Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Down to Business

One fine morning finally I decided to get into business with my jewelry hobby. No, it'll not be in my name, I'd rather name it ALANKARSHILPA. In my language Bengali, (and in Sanskrit too, the ancient sages' language of India) it means the art of ornamenting, making things beautiful.

So, I went to our county clerk's office, paid $30 and filed the fictitious name. They call it DBA (Doing Business As). I had to pay $50 extra to run this auspicious news in local papers for four weeks.

I joined a free small business starters' seminar. There were many fellow starting arts and crafts entrepreneurs. I, being a bit shy (yeh right!) didn't talk much. But from their discussions and stories, came to know that most cities around here donot require a city permit. So I am safe.

Lo and behold! Few months later I received a letter from the city office Hey! you are doing business without telling us? Where is your city permit?

I hurry to the city office. The lady hands me a long form which with many questions asks how much did I sell? "None, nothing so far, Mam.' I reply.
"Well, then you have to pay the higher rate option which is $305. If you anticipate to sell something from $1-$10.000 you pay $23."
"Of course, of course I will, at least by the end of the year... I hope" I gulp.

"Very well, then. Go downstairs and get your Home owners' permit. They may want to visit your residence before granting you .." Oh my!

So I go down, fill up another form which inquires - Are you planning to have clients in your house?
"Yes Sir, I plan to have jewelry home parties sometimes, may be two or three times a year."

"Nope. You can't have a bunch of cars in front of your house. That will be very inconvenient for the neighbors"

"But Sir, my neighbors are my customers and they come any way,...walking."

"I know, I know. You are honest. I like that." He winks through his bifocals.
"But let's pretend no customers. Okay? I'll cross out this part." He grins.
"Are you going to have shipments?"
"Some times may be Sir, Not too much, just one small packet through the postal service " I shake defensively.
"How many times?" He growls.
"Just once in every other month, may be Sir. "
"That's not too bad. But remember no signs, whatsoever. Okay?"
"Yes Sir." I nod like a good girl.

Then with a big thump he strikes the stamp on the paper. APPROVED.
"Sir, Are you going to come to my house?"

"Nay! May be when you have your party only. Good luck." Hay, hay, hay he gives a belly laugh.

I climb upstairs to pay for the city permit, $23, home owners permit $48, "Now where is my City Permit paper?" I demand.

"You have to go to Oakland (30 miles away) and get your Seller's Permit so that you can charge sale tax to your customers. Then come back here again."


Research is everything.You've got to find where you fit into the puzzle.
Mikal Ali.

To know more about starting a business please check out my entries on Business or Hobby and Working from Home at
Do you have such stories to share. Then please put it in the comment post. Wish you all the best- Dita.

1 comment:

PastelGuy said...

Good afternoon, thanks for visiting my blog and commenting! I use Sunsheen Polish and a 1/2 hp polishing lathe. I purchased both of them from Rio Grande. The time I save in polishing with a lathe vs. a handpiece is worth the expense!

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