I spend the week between Christmas and New Year's Eve formulating (and revising) my New Year's Resolutions. I shy away from the "loose 10 pounds" kind (not because they're not needed).
Instead, I look for ways to stretch myself and expand my world. One year I resolved to ride the bus once a week (which turned into once a month, but I succeeded). In 2003, I challenged myself to take (at least) one photograph a day. By April, I was running out of subjects, but I managed to make it all the way through December 31.
(Someday I hope to have time to EDIT the thousands of photos I took and come up with 365 that I like.)
This year, I've come up with a few resolutions for my craft business. Most are lessons I learned last year as I tried (and erred) to make and sell things.
Resolution #1: Ship smarter
I learned this the hard way, by fulfilling an order to the UK. A previous bracelet order to Holland hadn't cost much more than shipping within the US. So I just assumed the same would be true for sending something to Great Britain, even though it was larger (a book). On Etsy, the price I had posted for shipping was a few dollars. When I went to send the book, it cost $13 -- which meant I lost money on the deal.
Shipping smarter may also mean learning about generating postage online and investing in a postal scale. (My husband thinks I'm silly for standing in line at our small neighborhood post office every time I have something to ship.) I resolve to learn about options to make shipping easier.
Resolution #2: Shop my stash first
Part of the fun of upcycling is searching Goodwill and Value Village for treasures to transform into cool new things. (Seeing an old Scrabble game on a store shelf makes me a little faint.) Sometimes, it's more fun than facing my sewing machine, computer, or drill press. As a result, I have a large stockpile of materials that threaten to overtake my dining room, office, and guest room. I fear that upcycling may be the first step to hoarding!
This year, I resolve to use up at least 30% of my stash. I'm not sure how I'll reach that goal. Maybe I won't let myself buy something until I make something to sell. Or spend the first few months of this year emptying my bins before venturing out. Suggestions?
Resolution #3: Before I make it, make sure they'll buy
One of the first things I made when I began upcycling was a pouch (case? bag?) for an iPhone. I came up with the idea partly because I love my iPhone, but mostly because I enjoy combining the colorful, whimsical fabrics used for kids' clothes. Making the pouches was fun, in a word. So fun, that I made lots and lots of them.
At my first craft show, I hung my many pouches next to my table and waited for the crowded to adore them. Lots of people visited my booth, smiling and laughing at my other upcycled items (Scrabble bracelets, game board books) and completely ignoring the bags. Why?
I showed my bags to friends. Very cute, clever, they said. But too bulky for a phone. They wanted something that fit around the phone snugly, more of a sleeve and less of a padded purse. It's like I had created a moo moo instead of a mini skirt! So back to the drawing board.
I'll share more resolutions in my next post. I'd love to read what others have learned in their craft life. Read Part 2