Hello there. Long time no see. Well… a REALLY long time, I must admit. If you want to know what went down with Wonderlust Emporium in 2019 and 2020, read on.
First of all, I re-launched this passion project in 2018 with the Dragon Egg giveaway most you probably have participated in. I had huge plans… Etsy, Webshop, you named it. But while I am great at planing, I sometimes struggle with following through, and most of the time it comes down to external circumstances. Things we all have – family, uncertainties and so on. Combine this with a lot of soul-searching and still not knowing where to go (sometimes it’s a freaking curse to be multi-passionate) and it all sums up into a giant pile of “I don’t know what to do first, so I don’t do anything at all.” (And Netflix. And video games.)
What went down in 2019
The first part of 2019 wasn’t so good, either. Minimum sales, struggles on the metal health front – I was ready to give up. Box up all my craft stuff, sell of as much of my supplies as I can and move on. Saying bye-bye to that little venture that started out in August 2011 (maybe some of you remember the Purple Peacock). But then I had literally the miracle that saved it all – and breathed new life into this passion-project.
A dear friend of mine told me to apply for a booth at a small convention. “Come on” she said. “it’s going to be fun, and the people there are totally nice.” Well, it was only a 80-minute drive from where I live, no border-crossing involved. I just could pack my car and go. So I applied, made some more stuff (as always, frantically – I stayed up until 2 am on Con-day) – and I went. Nothing to lose, no high expectations and maybe some side money to be made. After all, if this bombed, I still could close down. One last time…
AND IT WAS THE BEST EXPERIENCE I EVER HAD AT A SHOW.
First of all, I didn’t had to pay a booth fee. “Oh, we didn’t know you were a handmade artist. You don’t have to pay, then.” I was shocked. Grateful. Teared up, on the spot. I needed some minutes where I hid behind my display just to regain some composure. And even now, one year after this happened, I still feel the tears welling up writing this, reliving the moment. I was so floored about the kindness the event committee showed me. And it only got better from there…
People bought my stuff. It was almost like a frenzy. At the end of the first day, I was sold out of my higher-end jewelry sets. I came back home and scavenged my workshop for anything I could bring, to hang on those now-empty displays. I met so many amazing and kind people. I had fantastic booth neighbors. And maybe most important: I finally had the feeling of belonging somewhere, of having found my tribe.
The rest of the weekend went by in a blur, and I was flashed for quite some time after. It re energized me – rekindled the creativity and love I thought I had lost along the way. And so 2019 continued… I went to 3 more events and all were fun and profitable. So I started to plan for 2020 – I had six more events coming up for this year, including one which is basically THE Comic Con for Switzerland. I got accepted as an artist and couldn’t be happier.
And then this tiny teeny thing came along and cancelled it all. Who knew that something so small could have such an profound impact? I’m not gonna lie: I was angry. And I felt defeated. It was unfair. However, coming back from this, I know I’m incredibly blessed throughout this situation. I haven’t lost anybody to the virus, and due to my husband being able to work full-time from home, the financial impacts weren’t so bad that our livelihood was endangered. I’m still very grateful for that.
And yet… I miss you guys. I miss seeing your faces, getting hugs, admiring super cool costumes and cosplays, having great talks at my booth and being part of your excitement and joy when you pick something pretty for yourself or a loved one. Yes, I did some live-streams over at Twitch, but it’s just not the same. And once again, I was ready to throw in the towel ( yes, i am passionate, but my persistence is sometimes a bit lacking). But I realized again how much I love creating with my hands. It’s not only about the result, it’s also about the process, which keeps me sane. Which is my sort of mental health exercise, my zen, my meditation.
A time for new beginnings
So I tried different things. For one, I had a fantastic photo shot in July featuring my jewelry, which will be getting it’s own post in this space soon. And then, I had the problem of the workshop… when I started, I used an extra bedroom in our old flat. After we moved to our current house, I had a space in our shared living-room, which I gave up after a few years for a family center (comfy couch, TV, gaming console – absolutely no regrets here!) I then moved into an extra-room that was used as a walk-in closet by the previous owners. Pro: It had ample shelving available. Con: it was sort of tiny. Also, there is only one small window and a wooden ceiling – so not the ideal environments for crafts that require working with heat (looking at you, thermoplastics) or ventilation (everything painting, gluing and resin). And the shelving space was so exhausted, that I had drawers so full of stuff and no way to access those things reasonably. AND I used an extra small guest room for additional storage and cosplay things, so it was not a very satisfying solution.
I first thought about renting a small workshop somewhere. It would have been nice, but then you’ll have to go there each time you want to work, also you’d had to set up all the infrastructure with internet etc. and you’d have to pay at least 200 bucks per month to get a somewhat nice space, if not more. So I went through our house, thinking…
What I love about our house is that it’s basically super spacious. It looks small on the outside, but has plenty of room, so it’s like a bag of holding. We have a ground floor with kitchen, small bathroom and a living room. First floor with two spacious bedrooms, a small extra bedroom and a full bathroom. The second floor under the roof is basically our shared home-office-space (hosts three large desks) and the mentioned family nook plus the small closet where my workshop was in. We also have a complete underground cellar with a laundry room, a room for the boiler, a room for the oil tank and a bunker – I’m not kidding.
The new workshop
We didn’t use the living room very much, basically our cat lives there (he is an old geezers now and sleeps most of the time). And I realized suddenly what a huge potential this room had… which I didn’t use for years because I felt I couldn’t make it work with the cat. So after some planning, and IKEA-order and another trip there to pick up some more things, I was able to create a fantastic space, which is not only an airy and bright work-space with ample windows and lights, but also doubles as a dining room / show room / additional workshop space. Even the cat likes it (and won’t jump on the worktable anymore – as I said, he’s getting old…). And I have SO MUCH STORAGE SPACE for all of my materials.
Once I have completely re-done and decorated the space, I’ll for sure take you on a tour. I’m beyond excited to craft there. The only downside is that the internet-connection downstairs isn’t very fast, so there probably won’t be any streaming until we find a solution (D-LAN, unfortunately, wasn’t it, because I wasn’t able to have the D-LAN working while having plugged in… a lamp, for example). It’s enough for me to stream movies while crafting or watching tutorials for now. On the upside, it’s also the coolest room (temperature-wise) in the house and has a nice view into the garden. We also got bug screens for two of the windows, so I can have good airflow without having to worry about bugs in my projects.
The web shop – a neverending story
And last but not least – the web shop. I finally got around to hire someone to do my product descriptions, as these are the things I struggle most with. I planned small photo-shootings with some dear friends who will model my jewelry for me, and I hope that these images will add additional impact when I sell my Wonderlust Wares. But I’m also excited to try my hand at portrait photography and to re-activate my makeup-skills. And most important of all, planning things with other people keeps me accountable! And I hope this is the transition I need to finally push through the barrier to make my passion somewhat profitable.
Trials and Tribulations – and Thanks
I know we are not through yet, as the numbers of infections rise again drastically this fall in my little corner of the world. But I hope that we can be back to something resembling normal life in 2021. I am uttermost grateful for all the hard work of doctors, scientists and nurses to keep as many people alive as possible, and also for everyone working in all those fields to make sure I can still get food and everything I need (and craft materials). Thank you for everyone wearing a mask to protect me from possibly getting infected.
Stay safe and sane, everybody. And never stop wondering.