Sunday night, 12/27/2015, I was packing up an order for one of my few repeat customers, and remembered it was she who sent me this very sweet and encouraging card after she had blown about $50 on cards about this time LAST year. Which made me laugh. The card was dated 12/28/14 and she said she couldn’t wait until I was brick and mortar and how much she loved my selection. It was so super nice of her and I have it hanging in my office.
Reading her note made me start looking back at 2015 and the steps I’ve taken with my little business!
This year I participated in the South End Open Market with not only MY cards, but the work of other small stationery makers. This was scary for me. There are grey areas and fine lines being a “re-seller” at markets like this. Sometimes you get side-eye from others because not all your work is your own but I decided there was no reason there couldn’t be room for me, too and I applied. Not only that, I applied for a SEASON PASS. That meant every Sunday from May to October. Yikes. Working full time plus Sundays plus kind of Saturday too if I had a lot of prep to do…I was exhausted just thinking about it, but was also excited to see what would happen!
I was accepted (Yay!) and then it was time to figure out just…how I was going to pull this off. With careful measuring, and not so careful stuffing into a Honda Fit, and a lot of prayer, we tackled opening weekend and had an amazing day. We were a hit!
In May we also headed back to the Stationery Show!
We had such an amazing time meeting new people and finding out my Instagram feed was not just me screwing around and taking pretty pictures of cards. People were paying ATTENTION. You can read about that here!
The Summer and early Fall were a sweaty blur. We sold our house (!!!!) so that we could downsize and hopefully make some financial room for me to quit my admin job.
In August, I dropped to a 32-hour work week so I’d have more time to do stuff for Crumple + Toss. I made good use of the time; packing orders, blogging and taking big chunks of pictures for Instagram instead of a few at a time after work before the sun went down, but I still found things falling to the bottom of my to-do list. I was still running out of time to get things done. I decided it was finally time to start having my cards printed by someone else. For years, it was just me feeding paper into a consumer-grade inkjet, but with all the orders I was getting PLUS the wholesale orders, I just couldn’t keep up. It was a lot trickier than I thought it would be but I finally found a printer and ordered my first batch of eight different card designs! I still have about…mmmmm THIRTY to go but this was a huge load off.
As the South End Market wound down, holiday heated up. Right before Thanksgiving, I was invited to take part in an event at the offices of Poppin office products! An event coordinator who follows me on Instagram was working on the promotion of Poppin’s new metallic line and invitations were going out to all kinds of online, print and TV editors! She loved my style and wanted me to provide fun cards to go with her gift-giving theme! AND she invited me to attend as well! After a brief panic-attack, I told her I wouldn’t miss it for the world and dragged a friend with me so I didn’t have to go alone. It was a really neat experience plus I got to take home a bunch of rose gold notebooks. WIN.
As the year comes to a close, holiday looms as the CRAZIEST time for the crafter circuit. January to May is a barren wasteland and we have to get ready to essentially hibernate. My fellow makers were applying to holiday shows and trying to stack up as many as they could before selling season ended, but I only had one lined up, which was fine, because I had a lot to do for my POP-UP!
In July, a friend of mine did a week-long pop-up shop in Cambridge with her jewelry and said I should totally do one, too. With SOWA every Sunday and a full-time job, I wouldn’t be able to until November and that was a ways away. Everything fell into place though, and after months of planning and careful (ish) buying, I was going to have a real store, for the first time, for a week. (You can read about how it went here!) I had to take a week off from the office and basically work my vacation but it was worth it. I got so much good feedback and so much support. I wish I could do another!
Right after I packed up the store, I had to repack all my crates for BUST CRAFTACULAR: one of the holiday shows I got into. Wait, didn’t you say you only got into one? LOL wellllll funny story about that. The New England Open Markets decided to put together another holiday show last minute. I applied and got in! So another back-to-back weekend of shows. Bust was decent. I got almost all my own shopping done and had a great time chatting with fellow business owners, but South Boston Holiday Market in the Seaport the following weekend was an AMAZING. The perfect end to my season.
PHEW! What a year!
I can’t believe all that stuff was in just 12 months. Most of it in just seven! I remember sitting in the Park Plaza in Boston on January 1 of this year wondering what would happen in 2015. Would this be “the year?” Well, it wasn’t, but it was “the year” so far!
I don’t know what will happen in 2016. Some people have big plans already but not me. Oh, I know what I WANT to happen but I don’t have any specific things in motion to get there. Yet. I know I’ll be back at the South End Market for another season but that’s about it.
I wouldn’t be here with this year to look back on though, without the talented brands I call upon, without the 6,434 people following me on Instagram, the small but loyal group of repeat customers I have online and in Boston when I pop up at shows. Without you!
Thanks for a great year! And thanks for reading!