My Day Job

i've recently received quite a few questions regarding what my "day job" is, so i thought i'd share my story, for those that don't know. while writing this blog is a fun hobby (and makes a little bit of money!) for me, my full-time, bread and butter job, is running a handmade and curated jewelry business, Elisabeth Ashlie.


my sister and i started the business in the summer of 2010, on a total whim. she spotted a necklace at Target that she liked but didn't want to pay for, and quickly insisted that she could make a very similar version herself. having never made jewelry before, i was skeptical of her claim and figured she'd be back at Target in a few days to pick up the original necklace. a couple hundred dollars at the local craft store later, Kate and i were set up at her kitchen table with our sour punch straws, Sara Bareilles playing, and all of our loot. we had no idea what we were doing, but we were enjoying figuring it out!

many late nights and sugar overloads later, we decided to put some items on Etsy, just to see what would happen. soon enough, we had our first order (from a friend) and we were so excited! there's nothing quite like the feeling of creating something that another person sees value in. our Etsy shop continued to fill up with new pieces, our customer base started growing, and we were signing up to participate in local craft shows in Raleigh, NC.

Kate and i continued to grow the business together over the next three years. we both started blogging shortly after we started the business, so that helped in growing our customer base and getting our name out there. we loved that we had something to work on together. it didn't hurt to have a little extra money each month, either!

fast forward to the summer of 2013: Kate is pregnant with her first son and i'm preparing to move from Raleigh to Chicago. we had been talking through the logistics of running the business from two different cities and, ultimately, decided it would be best for me to continue with Elisabeth Ashlie on my own. truthfully, Kate made me fire her because she refused to quit, but that's beside the point ;) i moved to Chicago with every intention of finding a job in social media, marketing or something of the like. at that point, i hadn't worked on EA full-time yet, so i didn't know if that was even an option. i had saved up over the summer to live for a few months in Chicago without an income, so i took an unpaid internship at an event and hospitality company. the internship was short-lived, as it quickly became clear to me that all that time i was spending in the office could have been spent working on my business. in October, i stepped away from the internship and had decided to make Elisabeth Ashlie my full-time job. it was scary and unknown, but also incredibly exciting and empowering.

up until that point, i sold jewelry exclusively through the Etsy shop. a year into it being my full-time gig, i opened our own website, ElisabethAshlie.com. i wanted to start offering curated jewelry, but couldn't do that on Etsy, as its a handmade marketplace. so, dot com was born! in the fall of 2015, The Dearly Box was launched, which is our subscription box. i also brought on my first bit of help, Christina, to work on social media, customer relations, inventory, and other behind-the-scenes things. she's been an integral part of the success of the business in the last few months, and is largely responsible for the success of The Dearly Box! i'm eternally grateful for the work that she has put in and her desire to be a part of growing the company.

never in a million years did i think that i would own my own business, make jewelry, or be self-employed. ever. like ever. but, i can't imagine doing anything else, truly. i wake up every single day excited to get to work. i find so much joy in my work, which i know would be considered a luxury for some. certainly, it isn't without its challenges and hardships, but they're all worth it. God has blessed me beyond measure with my career path, thus far, and i'm deeply grateful for that.

so, in case you've ever wondered what, exactly, it is that i do with my days, now you know ;) if you guys would be interested in hearing more about the business, self-employment, working from home, etc., let me know! i'd love to share more of my experience and any helpful things i've learned along the way. 

45 comments

  1. Would love to read more about your experiences with self employment! How do you schedule your time? Motivation?

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    1. Same questions here!! Time managment is not my skill...

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    2. Good questions! I'll work on a post about that!

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  2. PLEASE! Advice on working from home! I work in an office environment, but will soon be eligible for "teleworking" up to 4 days a week. While I don't know that I'll ever fully take advantage of the 4 day option, I do see myself working from home 2-3 days out of the work week. Any advice you have would be so welcome!

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    1. Sounds good - I'll definitely do a post on that!

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  3. I'd love to see a day in the life post - I know each day is different, but usually how is your flow? Wake up at 8, emails, exercise? Sort of a "how I work" post. I love reading those! :)

    <3
    kimberrleigh

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    1. Great idea! I'll add that to my list! :)

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    2. I agree! That would be very interesting to read!! Congratulations on your success!!!

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  4. I love that that is what you do! I would love to do something like this on a daily basis. I loved making jewelry as a kid and your jewelry is so beautiful. I'm happy when I read stuff like this, makes me hopeful for me and what I want to do. Keep up the amazing work!

    Allison http://allisons-eye.com/

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    1. thanks, Allison! I appreciate your kind words!

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  5. I love your story! Props to you for making that big leap and glad you are having so much success!

