Indie Inspiration: 1-28-2011 - Guest post by Janice of Never a Plain Jane

Miss Muffet garter

Miss Muffet garter by Never a Plain Jane

Once upon a life’s adventure, I unexpectedly stumbled across Opportunity sitting on the tailgate of a moving truck. We chatted for a bit and decided the time had come for me to trade file folders and memoranda for dupioni silk and brightly-colored thread.

In October of 2010 I began selling my totally unique garters through a well-known platform for handmade goods because it required little capital and almost no web design skills.  The plan was to use this online marketplace as a sort of incubator while I, in essence, apprenticed myself to myself.

About two weeks after launching Never a Plain Jane Designs I got an e-mail. The e-mail. “Order confirmation for…” is all I could see of that particular message. I furrowed my brow. "But I didn't order anythi...I SOLD A GARTER! AGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” 

Of course there was hugging and jumping and squealing and yelling. There might have even been some maniacal laughter and a dance that vaguely resembled the chicken dance crossed with disco.

Somehow I thought that would be the first in a flood of orders. It wasn’t.

See, success stories are rare - but you’d never know that from browsing the blogs within the indie seller community. Not only that, but they aren’t, and can’t, be relayed in real time. Years of hard work and failure instantly turn into success when the story can be read in less than ten minutes.

I know this, but somehow I don’t know this. Despite a practical voice screaming in my ear, I let myself get sucked in by the tales of sole proprietors with so many orders they struggled to keep up in their first year.

Disappointment abounded.

I’d done everything right.  I blogged and Facebooked.  I read. I joined an indiepreneur forum and discussed to my heart’s content.  I interviewed other small business owners. I read. Of course, I created and listed. And I read. Did I mention the reading?

Six months in and I have still only made one sale. But more will come.  I know they will because I’m fighting to make sure they do. I’m struggling to find my place in the world, in the online marketplace, in my blog, and even within my own home.

Struggle sounds so hopeless, like a dirty word, but I think it is actually a good thing – a great thing even. Just look at my blog if you need evidence. It is all over the place right now, but that’s just part of the process. I’m struggling, identifying, honing, throwing everything out and starting over.

This is a success story in real time.


Janice BearJanice Bear is a self-described “elaborated form of girl with a history of glitter and lace, dramatic productions, loud laughs, and big gestures.” She’s taken part in more than a few creative ventures in the past ten years, including the birth of her little girl - one with her own ideas about the proper way to wear glitter and lace, her own dramatic productions, and plenty of giggles. In 2008 she graduated with a BA in Sociology and a business minor. To read more of her ongoing success story, please visit her blog.

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