There isn’t much there yet, but I wanted to let you guys know that instead of changing the focus of The Wytch of the North, I decided to open up a second Etsy shop! (I will be building my inventory there gradually, as funds for supplies become available, but for now the Samhain candles are there–and no longer at Wytch of the North–if you were looking for those.)
Etsy allows for one person to have multiple stores as long as they don’t contain any duplicate merchandise; they see that as an attempt to game the system (by having your shops dominate search for specific items), which does make sense. So this is why I moved the candles over; I’m introducing a line of herbal essential oil votives at the new shop (the Kitchen Witch Collection!) and I was nervous that Etsy might not approve of my having votive candles in both locations.
With that in mind, Wytch of the North will continue to have readings, custom prayer beads and poppets, and any other random crafts I feel like making (such as a line of pendants I’m considering, and possibly artistic Tarot cases at some point in the future), while Black Toad Apothecary will be very specifically focused on bath and body: candles, perfume oils, bath bombs, soap, etc. There will not be any crossovers of any of these kinds of items into the old shop because I don’t want to get into trouble with Etsy.
I’m very excited about this new venture because I see this as my chance to create a unified “brand”–something I’ve wanted to do for a long time now, but never saw a way to do with Wytch of the North. But…here is where I start worrying about how my long-time customers will react, because my vision for the new store involves it having a distinctly different focus from the old one: witchy in flavor, feel, and intent (and function, even), but NOT pagan/polytheist-centric. And I’m going to speak plainly here. The need for me to do this is partly due to my burnout from the past two years. I won’t lie, I desperately feel like I need a break from being expected to constantly be the polytheist priestess, as this is frankly what nearly drove me into the ground, and people have continued to treat me like a priestess, and expect priestess-like duties from me, long after my having announced (pretty clearly, I thought) that I am NOT one.
But also…While our current financial situation is sustainable (mostly, depending on which animals need the vet in any given month), there is no wiggle room, no opportunity to keep both the household and my shop(s) going while also paying the bills and putting some money away. And unless we can start putting money away, we will still be here in Oregon ten years from now as I beg my daughter to send the (someday future) grandkids to visit once in a while. Which is utterly pathetic, and not what we want at all. But it’s what’s going to happen unless we up our financial game somehow, which means either 1) me getting a job (which at this point is tempting–especially if it’s something I can do from home), or 2) finally managing to make a business venture work–REALLY work. And in order for a business to really work, it’s going to need to have appeal beyond the polytheist community, and especially beyond the tiny segment thereof that reads my blog and actually thinks well enough of me and my wares to fork over some of their hard-earned money occasionally.
Which is why, although I love and appreciate each and every one of you, I also NEED to start attracting a wider customer base–and there are far more people “into” the cultural witchcraft “scene” and the witchcraft aesthetic than there are actual practicing polytheists. I dearly hope my existing customers will follow me over to the new store and help me to make a success of it (I will reciprocate by doing my best to accommodate you in terms of scented custom orders, once I get the rest of my inventory figured out), BUT I am also hoping to attract a more secular crowd–people who love the culture of witchcraft and metaphysics but are not necessarily adherents of a pagan religion. If that offends anyone here, I apologize and deeply, deeply regret it–but the fact is that we, polytheists, are mostly money-poor, whereas the wider population segment ranging from witches to cultural witchcraft admirers has more–often a great deal more–disposable income to burn. It’s one of those unattractive facts of life, just as it’s a maybe-unattractive fact (to some) that my personal vision and ideology have shifted from deeply religious service to the gods before everything, to family and personal well-being first and dammit I will not be a stranger to my (future) grandkids. It’s a function of getting older, I guess, as much as it’s a function of prolonged burnout.
At any rate, thank you for your continued support if you’re able to give it! I will continue updating you here regarding the continued progress of both shops as time goes on.