Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008: A Year

I feel the urge to write a looking back/looking forward year end sort of post. Maybe it's the xmas newsletter tradition that runs rather strong in my family. I've never been able to put one out for my far flung friends and family, but here I am blogging. And updating my facebook status several times a day. I guess it works better for me when my sharing is limited to shorter bursts of time. And focusing on a few aspects of my life as I do here on the MAD blog helps make it doable also. And facebook - it's become a very nice way for me to feel connected to the outside world as I toil away alone in my garret all week long*. So go ahead and friend me and mention this blog and a bit about yourself if I wouldn't otherwise know you.

*it's not really like that, but it does get lonely sometimes and the weekend vending event social scene is also very appreciated.

I've grown a lot in my little business this year. I figured out that I sell a lot more if I take my wares out into the world physically. So I scheduled a lot of holiday craft fairs. Six weekends in a row. And in doing so I've rediscovered how much I enjoy interacting with the public. It's been made clear to me that aprons and similar are to be a major focus of mine in future (and present). This is great. I've gained a lot of confidence in my sewing and composition skills, so this cuts down on production time, too. Good. All good.

My production techniques really have gotten much more efficient so I think there may actually be some profit in this endeavor some day. I've made major progress in just the past few weeks as I've been forced to immediately try ideas I've been tossing around re: apron production efficiency. And I've gotten a lot faster and the aprons look better than ever. I'm phyched. And proud even. You know, with the recent attention I've gotten from the press and others and my sales figures at the holiday markets I'm starting to feel downright successful and very opptomistic about the future. I think I'm gonna go out and buy myself some shoes!

I have some goals and plans for 2009. All is revealed below, minus the numbers. Am I making a mistake being so...generous in sharing my plans? should they be a secret? oh, well...here goes.

My Number One Big Picture Goal re: Production and Work Flow:

I am going to get my work flow figured out so I have lots of product ready when I start the retail season. After trying a number of items over the past two years I now know which ones I have to make lots of so I can make them ahead. Like, starting in February. January is going to be spent catching up on bookkeeping and listing items on my etsy shop. My farmer friend Betsy Mattox and I are going to barter labor so we'll be busy making aprons and stuff in the winter and be outside hoeing and harvesting in the summer. I am SO looking forward to carrying out this plan. I was inside sewing and ironing in front of a hot sunny window way to frequently last summer.
Research and Development Department:

New items slated to be available to customers in the Spring include children's aprons, eye glass cases, and apron-inspired dresses and skirts with big bows in the back <-- especially excited to work on these. I've always wanted to be a fashion designer. Other possible items for R&D: laundry day aprons, round coasters, simple wallets (special deal on these for other nomadic vendor-types), and maybe even a recycled leather iPod case. div Etsy Plans: First off I fill my shop with whatever I have left after this weekend and more new belts. I think etsy will be an especially good market for my belts and key fobs. Vermonters at craft fairs don't seem to know what to make of the key fobs. To be honest, I had no idea what they were either until my cousin brought them to my attention and I further educated myself on etsy <-- a brilliant place to do product research.
Live Vending Plans: I'm going to be outside in the fresh air peddling my wares at farmers markets and similar as much as possible in the Summer and Fall, with some bigger indoor craft fairs thrown in there, too. And plenty of holiday vending events. If anyone takes me up on hosting a trunk show or house party, I am so game for trying that too. In early 2009 I'm still planning on sticking close to home, but who knows? If my production becomes efficient enough I might try to schedule a show or two in a large city later in the year. Oh my!

Hey, so that's it. A little bit of looking back and quite a bit of looking forward. I'm going to be on vacation from blogging again until 2009 most likely. Thanks for reading, especially if you were directed here by my parents xmas newsletter ; >

Have a wonderful end of the year and into the new one!

***This Friday 12/19 from 11am-6pm and Saturday 12/20 10am-6pm come see me at Burlington City Hall for my final vending event of the year: Burlington City Arts Holiday Art Market.***

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