It's NEW... right?!

It's NEW... right?!

Hello, from COVID v3.0. Unfortunately, the New Year does not feel as fresh start-y as I wish. We’re still here being flexible, changing plans, and attempting to live life with some possible mental ramifications from the endless pandemic. Last year I wrote a wrap-up of the events and progress made in 2020, it was hopeful. Honestly, some days in 2021 I wanted to say burn it all down and let’s start over. A few too many times my mind would fixate on the question: “What’s the point?” For future reference, this is a day where nothing should be done except getting through or helping others. Did you have days like that? I’m sorry.

Here I will attempt to list the notable happenings in my business and life in 2021:
(possible time capsule)

Still working from home
Hubby still working from home for the most part. Driving to sites a couple days a week but we’re here in our offices across the house, asking each other: “have you taken the dogs out to pee?” I keep wondering what this will feel like to look back on as an 80 year old; a blip in time or the massive world disruption that preceded something darker — or better? Thankfully, our daughter is now at school for her senior year. She even had a full season of volleyball— her love. Now we move on to helping her with colleges and encouraging that part of HER life journey.

Time with Helen
On the first day of the shutdown in March 2020 I took my mom to a local park by the zoo. We said how strange the world felt and that we’d just have to visit these little parks everyday for a couple weeks to pass the time. My mom and I have now seen SO MANY parks! We’ve had endless cups of coffee in the afternoon while she fills me in on mainstream news. We wonder when it will end, but glad that we’re still here to make plans even if they have to get cancelled. She filled her time by lovingly embroidering all 3 of my Bandanñas from the classic collection: 1, 2, 3 !

Our darling Calvin died in early 2021. Although no little white dog could ever replace his little Frank-Sinatra-ladies-man personality, Theo has been the Arthur Miller to fill the gap. He fills a quiet need for all of us and has better manners than Calvin. Basically, he’ll ask if he’s going to do a deep clean of your ears!

We had a great year of being open the whole year. We hosted some very kind and careful guests who respected our distance and had a few return guests like a couple from Idaho over Christmas! I have again made superhost status and have blocked off at least one week per month to focus ONLY on my art brand business.

Many commissions
I was so fortunate to supplement my income with some great collaborations. I find this work so satisfying. I really do better design work with an assignment and if the customer has a great idea and/or resources, it’s a total joy.

New Products
Although I made 5 bandannas for clients I kept with my same 6 Bandanña designs in 2021. I added two new state towels, which meant new state prints and postcards. I also ventured into sticker world. I like them but they don’t feel quite like what should be in my shop. And dang; they are more expensive to make than you’d think.

I had some wonderful new shops decide to carry my goods last year. I’m so thankful for the inquiries and the stores that keep ordering and supporting my business and draw little smiley faces on their checks!

So, this 5th day of the year I find myself moving more slowly than in the past. For possibly the first time in years I am NOT hitting the ground running; intentions of being some unrealistic percentage more productive than the previous year. Which is not to say I have not thought about ways to improve, as this post from Jan. 1 shows.

In my 6th year of this product-based business, I’m feeling the pinch in my time and the need to develop beyond what I as one person with 2 other gigs can do. In preparation for growth, I’ve had help analyzing the numbers: the fine translations of the red and black lines. It’s clear that after 5 years I need to raise prices, some of my margins are hair thin. I will also be selling wholesale via Faire. This has been a much-researched and somewhat hesitant decision. I see the advantages for both sellers and retailers and yet I also know that some of my control and special connections may no longer happen by not acquiring these partners myself. Last year I did a brief survey with my current stockists and the results were mixed. About half said they would like to find me on Faire for easier ordering. So, I venture forth!

I’m wishing you a good 2022. Leaving you with this visual collage of feelings:

A STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS VISUAL MOOD EXERCISE: Like last year, I somewhat randomly collected these images from Pinterest as cues to describe 2021 and feelings approaching 2022. Questioning, praying, hurt and fierce. I’m sure the symbology of the swimming baby has to do with launching my child into the college world this year!

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