A few years ago I sold all my Ghostbuster toys (childhood & collection) to buy a button maker. I wanted to supplement my current income with side money. I worked at the time for a nonprofit environmental organization, Ohio’s largest. My thought was to make little punk rock buttons from magazines or comic books. I’d find weird pictures from all over and sell them on eBay. Before I even put up my first set (homage to Pete & Pete) I sold off a large amount of custom buttons for a Cleveland band and was instantly in the black when it came to my little start up.
From there I made more and more sets of things I thought were cool. At one point I made a two button set of a hand strumming a guitar and the other of the players face. One of them was Kurt Cobain and I sold it to Courtney Love, she never responded to my letter asking how it felt to be my generation’s Yoko Ono. I made a bunch for the Popeye theme park, which is located on the fantastic island the movie was filmed at. Lots of cool little things like that happen.
At some point I tried putting some things on etsy to sell. After a bit of time they started to take off and I had two places hocking my silliness. Before I got into this mess I worked as a bartender for a guy who ended up going to jail for being a coke dealer. I continued to work there after he was sent away and he randomly corresponded with letters to the bar. After he got out he opened a new bar and contacted me to ask if I would be his screen printer. Since I had never done that before I was on board. I started to make a name for myself while selling original designs at art shows and consignment shops. The bar guy didn’t have any style sense and he could never get his designs sold so in the end the shirt start up failed. Since all the equipment was his and he had to sell it off I was back to my trusty buttons.
During the time I was there I left my nonprofit job to focus on making shirts. One day a friend of mine called to see if I could help him out at the vintage toy store he worked at. I was able to push things around for a chance to work at one of the greatest toy stores ever. Since I had already started selling toys and vintage collectibles on my own it was an easy and good fit. Luckily when the bar owner failed I was able to keep the toy store job and add some more hours.
I now sell stuff online and work at a toy store to pay the bills. The dream is for my weird items, collectibles, and wearables to make enough money that I can work on them every night and play with my daughter all day.