Friday, May 1, 2009

Sneak Attack!

My Monday was actually a little bit more manic than I wrote previously. I was checking my email that evening, as I am wont to do, when I saw a fellow Phat Fiber contributor's name pop up on an Etsy email. I thought it was odd since I haven't ordered anything lately. Suddenly I noticed a whole slew of Etsy emails. They were orders! Payments! Convos! I was quite honestly shocked and couldn't understand why I had so many orders in such a short time. I hadn't recently listed the crown jewels or anything. In fact, my shop had never had a sale.

When I read one of the Etsy conversations, I learned that Winemaker's Sister was in charge of that night's Sneak Attack from the Handmade Movement. I hadn't heard of Sneak Attacks before, so I went to check it out. Basically, it's a group of completely angelic people who decided to get together and surprise Etsy shops who have very few or no sales by pouncing and ordering all at once. Someone is in charge of picking out one or two shops and then they post the link for everyone to see at a designated time. In a way, it reminds me of the Phat Fiber box drops because the anticipation is high. As soon as the link is up, everyone runs over to that shop, looks around and buys if something strikes their fancy. Then they post about it on the Etsy forums. I was able to read what they were saying and it really made me happy to see the kind comments.

In about ten minutes, I sold the skein of Hellebore yarn, a pair of lapis lazuli earrings, a pendant and all of my Serenity Sax. I was actually quite overwhelmed by the generosity of everyone who bought from me and I had to take a moment to hug Lucy and collect my wits. I know they were buying my things, but it felt like a gift. A really big surprise gift for no reason other than someone out there likes me. I've been struggling at work and that really brightened my day when I needed it most.

I'm going to be joining in on future Sneak Attacks because it's such a great idea. Even with my participation in Phat Fiber, I was beginning to wonder if I'd ever sell anything. I'm not doing it for the money, other than to help subsidize my art supply and fiber habits. I know there are so many shops out there that it's easy to get lost without frequent updates and return customers, and I also know that things like handspun yarn and jewelry are the first to go in our bad economy. Even though this isn't my living, there was a special thrill when I made that first sale. It was quickly followed by seven more, but that first one (the Hellebore skein) is always going to be an extra-special memory.

I figured out PayPal shipping labels, tracked down enough envelopes to package everything and then spent the evening gift-wrapping all of the items before mailing them out. For a minute I thought I wasn't going to be able to get everything out without a shopping trip for more supplies, but I was able to find some other envelopes. I like thinking of my little things heading out to new homes.

My little economic boost is already spoken for and will go towards paying it forward in future Sneak Attacks and in part to buy an alpaca fleece. I fell in love with a female alpaca at the Midwest Alpaca Festival this past weekend and asked her owners if they would sell her fleece. I definitely couldn't afford the actual alpaca and I doubt my landlord would believe she's just a big cat. She's a rose grey huacaya and it's her cria (first) fleece so it's exceptionally soft. I found out today that I can buy it and I'll hopefully be able to pick it up in a couple of weeks. The farm is about an hour and a half from here, so I'll swing by on one of my visits to my parents in May. There's something extra special about spinning fiber from a specific animal instead of anonymous roving. This will be the first time I've had fiber from an animal I've actually touched. When I stuck my hand into her fleece and petted her on Saturday, it was heavenly.

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