So, you may be wondering what caused me to start The Craft Penguin and why I named it the way I did. (Brace yourself, this is long.) Well, I guess you could say it all started when I was a kid…
I grew up creating things. All kinds of things. And almost everything I made became a gift for someone. I say almost everything, because I did occasionally sell some of my items, but I’ll get to that. I made paper beads and then would create jewelry with them. They obviously weren’t professionally made, but they were not bad for an 11 year old who tried things without anyone teaching her. I made those beaded geckos and other creatures with the pony beads. I made some lovely beaded sun catchers. Some became flowers, dream catchers, or Christmas trees, and other shapes I don’t recall. I actually did a lot of beaded projects. I created things with plastic canvas, like tissue box covers. My aunt taught me to cross stitch and so I completed several cross stitch projects. And believe it or not, I still have some unfinished cross stitch projects from so long ago. And the list of things I made goes on. but not all of them involved beads. 😉
I guess you could say I owe much of my creativity to my stepmom (who I call my mom). I call her my mom mostly because I lost my birth mother I was 4 years old. My dad remarried when I was 10, but I had known her for a few years before that, so I kinda grew up with her. Anyway, my mom always encouraged us to make things for gifts, and always had some creative ideas herself. My mom would have an idea and would show my younger brother and I how to do it and we’d all sit down and craft together. My older brother didn’t really have much interest in making a lot of things with us. My mom would also crochet blankets and slippers and make wreaths and other things. My mom did teach me to crochet as well, so I spent many nights helping her crochet slippers and baby blankets. Occasionally my mom got a table at a craft show to sell some things including some of the things we all made together. I would go along with her, and if I had some little things I made, I’d sell those too. Mostly the things I sold were my beaded projects.
This pin is one of the things I used to make to sell. I recently found a few of them that I’d made and still had laying around, so I put them into my shop.
But let’s fast forward 10+ years to just over a year ago. I still created things, but of course now the things I made were a bit different from what I did growing up. One of my close friends would see me working on some of my crafts or see the finished projects and kept encouraging me to sell them. I hesitated and put it off for months. But she kept trying. Finally, in June of 2014, I made the decision to start selling.
I took time and researched out different platforms to sell on. I knew of Etsy, but didn’t want to pay the fees. I was looking for something that wouldn’t cost anything to begin with. So, after much research and debate, I decided to open a shop on Zibbet. My first shop opened on June 30, 2014. When it opened, it did not have the name The Craft Penguin. I hadn’t even thought that far yet. I just used a username that I had for Listia and some other things: penguincrazy. Yeah, I know, not the best thing for a shop, but it got my shop opened.
Zibbet was easy to operate, no fees, unlimited listings, could include up to 4 pictures, and it had analytics built in. It was perfect! But all that changed when Zibbet decided to do updates like 2 weeks later. These updates took a week or two. During this time nobody could access anything on the site- not to list, not to buy. So, here I had just opened shop and had to put it on hold for a few weeks. When the updates were done and I went to list another item, I couldn’t. Because now you had to pay for most of the features I had for free before. Under a free account I could only now have 10 listings, and 1 image per product, and other things I had for free I no longer had. I was very upset! So upset that I, along with other angry Zibbet shop owners, started looking elsewhere to set up shop. Someone in that group mentioned Storenvy, so I checked it out and found what I had been looking for to begin with. I was surprised I had not come across it in all of my searching the first time! So, the next journey began in making the switch.
By this time I was convinced I was going to stick with the whole shop thing. This time I knew I needed to go with something more than the “penguincrazy” username. So I started brainstorming ideas for shop names. With every name I thought of, I searched online to see if anyone was using the name. And I went through probably a dozen names with no luck finding something I both liked and that was not already used. I was beginning to get discouraged when I thought to keep my obsession of penguins in the mix. That’s when “Craft Penguin” hit me. And the name wasn’t being used! And I thought of leaving it as Craft Penguin without the “The.” But then it struck me that The Craft Penguin could be used as kind of a double meaning. It not only can refer to my shop, but to me, like a nickname. I AM The Craft Penguin.
So with that, The Craft Penguin was born. My new shop opened on Storenvy on July 31, 2014. only 1 month after originally opening on Zibbet. I quickly started a Facebook page with the new name. And so the real adventure began. And with guidance from my friend (the same one who pushed me to start selling) who works in marketing, I soon started so much more to build it up. I even designed my own Facebook and shop banner (and I still do whenever I change it).
Here’s what the first one looked like:
I have been very happy with Storenvy. I have also tried Etsy more recently just to see what the hype is about (and still currently have an Etsy shop until some listings expire), but I am not impressed with it. I think I have permanently found my home on Storenvy. 🙂