Felt like it was just yesterday when I was reflecting on the end of 2021, and here we are now, the last day of December 2022!
Gosh, so many feelings about this year and having this little business (still feels weird to call it a business). I had no specific goals in mind when this year started...mostly it was all about how do I get started legitimately? How do I get it so it's not just my friends or acquaintances who are buying my cards? What kind of cards do I want to make? And who am I making it for - the audience I don't know I quite have or just make the cards I really want to make?
I feel incredibly fortunate, grateful and proud this year. It's really no small feat to be working full time in healthcare and to be a mom to a little 1-yr-old with limited family support (we have supportive family, but they don't live right down the street). It's so much about being efficient with time - working early before Em wakes up and after he sleeps and on the few days when I'm off work - trying to juggle the basics of starting a business - creating products, photographing products, marketing them, engaging with customers...the list goes on.
I often feel like a tiny fish in a huge sea of creators and makers, but a proud little fish! Here are some of the things I've accomplished and gained this year.
- Starting off with a tiny follower count on IG, composed of all the friends of my personal account who decided to follow along on my biz journey, of about 150ish and now reaching 800. Yes, I do think it's silly to highlight numbers (I hate running my life based on numbers, but that's the fact of life sometimes). However, it's important to note that I've had so many good conversations with people from all over about the themes of my products, our commonalities, etc. I truly appreciate all the support, the validating words that has motivated me to continue doing what I'm doing. Many are strangers I've never met, some are creatives or food-makers I admire, and all those who just give a simple "like" on any one of the things I post.
- At the start of the year, I had 22 greeting cards and 1 tote bag. By the end of the year, I added 22 more cards, 3 prints, 5 enamel pins, and 4 stickers!
- A brand refresh and new website! My old site was built on Wordpress because I originally wanted to do more blogging instead of selling. It wasn't very intuitive to use as a marketplace.
- Took 3 online classes! - Skillshare x DKNG's enamel pin class, Paper Camp to learn more about wholesale and Nat Otolora's class on designing custom work for clients. I thought maybe it was impossible to be putting more on my plate, but I believe in the importance of learning. I took away a lot from these courses.
- I was so delighted to be the only non food-maker selling through Pastel's platform. Though they have moved on to partner with Neon now, I gained valuable insight and friends with other food-makers there! They've really made it easy for me to sell some of my products to people in the Bay Area when I wasn't quite set up to do more wholesale in stores yet.
- I participated in TWO events! This is huge for me. Kudos to all my maker friends who vend at marketplaces and fairs all the time because it is a LOT of work pre-, during, and after an event is over. It's hard for me to commit this kind of time, especially for a weekend day when I want to spend those precious hours with my family. I could not have done it without the encouragement of my friends.
- Collaborations and connections with other makers. This is, by far, the most gratifying part of the year. Whether it was another food-maker who reached out to have something letterpress printed or creating a simple design or illustration for another, I feel honored to design something for someone else. I am also so grateful for all the connections made with other creatives online and in person, who have provided me feedback, given me advice on how to do certain things (it's hard figuring out all this stuff on your own!), and cheered me on every step of the way.
I'm looking forward to 2023! Will be writing a separate post on goals soon!