It seems like everyone makes stitch markers. Etsy and Artfire are packed with people who make adorable little markers with beads shaped like lobsters and hotdogs; then there are those who use tiny little pearls and semi-precious stones. All of them are a practically endless series of variations on a theme. Mom and I discussed it and our verdict is that it's easy to do and is likely to have a fairly low overhead while still allowing someone to make a small profit.
About ten years ago, mom got the bead bug while she was trying to reconcile herself to being a writer who worked for commercial publications which she felt tended to take advantage of tragedies as a way of making a buck. Her brother-in-law sent her an e-mail asking her to interview people locally and write an article on the impact of a certain September tragedy in such a far-flung place as our semi-rural community; such a story, he said, would be of great interest to the Brazilian newspaper he worked for. Mom was surprised and, I think, a little appalled. How could people stand to capitalize on a tragedy of that scale? Instead, she decided to channel her creative energies toward something less likely to leave a foul taste in her mouth. And that's how we ended up with a hydraulic press in the living room. And a workshop full of beads from all over the world.
Mom's first show was in Pennsylvania, and it was memorable for a number of reasons not the least of which was the elderly Mennonite gentleman who approached us and suggested we would be enjoying a warm climate after we shuffled off the mortal coil. Shows, as it turned out, were hellish more often than not: the scramble to get ready to leave, get the car packed, the tent put up (which always required help), the endless flow of people who made nice comments like "But that'll snag on my sweater", the scramble to get things packed back up at the end of the show, get the car re-packed, and then drive home and unload everything until the next show rolled around. Of course, there was always a positive aspect to all that brouhaha, and that made the exhaustion worth it. In the end, mom decided to quit going to shows and opted for a quieter avenue for her pieces.
She recently changed gears again and went back to writing, though with a less commercial edge--and certainly one that's less likely to capitalize on grief. Which leaves us with a workshop full of beads and a hydraulic press in the living room. A few days ago, while she was taking a break from writing, I asked her if she'd show me how to make stitch markers. She rummaged around in the workshop and came back with a little pouch full of headpins, a little drawer full of glass beads, and several pairs of pliers, and, after about an hour, I'd succeeded in contracting a new hobby.
I'm not quite sure what to do about this, but here's photographic evidence of my labors.