.