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The Threads of My Life

by Lisa Lambson 11 months ago in art
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Finally, Home

Shades of a Peacock Mandala, Just Cross Stitch Magazine, August, 2017

One of my clearest memories from childhood is the treasure to be found in the tin filled with embroidery floss and learning the different types of stitches that can be made with them. The colors in that tin were my playmates as a child along with the huge box of crayons and coloring books. As the baby of the family with the next oldest being 10 years older, I spent most of my time alone. Embroidery and cross stitch have been a part of my life ever since then. It is my form of art therapy to combat loneliness and it has been with me through a lot. As I got older, it very often was a part of my home decor and many, many gifts to be given to family and friends. When my children were older and didn’t need me so much, I started designing my own patterns and have been published in a national cross stitch magazine.

Then there was Etsy, and my whole world opened up. I began designing full time and things were going well but it wasn’t long before Etsy went public and the bottom line became something that they had to be accountable for. Things changed and it wasn’t a move that provided many benefits to the sellers. Many new small business owners, including me, started looking at other options. There were new options popping up and I have tried pretty much all of them. Unfortunately, none of them seemed like the right answer either. They were almost as expensive as Etsy. They just worded things differently and if they weren’t expensive, they were not user friendly for the sellers or the buyers and the traffic was nothing compared to Etsy.

Then, I finally found what I was looking for. It was a fairly new marketplace that was starting to do well and I joined up as a seller. The concept emphasized the community as a whole and you had to be approved to join and had to agree to certain standards of participation. I loved the community aspect and became active right away focusing all my time and energy on that and moving away from Etsy as much as possible. I didn’t agree completely with all of the participation rules but it wasn’t a problem for me to do so I let it go. I didn’t have to deal with web design, site maintenance or SSL certificates, so I was happy with it.

Things were going very well in June of 2020. We were growing and all working hard together when the founder came to us and told us that she had been involved with some lies in her personal life and she was going to have to step away from the marketplace. Less than 2 hours later, still in absolute shock, she determined that her reputation was forever ruined and there was no fixing it and she deleted everything. The website, the social media groups we had built, everything was just gone. So much work was completely lost to us all and some of our livelihoods with it.

As part of the small admin team, I really felt for all the shop owners that were losing so much of what they had worked so hard to build. All of it just ripped away and thrown in the trash at no fault of their own. It was devastating to us all. I also felt that as wrong as what she did was, it would be just as wrong for the rest of the admin team to do the same. We were as lost as everyone else, but we should have known better, I guess. We were in constant daily contact with her and we had no idea.

I had taught myself web design the last time I was pregnant and could write in html, so I started to think about options. I had not kept up with the advance in technology much and I had no idea the logistics of starting a marketplace and the trust with these women was almost gone. What I could do was set them up on my existing hosting and make each one of them their own website. Luckily, I still had my admin team to help me and one of them had previous experience in IT. With their help and some hard work, we got it done. All of them that wanted affordable, e-commerce websites that operated very much like what they were used to previously, got them. And it was theirs! I taught them right away how to download their files so they can move it to other hosting. They would never lose their content and hard work again.

With a lot of experience and a enormous amount of hard work, we have added a marketplace and an auction site of our own that we are adding to every day. It has become my passion to build something to be proud of not just for now, but for generations of hand made creators to come. We are here for the long haul and will be spreading tradition and the American Dream far and wide.

This marketplace (like Etsy, but smaller) that we are building up is almost a year old. Right now we have a group of over 30+ amazing entrepreneurs who make some of the most incredible, quality, handmade products we have ever seen. Our mission from the start has been to empower as many people as possible to become strong, independent, successful business owners. Whether you have been creating things since you were a child or found yourself in the handmade world later in life, there is room for us all. We are a community of handmade sellers and buyers that have come together to take things back in time, when handmade was a necessity. There was a time when that is all there was.

It’s interesting the pivotal changes in how handmade has been perceived over the years. When people began creating things, it was to use. They figured out ways to make blankets because they were cold. It was certainly a wonder to behold when things were industrialized. It somehow became the “uncool” thing to be the one wearing handmade or making something handmade. Only people that couldn’t afford to buy clothes were wearing handmade and soon bedding and other household items all became mass produced. Along came the internet and online sales became a thing. With a little help from technology, the definition and look of handmade started to turn into something different and I am so glad to be seeing all the colors again and I am committed to ensuring the handmade is here to stay.

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Lisa Lambson

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