    -Kayla | TheProfessionalPrep.com

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  6. I'd love to read more about all of the above! I find it so inspiring to see others be so happy with their work, especially when it is building a business on your own from the ground up! Congrats on your success!!

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  7. Hi, this may be totally random but when you said you wanted to offer curated jewelry - what is "curated jewelry"?

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    1. It's jewelry (and goods!) that I find from other makers/sellers and sell through my site.

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  8. let me guess. you are your sisters middle names for the company name?? if so that's so cool

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    1. Yep! We had a hard time coming up with a name we both liked until my sister suggested using our middle names!

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  9. I would love advice on how to gain a larger following and turn more followers into sales. I've been workings business part time for three years and just started full time this past September. It's been a lot of hard work, posting on social media, etc but quite discouraging to not see results. Also if love to know how you went about finding a helper for the day to day tasks. I could use someone to help with marketing and social media. Thanks!

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    1. I'd love to share my experience with all of that -- I'll definitely add it to my growing list!

      Sorry to hear that it's been a discouraging process for you - it's difficult to put your heart and soul into something and not see the results you were hoping for. Stick with it!

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  10. Do you hand make all of your jewelry? If not, how did you 'outsource' it? I'm curious about how you manage materials, built relationships with suppliers, etc. Thanks so much!

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    1. Great questions! I'll add them to my list :)

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  11. Love this post! I'm always curious what my favorite bloggers are up to behind the scenes on a day-to-day basis. :) I have two of your pieces, and they're hands down my favorite. I am constantly getting compliments and sharing the EA love. Keep up the beautiful work, and I'm excited to read more about your business and your daily routines. (I work from home, too, and I never look as cute as you do. LOL.)

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    1. Thanks, Natalie! I love to hear that! And don't worry, you only see the days that I look cute ;) most days are sweats and a messy bun (one of the best things about working from home!)

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  12. I would SOAK UP anything you have to say about self-employment - You've inspired me to start making jewelry myself, and I have been less than consistent with it lately, I'm hoping to get a little etsy shop up and running this year :)

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  13. I love that you're doing something you love, but never imagined yourself doing as a career. My sister tells me all of the time that you can never plan your life too much, because you never know what is going to happen, which is something I'm trying to keep in mind as I try to start my own career. How do you keep from feeling too cooped up or restless when you work from home all of the time?

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    1. You're sister's right - you never know what will happen! I certainly didn't see any of this in my future, but can't imagine doing anything else.

      That's a good question! I'll add it to my blog post topics :)

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  14. Would absolutely love to hear more about the logistics side! Mostly how you figured things out on your own with taxes and setting up the website, etc. I would love to make etsy my full time job, but don't want to keep bothering people for help on setting up everything the "right" way!

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  15. Would absolutely love to hear more about the logistics side! Mostly how you figured things out on your own with taxes and setting up the website, etc. I would love to make etsy my full time job, but don't want to keep bothering people for help on setting up everything the "right" way!

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    1. Great questions! I'll be sure to address them in an upcoming post!

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  16. Good for you! You are so fortunate that you're able to be your own boss AND enjoy what you do. It's been so fun to follow along with your journey!

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    1. Thanks, Karly! I appreciate that you've been keeping up with what's going on ;)

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  17. Yes please! I'm "interested in hearing more about the business, self-employment, working from home, etc.," Please, please, please share more of your experience and all the helpful things you have learned!! Because I'm really interested in creating my own business or taking over one at some point!!

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  18. I am so glad you posted this! It is so fun and encouraging to hear. I'm launching my own creative business from home this spring, and like most everyone else has said, would absolutely love any tips you can share! Thank you again!

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    1. So exciting that you're launching a new biz! Best of luck with everything :)

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  19. I really enjoyed this post! Even though I have a full-time job that I really enjoy, I have a part-time business (not jewelry) that I'd like to take full time in the next 3-5 years. I'd love to read more about how you break down your time on the creative tasks (ie design concept, design testing etc) vs the logistics (ie, materials management, marketing, fulfillment etc). My biggest concerns about moving out of the full-time world revolve around figuring out these details.

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    1. Good thoughts, Lori! I'll be sure to add those in to my upcoming posts.

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  20. Thanks for sharing this!! what an inspiration you are!

    You were the reason I started my very own fashion blog.
    xoxo,
    Julia
    www.littlepieceofchic.com

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    1. That's so cool, Julia! Thanks for sharing!

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  21. FYI, the security Nazi software on my computer strongly discourages me from following the dearlybox link since it was not HTTPS....

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  22. What a great story. I am always inspired but those that start something on a whim and grow it into a business that provides so much joy and happiness.

    Jamie of Hello There, Lady!

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