i’ve recently received quite a few questions regarding what my “day job” is, so i thought i’d share my story, for those that don’t know. while writing this blog is a fun hobby (and makes a little bit of money!) for me, my full-time, bread and butter job, is running a handmade and curated jewelry business, Elisabeth Ashlie.
my sister and i started the business in the summer of 2010, on a total whim. she spotted a necklace at Target that she liked but didn’t want to pay for, and quickly insisted that she could make a very similar version herself. having never made jewelry before, i was skeptical of her claim and figured she’d be back at Target in a few days to pick up the original necklace. a couple hundred dollars at the local craft store later, Kate and i were set up at her kitchen table with our sour punch straws, Sara Bareilles playing, and all of our loot. we had no idea what we were doing, but we were enjoying figuring it out!
many late nights and sugar overloads later, we decided to put some items on Etsy, just to see what would happen. soon enough, we had our first order (from a friend) and we were so excited! there’s nothing quite like the feeling of creating something that another person sees value in. our Etsy shop continued to fill up with new pieces, our customer base started growing, and we were signing up to participate in local craft shows in Raleigh, NC.
Kate and i continued to grow the business together over the next three years. we both started blogging shortly after we started the business, so that helped in growing our customer base and getting our name out there. we loved that we had something to work on together. it didn’t hurt to have a little extra money each month, either!
fast forward to the summer of 2013: Kate is pregnant with her first son and i’m preparing to move from Raleigh to Chicago. we had been talking through the logistics of running the business from two different cities and, ultimately, decided it would be best for me to continue with Elisabeth Ashlie on my own. truthfully, Kate made me fire her because she refused to quit, but that’s beside the point 😉 i moved to Chicago with every intention of finding a job in social media, marketing or something of the like. at that point, i hadn’t worked on EA full-time yet, so i didn’t know if that was even an option. i had saved up over the summer to live for a few months in Chicago without an income, so i took an unpaid internship at an event and hospitality company. the internship was short-lived, as it quickly became clear to me that all that time i was spending in the office could have been spent working on my business. in October, i stepped away from the internship and had decided to make Elisabeth Ashlie my full-time job. it was scary and unknown, but also incredibly exciting and empowering.
up until that point, i sold jewelry exclusively through the Etsy shop. a year into it being my full-time gig, i opened our own website, ElisabethAshlie.com. i wanted to start offering curated jewelry, but couldn’t do that on Etsy, as its a handmade marketplace. so, dot com was born! in the fall of 2015, The Dearly Box was launched, which is our subscription box. i also brought on my first bit of help, Christina, to work on social media, customer relations, inventory, and other behind-the-scenes things. she’s been an integral part of the success of the business in the last few months, and is largely responsible for the success of The Dearly Box! i’m eternally grateful for the work that she has put in and her desire to be a part of growing the company.
never in a million years did i think that i would own my own business, make jewelry, or be self-employed. ever. like ever. but, i can’t imagine doing anything else, truly. i wake up every single day excited to get to work. i find so much joy in my work, which i know would be considered a luxury for some. certainly, it isn’t without its challenges and hardships, but they’re all worth it. God has blessed me beyond measure with my career path, thus far, and i’m deeply grateful for that.
so, in case you’ve ever wondered what, exactly, it is that i do with my days, now you know 😉 if you guys would be interested in hearing more about the business, self-employment, working from home, etc., let me know! i’d love to share more of my experience and any helpful things i’ve learned along the way.