January is an ideal time to take stock of goals, and to create new ones. We know this. How did 2016 go for you? Was it all that you hoped for? (some of what you hoped for?) Did you set goals, work toward them, periodically assess your progress, and learn from your journey? Geez … I want to be that person. It makes total sense, right? Thoughtful. Methodical. Purposeful. Goal-setting and all that goes along with it is a necessity if you run your own business. Do more of what works; do less of what isn’t working. Measure. Tweak. Go at it again.
I am the first to admit that my own 2016 was more of progression in fits and starts, rather than slow and steady wins the race. In terms of my sewing business anyway. Measuring success in sales and revenue, February, March and April were my best months. Thereafter was seen a steady decline over the summer months and into the fall. Sales picked up some for the holidays in October and November. And my craft shows were not quite as successful as the previous year. Admittedly, I all but ignored my business in the spring and early summer, when I started part-time work outside my home, and moved into a new place. I also split my sewing business into two Etsy shops in late summer (here and here). I am certain that this move disrupted my listings rankings, and therefore, sales.
But. Yes. Now, that the frenzied pace of the holidays behind us, the time is ideal to take mental stock, and revamp a few things. Do you want to know something? I absolutely love this part of entrepreneurship — the studying, learning, tweaking. So what did I discover about Draw That Pig and StoLat A Wedding Shop? Here are a few things that come to mind:
- selling available stock is MUCH less stressful than constantly taking custom orders
- more listings makes my shops more appealing to buyers
- some of my items are huge hits; others are mediocre in terms of sales
- product photography is important
- a reasonable turnaround time is also important
- consistency in marketing is ALSO important
So, there. I have a starting place regarding setting new business goals for 2017. So exciting, right? One of the first things I am going to work on is trimming my product line, yet expanding it at the same time. Since I started making Pajama Eaters several years ago, they have topped my sales list for Draw That Pig every year. They are super awesome!! (You can read more about their awesomeness here.) They are certainly keepers. So, I am thinking I should offer more to my customers along the Pajama Eater line. I have several ideas in mind. But how do I fine tune my thinking? How do I come up with a great new product idea?
Famous painter Pablo Picasso reminds us that “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” This quote inspires me as I think about setting goals for my business and particularly as I ponder new product ideas. I believe that inspiration comes and goes on her own time. And I am much more likely to catch that creative spark in my work if I am in a work mindset. In other words, work ethic is just as important as the revelation. I long for the muses to inspire me. But can I really disrespect them by relentlessly hurtling through my sewing business like a wildebeest? Awful! Nor can I count on their creative assistance if I am just idly sitting by in a dissociative state. No, ma’am. The muses long to offer their creative inspiration, but please, I am begging. They deserve respect. And peace. And thoughtful ponderance in work.
And so. I have been sipping tea (it is Hot Tea Month after all) and pondering some new product ideas for my Draw That Pig shop. I have been thoughtfully considering my beloved Pajama Eaters. Whom and how do they serve? Why are they popular? Why do customers buy them? Are they confined to a specific age group? What might be a new twist on the “monster” cuteness? And huzzah, the muses have not let me down! 🙂 I am working on a new product line to be added to my shop (hopefully) this spring.
Launching a new product line is a big deal. And it is both exciting and scary. I am in the beginning stages of making sketches, examining fabric types, and coming up with packaging. I hope to have a few of these cuties ready for product-testing in the near-ish future. I would love for you to help me out! That’s all the sneak peek you get for now. I’ll keep you posted! ❤