TAG Treasury Team

Friday, February 17, 2012

Featured Shop of the Week: Jarmfarm

Robin, owner of the Etsy shop, Jarmfarm, grew up in a small town of about 800 people in downstate Illinois, where “everyone kept an eye on each other’s kids and everybody knew all the local gossip,” she says. “Although my community has grown, it is still a small town in all respects. It’s hard to NOT be involved in your community when it is such a small universe.

“We have a volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad. When someone in the community has a battle with cancer or needs financial help, the community will hold fundraising events to aid with support. Our community has local scholarships and has built homes for the needy. We take care of each other.”

She lists her “Life” as her day job. “As a young woman, I had a career in the Insurance industry and studied as an Insurance Risk Underwriter. I figured out it wasn't for me and quit when my husband and I decided to buy my family’s farm.

“I will be married 30 years this coming July, 2012. It doesn’t seem like that long. I guess I picked the right guy! I suppose I'm old fashioned in that my husband is the main provider, but I do a multitude of things to add to the our income - from farming to my Etsy shop.

“Most of my family has moved away, but I remain on the farm my grandparents owned when I was a child. It is a sesquicentennial farm [150 years strong] that my ancestors settled back in the 1840's. When my ancestors came here, they only managed to stay one winter, ‘the horrid winter of 1847,’ and quickly returned east to Ohio. Later, however, they came back and tried again, this time managing to tame the land and put down roots.”

Robin says, “I hate to admit this, but I spend a lot of my time on Etsy. A friend on Facebook suggested it to me, since her daughter was selling hair fascinators on there. I instantly fell in love with the site. I knew this was where I wanted to be.

“I love hunting for items to use in my re-purposed and up-cycled art, plus scouting for vintage items to put in my shop. Etsy has become almost a full-time obsession for me. I go to estate sales, auctions, garage sales, flea markets and thrift stores. I love being a "picker" - and I use that term lovingly and affectionately. Before I joined Etsy, I sold vintage wares on eBay for years.

“I always wanted to own an antique store but could never afford the overhead of having a building and did not have the time required to devote running a traditional brick and mortar business. Having an online store has given me an outlet for that. I enjoy taking care of my flower and vegetable gardens during the spring and summer, and I also tend an organic orchard.

Her favorite item in her shop, she says, is “these vintage red panties because it’s so funny when you think about how ‘racy’ they were to my mother's generation. I know that my mom wouldn't wear red or black panties because it would not have been proper – it would have been completely inappropriate for the time. My sister says I should rename them the Spankin' Red Hot Grannie Panties. I wonder if anyone would put that in as a search?” She giggles at the thought.

"I also up-cycle ceramics into garden art . I hope to do more of the dinner plate garden art this year and expand on this theme a little bit."
Robin has a black and white tuxedo cat which she named Baby. “I got her as a wee kitten when I was suffering from empty nest syndrome.” She and her husband have one child, a boy, who is now a grown man of twenty-nine years with a wife of his own. Robin also took on the admirable task of caring for her elderly father for twelve years after her mother passed away. Just recently, her sisters in Arizona took over that responsibility. “The last two years have been very liberating because my son married and my dad moved away. Now I'm free to be me again!”

Believing that a Higher Power directs her, Robin says with conviction, “I have asked God to give me guidance and he has directed me to this point in my life. I’ve spent my life trying to make ends meet by finding treasure in places where others don't see it and turning that into something beautiful and functional. I've always been re-purposing and up-cycling. It’s just now it has become trendy. This has always been who I am.”

Passionate about hard work, ethics, and faith, Robin explains, “I'm a Capricorn. I'm just like that goat who, no matter what, continuously plods his way up the side of that steep mountain.” Her greatest talent, aside from tenacity, she considers to be her keen sensibility and eye for detail. “I believe I have heightened senses,” she says, “whether it be visual, emotional, audible, sensual or even a sixth sense, so to speak. I am a highly sensitive person which is fine if you are an artist, but not a good thing if you have a customer service problem. Running an online business has taught me to develop a thicker skin.”

Robin holds dear her belief that everything happens for a reason. “It might not be clear while it is happening, but if you wait long enough, it will become apparent why you were given that life lesson. My outlook is best described by an old cliché: ‘If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.’”

Robin is obviously very good at making lemonade.

You can find Robin on Twitter under the name, jarmgirl.
https://twitter.com/#%21/jarmgirl

Interview and article by Linda Loca of Fire Grog Studio