Day 12 :: Lovely Limitation Turned Business


Years ago I was in need of a great gift for a lady with really good taste.  I had more time than money so, I taught myself how to make decorative tassels.  I saw some in the stores but it seemed like a color blind robot picked random colors to use together–I didn’t know anyone who could use a purple and orange tassel with a red and gold rooster on the top and $34 seemed like a steep price for a weird colored tassel.

But I loved the idea.

So I made tassels and gave them away as gifts which led to selling them which led to an etsy shop and a blog which lead to wholesaling which led to a decision between tasseling and blogging.  I think you know which one I choose.  But, the tassel shop was an asset to our family for years and it all started because I couldn’t afford a store bought, ugly tassel.

I’m so glad we didn’t have that thirty four dollars.

And you know what else it led me to?  A crazily put together but stuffed full of lots of photos and easy to follow ebook that I wrote about How to Make the Most Amazing, Beautiful, Fluffy, Full Tassels of Your Life.  Or something like that.


Is there a limitation you could turn into a business?

This post is part of a 31 Day Series. Find out more about it here. See all the posts from my series here. Bask in the glory of over 700 participants and their topics here.

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  1. Your post today really hit a chord with me! My business is the direct result of a limitation. We homeschooled, and I couldn’t find an interactive history program for our state’s history, so I put one together for my own children and have been making it available to others for 12 years now.

    Another limitation that’s turned out to be a big blessing–how many of us can really afford the house of our dreams? Cordon Bleu taste on a Chicken McNuggets budget…BUT every time we’ve bought a house in need of repair and slowly made it our own with a little TLC, we’ve been able to profit later.

  2. I love that a lack of $34 spawned a business. AND I love that you didn’t feel like you had to do that forever. :-)


  3. Also…..the ads on your site are really well integrated. Just wanted to say that. I need to get a Benjamin Moore ad because hundreds of people come to my house blog,/a> looking for a particular BM color I wrote about.


  4. You completely crack me up.
    I love that limitations led to all this and more. I think God’s cute like that.
    Can you imagine if He started with: Hey Nester, you’re going to write a ginormous blog that helps and impacts thousands of women? Get going!
    But no.
    It was a too expensive tassel.

  5. Can I be a total dork and say that you’re really inspirational? Because you straight up are. Over and out.

  6. I loved this post! I have a limitation called OCD ::grin:: that paired with the fact that the hubs is USAF and we’re always moving inspired me to use my limitations to write an ebook on organizing your sewing studio. It won’t pay the mortgage, but it’s something!

  7. That’s what happened to me. I saw an art print of flowers in a basket by Jodi Jensen that i wanted, but couldn’t afford. So, i decided to try to paint my own. From there, i just kept painting, and developed my skills, and now i can call myself an artist who actually sells her work!


  8. How totally inspiring. The lack of architectural illustration work in my area led me to try illustrating children’s books as filler income. And now I realize how much it connects with every thing in me – to create something that may inspire a child. I probably would have been too afraid to try it for any reason other than need.

  9. I’m not sure I’d call it a business, but losing my lucrative job as a practicing lawyer in 2009 led almost right away to my starting a blog about eating gluten-free on a tight budget, which led to a cookbook that hasn’t done half bad … and is leading to the second cookbook that should be out in a year’s time.
    Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, isn’t it?

    Oh, and like another reader above, I am most inspired by the fact that you were self-actualized enough to quit your etsy shop while you were ahead. Starting can often be easier than having the courage to say ‘when.’

  10. mine is a similar story….
    saw the family rules signs out there…wanted one but couldn’t afford one so we made one for our house. I posted about my DIY project and people asked me to make them one….

    We started last February, and we’ve now sold over a hundred of them. We’re praying for more and more business because it has been such a help to our one income, homeschooling family. :)

  11. All of the above comments and yours is so inspiring! Here’s to our limitations and beyond!


  12. Michelle Webster says:

    I love this series. It is totally where we are in life and I am looking at my home with new eyes. My business started with a limitation as well. My two little girls love hats especially cute little crochet beanies. I bought one and thought, I can make that, so I taught myself how to crochet. Two years later I can barely keep up with the orders for hats and other boutique items. I love it!!

  13. I love hearing about different peoples journeys! amazing ; )

  14. SO true..When I had babygirls I just could not find headbands and hair accessories I liked..So I started making them. They are now for sale in three shops and online. About to give birth to my thrid thank goodness the business can live on! ha.

  15. Jennifer H says:

    This 31 day blog post came at the perfect time in my life! I am a new homeschool mom, living on one income, who just moved and is frustrated with her house! This has been so helpful to get me out of my slump and get moving. I currently run a small cupcake delivery business, but my passion for it is running low and I want to add something else. I have been praying about what to do next. When all the sudden people have just started giving me furniture! So I have three dressers I am currently working on that I am hoping to sale! I am believing it is the beginning of something new!! Creative ideas are always flowing through my mind day and night, but I am always hesitant to start anything. Reading your blog and some others has helped me see how valuable all those ideas are!! Thank you!!

  16. Great post – great tassel! I’ll need to read your e-book and get my creative juices flowing. I just got hold of my grandmothers old Singer sewing machine and am dying to make something. Have I ever sewed in my life? No. But this blog post encouraged me, and inspired me to start! Thanks!

  17. I love that! Thanks for sharing. Just goes to show you never know. What could have been a problem turned into a life changer…and a good one. Thanks for the inspiration and change of perspective!

  18. Your previously sold items are gorgeous. I’d love to see your shop up and running again someday. :-)

  19. So neat to hear how your journey began and has lead you to what you’re doing today! Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I love it – stumbling on a business and a passion is a lovely and wonderful thing that takes much courage. Thanks for sharing and inspiring!

  21. You already know that we share a similar story – I wanted a pretty house, but wanted to make it on a boxed macaroni budget. Wood scraps & hand me down fabrics started my business, and 2 years later we’re still loving it – and blessed enough that it has allowed me to stay at home. You’ve always been there throughout my journey. I don’t know if you’ll ever know how grateful I am for you :)

  22. Everyone has really summed it up, but I love that the lack of $34 inspired you to create. It proves your positive outlook on life that you chose to do something about it rather than dwell on your limited funds. And your tassels, AMAZING! I love the cowboy boot one. Now you’ve just added another craft to my ever growing list. ;)

  23. I’ve read you every day this month, but this is easily my favorite Lovely Limitation. I love how life leads us down these paths.

  24. I have just discovered your blog today and found myself reading through your blogs for over 2 hours. Love the ideas and the insights!!!

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