For the majority of this post, I’m going to write in the first person. I know… really flying off the handle here.
When I first started this whole shindig, I had no idea what I was doing. All I knew was that I liked to make things. I still don’t know what I’m doing, but at least I’m learning some things here and there. I never would’ve dipped into HTML had it not been for this. I never would’ve needed to worry about CNAME, DNS or any of that other alien stuff. I never would’ve had to source materials, figure out my pricing structure or rearrange my house. Even though I don’t believe in NYE resolutions, I did jot down some goals so I wouldn’t forget. I want to blog more (3x a week minimum), I want to tweet more (1x a day minimum), I want to do at least two major shows and get into at least two new brick n’ mortar stores. Other things that were default were figuring out my line and revamping my website. It’s a short list of straightforward goals, so it seems. But really, who am I fooling. I’m only one person. I can’t be in five places at once. I work a full-time job in addition to Timmy Mays. I can’t operate on three hours of sleep for months on end. I’ve already tried that and it didn’t go well. I wish I had an extra eight hours in my day. I wish I could snap my fingers and… voila!! I wish I didn’t need sleep, food or bathroom breaks. But wishing is one thing and doing is another. And realistically, I can’t do everything I want to do unless I take methodical baby steps. Easy come, easy go. Slow and steady wins the race. March to the beat of your own drummer. Okay. Enough with the whining already.
I first opened up the on-line shop because I had a bunch of stuff to sell. As I started to venture into boutiques, I realized it didn’t make sense for me to keep any inventory when it would be better off in a store. A full-blown on-line store works if people know it exists (that’s another thing I have to tackle). Truly, the only reason for me to keep any inventory was so I had something to show when I did fairs. As I continued to put things into stores, my on-line inventory dwindled. The sales I’ve done outside on my own have mostly been custom. This is good and bad. Custom is great because it’s a sure deal, it’s tailored to you and I already know you’re going to like it, but custom does take more time. The opposite is true of ready-made. I know I like it, but who else out there will? It’s more of a gamble I guess, but that’s the nice part about being in the boutiques. I can be chancy and try different things. Eventually (hopefully), someone comes around and feels drawn to it and takes it home. So, I’ve decided it really doesn’t make sense for me to have a separate store. Instead, I’m going to try to combine my blog, store and website into one.
That leaves me to wonder what I’m going to do about fairs. According to my goals, I’m supposed to do two large events this year. I already need at least two dozen items to fill one table at a small event. Doing a huge event is going to require much more than two dozen items to fill my booth. I don’t know what the magic number is, but if I had to guesstimate… maybe to the tune of one hundred-fifty bags, one hundred at minimum. Assuming a show will last through a weekend and the space I’m assigned is quite large, one hundred to one hundred-fifty isn’t that much. Although, it’s a lot for me to make and stash somewhere in my small living quarters. Yeah. I don’t know about this goal. Maybe just one large event at the end of the year is more feasible. But even then, what would I make?
I think this is where having a line comes into play. I like a lot of things. Too many things. Brights, darks, greens, blues, earthy, organic, geometric and modern are just a few. I can’t (and shouldn’t) cram everything I like into my offering. And certainly, I can’t whip up a story and say ‘here… this is what I do’, because I’m still way too new at this. Building a line takes time, years of practice and a little knowledge wouldn’t hurt either. It needs time to form, requires trial & error and needs to speak to my audience. It has to be cohesive. Hmmm… I think this is what they call branding. This is not easy to do. I don’t know much about branding, but I’ve been reading up on the internet and observe what others are doing. Not everything I make is pretty enough to put out there. Sometimes it looks better on paper, other times it looks weird on the body or worse, it’s just plain ugly. Having pretty product is great, but how to convey your image in a photo or on a website? Can I afford to spend money on extravagant props and a professional photographer? Big fat no. Through this, I’ve also become best friends with my camera. I’ve actually had to learn how to use it.
I’m lacking in discipline when it comes to blogging and tweeting. I’ve been very loose about the schedule I supposedly set for myself when it comes to social media. I may spend three consecutive nights locked in my studio and inadvertently neglect my blog. Other times I just don’t feel like talking (or writing), so I’ll purposely busy myself with other things. Or maybe I really do want to blog but have spent too much time working on other things and now it’s 3AM and I just want to go to bed.
Anyway, as I was dragging my sleep deprived ass around the office today, I found inspiration in a Nordstrom catalog. I especially like the convertible tote. I did something like this last summer, but I didn’t do it quite right. It was a mixture of fabric and leather, but this time I’m going to attempt all leather. The coated print canvas bags are kinda cute; mostly I was attracted to the neutral color scheme. I’ve always been a fan of earthy tones, khaki, olive greens… they’re so easy to wear and they go with just about anything.