Wow it feels weird to be writing this right now. it seems like forever since I last posted on the blog when really it’s been less than 6 months. Regardless a lot has happened in that time and I want to share it with all of you.
Quarantine was rough. For everyone. And still is. I felt like I was constantly in this continuous cycle of waking up, working, watching Netflix, working out, and then sleeping. I needed something to add into my day that made me feel productive but that I also found fun.
Now for those of you who don’t know, I grew up an art kid. Yeah I played sports and was involved and well rounded but I LOVED art. I did classes every year, drew, painted, crocheted, everything. I still have about 40 lbs of colored pencils, markers, crayons, and paint at home. As I got older and started to focus more on school I shifted my focus from art to academics. And for years I never paid much mind to the shift. I loved learning so it wasn’t a chore by any means and I kept myself busy with work and sports as well.
Well when looking for a quarantine hobby, I decided on art. While I would love to be one of those people who make bread every day and redecorate, I normally cook and bake when I’m stressed so it wasn’t a pastime I was interested in. I ended up digging through all of my art supplies and started brainstorming what I wanted to do.
I’m a planner so I needed to have a plan for what I was going to make. Which normally goes against the whole art premise but stay with me here. I was scrolling through my Instagram explore page and found a small business that was selling college sunglasses. They were acrylic sunglasses with vinyl placed on them with the school’s mascot or logo.
As someone who loves college football and tailgating this seemed like a fun craft for me to try out. So I started looking for supplies. I ended up finding good sunglasses on Amazon but vinyl would require a cricuit and I couldn’t quite justify the price. So I started brainstorming other ways to decorate sunglasses. As someone who loves their share of jewelry, I though of gems to decorate them. I went on to Amazon and ordered a pack of multicolor gems. But when I went back to look at glasses I stumbled upon a site where I could get 10 pairs for the price of what 2 sold for on Amazon. I’ve always loved a good deal so I ordered those instead.
When my supplies arrived I got to work on making a pair of sunglasses. Now as a perfectionist I of course started with a teal pair instead (couldn’t have messed up OSU ones) and decided I’d try a longer name to see what I could fit on the glasses. I tried to think of something I’d wear them to and came up empty handed so I decided I’d make them for a random school snd if they looked good maybe I could put them on Etsy. I quickly realized that I loved making these sunglasses. So I made more, and some more, and a few more. And once I had turned every pair in that 10 pack into a different college I decided I’d list them on Etsy. Best case scenario I’d sell a few pairs, worst case scenario at least I had cool glasses for games in the fall (though we all know that didn’t happen as planned either). And katelyn leigh designs was born.
Within a few days they began to sell. And then more sold. And I decided to start an Instagram account for them to offer my glasses as custom. I would put anything people wanted on them and ship them out. And it took off.
I started gaining followers, consistent Etsy sales, and I decided to expand. I briefly sold fanny packs for a bit until I got burnt out of painting. Then I went to bucket hats and upcycled clothes. Finally I added stickers to my Etsy, and that’s where things really took off. I expanded to non college gear to appeal to more people too. I packed all of my supplies with me when I moved back in to my college apartment and kept the business going. I had to sacrifice almost all of the storage under my bed (rip to the shoes I had to part with) but I made it work. While I wasn’t making amazing money, I was profiting, and most importantly having fun doing it.
Within six months I hit 950 sales. 950. I never imagined that I’d sell 950 items, because I really didn’t think I’d sell 1 pair of sunglasses. But I did! I am so happy to have found something I enjoy doing for a job, that is also relaxing.
I’m now at over 1100 orders and I pack and ship 7-10 orders everyday. I’m so excited to see where I’ll be at the one year mark. I have my own website now, applied for official business status as an LLC, and am still loving every minute of this journey.
While I know I mostly focus on college and lifestyle content, I want to start sharing my journey with my small business, including tips on how I expanded my business. I’ll still have my normal content as well though! I figured everything out on my own and really struggled to find anyone who was actively sharing how they started their business, especially without having thousands and thousands of dollars to start things off with. With that being said, I won’t be posting as regularly as I used to, but I am excited to be back and posting again!
Here’s my website if you want to help support me:
You can use the code “KLBlog” to save 10% on your order!
Shop Instagram: @katelynleighdesigns