The Black Apple, like many other DIY businesses, is a labor of love.
“It was out of having itchy fingers that wanted to constantly be painting, photographing, sewing, or drawing,” says 24-year-old Emily Martin of why she opened her online shop, theblackapple.etsy.com. “I never dreamt it would be such a success. Seriously, it still doesn’t seem to be quite real.”
After graduating from art school in 2005, Martin started selling handmade totes and artwork locally in Athens, Georgia, eventually turning to the Internet to get her business off the ground. “When I started, I was encouraged about the possibilities of the online indie craft community by Craftster.org and the best and most fun crafty blog ladies, like Sarah of The Small Object and Hillary of Wee Wonderfuls.”
Though Martin keeps her overhead costs as low as she can by hosting her site on Etsy, the Georgia-based crafter still found that she needed to spend a little money on marketing. “It’s difficult to afford all of the little things that help one appear professional – business cards, pinback buttons — in the beginning, especially if you’re just out of college,” she says, “but I managed.”
And now The Black Apple has turned into her dream job. “It’s a seven-day-a-week business, which can be hard, but it’s also wonderful in too many ways to stay frustrated with for long. The Black Apple is now the focus of my life, and pretty much all that I do, and I couldn’t be happier with that.”