I started Think Greene back in the fall of 2008. The business was called Thiemke-Greene Designs then. That name stemmed from my own personal name change that occurred earlier that August. I was a newly married, 27 year old, with a fresh college degree in painting, and I had no idea what it took to build a business from scratch!
Custom, one of a kind, bags. That is how it all started. The summer leading up to my wedding was when my neighbor taught me how to use a sewing machine. The excitement I found in this new skill was indescribable. It was all I thought about. Having a new creative outlet fresh out of college was just what I needed. I started to teach myself everything I possible could on my cheap, yard sale find, Brother sewing machine. The different stitches became my new brush strokes and the colors fabrics became my new paint. The possibilities were endless.
It did not take too long till I soon learned about Etsy and Craft Fairs from other creative friends. These two outlets would allow me to share my creations with customers.
Etsy was still pretty new to the world back in 2008, only being three years old, but had already grown a unique following of people who truly appreciated handmade. I wouldn’t say I made tons of sales right away. Uploading images and writing the listing description was a lot more work back then. Smartphones were not really a thing yet (at least for me) so taking photos and uploading them to computer then editing took time.
Now Craft Fairs, that was a whole other scene. I had to make sales, in person, with real live people! For a shy, quiet girl this was scary and a bit overwhelming. I must say it took me many years to master this part of the business, which seems crazy to think about now, as it has become a second nature to me.
I believe it was in 2010 or 2011 when Etsy announced the option to change the name of your shop. It was allowed only once, so if I did it, I had to be very sure. Changing my business name was definitely on my mind as no one could seem to pronounce my last name correctly! Thiemke, is a German last name and most people would say Theme-K. The right was for it to sound is Tim-Key. I felt like my brand was not being established well when people could not pronounce the name of my business! With a lot of thought and some fun word play I decided on Think Greene. My last name being pronounced wrong was pretty close to sounding like that and it would confuse customers a lot less! The transition seemed seamless and the new name gave me a new purpose. I was already on sustainable life path of being kind to our planet, now my business would be a good foundation to practice that life style as well.
All the pieces felt like they were falling into place. I was still learning as I went, but I was feeling more and more like a real small business owner!
to be continued….