What a year! Resolutions? Meh. I could take 'em or leave 'em. Instead i love the idea of taking stock of a full year—the ups, downs, surprises, disappointments, the tough lessons learned. And 2014 was a biggie: I launched my first collection, started this blog, and made my first sale. Here's a peek at my first year of solo creative work and a look ahead at where I'm hoping to go...
Growing the family. We're expecting #2 in just a matter of weeks! "Yay / amaze / wow / omg 2 kids / yaaaaay / oh my back" is pretty much what's been on repeat over here. While this obviously isn't a business milestone, preparing for (and growing!) a new baby has been a major part of my life this past year and has been the greatest gift of 2014, hands down. And all hands on deck because lord knows, I'm going to need the help when it comes to adjusting to life with a newborn and toddler!
Launching my business and my first collection for families. Just doing it. Getting it out there. It was not perfect at launch and it still isn't, but I opened my virtual doors and learned how to make things better along the way, with my customers.
Writing. I approached the launch of my business as the launch of myself as a creative person. Yes, I am selling my designs, but I knew all along that I wanted to look at the long-view of what will hopefully organically grow with me as I design new products, document and share my creative experiences, and write about the things in life that capture my attention. Writing is a tool that helps with all of these things. Starting a blog was a great way to keep the momentum going in year #1. There were days and even weeks without sales. But I still had creative work to do. Plus, I love the process of writing—it's transformative, it's freeing, and it makes me feel as though I've accomplished something before I've even left the house on a dark and cold winter morning when the rest of the house is still sleeping.
Press. From Martha to Cool Mom Picks, Serendipity to Country Living, and all of the lovely shout-outs on 50 States of Style… getting some legit press mentions this past year was pretty awesome. I'll say it!
My screeching halt. My toughest challenge of 2014 was also my greatest gift… pregnancy. I was full-steam with ideas, posts, new product designs, and a crazy-long list of to-do's that I couldn't wait to get to. And then, one day in July, morning sickness hit. Big time. The fog lifted sometime in September, but things never really got back on track for me. I used to get up early to write and plan and design and, well, now I sleep. It's harder stealing 20 minutes here and there from my full-time parenting gig because overall, I'm less focused and much slower.
A break. V-day will be the last hurrah before I take a little biz break. Not sure yet what this means in terms of how long the shop shutters will be closed up, but with baby coming in late February, I'll be figuring it out as I go. (Yay, it's back to newborn baby cuddly time!)
Adding products. I'd love to add a new line of products soon. OK, not super-soon and more realistically, in 2016. I have a few prototypes worked out for a few different lines but this time around I want to be a bit more strategic about what I'm selling and how I'm selling it. Specifically, I'd love to find a way to generate passive income, or at the very least, semi-passive income. If I'm super honest with myself, while I really enjoying making and crafting, I haven't loved the make-on-demand aspect of running a handmade business. Whereas I love designing, tweaking, launching, photographing, styling, and writing about a creative body of work.
The kiddos. My favorite activities, projects, posts, and joys of 2014 had to do with kids. I love children's books, play spaces, and well-made toys that kids go back to again and again for years on end. This is more of an observation than a goal here, but I think it's important to pay attention to what makes you tick.
Consistency and writing. OK, I'm really looking at this "Looking Ahead" section as my next two year stretch. Once I'm back in a creative space after maternity leave, I want to work towards a big-deal goal for me: consistency when it comes to writing and content creation. I'd like to post to the blog 1-2 times per week and send a newsletter at least once a week. Because writing is part of my long-term vision for my creative self, I want to really prioritize this in the coming years.
And, finally… a huge thank you to all of you who have cheered me on this year in a new business venture, opened your studios and chatted with me about creativity, hung out with me online, and supported a small, handmade business with your wallet. You're the best. Here's to another year and many, many more!
Photo via Unsplash.