Friday, June 4, 2010

Fab Friday

This week's Fab Friday feature is Diane Pugh who has the Etsy shops Smilingpackrat and DianasWonderWorks as well as the ArtFire shop DianasWonderWorks

How did you get started with your craft/art?

I have been drawing as long as I can remember. My first clear memory was drawing pictures out of National Geographic magazines when I was 8 years old. I would draw the birds, animals and trees, flowers and all. I have some copies and they are actually very good, but when it exactly started must have been earlier, just no recollection.

As I grew older, like at 12 I had a family friend try to teach me to crochet, I learned how to do stained glass, took photography, dark room, painting, drawing all in middle school, and learned the clarinet. Through the years, because no one thought it as a real job, looked at it as unimportant. So the older I got the more I started on self teaching. It is my release of pain, stress and also my way of creating beauty out of the ugly things that try to make their way into my world or the world in general.

What prompted you to set up a home-based business?

I have had 3 businesses to date, all were very successful. But now, twice divorced, broke and back problems, neck problems and issues with my hand, I found myself unable to keep up at work. I can do the work, I still work harder than anyone I work with. I love to work hard and make the day go by. Sadly, now my body is breaking from it all. Things I could do 12 or more hours a day, seven days a week, now leave me in pain and unable to use my hands, in a matter of hours. then when my arms go numb and weak, unable to hold a pen to even write a check, or hold a cup. It takes weeks to recuperate. Out of determination not to end up a victim of our not so great system, I am desperately trying to build a new business for myself through my gifts. I can only hope and work as hard as possible to bring my greatest dream to reality. To be able to retire eventually on my own two feet, successfully, happily and still a useful citizen in society!

What part of your craft is your favorite? (Designing, creating the actual piece, working with custom orders, etc)

I love it all so much and could never give up even one. I can honestly say that with money I would learn even more about arts and crafts I have not been able to play with. My all time favorite so far, is still drawing, and painting. But I love the relaxation I get from craft work as well, it just hurts me more, because of the strenuous hand usage needed to make things.

 How have you changed since starting your business? How has this impacted your craft?

I just keep getting smarter, learning more about business online, is very different, from running a business where you meet people face to face and can make that instant connection. Getting to know so many people online, has helped me to also try things and experiment more with things I haven't done before. I know I am much happier being able to make my own schedule and not have to hurt myself so badly everyday. i look forward to the day when it all pays off, and I can be vigorously managing not only an online business, but to use this as a venue to have a little shop and studio of my own!

What is the most challenging aspect of running your business?

Finding the best way to be successful online, without a doubt is the biggest challenge. Everything from advertising it, to making connections is much harder. Internet businesses, like internet relationships can be very deceiving. So it takes longer to make true connections that really work, it is harder to know peoples true intentions in cyberspace. But, the rewards when you make then are just as special.

How did you come up with your shop name?

It has been my dream to be a successful artist and craftier for all of my life. I make things and I love them, it just made sense, my dreams, my works, my dream for work!

Where do you see yourself in five years? Where do you see your business?

Running a small shop, studio and a great online company. Making friends and clients from all over the world, and having an opportunity to travel to those people and places. Seeing and experiencing more things and more arts, so that I can continue to grow at my arts and to also really appreciate what others do for their art as well.

How do you keep a balance between home and business responsibilities?

I have to move a lot to keep myself out of pain. Being at home and working for myself makes it easier to break up the day and balance both without hurting or getting stiff. I love to move around, I love my art. The art gives me a chance to be still, the other things in life keep me mobile. I guess the shortest answer is I let my body decide what to do in that moment!

What is the funniest/craziest/ most touching thing that has happened while having a business?

Well, I met a women from one of the craft stores I bought supplies in many years ago. We only met a dozen times, here and there in town or at her work over a period of two years or so. I had started a business making jewelry at a flea market and business was very good. One weekend a young girl came in and started to talk to me about her mom. She told me her mother had been speaking of me and had asked her daughter (I met the daughter a couple of times in passing), if she saw me around she wanted my number. I has touched, so I gave her a business card and told her to have her mother call me. We hadn't seen each other in around nine months or so.

I was going through a divorce, my back required surgery for me to do anything, I was really sad and feeling useless. One morning as I lay in bed crying, the typical why me thing, the phone rang. My daughter came to my room to let me know the phone was for me. It was this woman, she was dying of cancer. My heart broke! We talked for a while that day and met up several times after that, she is missed. Anyway, she called to tell me, she thought I was an angel, literally. I was shocked. Through the years she had left her job at the craft store and by chance we had run into each the at the store. She told me about her position, she needed to work and was confused on what to do. I asked her a few questions and found she loved remodeling boats. So I gave her the advice to start her own business, so she could be with her kids and still earn an income. I told her how to get it started, all those things to get her on her way. She had taken that advice and turned it into a great business, so good, her husband left his job to go work for her.

I am not sure what to say, it still makes me cry to think of it. She passed about 4 months after that call and I will never forget her. She was my angel that day! She helped me realize, that no matter how useless I feel, I will never really know the value I possess in some one's eyes!

If you could give one piece of advice to others who are just getting started with their businesses, what would it be?

  • Stay positive.
  • Leave no stone unturned.
  • Everyday have plan, make some step to move the business forward.
  • Do not give up, if you work at it, it will come.
  • Trust yourself!
  • Never forget that if you don't believe in yourself, how can you ever convince some one else too.
  • If you truly love what you do, others will love it too.

Can you give us some links to be able to follow you? (Etsy, Artfire, Twitter, Facebook, etc)

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