In search of supplies, systems and the middle class dream

Beginning your own business from scratch without going into debt is a fun challenge. Add to that a student loan that is 10 years old that must continue to be paid down. So far so good.

The next immediate need is bookkeeping software to track my incoming and outgoing costs, supply, packaging and advertising costs as yes, I do budget a small amount for advertising. I attempted to install Open Office but Panther and Open Office hate each other due to X11. After more research I found Neo Office. Wonderful! How do I use spreadsheets… I haven’t a clue.

Last month I earned as much as I would have earned working part-time at that nameless place… haha. I remain earning well below the Canadian poverty line. I live with my family who feed and house me. Without their support I could be on the street.

I’ve not borrowed a cent to run my shop. That feels so good to say.

In August I’ll be introducing matting into the shop. Tomorrow I meet with a local custom picture framer and gallery to work out a price for mats to go on my 5×5 and 8×8 inch prints. He’s also interested in selling my originals! Woot! I currently order rectangular mats from an online supplier. They do not, however supply square mats which most of my artwork is. And their quality is very good; acid free with no over cuts. I know a good mat when I see one.

I’m stocked with pens of every shape, colour and size, paper, paint, printing ink, and packaging supplies.

As time goes on I purchase larger amounts of everything to take advantage of bulk discounts and cheaper shipping. All the art and prints are placed into acid free resealable clear bags and then sandwiched between two pieces of cardboard and placed into a sturdy craft mailer for shipping when sold. My shipping days are standard; being Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s.

My studio/bedroom and now part of a spare room have become packaging, business, creation, storage and computer work stations.

I began paying myself bi-weekly in May from my Art Sales and have continued on since. There may be those who believe I’m not able, thinking this a hobby and that I should go get a real job. Well, this is my real job and I love it.

My goal is simple: to become a respectable middle class citizen earning a livable wage.


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17 thoughts on “In search of supplies, systems and the middle class dream”

  1. That is a fantastic goal. To do it through something that makes you happy and you enjoy is about as good as it gets. Congratulations so far, your art is so unique and wonderful.

  2. That’s great Jessica!

    Starting a business is never easy, but at least your are doing what you love. I’m sure that you wouldn’t have it any other way.

  3. Thank you Kate. I’ve been thinking about the whole middle class thing and believe it’s not so much middle class that I’m after. It is independence.

  4. Stephanie – I signed up for google docs quite some time ago. I just ordered spreadsheets from another etsy seller that designed some specific to Etsy users needs… and low and behold they open directly into google docs. I’m in business!

  5. good luck with your business! what an exciting time!

    and a more technical question…
    what type of printer do you use to print your work? i think i read somewhere that you do your own printing…i would love to print some of my photos on archival paper.

    all the best!

  6. Hi Jessica, I love your work (found you on Etsy, I think it was Indigo Sisters that first caught my eye). I admire you for pursuing your dream–best wishes on earning your independence!
    I too wish more mats and frames were available in square sizes (5×5, 8×8, 12×12…)

  7. Hi akula – I am using the printer pictured in this post to it’s maximum capacity. I’m hoping to upgrade to a pigment based printer in the fall. For now I am using a dye ink HP Photosmart D7260. The inks should last 60+ years according to HP.

    Thanks for asking and for the well wishes :)

  8. Hi Karen – I love drawing on a square format. If enough of us keep doing it they’ll have to manufacture mats in square sizes. The gallery owner/ picture framer I met with can cut them for me at a reasonable price as I plan to purchase 25 at a time. Go and visit your local picture framer and talk to them. When I asked him how much for one he said a price then I asked how much for 25 of the same all at once he then quted me at 60% off.

    I’ve seen your pretty art to on Etsy. Thank you for stopping by :)

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