kicking the door down :: my story


tara gentile over at scoutie girl is putting together a free digital zine featuring the stories of creative biz owners who have decided to kick their own personal doors down and chase their dreams. she encourages everyone to share their personal kick-butt story here, too!  though i've kicked many a door down in my life, i'm going to share the most relevant and possibly meaningful one here with you today.  how i began doing what i'm doing!

i knew about 2 years ago that i wanted to start up a few esty shops and begin a blog called going home to roost.  i knew i had a lot to learn and that i didn't want to haphazardly start, but that i wanted to put a lot of thought behind my actions, for one day i wanted to be a full time blogger and etsy shop owner.

so the research began!  i spent months and months researching etsy and reading through all of their amazing articles.  i also clicked over on every shop i loved and paid close attention to what they were doing.  i took note of the way they photographed their products and read their shop policies so that i would better understand what worked and what didn't.  i also started reading blogs on a daily basis for the first time.  the first 4 or so blogs that i fell in love with are very dear to my heart, and have been an integral part in inspiring me to write every day.  they are scoutie girl, modish, indie fixx and creature comforts. i began pouring over each of their archives and grew such a passion for each of their missions.  it helped me begin to mold in my mind going home to roost and how i would be able to fit into this massive blogosphere.

for christmas that year (2008) i got my first 'real' camera.  it's a nikon d40, and i knew that it was going to be an iportant part in accomplishing my goals.  wow, did i have a lot to learn about cameras!  i'll probably never realize it's full potential, but book after book i read and within a few months, felt like i could at least take somewhat decent pictures.  it's still a work in progress.

in january, i registered my blog with and quickly began discussing a design with a web designer.  after about 4 months of planning and design revisions, i launched going home to roost in april of 2009.  around the same time, i registered my etsy shop on march 16th, 2009 and sold my first item on june 2nd.  then another on june 3rd and another on the 15th.  i couldn't believe it!  my dreams were beginning to come true!

i won't say 'the rest is history' for it's a long process and i'm not anywhere close to being done with my dreams.  i have many goals that i'm working hard to accomplish with my etsy shop, and especially this blog.  but, it takes time to grow and to learn and i'm still in the very early stages of both.  i've had major milestones met even within the first year!  my mini knock the door down accomplishments include becoming a featured seller on etsy, being published in reader's digest, and another small publication that's still a bit too early to discuss. :)

what's the biggest door i've knocked down you might ask?  march 8th was my last day at my day job.  i loved my day job because i was working with my mom at her fabric shop, but don't forget- being a full time blogger and etsy shop owner was my biggest goal from the get-go!  so after 2 years of hard work and lots of planning, i was able to kick that door down and venture into the unknown world of being a full-time writer and artist!

so in a nut shell, that's my story! i would love to answer questions, if you have any and would like to encourage each of you to share your story about how you kicked a door down over at scoutie girl!

{images :: bonnie forkner}

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  • bonnie, thanks so much for sharing your story & spreading the word about the kick the door down project.

    i love that your story started with a kick the door down moment – so many culminate in one! gives a very different perspective and i’m sure it will be inspiring for many many people.

  • This is a really inspiring story! I loved reading how your journey went. I’m in the very beginning stages of thinking about a shop, looking into shipping/shop policies, etc, so it’s so nice to read how it all worked out for you! Congratulations!!!


  • wonderful and inspiring story! thanks for sharing. also, is that a fox door knocker? where did you get such an adorable thing?

  • Congrats on being able to quit your job! That’s still my current goal, although I’ve come a long way and I’m getting closer and closer, slowly but surely.

  • thank you bonnie! I love anthro. does the green of the fox look as good in real life as it does in your picture? sometimes those finishes can be weird. sorry to keep asking about it. I just love it so!

  • Hi Bonnie,

    I don’t have a “kicking down the door story” but I hope to in the not so distant future. I plan to open my own retail store and like you would love to follow my dreams of being a writer as well. My path may be a bit longer than yours as I am in the VERY beggining of the planning stages and have little experience in the retail world but I know I can do it with hard work and research. Currently I work a full time job with the family company and just recently got a part time sales job at a retail store to begin the learning process. My retail concept requires a local “brick and mortar” shop but I am obessed with Etsy and practically planned my whole wedding through it so congrats on your success. The challenge for me so far has been finances. I am not in a position to quite my job/s but not confident that private investors or a bank loan is the way to go either. The other part that’s hard is explaining your goals and dreams to the people you love. Sometimes they don’t quite understand my reasoning or see the same vision. I continue to work through all of that “not so fun” stuff because I know that my store could make a real difference in the community and possibly in the world of brick and mortar retail. Plus I can’t wait for the day I wake up and can’t wait to get to the store! I applaud you for sticking to your goal and making it happen. It’s sites like yours on a “down” day that reignite my motivation to “kick down the door.”

  • Such an inspiring story! I hope I can make it to that point someday with my etsy shops and blog. Thank you for sharing your story!

    I have the D40x and I feel the same way about it, I know there has to be so much more that it can do! What books did you read that helped you? I have a couple that I’m not very happy with. Would love to know what worked for you.

    • hi sharon! i’ve never posted a pattern for it, but i offer them in my shop! it’s, sadly i’m out of that gorgeous apple print though! :(

  • Hi Bonnie! Just found your blog-love it! I started a blog not long ago called “Restoring the Roost” and it sounds like we have a lot in common! I also live in NC, have backyard chickens, and love “roosting” at home too! I love your blog design and would welcome any advice you could give for us newbies :)

  • Hi Bonnie,

    I started following your blog a couple months back with Bloglovin, but just finally got around to reading this story of how it all began. Thanks for this, it was very inspiring! I’ve been sitting on some of my dreams for a few years now, burying them while I work at an un-inspiring childrenswear design job. (I love designing kids clothes, I just don’t love the politics and suppression of creativity in the corporate office environment.) At the beginning of this year I promised myself I would A) start a blog, B) start an Etsy shop, and C) do a 30 day Bikram challenge, (among a few other things!). I can happily say I’m on track with A and have plans for B and C before the year ends! I love your planning & research process that went behind starting the blog. At first I felt I had to do the same thing, and then I realized it would never get going unless I just DID it. I’m still experimenting but I’m having fun with it along the way!

  • I love how straightforward and open and honest your “About Me” section is. Some bloggers are so secretive and cryptic about their humble beginnings. It’s very refreshing to hear about all the steps you went through in working towards your goal. Many of them are things I am contemplating right now!

    I am still working over ideas for what my Dog Ownership/Training blog will be like, but now I know that’s OK- it doesn’t have to be purely organic and flowing and perfect. It takes planning and hard work, and that’s normal. So, thank you!

  • Hi Bonnie! I flagged your blog some time ago (can’t even really remember how I came across it!) and have just had the chance to really dig in this weekend and read some of your awesome content! Your story really resonates with me and I am constantly looking for advice on ways to grow my own business and support myself full time. Thanks for sharing your story and for the absolute abundance of resources on your blog! Wow. I am officially inspired :)