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Pink Loves Brown, Closing Up Shop

I intended to take only a brief maternity leave from my stationery shop, Pink Loves Brown, after August was born. Just as I had done with Eleanor. The first time around, I closed for six months, and I foolishly thought that I could reopen much quicker the second time around. I was a WAHM already — I’d been around the block! I knew what to expect! Six months? Let’s go for six weeks!

I didn’t know what to expect. The shop stayed closed a little longer. Then a lot longer.

Pink Loves Brown at the Renegade Craft Fair, 2007

We considered reopening the shop last year when Brandon lost his job, but we decided against it. The blog, and the opportunities that came along with it, would support our family far better than my stationery line. Going full-time here has gone well, and so I quietly (finally) closed the shop a couple of months ago. I don’t know why it took me so long to write about it. I shuttered something that was successful, which is a hard thing to explain. I sometimes think of the way I write about our life as having my hand on the five-second delay, not because I’m hiding anything or afraid of letting something slip, but because havings a tiny bit of distance helps me get perspective. Closing the shop was difficult. It was a huge part of our lives.

Pink Loves Brown in Venus Magazine, 2008

I started my stationery business in 2005, after requests started picking up from friends and family (and friends of family) to design invitations. Like many new stationers, I became interested after designing my own wedding invitations. After a few custom invitation projects, I realized that I was more interested in creating a line of greeting cards and stationery, and so I focused my attention there. The shop did well, and picked up a fair amount of press coverage. I came out with new design collections every 4-6 months, and promoted them on the blog and through my shop’s newsletter. Over time, I added buttons, magnets, bookplates, and paper suitcases to my shop’s wares.

Pink Loves Brown Pocket Mirrors

Pink Loves Brown Personalized Stationery

We finished the basement with the intention of moving my studio down there (along with creating the laundry room, play room, and storage space). We did move everything downstairs, but only utilized the space for personal use. There are only so many hours in a day. The time I devote to work, time away from Brandon and the kids, needs to be spent as productively as possible. That meant letting the shop go and closing that chapter. I know it’s not a surprise, and that I should have come to this point much sooner, but here we are.

Pink Loves Brown Paper Suitcases

In an effort to clear out my inventory before we move, I’ll be selling the remainder of my paper suitcases for the next week. All sales will be final, and only the paper suitcase category will be active. Everything else in the shop will be listed as “out of stock,” but I do still have plenty of inventory left. So all of the other stuff you see in the shop? Freebies, with purchase! Bonus goodies will be included with each order, grab bag style.

(And if you’re a local stationer in need of card stock, envelopes, or cellophane card sleeves and boxes, let me know. You’re welcome to my surplus of supplies if you’ll come pick it up.)

Pink Loves Brown Stationery Sets

Some of you have been reading for a long time, and you probably remember when the shop was open. Some of you have even been customers! The shop was a huge part of this blog’s journey, and whether you’re new here or have been around since the beginning, thank you.

Update: The paper suitcases are now sold out (I’ll ship everything out by Monday morning at the latest), and someone will be picking up the surplus supplies.

How My Blog Went From a Hobby to a Job

As I mentioned yesterday, there are several topics to not discuss in polite company: money, politics, and your stance on wood finishes. Since I have already, at various points, touched on the other two, why not go three for three and talk about finances?

I’ve held a job, self-employed or otherwise, since I was sixteen. I have been an amusement park ride-operator, a handy(wo)man, a telephone surveyor, a face painter, a babysitter, a record store clerk, a muralist, a bookseller, a web designer, a stationer, and a blogger. Most of those overlapped. For instance, I worked at the bookstore while also face painting for the village events in Oak Park, the combination of which somehow led to my being awarded Employee of the Year for Downtown Oak Park! I didn’t even know that was a possibility, but I gave a brief, awkward acceptance speech at the end of a TIF meeting, and was presented with a plaque. (It used to hang in our apartment bathroom, because that’s a pretty funny thing to see when you visit the loo.)

I’m sure you can tell from my résumé of odd jobs (literally) that I have been raking it in!

Brandon and I were married in 2004. I started my stationery shop in 2005, and I began offering web design in 2006. Making it Lovely began in 2007, and I had intended for it to be a complement to the shop and design business, but mostly just a fun place to chronicle what we were doing as we moved into our first house together. Over time, the blog became successful, and I was able to earn some advertising revenue. Each year, the balance of our finances changed a little (2008 took a hit from doing the National Stationery Show — ouch), but Brandon’s job was always the anchor.

PieCharts1

He and I had dreamed of the day he would be able to quit. Steadily, each year, we grew a little closer. Then, in January 2012, we were pushed over the cliff when he lost his job. We weren’t ready to make that leap, and we scrambled for a while. Slowly though, I began to find my footing with the blog and its potential to support us, and in September 2012, I wrote about our decision for Brandon to stay home and watch the kids while I worked full-time on the blog.

Though our income is now fully funded by Making it Lovely, I have tried to diversify the sources as much as possible. Keep reading for a breakdown of how this blog supported us in 2012.
Continue Reading…

Maternity Leave: Pink Loves Brown

It’s about time to take a little leave of absence from my shop, Pink Loves Brown. My due date is a mere ten days away, but I’ll be accepting orders through Friday. If you’ve had your eye on anything, now’s the time to place your order!

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