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Please help my family survive, not just exist
$35 Raised
0% of $150k goal
2 contributors
2 Years running
Hi, my name is Stephanie and It is almost 7am and I am wide awake. I did try, really. I even took an extra over the counter sleeping pill tonight but the demons in my head won again. It was the usual night terror hallucination of someone ... More ...

Hi, my name is Stephanie and It is almost 7am and I am wide awake. I did try, really. I even took an extra over the counter sleeping pill tonight but the demons in my head won again. It was the usual night terror hallucination of someone standing next to my bed. I used to have a bookshelf there, I moved it after I kicked out at a spector one night and almost broke my toe. I can laugh at that, so don't worry about offending me you can laugh too. In fact I look forward to some of you opening up in the comment section if there is one and telling me about your night escapades when like me, you are foolish and try to sleep before the sun comes up. I do not mind the night terrors, I am used to them, they stem from my childhood. Anyone who has survived traumatic events from years of childhood abuse has those particular demons lurking around so I am not ashamed to admit mine to the world. Surprisingly what is hard to admit to the world though, friends and family included, is that I need help.

I have tried over the past 5 years to create a successful business selling things online that can support myself, my boyfriend Dennis and his grandmother who is 84 that we live with and take care of. I first started off making handmade cards and scrapbooks. I had an amazing time creating beautiful works of art with them, sometimes working on one for weeks. Sadly though, after just over a year of trying I had to stop. Not because I wanted to, but because I could not afford to continue trying to sell them. I was extremely lucky when they sold for enough to cover the cost of materials that I put into them. They never sold for enough money to make a decent profit to where I could buy groceries or pay the bills. Often on these scrapbooks I would make I used vintage rhinestone jewelry as decorations, that lead to my next attempt at making a living. For the next year I sold vintage jewelry and rhinestones to people who repaired it. I was able to sell the rhinestones quickly for a very small profit and the jewelry less often for a larger profit. That was working out alright until the market for vintage rhinestone jewelry dried up. So I had to come up with the next thing to try, which was handmade jewelry. That was another fun venture that allowed my creativity to flow but I had a hard time competing with the countless other sellers on Etsy and China on Ebay. So that quickly led to just selling jewelry making supplies and that is what I have been doing the past couple of years.

I fell in love with Swarovski beads, especially their vintage hard to find ones. I could spend hours hunting online for old rare ones to sell. However due to a very poor decision on my part I “lost” a bunch of my inventory in an online auction and did not have the money to replace it. I was selling on a site that offers “Partner” auctions to sellers which is basically an outlet where you can have 100-200 items of yours up for sale in an online room of people that bid on it. The catch though is that the site charges a 30% fee and often times forces you to offer free shipping and start the bidding real low, say $3 or so. A seller friend of mine at the time came to me and asked me if I wanted to do one with her. I decided to take the risk and try one. My first two of those did really well, however the last one was a disaster. Most items sold at start bid which was enough sometimes to cover the initial cost of the item but not shipping and fees. I was also really foolish in telling my seller friend my suppliers since up until the last one I had thought we would be doing them together for awhile. Needless to say, she was able to continue doing them without me and I lost my Swarovski business and most of my buyers.

For the past few months I have been mainly been “selling” things on Listia People pay you in points on Listia, you then use those points to buy things from other sellers that you need or you can try and win an Amazon gift card from their Rewards Store to buy things like toilet paper. I did that this month. I have also been doing Facebook auctions under the group Treasure Attic with the small remainder of beads I have left. I know I can not keep living like this. Just existing is not living. I need something that I can create and sell that allows my creativity to flow and pays the bills at the same time. Now it is more important than ever.

In November of this year we had to move to a new apartment because our lease was up at the old one and they would not renew it. We had 30 days to find one. The only apartment that we were able to get that allows Verna , Dennis' grandmother, the maneuverability that she needs because she is in a wheelchair costs $450 more a month than our old one. All the other places we looked at were either not on the first floor, had stairs going up to the door or stairs going down to the door. With having to pay more in rent that ate up what little cushion I had to fall on if I did not have any sales that week. Dennis works full time to support the family but half of his paycheck goes to paying off student loans and half of what is left goes to our health insurance. I only make $536 a month caring for his grandmother full time so everything thing I have tried to do online for my business came from $100 a month that I was able to spend out of my paycheck before the move. Now after the move my whole paycheck goes to groceries and the bills leaving me nothing to try and use to jump start a new business adventure. . In January of this year our health insurance changed to where we have to pay the first $2,500 in prescriptions and $2,500 in Doctor's visits up front. I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, diabetes, three twisted vertebrate in my back, a herniated disc, sciatica, GERD, esophageal spasms and a couple other things. So you can imagine all the prescriptions I am on haha.

