Business Basics: The Birth of Gingiber
by Stacie Bloomfield
Last Month I had my 500th Etsy sale, and it got me thinking about how Gingiber began. I don't think that I have ever told the full story of Gingiber, so here's a blog post devoted to the birth of my business.
It might be a bit long, but bear with me :)
I had always been drawing. As a kiddo I would doodle on napkins, the margins of my Bible at church (don't tell my mother), and occasionally on my walls. When I went to college, I had no doubt in my mind about majoring in Art and Design. I crammed 2 degrees into my 3 years of college, got married, and continued to work at a Starbucks Coffee Shop simply because I needed a paycheck to support my husband and I.
I graduated from college in December of 2007, and was pregnant with Violet 2 months later. This changed the entire trajectory of our lives. Within a few months, Nathan and I picked up and moved to Springdale, AR, where his mother and brother lived. Nathan had been offered a nice fellowship to pursue his Ph.D in Mathematics at the University of Arkansas (please note: not our dream school). But, a baby on the way meant that income was what mattered. I was offered a management position at Starbucks in Fayetteville, AR, so the move seemed opportune.
note the sad Starbucks face :(
Neither one of us were super happy. We were excited about the baby on the way, but just a few months prior we were exploring opportunities to move overseas, living in Scotland. I had even filled out some applications for Master's Programs in Edinburgh. Now, family was what mattered. And I was focused on working my coffee loving butt off at Starbucks.
Yet, I really REALLY missed art and design. And I had heard of this online market for artists called Etsy. Honestly, I was really intimidated to put my artwork out on the web. Mainly because I was afraid of rejection. But, while sharing a pizza with 2 of my favorite Springfield friends, I remember discussing how I had been looking all over Etsy for some nursery art to fill our soon-to-be daughter's room, and finding nothing that suited my taste.
Gingiber was born. And about that name, Gingiber. I have been using this moniker since my junior year of college, when a Publication and Design professor required each student to create a magazine about themselves. And this was the name I settled on. It is the Latin word for ginger, and I thought that it sounded kind of cute, so I went with it! When it was time to name my Etsy Shop, I stuck with it. And I still like it :)
In May of 2009, I opened up shop. I had my 1st sale a month later. It has taken 2+ years to finally work my way up to 500 sales. But last year at this time, I had not even reached 100 sales. The past year has been the most satisfying and fulfilling year of my life creatively. And I am overwhelmingly happy!
I've done a lot of learning and growing since I opened up shop. I've changed day jobs so that I have more time to work on my art. I've tried and failed at different artistic ventures (PDF embroidery patterns, anyone?) but have also slowly carved out a niche for myself in this handmade corner of the world.
And guess what? I am incredibly hopeful for the future of my business. Gingiber is now a legit LLC (quarterly taxes, blargh). I am contributing monthly to my family's income, and really believe with all of my heart that someday I can grow Gingiber into a full time job.
Thank goodness for Etsy. And our handmade community. And an entire group of online friends who encourage one another to keep going. I am so thankful. And happy.
So that is how Gingiber came to be :) Thanks for reading.