Saturday, April 24, 2004

Final In The Bag, New Career Looms Ahead

The final exam is written, signed, sealed, and delivered. It's all over now but the grading, which will be Tuesday. I have studiously avoided thinking about how this is probably my last calculus final ever. I've tried to leave my options open, but I've made it clear that I do not intend to return to work at the university in the fall. This is really scary for me, but I have to do it. There's no way I can do the three-hour block of a night class plus office hours with a small nursing baby. And a day class is entirely out of the question. I'd have to find (and pay for) child care for said small nursing baby and for Sonshine, not to mention that a day class pays $600 less per semester than a night class.

But here I go, starting a new endeavor. My sister and I are going into business together, making learn-to-knit kits and learn-to-crochet kits and selling our handmade wares at the Gardener's Market. Hopefully this will kick off a new career for me as a work-at-home entrepreneur. I'll still do private tutoring, but tutoring is pretty seasonal (*cough* finals week only) and I need a steadier source of income.

Our kits are going to be cooler than anyone else's learn-to-knit-and/or-crochet kits. First, we will have much nicer yarns in ours. We're finding excellent wool blends and the fluffiest chenilles for our scarves; most scarf kits have cheap acrylic or that scary eyelash yarn (no beginner should want to work with that stuff). Second, we will have kits no one else offers, with our featured kit being a dishcloth kit. Maybe homemade dishcloths aren't big elsewhere, but here they make nice gifts for weddings and other occasions. And third, we are developing an instructional website for our customers, with tutorials on how to knit and crochet. (If you are now all excited and want to buy one, you could always e-mail me privately.)

I'm really excited, but I've gotta tell ya (in the interest of full disclosure) that if these things sell, it'll be the very first time in my adult life that anything I've thought was cool was interesting enough to other people that they would spend good money to buy them. I specify adult life because I used to bring in a bit of dough when I was in high school by making these baby booties that looked like shoes and selling them in a gift box. I'll never know how much of those sales was due to people's sympathy for a high schooler trying to bring in extra bucks. But everything else I've tried to sell since then has flopped miserably, with the most conspicuous failure being the line of toddler coats. Everyone said "Those coats are so adorable, you should sell them!" But when it came down to it, none of the people who clamored for their sale ever bought a single one, and I ended up selling them for the cost of the materials to a local store. And even then I saw them on the clearance rack at that store for a long time.

So please pray for me and my endeavors to be a stay-at-home mom and still pay the bills.