I do not know how we are going to survive but you can be sure I will keep on fighting and doing the best that I can. One of the things that I take from my childhood is that no matter how many times you get punched down and told to shut up you keep on going and fighting and living because one day no matter how bad you feel at the time it will be better. So every day I fight, I go on and keep working towards that better day. I shake off those night terrors, I make some coffee and I sit down and look at everything I have tried and failed and figure out how to do it better next time. I will admit some days I fail. I let those old self esteem issues and doubt creep in my mind and feel like just giving up and spending the rest of my life watching reality tv shows. I will do everything in my power not to let that happen. I do not care if the arthritis is so bad in my hands that I can not move them or my vision so bad that I can not see what I am creating I will sure as heck try anyways. I suppose I should explain my vision, I am blind in my left eye due to being struck hard by my father when I was six months old and now at 32 with Diabetes my vision in my remaining eye is getting a little worse due to swollen lenses. I was able to get a new Prescription pair of glasses at Christmas as a gift from Dennis though and they help a lot. He had saved enough to get me a second pair that I needed for up close things like reading and working on my ACEOs and ATCs. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are 3 1/2” x 2 1/2” works of art that you can create using anything under the sun. I liked using some of my rhinestones that I had left over on them but it started getting to hard to see them because they are so small.

Each stumble and fall has allowed me to gain vast experience. With trying so many different things I have learned what works and what does not. This attempt will be much harder because I will not have nearly the amount of income to invest in it. However this attempt at survival will be better in a sense because I will not be doing it alone anymore. This time I will have at chance at some online friends of mine that are also creators and sellers to work with me. My goals will be hard to achieve but with the help of people like you who are reading this, it will become possible to succeed.

My plan, my dream, is to create party favors for events such as weddings, baby showers, anniversaries and other celebratory events in ones life. I know that to some that might seem silly or small but I hope my explanation of why I want to do that will help you understand. Art has always allowed me an outlet for my emotions to shine through. For a time it also allowed me to heal and grow as a person and get away from all of the negativity and side effects so to speak from my childhood. It allowed me something to focus on and feel good about myself once the piece I was working on was finished. The happiest I have ever been was when I was creating cards and scrapbooks and wall art. I want to take those skills and creativity and make things that will share in the joy of someone's special day. I want to celebrate life and those people who are in it. Creating party favors is a way to do that for me. I have a friend who makes handmade soaps, candles, tarts and bath and beauty products. I want to be able to take her skills and pair them with my own. I can decorate the boxes, cards and other things and she can make the products that go inside them.

That is just part of the dream. The main goal would be able to make enough money off of it to pay the bills, medical expenses and hopefully one day afford a house instead of this two bedroom apartment which can be suffocating at times when you want some alone time and can not get it haha. To be able to pay all my medical bills so that my health does not deteriorate again. To be able to buy enough groceries to where I can have breakfast and lunch instead of just dinner and a snack. Other diabetics out there, you know the importance of eating small meals throughout the day to stabilize your blood sugar. In mid November my blood sugar hit 755 and I had to go to the ER to get fluids and insulin. I am on two medications now to try and keep it stable, it averages around 300 now which is a big improvement. I have no idea how I could afford insulin if I need it with the insurance change.

My best shot at making my dream a reality would require a few things. The best scenario would be to #1 pay off the remainder of Denny’s student loans which are roughly $38,000, that would allow us the ability to pay the insurance deductible and give us some small breathing room if anything should happen to his grandmother since we can not afford to live on our own while the business grew with his $800 a month student loan payment and the medical bills. #2 would be having the money to create a catalog of products to sell. Even if we only started out with 20 things we would need the money to buy the materials needed to create them to take pictures of to sell. If at all possible a website for them would be great but there are other places we can try to sell at if it is not. Such as Ebay, Etsy, Craftstar, and Weebly to name a few. The last two mentioned are newer sites that still need the buyer growth to boom but the fees are really low compared to Ebay and Etsy.

This was really hard to write, to open up like this to strangers and ask for help. If you think my business idea is flawed and do not want to help with building it, can you please help even a little to allow us to survive and get out of debt? I have so many medical bills in collections that I will never be able to get the three of us a house. I tried a few times to get a Walmart card to build my credit but was denied. I can get one of those where you put like $300 or so on it and build it that way but I do not have the money for that. We have a main coon cat named Sasha who has to go to the vet every six weeks to have a treatment done. I had thought about using the card to pay her visit each time then pay it off to build it up that way. I am having a hard time with having myself copy and paste this for all the world to see. Maybe though if everyone posted their dreams and people helped the world would become a better place. I am a fighter and a survivor, and getting so very tired of the daily struggle. Can you please help me make my dreams come true?

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