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What happens when a job turns into a passion – which turns into a full-time handmade business? Szklo Glass happens.

My guest today – Lauren Earl – started a job working with glass after high school, not intending to make it a career.

In 2016 she started making geometric wall hangings – and started selling them on Etsy.

Fast-forward to 2020, and she is running a full-time glass business – supporting her husband to be a stay-at-home dad to their young children.

In this episode (recorded in early March, 2020) she shares her journey, the challenges that have come along with it, and the lessons she’s learnt that have enabled her to grow a successful handmade business.

You can listen to this episode below, or on your fave podcasting app!

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Highlights from this episode:

  • Lauren started working with stained glass since after she finished high school.
  • Check out Lauren’s work here: Szklo Glass.
  • At the end of 2016, Lauren started created stained glass geometric wall hangings. Her friends loved these and started buying them so she set up an Etsy store and her business grew organically from there.
  • Lauren didn’t expect to still be on Etsy but it continues to be a strong source of sales. Her work has also been featured in Etsy newsletters which has helped drive sales.
  • Just as Lauren’s work really took off her husband finished with his job and became a stay at home dad. This gave her time and space to devote more time to the business and expand.
  • Each month Lauren sets a theme as a catalyst to create a piece. This provides her with space to experiment and keep her creativity kindled.
  • Working from home can create challenges with boundaries between home life and work hours.
  • “This was one of the harder things I had to figure out. Once I was doing this full time being very strict and saying “no, I have to go and work”.  {Lauren}
  • Lauren has had her designs copied and has had to approach this in different ways. Often, people are reasonable but there have been times when she has had to arrange cease and desist letters around copyright.
  •  “It’s hard to see people try to make the same thing especially when the quality is different and sometimes trying to price it as much or more than what you sell it for.” {Lauren}
  • To create a passive income stream, Lauren has developed kits for beginners and has previously partnered with The Crafter’s Box.
  • Exploring different aspects of your work such as techniques and materials can help you discover a microniche.
  •  “Try to be as original as possible, try to find your own ideas and inspirations. The more original you can be the more you’re going to stand out” {Lauren}
  •  Lauren’s business motto is “figure it out”.
  • “Sometimes you just need to stop, sit, think and figure it out” {Lauren}
  • “Don’t let things daunt you. If somebody else has done it you can do it too as when you just have to figure it out.” {Jess} 45:45

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