Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Business or Hobby? or "How to Make PIN MONEY at home"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Over the winter, I've given a lot of thought to whether Gramma's Linen Closet is actually just a hobby or whether it could become a business--a real business that actually generates real income.

There have been disappointments: having clothing and accessories on consignment at a vintage shop, and selling practically nothing. Working a craft show with similarly poor sales.

On the other hand, I've picked up several things at auction or flea markets, or at very low prices at antique malls, and been able to resell them at significantly higher prices. A couple of mint-condition dish towels out of a $5 box lot at the auction went for many more times than what I paid for the whole lot. A vintage unused steam iron in its original box I got at auction for 50 cents sold for $20.

So maybe my sewing needs to take a back seat for awhile while I discover vintage items that can be resold?

David has lent his considerable energy to the idea, and is helping me build a business plan, and get organized. I know I have a good "eye," and I've certainly been able to generate enough income so far to pay for the fun I have hunting for vintage treasure.

But is it enough to actually generate real income? Income that might enable me to retire from full-time teaching  a little early? Cover expenses if the cuts in school funding in my state lead to a job furlough?

Coincidentally--or maybe not, depending upon how you feel about such things--I picked up a wonderful little booklet at an antique store north of Ithaca this weekend. It's called "How to Make PIN MONEY at Home." There is no copyright date, but it looks to be 1950s. It's chock full (as in 100 suggestions) of ideas for housewives who need to make a little extra money. Although the language is dated, the sentiment seems somehow appropriate these days:

     "Today, almost no man has a large enough income to satisfy the demands of his family. Expenses have distanced salaries in their rise, and men and women are hard put to find the necessary funds to do all they wish to for their children and themselves. Naturally, the women are looking about for ways to increase the family income....

    "The first thing to consider before undertaking part time or home work is: How much time can I give to such employment? If you hope to make your work pay, you must so arrange your household duties that you have several free hours every day.... If your home tasks are so engrossing that you cannot do this, you should not undertake any additional work. It would not only prove unremunerative, but would tax your strength beyond its endurance."

And so the experiment begins....

Help me decide by visiting my Etsy shop, "Gramma's Linen Closet," or searching Ebay for my sales under "GrammasLinenCloset."

1 comments:

karen anne said...

With two shops, this is what I've learned: I don't mind selling my work, but I absolutely HATE making things to sell. There is a difference. A BIG difference.

That being said - go get 'em! And good luck!

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