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Being an Entrepreneur

When my family and I came back from our circumnavigation, I was plagued with one thought: how to make money. During our around the world adventure, which had taken two and a half years, I had been a successful freelance writer for a number of cruising magazines. Having had experiences in so many interesting locales, it was easy to write and sell articles about places we visited as we went along, and I had amassed a good amount of cash for someone my age. However, coming back to the United States had left me with nothing to write about---and no money flowing into my bank account. I could feel it was time to move on from writing, yet I still felt I needed to do something to prove I could be successful.

Then, one day, an idea hit me while watching one of my favorite TV shows, which was Pretty Little Liars. Although its plot left a lot to be desired, I loved the main characters’ fashion. In this particular episode, one of the characters, whose name was Aria, was wearing an amazing statement piece---one beautiful earring made completely of long, skinny feathers. This accessory immediately caught my eye, and I decided to research where the unique feathers came from, for I believed I could make---and sell---my own.

After a very long Google search, I finally came across a fly tying website that sold the feathers, which I discovered were only made by a genetically altered rooster patented by Whitings Farms. Although one saddle---approximately 200 feathers---was forty dollars, I decided to make the investment and see what I could do with them.

While I experimented with making the earrings, which turned out to be quite easy, I started to look for a place to sell them. I eventually stumbled upon Etsy, a website similar to Ebay but for art, vintage, and craft supplies. I set up a business account, which I called Caroline’s Feathers, and posted a picture of my earring on my shop page. Although it took a few weeks, it eventually sold, and I had made my first twenty dollars with my new moneymaking scheme.

However, I wasn’t happy with the time it had taken to sell this earring. After scouting my Etsy competition, I realized that people who sold only the feathers---not the earring---sold out faster. Although I wouldn’t make as good of a return as I did with the earrings (I could sell the earring for twenty dollars and the same amount of feathers it took to make it for eight dollars), I thought I would give it a go to see if I could sell my stock more quickly. When I came home the morning after posting my first feathers and found they had already sold, I had discovered my business.

I expanded to more colors, more lengths, and more varieties that included peacock and pheasant feathers. Before I knew it, the feather hair extension fad of summer 2011 was upon America, and I was able to raise my price exponentially, at my best time selling twenty feathers for forty dollars. I had huge margins because I had bought all my feathers earlier that year when prices were low. However, my success didn’t last long, as I found that when I went to reorder, every wholesale option on the Internet was out of stock on the most popular feathers, the ones from Whitings.

Although my business slowed down after that and I eventually decided to close my Etsy shop, I don’t consider it a failure in the least. I proved to myself that I could make money by starting my own business, which I feel is very important for the future. Now, no matter what happens in my life, I know that I will have enough confidence to create a business again if I ever need to.




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