The first week of 2013 has been really busy and exciting for us. It seems that all the hard work and effort we are putting into the business is slowly paying off and sending us in new directions. And that is good.
The catalog company that we are no longer doing business with released its latest issue this past week or so. It was the first time in probably 15 years that I didn’t have one design represented in it. That alone was quite scary because up until this point, we had become a substantial part of their business, and they ours. Naturally both Keith and I felt a bit of apprehension because for us, it was a very traumatic thing to break ties. But we knew that we needed to do it. And no matter what the consequences were for us financially, we knew that it was the right thing for us. It isn’t always about money. It is about integrity and trust and doing what we feel was the thing to do.
Sometimes when two parties don’t see eye to eye on things, it is just best to go their separate ways. This was one of those times, I believe.
But looking at the good side of things (as I often try to do) I looked at it as an opportunity for us to expand on our own. Perhaps we had become somewhat complacent in our thinking and were getting a bit lazy. Yes, we were working and designing, but we had neglected many of the avenues that we need to take to expand our business and get word out to others that we exist. While we spent a great deal of time designing, we seemed to spend little time on marketing ourselves and working on marketing out website. But that is changing.
Keith has spent the last week investigating the many avenues of marketing that are available to us on the internet. Unlike in the past, there is a whole array of avenues to take that can help establish a small company. We are trying our hand at different advertising places such as Facebook and Google, and also some other cross linking with different sites. We have also set up Etsy and Ebay accounts to sell our patterns, and additionally we are investigating the possibility of selling our patterns on Amazon. While none of these avenues will probably be the a huge place for sales, little by little we are chipping away and getting our name out there. Hopefully if someone buys even one pattern from one of these sites, they will enjoy it and come to us directly on our own site, and we will earn a new customer.
Building our customers one at a time is a good thing. It allows us to keep our business professional, yet personal too. I still fill each order personally, and I plan to continue doing so as long as time will allow. I want our customers to know that they are dealing with real people and that when they order, it is either Keith or myself that is taking care of them. While we want to grow, we also want to hold on to that personal level of service as long as we can.
We have had pretty good results on Ebay so far. We only tested a couple of our patterns there, but they are already selling. Since we are here most of the time and the computers are always on, we are able to give our usual fast response and they have their orders very quickly after being placed. That will only help us in the long run. We hope to continue on these and our already established avenues to keep things going in this positive direction, and are both willing to work hard to do so.
In between all of this, we are still designing and writing articles and talking to customers. While this behind the scenes activity may not be the most interesting thing to blog about, when I started writing here I explained that I would discuss all aspects of the business, and this is a part of it. I still maintain that we are all like icebergs, and people only see a small portion of what we do (even if we blog about it nearly every day!)
I share this information because several people ask me “how do I get started in a business like yours?” When I am asked that, I just don’t know where to begin. There are so many layers of different types of tasks and work that are involved that it is a truly complex process. Even for our small business. It is so much more than just drawing and cutting out projects. While many people seem to think that it is that easy, that is only a small portion of what makes a business like ours successful. Just like the iceberg, you only see a small portion of things.
But it is all good. And we are both very happy that we have such great support and are finding our way in this world. We both look forward to seeing our business grow and even if it is by baby steps, it is going in the right direction. What more could we ask for?
So it is back to juggling for me today. I am finishing up writing an article and that set of instructions for the magazine today. I have many wonderful ideas of projects that I am going to make and I will be getting to them as soon as time permits.
Thanks again to all of you for your ongoing support. Both Keith and I know that we wouldn’t be where we are now without you. We look forward to a great year of new ideas and watching our little company grow and having fun doing so. We hope you stay with us for the ride.
”Juggling Cat” by Ann Marie Hoff. You can purchase her artwork HERE
Have a great Thursday!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"