Someone else’s windfall extends to me.
This morning I received a message from a friend (in response to a Facebook post I made early yesterday) where she asked how much I would need to set up the online art shop.
Alright, some background. I have an online art shop but it’s set to cater to customers overseas because it only allows dollars as currency. The only Asian currency allowed is the Japanese yen and don’t I wish I could! The online shop is linked to my creative support site that accepts donations from patrons. It has limited features but it’s free and I’ve nowhere else to go because I can’t afford Shopify nor can I afford upgrading my website to a business plan that lets me run a full customised shop. I used to be on Etsy but the fees take out so much before and after I make a sale and they’ve recently set it up that the sellers have to absorb more extra costs to the point that only the really popular ones will truly make profit.
The current online shop is also linked to Paypal and most local customers still remain uncomfortable with digital payments involving bank cards. Shipping settings are also difficult to set up because there’s no one-size-fits-all rate if I will be using local couriers.
Many of my fellow local art merchants from pre-pandemic have set up shop through e-commerce sites. These sites sell everything. They are not exclusive to certain categories. So it’s a free-for-all and do-what-you-can to grab a share of the online shopper’s wallet.
But they do gather a LOT of local customers and have become the main go-to shopping sites. Even premium brands, whether local or multinational, have conceded and set up flagship stores on these sites.
So I’ve decided I’ll join the fray. I’ve signed up, and then I realized I need a bit of capital. Particularly for packaging materials – because there are guidelines to be followed – and some “production” (i.e. printing) materials, so I can have a decent inventory size.
And I’m super broke. Which meant I really can’t fully launch and promote the shop until I have everything ready from selling to shipping.
And then there was the message this morning asking how much I needed to set it all up.
I said about $50-80 for starters. Literally just to get me started with a complete first set of everything, and then I’ll use earnings from the first batch of sales to re-supply and so on.
My friend said she had some windfall and would like to help out. Said she’ll send me what I needed with a little extra.
And I told myself I WILL spend that money for the art shop and I will NOT rechannel on bills. I’ve been rechanneling my monthly patron donations into paying bills and groceries. Not this time.
This morning, too, I received a call from an agent of the e-commerce site. He gave me reminders on things I needed to fulfill within the week as a seller. Wow, they are serious about this! So I also can’t take my time to get it running. I have to work on it as much as I can and have a full shop in two weeks.
So I’m doing a bit of overtime work tonight. A hundred small tasks to get in line and to tick off.
I am stunned and humbled by the generosity of others. And I marvel at how small magics happen.