The End of Polka Dot Creations

I started Polka Dot Creations eleven years ago, quite by mistake. I was no longer working outside of the home, and I had a one-year-old son.  Without my outside income, I found that I was having trouble justifying the cost of buying myself the latest polymer clay books and videos. So, I looked into the idea of buying them in wholesale quantities and selling the extras on eBay.

It worked so well, that I increased my wholesale accounts little by little, until I had a nice side business going.  I soon had enough traffic on my own website, and gave up eBay altogether.  Sales were great for the first few years. I was making a profit and investing it all right back into the business.

I made it a point to stock each and every polymer clay book, video, and magazine I could get my hands on.

When the boxes of new magazine issues started piling up in my family room, I tried cutting back the number of issues I would order from each title. Then I tried eliminating entire titles altogether. Eventually I cut back to only three magazine subscriptions, out of the twenty or more I once had.  The magazines finally became manageable, but the damage to my enthusiasm had already been done.

When the number of new polymer clay books being published started dwindling, so did the number of customers who looked to me for their book needs. Did you know that I do a reasonably-good business when it comes to preorders, but once the books are readily available, they just sit on the shelves gathering dust? Such is the fate of the small businessperson in an world, I suppose.

There are a variety of reasons why owning Polka Dot Creations has stopped being wonderful for me, and not all of them bear going into.

Suffice it to say, this has been a long time coming. I have had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I have been complaining about wanting to quit for at least three years, but I’ve never  been able to get out from under my business debt until now.  But on the other hand, the idea of quitting has felt strange to me, like it’s not something I am really allowed to do, or that I owe it to my customers to keep plugging away.

I had a nice long talk with Neil about all of this one night last month, as we walked together down the quiet end of the Ocean City boardwalk after dark, and he helped me see reason. I am nearly in a position of being able to pay down my debt. The time I spend doing Polka Dot Creations tasks (or complaining about them and procrastinating) can be so much better spent.  I’ve been thinking a lot about publishing tutorials and ebooks, and while my download shop has been a good start, I can do better. And without the book store, I’ll have a bit of extra time.

I may just run around barefoot in the grass doing a little “I’m freeeee!” dance when it is all said and done.

Still, there has been plenty of good to come out of this business for me, mostly in the form of connections that I’ve made within the polymer clay community.  I don’t expect to fade into obscurity. I still love polymer, and I still plan to write about it, and publish some of my techniques.  You’ll always be able to find me right here, if you miss me!

There is one thing I will miss… my younger son’s help with the packing and shipping tasks. I’ve been letting him “help” me with the business since he was two years old, and unpacking big boxes of Abba Dabba VHS tapes. He learned to read while we applied shipping labels together. He learned how to use a scale, when we had packages to weigh.  For much of his life, he’s been eagerly “helping” me with this business, and I am so glad that I let him do so, even though it meant that the tasks would take twice as long. He’s nine years old now, and his help is actually truly helpful.  When we work together, packing and shipping are a speedier affair, not to mention a more pleasant one. I enjoy his company so much.

When I mentioned wanting to close the shop, he protested and suggested I let him run the business. I hope it doesn’t break his heart too much to find out I went another way.

I guess we’ll need to find another project to bond over.  I wonder how he feels about decluttering the basement?

Thank you, eveybody, for eleven (mostly) good years 🙂

Now, go take advantage of the sale!  Nearly all items are priced to move. The store will close for good on June 30th, but I will continue to ship (and you will still be able to place) preorders until November.  Please go empty my shelves, and invite a friend or two to join you!!

24 thoughts on “The End of Polka Dot Creations

  1. I’m certainly sorry to be losing Polka Dot Creations as a source but, frankly, I already own all the books and dvds you carry LOL – mostly purchased from you. I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavors, Lisa – enjoy your new freedom 🙂

  2. It’s always hard to give up something you have created even long after it’s served its purpose. I had a writing/graphic design biz many years ago and after doing quite well for eight years, I found that even though I could make money, it was not what my heart wanted. I also saw the “writing on the wall” with all of the printers hiring their own designers inhouse and clients creating their own stuff on their own pcs. I had a ceremony with a couple friends who also were changing directions in their lives. We burned our business cards and danced around them. Then I took my sage stick, lit it and walked around the house (I worked from home). Anyway, didn’t mean to go on and on. Good luck with your next adventure!

  3. I completely understand your decision. I must admit that I haven’t been a frequent customer, but I love being able to go to your store for the latest and greatest books and magazines at a great price.

    Best of luck to your in whatever you do next!

  4. It is hard to know what to say. You were one of my first contacts in the pc world. But, I understand and it makes sense. I look forward to your new tutorials! A change in direction often fuels a new level of creativity.

    • Thanks, Beth. I’m still really glad we met at Synergy! I may be somewhat of a B-or-C-list celebrity in the polymer world, but that doesn’t mean I am comfortable in a crowd. It was nice to have some quiet conversation with you 🙂

  5. Pingback: Polka Dot Cottage: A side track

  6. I really was moved by your story- especially the part about bonding with your son and him learning to read while helping you. What a great mom you are and your son sounds just as special. I’m sorry that your business has been forced into closing by the big guys, but I’m happy you are able to retire from it and be able to pay off your debt. Part of life’s lessons involve knowing when to say, “Enough- now I surrender to what comes next” sounds like you have learned so much over the past 11 years and I look forward to getting to know you better as I make a point to keep up with this woman that I just felt a need to befriend after she allowed me a glimpse into her heart.:)

  7. Pingback: Polka Dot Cottage: Trickling in

  8. Pingback: The Polymer Arts Blog » Moving On: Polka Dot Creations’ Closing

  9. I am so sad to see you close but I can see where you are coming from! Personally I would buy from you before a conglomerate like amazon! I have to admit I have ordered from you in the past and had great service but I did just always assume you’d be there! It is so sad to see a small business close. Best wishes on your new en devours and I do hope you post your tutorials and let us know where to find them! Good Luck Lisa!

    • Thanks, Jodi. Luckily there were enough people who feel as you do to keep me going for a nice little while. All good things must come to an end, though, and this stopped feeling good some time ago. I’m happy to move on! I already have a nice little selection of tutorials available. Freebies here and downloadables here.
      Thanks for your support 🙂

  10. Pingback: Polka Dot Cottage: Why, look, it’s another square!

  11. Pingback: Polka Dot Cottage: All that glitters

  12. I’ve been away from polyclay for quite awhile now, due to health reasons, and just today learned you’re closing shop. I’m so sorry it has come to this for you. Lisa. I remember when you opened, and being so optimistic, and so helpful to me. You may be closing this door, but as you know, very soon another will open that will be even better because you’ve added so much knowledge and experience that you will be able to conquer anything you set your mind to. For now, relax and have fun! And KNOW you WILL be missed.

    • Hello, Mary, yes I do remember you. I wrote this post over two years ago, and in that time I have never regretted my decision to close Polka Dot Creations. Transitioning to writing tutorials and patterns has been one of the best things I’ve done professionally. These days I find myself more interested in knitting and crocheting, although I do sometimes still get the polymer clay out. Thanks for your support, and I hope you are doing well!

  13. Pingback: Revisiting those old shelves | Polka Dot Cottage

What do you think about that?