Happy Birthday, Smile Mercantile!
I can hardly believe it, but the Smile Mercantile Craft Co. turns 5 years old this weekend! It's a landmark event for me because I've put so much of myself into this venture, and every success for my company is a tenfold success for me personally. Here are some of my favorite "moments" from the last few years, and a little trivia for those of you who are just getting to know me:
1. The Smile Mercantile's First Sale:
The year was 2010, and I had decided to start an Etsy shop called Smile Mercantile where I would sell vintage items, and some crafty goodness. The first item I sold was this spectacular roll of vintage linen. I was so in love with this cloth, but rather than hoard it for myself, I decided to put it in the shop. I'm so glad I did, because that first sale set me off on a great journey.
2. Storybook Roses:
By the beginning of 2011 things were busy enough that I had already rented my first studio space. Along with that, I started crafting beautiful things to add to the shop. I had a stack of tattered vintage German books, and used them to make some paper flowers. I listed some for sale, and was surprised at how popular they were, right off the bat! I began doing wedding bouquets, and shipping them all over the world. It was such a joy to meet so many brides, and make such special pieces for their big days. Some of the flowers I made were featured in a lovely wedding on 100 Layer Cake, and then I produced my most viral tutorial showing how to make them. I don't make flowers for sale anymore, but I still get tons of requests for them - even all these years later (thank you, Pinterest!). If I ever decide to quit the Smile Mercantile, I could probably make a living off of paper flowers!
3. Vintage Treasures:
Oh the gorgeous things that have passed through the doors of the Smile Mercantile! For a few years I was selling a good deal of vintage - just the most wonderful items. I sold a lot of vintage cameras, which I adore. I was a photography major in college, and I specialized in working with vintage and antique cameras. I still have a small collection of old wooden 19th century cameras (I've used most of them!) So I enjoyed selling all kinds of cool old cameras to hobbyists, or people who just enjoyed looking at them. I was also very drawn to art or handcrafted items that showed the personality of their makers. Many a frosty morning I spent waiting in lines outside estate sales to nab these treasures!
4. That one time when Martha's people called:
I was asked to send the Martha Stewart Living craft department some of my blown quail eggs for an Easter feature in the magazine. Isn't that every crafter's dream? The feature was lovely - sort of Scandinavian inspired with natural tones highlighted in red. The story explained how to dye quail eggs crimson red, and then incorporate them into wreaths and other crafts. It sure made my day. Does this mean I can call Martha my "colleague?"
5. The Christmas Collection:
My Christmas collections have probably been the most satisfying work I've done. Each year I've challenged myself to come out with new special items, and be a leader in trends. I aim to delight. It's been wonderful watching my collections expand, and see to hear from everyone who has purchased from the collections about how it made their holidays even brighter. In the last couple years I've been wholesaling as well, so that shops can carry my goods. I was so thrilled when Urban Outfitters bought a selection of ornaments- boy, that's when I really felt like I "made it!"
I will be forever grateful to Etsy for helping me launch my dream business, and it's still really important to me to stay a part of that community. As I grew though, I knew it was time to also have a fully functioning e-commerce website as well. It took about a year for me to develop the website, and when it launched I felt like I had taken a huge step as a small business owner. Now I sell both here at smilemercantile.com, as well as on Etsy. The website has also allowed me to share all of my tutorials in one place, which I'm thrilled about. I'm always expanding too.
A Note of Gratitude: I am so fortunate to do what I love every day, and I know it wouldn't be possible without all of the support I've received. I would like to send out a big THANK YOU to each an every customer who has come by the Smile Mercantile, and to all of those who have given me words of encouragement to pursue this creative life. I have met so many incredible folks (sometimes even just through email!) You are my people! To celebrate, every single thing in the shop will be 20% off when you use the coupon code: ANNIVERSARYSALE at checkout, through October 1.
May there be many more exciting years ahead!