Preparing for the next market is always so daunting...boo hoo me, I know I know...but as someone who literally makes everything I sell by hand, it means that every free moment I have needs to be full of productivity. And when you have two young children who have a real knack for taking up all of your time, it can be very challenging to maximize productivity. :) If constantly needing more time to work wasn't stressful enough, I also need to try hard to make sure that I am using my time to make things people will ACTUALLY WANT TO BUY. My inner thoughts these days are literally the things that crafting nightmares are made of.
After a great Ladies Night, I *think* I've got a good handle on what I should be working on to prepare for the Nov. 29th Sailing Stork Soiree, but that doesn't keep my mind from racing faster than my hands can make. It's like Thanksgiving dinner...I want everything on the table, but my plate and my stomach just aren't ever big enough.
So I'm doing my best to set expectations for myself that are realistic (wish me luck...we'll see how long this lasts) so that I can eliminate at least one level of anxiety from my daily routine. If I go to bed knowing that I did what I could and it was enough, hopefully I'll sleep a little more soundly each night. Again, please please please wish me luck :)
When I started Wopatula I did what most over excited new business owners/brand creators/excessive dreamers do...I jumped in feet first without using my head as much as I should have. I didn't test out my markets, I didn't have a great selling plan, and I bought way too much. When I say that I really mean, I BOUGHT WAY TOO MUCH. Before I printed everything myself, I had to order to meet minimums...that being said, I ordered way above and beyond those minimums. And then I had inventory up to my eyeballs and I realized I had to SELL IT ALL. And my friends, this may come as a shock, hold on to your hats...people DO NOT come knocking on your front door in hoards to buy all the inventory you have sitting in your living room. They just don't. And when they say "Hey I love that shirt" that's what they mean - they love your shirt. They didn't buy your shirt yet, they might not even intend to buy your shirt...they just love your shirt. I've come to realize that THIS IS OK, but coming to this realization has been one of the hardest (and most expensive) parts of this small business journey.
I won't lie...I've spent a lot of the past year wondering what the hell I did and what the hell I was thinking even trying to move forward with this brand/business/over excessive dream called Wopatula. At one point I came to the conclusion that I needed to get to Jan 1 and just close up shop - bye, see ya later, adios. But every time I think about that I realize how sad I'd be if I had a cool graphic idea and I never followed through on it. And I thought about how much I love to knit my hats and see them head to their new homes each winter.
And so I won't be closing up shop this winter - I'll keep going and I'll just keep a close-to-unhealthy level of optimism so that I can continue to keep my chin up and keep making. I'll use my old inventories in creative ways (I'm thinking tee shirt headbands, beach blankets, maybe shopping bags?!) so that I feel better about my terrible purchasing history :) And hopefully I'll strike some sort of selling/marketing gold and at some point in the (near) future I'll figure out how to light a fire under this brand's ass.
Lastly, here is my very important public service announcement - I am absolutely NOT the only person who feels this way. There are a trillion other small business owners and craftspeople on Nantucket and in the world who literally ALWAYS need a boost from the rest of us. Whether it's a "Hey I love that shirt" comment or, better yet, a purchase of a shirt you love, you will literally make someone's day by reinforcing the idea that they are right to be creating and making and sharing their talents.
I don't have much money as a person and I am absolutely guilty of usually hitting up big box stores for most of my buying but I have made a pact with myself that for the rest of the holiday season, the only purchases I will make will be from small businesses. If it means I will buy someone one gift instead of two, that's ok - it is far more important to me that my money goes to a real person and a real person's dreams.