Archive for July, 2011

The Birth of Sorta Green Kids

Sorta Green Kids Banner for My Etsy Shop

Although I opened my shop on Etsy on April 24th, 2011 its birth (or should I say its conception) was a few months prior to that. As our family spent time in Florida at Todd’s parent’s place during his recovery we both pondered and prayed about other ways to produce an income once we returned to Tennessee. He knew that he didn’t want to return to construction full-time and I knew that I didn’t want him to either.

Ria in the Blue and Yellow Flowered Skort Outfit

I had been making skort outfits for my twin girls for a year or so. It was something that I devised in an attempt to make second-hand clothing more modest and feminine while also fulfilling my desire to sew for them with minimal free time. It started with simply lengthening some skorts that they already had and later I discovered that I could easily make skorts out of shorts as well.

The Shorts of the Skort

I prefer my girls to be in skirts rather than shorts, but skirts make it difficult to play and be modest at the same time. The skort was a great solution. The ruffle on the shirt  was actually the result of a mistake I made that left me with an extra piece of  fabric. I didn’t want to waste it so I attached it to one of the girls’ shirts and rather liked the overall look. The skort outfit actually looks like a dress but functions like shorts and a shirt. A friend of mine suggested that I try selling them.

Ria in Red Polka Dot Skort Outfit

While in Florida we had access to some fabric stores with great sales that enabled me to get nice fabric at a reasonable price. We also shopped rummage sales and second-hand stores periodically which enabled me to find a good variety of shorts and tops. I made several outfits using my mother-in-law’s sewing machine.  One of the benefits of using her machine was the fact that I could actually zig zag the edges to prevent fraying. While I adore my machine at home, it was given to me from some friends who purchased it at a rummage sale for $1 and it is likely more than 40 years old. Because I do not have all of its original parts, it can only do a straight stitch.  I have since purchased a serger for use at home in order to overcome this handicap.

Our Neighbor Sari in the FSU Skort Outfit

I’m afraid I don’t have as many items in my inventory at this time as I would like. As I mentioned earlier I purchased a serger which I need to master before I actually use it on products that I sell. Also, the time that I had planned to use for producing more items for sale has turned into time for resting since we are now expecting our fifth child. I’m hoping that I can get a few more items up before his/her birth as I know that having a newborn around certainly won’t increase my free time. 🙂

Tevya wrapped in Checker Board Quilt

The skort outfits are currently the main item that I sell, but I have many other items in mind. Currently the only other item in my inventory is the giant checker board game quilt, but I have many, many more ideas that I can’t wait to get to… all in God’s good time.

Checker Board Quilt with Pillow Checkers



The Thrill of the Sale

Well, we made two sales this week and somehow it seems like we won a prize. Woo Hoo!! Hopefully we’ll get that same feeling even when we are having trouble keeping up with the sales.

Sorta Green Buttons sold two sets to one customer.










And Sorta Green Stuff sold some old records. 

One interesting though unimportant note was that the buyers were on opposite coasts. One in New York and the other in California. Wow, we’re national distributors!

Owning and operating your own business should be fun. When it is no longer fun it is time to move on to something else. We have a friend who is a brilliant musician and used to really enjoy playing the keyboard. But he ran a recording studio for many years and for years afterword played only rarely. He simply got burned out on something he loved. In recent years he has found a way to rekindle his joy through teaching others.

The old adage that says “Find a way to get paid for doing something you love and you’ll never work another day in your life” only goes so far. You have to remember to take joy in what you do every day as well as to take time out for other things. I love ice cream but if that was all I ever ate even I would eventually get tired of it.

Part of the remedy for us is that we currently have several things that we are working with and hope to add more in the future. Paula really enjoys working on her sewing projects and dreaming up new ones, I really enjoy trying to find new things to turn into buttons or new ways of using old materials. We both enjoy sorting through our “stuff” finding things we think someone else might like to have. (and would be willing to pay for. 🙂 )We are preparing to branch out into the craft supply business, and other ideas are brewing.

But even with that we have to be careful not to spread ourselves too thin. If you get too many things going you will not excel at any of them and most of them will be mediocre at best. One of the keys to happiness as a business owner is to concentrate on a few things you really enjoy while not neglecting the other areas of your life. I have seen too many people over the years who are very successful in business while the rest of their lives are a mess.

We have to keep our priorities straight. Running a successful business is an acceptable goal but family and friends are much more important.