I met up with Sarah-Lambert Cook at the Big Crafty in downtown Asheville. She’s using her drawing talents to capture a niche audience with quirky miniature jewelry based on literary and film characters. If you enjoy The Hobbit, Monty Python or Shakespeare, her zany meets cute world will wow you.
Here’s how she went from unemployed to full time artisan, in her own words:
I began listing items in May 2010, selling art and the hand painted jewelry. In the first few weeks, sales were few but steady. Since it was mostly the jewelry, I decided I ought to focus all of my energy on that. But life threw a curve-ball in August when the store I was working at in Kansas closed. My husband and I decided it would be the perfect time to pick up and move east. My parents were living in Atlanta and offered us the front room of their house until we could get settled. For seven months we lived in one room as storage space, bedroom and studio simultaneously.
Emboldened by reaching 80 sales by the end of October I stopped looking for work and focused my energy on Tuckooandmoocow. Researching, networking, renewing, and creating new designs paid off! I had almost 200 new sales the next month! Business stayed steady through Christmas, and when things didn't slow down much for the rest of winter, I knew I had it.
Now, we live in beautiful Asheville, NC and are able to depend on sales from TuckooandMooCow to support us. There have been things that didn't work: shipping UPS express international is a cluster-cuss for everyone involved, staying up all night for more than 3 nights in a row will cause a massive migraine and creative burnout, and with made-to-order items there must always be time budgeted for unforeseen circumstances. Some things have been godsends: Etsy is a community of artisans, not just solely a venue, so getting involved in some aspect of that can be very helpful to your business and your sanity. As TuckooandMooCow grows, I'd like to eventually be much more self-sufficient and not purchase settings, but make them myself.
I haven't had a full day off since November, but I'm happy and the rewards have been worth the effort.