- Associated Press - Saturday, June 3, 2017

CALDWELL, Idaho (AP) - What began as a craft project on the side has turned into a successful home business for a local woman thanks to a new marketplace on Amazon.

Jodi Lewis runs a small business online called LucyLews. The business is named for her dog, Lucy. Lewis makes vinyl decals in her Caldwell home that can be put on the wall, doors or mailboxes for decoration.

The decals can be customized for names, sayings, addresses and other designs.

Lewis‘ products are sold on Amazon Handmade, a new store on Amazon.com that’s meant for artisans.

Lewis first purchased a vinyl cutter to put vinyl lettering on wood blocks and was successful selling those blocks. That project became too much work, so she began to just produce the vinyl decals that can be put on other things.

She started selling her creations on another website. It took Lewis a couple of months to get going, but eventually her products started selling well and she became busy. That continued for a while until the market became saturated with similar products.

“My sales started to drop, so I started looking around at other options and came across people on Amazon Handmade,” Lewis said.

To sell on Amazon Handmade, the products must be entirely made by hand, hand-altered or hand-assembled by the artisan or one of their employees, according to Amazon. Products that are mass-produced or made by someone else are not eligible.

Unlike other websites targeting artists and crafters, sellers have to apply and get approval to sell on Amazon Handmade.

“It’s good for someone like me who is a small, single-person business, because it’s not overrun by other manufacturers of decals,” Lewis said.

Lewis applied and was accepted to start selling on Amazon Handmade in January 2016. She said the fees are a little higher on Amazon than other sites, but it’s worth it to reach more than 200 million customers.

At the time Lewis began selling on Amazon, she was also working full time as a nurse for the VA coordinating transplants for veterans.

Lewis said she is able to make more money selling her decals on Amazon than she did as a full-time nurse. Her goal was to able to work from home and spend more time with her family.

Still, she didn’t want to give up on her nursing job completely, because she enjoys getting to work with veterans, so she cut back her nursing schedule to part time and works two days a week. The rest of the time she devotes to her online business.

“With Amazon and how busy I was, I was exhausted and not doing my best at anything, so I went to part time,” she said. “I can actually breathe a little bit now, and I’m able to do everything well.”

Lewis gets help from her husband and sister with the home business. She’s also considering branching out into other areas with her craft.

For other people considering turning their arts and crafts projects into a side business, Lewis‘ advice is to just go for it.

“I just say don’t be afraid. The worst thing that can happen is the product doesn’t sell,” she said. “If you don’t try, you’ll never know if other people will enjoy your product.”

“Love what you do and love making it,” she added. “The most successful people are the people that really enjoy what they’re creating.”

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com

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