How To Quit Your Job - Making Crafts

Now this is only what I did some thirty some years ago, so it's safe to say that you may have other ways of going about quitting your job. I just wanted to be on my own and I just happened to be into crafts at the time and had a real tugging inside me to do this. I became involved with porcelain after teaching ceramics. Call it fate, but it worked, and it may just be as easy for you, but this all comes with a little research, asking questions and a lot of footwork and knocking on doors.


I quit my government job back in 1978 and the years have just flown by since then. The reason why I ended my career in the government was because I was bored. There was no challenge I felt, at least none for me. The same paycheque came to me every two weeks whether I deserved it or not and many times, I did not.

Quitting your job takes guts and a backup plan. Without a backup plan in motion, all you're doing is quitting your job -- period! .I made crafts and I knew I could make money from this line of work. You must want this, you must think this and you must become this 24 hours a day. It's tough being self employed and if you are one not to be aggressive and pushy, then stay where you are because you'll never make it on your own. This is my real life story of "How to quit your job - making Crafts."

My father began working for Bell Canada in 1916 and ended up dying on the job in 1965 at 65 years old. He was in his 50th year at Bell. Who works at the same job now for fifty years -- not too many.

When I turned thirty, I made the decision that it was time for a change and I never thought twice about it. To be on my own, without a boss peering over my shoulder was my goal and I went for it. At the time, I had no family to look after and so it was an easy decision. Those of you with a wife or (husband) and kids would have to do a lot more head thinking and soul searching before making a serious change in your life.

The first morning I woke up, it felt so weird to not have to rush and get ready for another work day at the office downtown. The office now had become the very place that I lived and slept in -- my home. What a funny feeling, in a good sense however. For six months, I received government benefits for vacation and sick leave time that I had accumlated and a lump sum for my superannuation that I had accrued. This was enough to get me started in my new career, a full time career in crafts.


Being as aggressive as I was, my first job was to have a sculpter design me some Canadian souvenir items. It wasn't hard to find one because my government job provided me with enough contacts and finding a good sculpter came quickly and relatively cheap. But that little souvenir item belonged to me now and only me. I had this lady make me a Beaver, Seal, Canada Goose and a bird design so that I could color them with the different colors of the seasons. Why I had a frog and Dolphin made, I'll never know, but running a craft shop at the same time told me that frogs, owls and Dolphins were popular with the ladies. Besides, I was going to try and sell at Marineland and not having a dolphin would be a crime.

I learned my craft from teaching ceramic courses in the basement of my house and that eventually led me into porcelain. Porcelain was stronger and I learned all about something called "slip" which is liquid porcelain that is poured into moulds to make "greenware" which is the hardened result of sitting in the mould for 24 hours. You can work easily with the greenware but unlike ceramic, this particular unfinished product is very brittle to work with. Sanding on ceramic greenware is performed with a sanding pad but sanding lines on porcelain greenware had to be done using a nylon stocking and a mask over my nose and mouth. Dust particles from unfinished porcelain tends to float in the air for several minutes. The people I taught didn't mind at all giving me their used, torn nylons for my new line of work.

Molds were made for my tiny sculptures by a master mold maker and now I was ready to mass produce by the hundreds. When firing porcelain greenware, the temperature in the kiln has to reach 1800 degrees faranheight, whereas cearmic requires just 1200 F.

Each souvenir item is then taken from the kiln and individually hand painted, something I loved to do. After these items are left to dry, they are again placed back in the kiln and fired up again. It was always fascinating to see the finished products come out of this steel cylinder shaped box after the second firing. These were the finished items ready to go to market. It was like Christmas morning waiting to see what would emerge from this hot metal box. Each item was just a little different, as the paint when heated would run in various directions thus making it unique in its own way.

But pouring, sanding, baking, painting and firing these trinkets was only one aspect of the finished shelf product.

I had to have a very small rubber stamp made in oder to place a "Made in Canada" sign on the bottom of each item. Then, gold chains, necklaces and pins had to be secured and attached to each item through the tiny holes that had been made in the soft clay before the baking stage. There were small jewellery boxes to buy and stickers to put on each box to again say "made in Canada". Stickers reading "Genuine Porcelain" also had to be made and this meant dealing with yet another company. And last of all, a couple of great looking display cases were designed by myself and the task to build them was given to a plastics company here in Ottawa. The cases were made from plexiglass. All this took about six months to get ready and when I was set to go, it was time to find the stores in order to sell my souvenirs that I was so proud of.

My first call went out to to the gift shop at "Upper Canada Village" in Morrisburg, Ontario. Thousands paid a visit to this tourist heritage location on the St. Lawrence River. After securing a $300.00 sale there, I made a two hour drive down the highway to Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario, another major tourist spot, again on the St. Lawrence. That day I came home with $1100 in sales. I was brimming from ear to ear but the next week saw me working feverishly in my basement trying to get all these orders processed.

It wasn't too long before I had many clients on board -- customers like the "CARA" shops. These were 65 gift shops located in every airport and train station in the country and they all wanted my little souvenirs. All I had to do was make one phone call to Toronto and I talked to a lady who was the National buyer for the Cara shops. She told me to send them off a sample of what I had and what price I was asking. Two weeks later and after a restructured price fix, sixty five stores began buying from me.

I became swamped as more and more individual retail stores came after me. I sold that business after just one year and continued with my craft shop at the flea market. After I sold that, the Disc Jockey business was calling my name. If I had remained in my boring and pityful government job, even with all its security, I never would have ventured into to all these wonderful ventures and would never have met the thousands of people that I met. I am much older now but I am still following my heart and my dreams.

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Comments 8 comments

ChristineVianello profile image

ChristineVianello 5 years ago from Philadelphia

I just made a website that I am working activly working on. I would like to sell paintings and hundreds of crafts that I have made. Congrats on your success!


Reynold Jay profile image

Reynold Jay 5 years ago from Saginaw, Michigan

Sounds good to me. I quite my job 13 years ago and am doing just fine. I enjoyed this very much. You have this laid out beautifully and it is easy to understand. Keep up the great HUBS. Up one and Useful. Hey! I'm now your fan! RJ


ianleverette47 profile image

ianleverette47 5 years ago from Brinston, Ontario Canada Author

Follow your Dream with your Heart.


ianleverette47 profile image

ianleverette47 5 years ago from Brinston, Ontario Canada Author

Thank you RJ for your comments. There are some days when it's raining like this that I do need a good morale boost and you've just given me one.


marellen 5 years ago

What a great story...I'm so glad that it worked out for you. Me, I'm just a crafter who did craft shows and now sell my Christmas Trees in boutique stores. I hope to get 5 stores this season to sell my wares.


ianleverette47 profile image

ianleverette47 5 years ago from Brinston, Ontario Canada Author

Marellen,

That's sounds terrific. I wish you all the luck. You better start making those trees now. Only about 5 months to go and Christmas pops into our heads around October. When I did my crafts, the big month for sales to the stores was October.


dearabbysmom profile image

dearabbysmom 5 years ago from Indiana

Thank you for sharing your story. One of my favorite features on Etsy is the "Quit Your Day Job" column. Very inspirational!


ThelmaC profile image

ThelmaC 5 years ago from Blue Ridge Mountains, USA

Another great hub....I always enjoy reading your posts. Like your Dad, I worked for Bell but left there 17 years ago and have never looked back. Keep the great hubs coming!

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