After welcoming in the new year and packing away the Christmas decorations, it felt time to reflect on the past twelve months: identify successes and failures and establish how we could start learning from our mistakes. It had been a tough year, both personally and professionally, thanks to a job loss and change in our financial circumstances, family bereavements and finding ourselves another statistic of robbery. And, that was before we even considered our business venture.
We acquired our working studio, in April, which is situated in an old mill and colder than the Arctic Circle on a bleak day … and that’s in the summer. With the added challenge of learning to work together as husband and wife, it was a potentially explosive situation. In fact, there were times when we felt like drop-kicking each other off the top of the nearest multi-storey car park! Fortunately, we’ve got over that now…
We were introduced to other small businesses, occupying units alongside us, and discovered many talented people like Dirty Fresh Cosmetics and Rock Star Print who gave us lots of invaluable advice and support for which we will be eternally grateful.
Also in April, despite meeting some lovely creative individuals and attracting new stockists, we learned that our business wasn’t really compatible with expensive trade fairs after exhibiting at the British Craft Trade Fair, in Harrogate. Moving forward, It became an uphill battle to secure suppliers who could consistently provide good quality products using our original digital images. So, we invested in the hardware and set about printing them ourselves. It was a steep learning curve where we spent many hours making many mistakes, watching our stock deplete, but researching and practising our craft until we got it right. Not just once, but consistently across multiple products. It was a Eureka! moment with each success that was only achieved through our persistent effort and hard work. This was before we even thought about marketing and building a social media profile to engage with potential customers.
When we evaluate 2019, it’s staggering how far we’ve come in such a short space of time. With our new-found expertise in the printing process and confidence in our suppliers, we are now ready to head into 2020 to tackle the next stage of the journey. Our first step is to look at a marketing and social media strategy, so we have armed ourselves with Nicola Taylor and the maker’s yearbook 2020 and Janet Murray’s 2020 Social Media Diary & Planner . We will keep plugging away and who knows what we can achieve by this time next year. Watch this space!