It's the Holiday Season - Which Means I'm Busier Than Ever!
It occurred to me today that it's been quite a long time since I added any posts to my blog...so I decided to take a short break from my holiday workload in order to post a quick update on my life! : )
About 5 months ago, my husband and I made a big move from Chicago to Atlanta! Even as I type this, I can't believe we have already been here for that long - it seems like it was just yesterday that we were frantically packing boxes, driving 700+ miles through the mountains, and directing our moving crew on where to put our furniture. Over the last 5 months, we've made some big adjustments, but there have also been many exciting things to discover and many new opportunities have presented themselves as well! - I'll be sharing more about all of that in my next blog post!
At the beginning of this year, I set a goal for my business that I would sell my handmade patterned products at a minimum of 6 shows/events in 2017. I wanted to build on my previous sales event momentum that began in mid-2016, when I sold my handmade items at 3 shows, so I decided to double that number for 2017!
Of course, moving long-distance to a new region of the country made things much more difficult for me because I lost a lot of time during the middle of the year packing/unpacking up our life and belongings...but I am proud to say that by the end of 2017 *fingers crossed*, I should have completed my goal - plus, I've actually added on 2 additional sales events, for a total of 8 sales events this year!
The majority of the events that I was selected to sell at this year are happening during the November/December holiday season - which is one reason why things have been so busy for me during the last couple of months! I have been very busy working on updating my product photography and packaging. Also, in addition to creating lots of stock to bring to all of these wonderful sales events, I've also been developing a few new products, such as art prints and holiday cards, which I hope to start selling at these upcoming holiday events.
After moving to Atlanta, I also made the decision to branch out and try something I've never tried before...pop up shops! This is very exciting for me because I have been thinking about doing these types of events for quite some time, but I finally summoned up the guts to apply to them this year. Pop up shops are much different from the traditional craft markets where I am used to selling my items, so it has been an interesting experience!
For those who don't know, a pop up shop is a temporary "boutique" that includes a curated mix of products from multiple different artists, designers, and makers. The people in charge of the pop up shop typically lease a retail space (for anywhere between a few days to a few months), which they then transform into a unique shopping experience. Instead of vendors selling their own items directly to customers (like they do at a handmade craft market), the staff of the pop up shop is responsible for running the whole event - from setting up and assisting customers to handling all of the sales and breaking down the event when it ends. In exchange, the organizers typically get to keep a certain percentage of the sales from all purchases.
At a pop up shop, product from multiple vendors is often merchandised together, which creates a more cohesive and interesting shopping experience for customers. In the end, there are many great things about participating in a pop up shop. The biggest benefit for vendors like me, though, is that they do not need to physically be at the pop up shop in order to participate, which is HUGE because that frees me up to do other sales events and design work...and *hopefully* also gives me a chance to do a little holiday shopping and celebrating!
In addition to selling as a vendor at 2 holiday handmade craft markets in the Atlanta area, I am excited to be participating as a vendor in 3 holiday pop up shops - one of which is out-of-state in beautiful Asheville, North Carolina! I'm really looking forward to driving up there and spending some time in Asheville when I drop off and pick up my product inventory soon!
To prepare for all of the sales events this season, I have been working on making LOTS of new product stock over the last month...so much that I regularly have dreams about sewing, packaging, and organizing my handmade products! : ) Despite all the hard work and late nights, I am very excited to be taking this new step for my business and to be trying something new. Life can be a gamble sometimes, but I truly believe that you have to take big chances in order to see big rewards.
Once the holidays shopping season ends and I have completed my goal, I am looking forward to celebrating with my friends and family, delving into some new and exciting creative business projects...and finally, kicking back with a much-earned glass of pink champagne! : )
So what's in store for me in 2018? Some of my big goals for next year include starting to wholesale my products to boutiques and online retailers, completing much-needed updates to my website and portfolio, and finding an art agent to represent me as a designer. Plus...you guessed it...increasing the number of sales events that I do for 2018!
If you'll be in either the Atlanta, GA, or Asheville, NC, areas this December, please feel free to stop by and shop at one of my 5 upcoming holiday sales events! You'll find more information about these events posted on my home page.
Cheers and warm wishes to you this holiday season! I hope you have a wonderful time celebrating with those who are closest to your heart.