December 31, 2013

Year in Review: 2013

2013 has been a wonderful year full of learning and growth. It has been a little over a year since I left my job designing men's socks. I spent much of the first part of the year freelancing for a range of clients only to find that I don't enjoy freelancing…or doing design work for clients in general. So I made the decision to dedicate all my time & energy to growing my own business…and I haven't looked back since.

This year I learned a lot about running a small business and accomplished way more than I ever expected. Earlier this month, my etsy shop reached 1000 sales and had the craziest holiday season ever! But this year has also been an internal growing period too, as I get used to this thing called "adulthood".

Here's a few life lessons from this year:

Know who your real friends are — I've hit that age where it seems like everyone around me is getting married or having kids. I'm in my late 20s when the party has long been over (30 is around the corner!) and everyone's living their own lives. The people I used to see all the time are suddenly unavailable (…all the time). I spent this year making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, and staying in touch with current ones. I feel like this is an important time in life to lock-in who your real friends are. They're the ones who always call you on your birthday, send you Christmas cards, or randomly text you to see how you're doing. They're never 'too busy' for you. But they're also the ones who will always be supportive of anything you do and be there for you when no one else is. These are the people you want with you all through adulthood.

Be flexible — You never know what life will throw at you, so just be open to anything and everything. Being flexible gives you room to adjust and adapt. Don't have plans set in stone because they'll just leave you disappointed when things don't go your way. Or you may come to realize that some of your plans may have been bad ideas in the first place.

Balance — Being a workaholic is too easy. Balance out work with some play. Offset your alone time with some time with good friends. If you ate a bunch of fatty junk food for lunch, maybe have a refreshing salad for dinner. When you've had a few really crazy days, it feels good to just take a day off for yourself. If you keep working yourself to the bone, you'll eventually burn out. Take the time to find your balance. It'll help reduce stress and you'll feel a lot better!

I have plenty of ideas of what I want to accomplish in 2014 and I'm excited for what's to come. I hope everyone had a great year as we say Goodbye to 2013. See you in 2014!

December 25, 2013

A Long Absence & Neko Case

It's been a really long time since I posted anything…It's been a crazy two months. Here's a (somewhat) brief recap of the past couple of months:

DesignerCon ended up being a total bust for me. I didn't even break even…I think it just wasn't the right audience for my stuff.

This year, my shop got slammed pretty hard on Black Friday – Cyber Monday weekend. In previous years, I typically get 5 orders (at most) during that weekend. But this year, I received around 30 orders from that weekend alone…and orders just kept rolling in after that. I wasn't prepared at all for something like that to happen, but it was definitely a HUGE learning experience. For a brief moment in time, I felt what it's like to be a high volume shop and it was crazy & wonderful. But it made preparing for Renegade Craft Fair very difficult; I really only had a couple of days to make inventory for both the LA and SF show. 

It was our first time doing the Renegade Craft Fair LA Holiday Market. In previous years, we did Unique LA instead simply because it was indoors. Overall, I did OK. It was definitely one of my worst holiday shows ever, but I think it was because of the weather and low inventory. It was in the 70 – 80s that weekend which made selling knits very difficult. You know it must be hot when Front Porch Pops is selling out of popsicles!

I just got back from Renegade SF on Tuesday morning. The drive back down to LA totally sucked. I was stuck in really bad traffic for the first two hours of the drive…and this was after spending 30 minutes of driving around Berkeley trying to find the freeway entrance. By the time we got back to LA, my contacts were really dry and stuck to my eyeballs. But once again, Renegade SF was awesome. It was a little slower this year compared to last year, but it was still a really good show. I think the lower turnout was due to the dates being too close to Christmas, so a lot of people were out of town or were already done with their holiday shopping.

I've been doing so much knitting for the past 3 weeks, it's not even funny. So far, I've knitted over 40 hats! (and I still have around 20 more to complete) This is the most amount of hats I have ever knitted in my life and the fact that this is just 3 weeks of work blows my mind. 

In that time, I've watched a lot of bad movies because I can't watch anything that requires me to be engaged when I knit. I've also been listening to a whole lot of music…I finally got around to listening to Neko Case's most recent album, The Worse Things Get, The Harder I Fight, The Harder I Fight, The More I Love You. This album totally wins the "Best Longest Album Title EVER" award in my book, but it's also an amazing album. I'm almost willing to say it's my favorite album from her. I constantly have this album on repeat; my favorite track being "Calling Cards". I think it's my favorite album right now because it hits me right in the heart and Neko Case just has this powerful voice that really resonates.

I should really catch up on some rest before tackling the next back of hats. Until next time, Merry Christmas everyone! And enjoy this Tiny Desk Concert featuring Neko Case.