When it Rains Paper Co. is taking over my life. (In the best, most exciting way possible!) The idea started out as a way to supplement our travel expenses. I kid you not; Cason and I were sitting around talking about how we could make more money because we dreamed of going to Europe for several weeks. I knew that wasn’t happening on my teacher salary! We toyed around with the idea of opening an Etsy shop because we loved creating and designing paper goods for our friend’s weddings and showers. (Trust me…we had A LOT of friends get married.) Cason would design invitations and I would always make coordinating paper goods like garlands, banners, and cupcake toppers. We knew we had a good thing going but we could not have fathomed what was to come!
Cason and I spent weeks that turned into months writing product descriptions and listings, making samples, photographing them, and figuring out how Etsy worked. It was exhausting but we had an end goal in sight – Europe. Creating a shop is not for the faint of heart. It was extremely time consuming and we had no idea if it would even pay off. And let’s be real, if it didn’t pan out at least we would have a cute office to show for it. I will never forget the first night our shop went live on June 4, 2011. We officially activated our products around 10pm that night. We decided to go to a late movie so we wouldn’t just sit at home and refresh our computers. By the time we left the movies, we had our first sale! I am by no means trying to make this sound easy. The next day Cason had to work but I was out for the summer. I went downstairs and just sat at our desk. I straightened a couple sheets of paper, stared around the room for a bit, and called it a day after 5 minutes. In the early days Cason and I would be so sarcastic, like “Man, LOVING this Etsy action!” or “Wow, the orders just keep pouring in!” When in reality we hadn’t sold anything in a week. Things started slowly but we stuck with it. We figured out the magic of a good picture, studied everything we could find on SEO (search engine optimization), and nixed items that we weren’t passionate about, aka: candles. I never want to melt wax again.
By the time the holidays rolled around we thought we had hit it big time. We were consistently getting a couple orders a day. It would seriously stress us out to have more than 10 outstanding orders to fulfill. Cason and I would stay up so late pressuring ourselves to get our orders down to 0. (We grew out of that phase fast!) We were so new at running our shop that we would agree to any and every absurd request. Cason once sent a customer 14 different proofs and the customer hadn’t even paid yet! There is definitely a learning curve to starting up your own business.
Fast forward 3 years and When it Rains Paper Co. has grown beyond our wildest imagination! I can’t remember the last time we had our orders down to 0….better yet I can’t remember the last time we had our orders down to less than 20 outstanding. This past holiday season we hit our most overwhelming moment with 93 outstanding orders one night. We’d work for 6 hours and mark 30 orders shipped but in the 6 hours we’d been working, we’d get 25 orders. We literally couldn’t catch-up. Our lives have become an intense, micromanaged, crazy mess. (We block out time just to grocery shop!) I report to school from 7:20-3:00 only to arrive home and start my second full-time job. Cason and I will stay in our office until 10pm most nights just to get through the orders that have to go out the next day. Saturdays and Sundays are spent creating new products, photographing them, and listing them to our shop. On top of that, we’re currently designing our own website along with a couple other top secret projects in the works. And you know what? We LOVE every hectic minute of it! Hard work truly pays off. Go after your dreams at full speed. It will be terrifying, expensive, and time consuming, but the outcome has potential to blow your mind.
In case you were wondering, we made it to Europe (for 4 weeks)! From flights and train tickets to hotels, museum tickets, and macaroons the entire trip was expensed through When it Rains!
I hate to be super cheesy but your dreams can become a reality. What are you waiting for? Make the first step today!