04 March 2013

2012 - A year in review

Last year in January 2012 I posted my new years resolutions for 2012. I also did a round up of what I achieved in 2011 which was a great boost for my confidence to see it all in one list and take stock. You can read the full post here.

I had planned to post this earlier but was enjoying a relaxed January and not putting too much pressure or work on my plate. All of a sudden February has vanished too! I am also working on my 2013 goals and intentions which I plan to share once I have finished procrastinating.

In brief, my 3 goals for 2012 were:

1. Diversify range of designs and services 

2. Improve / redesign website

3. Earn a profit 


Overall, I found 2012 a bit disappointing and although there were some highs (see below), there was definitely some lows. 

I sold a variety of printable Christmas cards and designed some cards for Valentines Day, Mother's Day and other occasions. But would have liked to have made more sales. I have also done some work on the Tailored to Fit range for the Peacock, Ribbon, Damask and Butterflies templates and have some exciting ideas for the Tailored to Fit Range in the pipeline for 2013. So much I want to do!

I have been tinkering with the website over the past year or so and have had independent professionals give their opinion. Its still a work in progress and plan to rejig the structure of it to better show the types of work and services we offer. The changes I have in mind will also affect the way the work is showcased. So you could say its an ongoing goal, which is true of most websites. You need to keep the content updated so its never finished!

I ended up spending quite a lot of money investing in marketing and going to a couple of wedding fairs. I also went a long to some training seminars for small businesses and crafters to sell their work. Sadly, I haven't seen a return on most of the investments as yet but may still see the benefits this year.

I am trying not to be too pessimistic and depressed about not achieving the results I had hoped for. I am now looking ahead  2013, tightening my belt and moving forward with my designs and business ideas. I definitely will be more careful when spending my money and more selective when making decisions. Its been an expensive learning curve!


2012 - A year in review

January/February: 
Sold some of my Valentines Cards on Etsy and Folksy. My Robot Love card was the most popular design.



February: 
Back on the 26th February 2012, I exhibited at the Northamptonshire Newspapers Spring Wedding Show at the Kettering Conference Centre.

I had quite a small table, next to a column in the middle of one end of the room. Here’s my table with my samples of work and portfolio. I also took part in the goody bag giveaways, supplying a flyer about our service and a sample thank you card.



Looking at the pictures of my table it's easy to see that there is a lot of white and it gets a bit lost against the column. You can read more about how the fair went here.

March:
I joined Craft Central and took part in their Gets Hitched wedding show. I provided 1,000 A6 promotional postcards that Craft Central mailed out to promote the fair. Read more here.

Sadly I missed the deadline to apply to have a stand at last year's Gets Hitched show but applied for the Gets Hitched 2013 event in March and my application has been approved! Yey!





May:
I got messaged by a lovely lady called Carolyn via Folksy who asked me to produce a bespoke printable Circus thank you card. Her son Frank had his 6th birthday party with circus theme and wanted cards to match. I also created an A4 version for her to print out and frame to put on her son’s wall as a fun memento.



Also in May, I turned 30 and went to Ibiza with friends and family to celebrate in style. Read more about turning 30 here.

Left: in London. Right: in Ibiza.



June:
I had a one hour business surgery with Belle and Esther from Benson & Boulton and got some great independent advice. It was great to briefly talk through what I had done so far, my prices and plan for the future. They were able to offer me the reassurance that I was on the right track!

Invited to be included in the Inspired: London book by the organiser, Mary McDermott from We Make London. The square hard back book is a 200 page guide to designer/ makers based in London. I got a whole page with two large product images, a bio about me and my work, contact and website details.

Also in June I gave HTML newsletters a go using Mail Chimp. I sent the first one out on the 28 June, emailing 38 people from February Wedding Show at the Kettering Conference Centre about Thank You cards and Photobook. I then followed up with another mailout to other people on the list.

The one on the right was my first attempt. The aqua one on the left was
my second HTML email and using a different template.



July:
I went along to the Make It Pay Seminar hosted by the Design Trust. It was on Saturday 7 July 2012 at The Hub in Kings Cross. It was quite an intense day of listening to talks by various speakers offering advice on how to sell your work and designs.

August:
I was featured on Far From The Wedding Crowd blog post!

September:
Woohoo! We reached the 200 likes milestone on my Lovely Designs Facebook group page! Cue the trumpet music!

We were featured on Ruby + Diva's wedding blog. Ruby + Diva are a "chic and unique wedding boutique". They cherry-pick independent, creative designers from all over the globe to bring you a melting pot of unique wedding ideas and styles. We are also one of their suppliers. Check out our page here.

October:
Inspired: London book launch by We Make London was on Thursday 25th October 2012 at Hanbury Hall, off Brick Lane. I am featured on page 82!



Also in October, I had a window display at Craft Central in Clerkenwell to promote stand at Zoe Lem's Vintage Wedding Fair that was nearby.




On Sunday 28th October I had a stand at Zoe Lem's Vintage Wedding Fair. It was held at the Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell, London. It was a great day and met loads of interesting people. I had my mum and sister-in-law helping me and we all glammed up with fascinators.

Top left image was taken by Rhapsody Road

November:
We were in the December 2012 issue of British Vogue! I was approached by a lady called Melissa, a sales executive from Vogue back in early October 2012. They were running a "Planned to Perfection" wedding advertorial feature and thought Lovely Designs would be a good fit.

When I asked Melissa how she heard about me and Lovely Designs that made her get in contact, she wrote:
"I actually found you on Google, I was specifically searching for lovely stationery in the UK and you came up straight away! After having a look at your site, I thought you’d be a great fit for this."

Read more here.




December:
On Sunday 9th December 2012, me and my mum, Ellen, had a stand at the George Tavern's Christmas Market, East London.

The George Tavern is a popular and legendary pub in the heart of London's east end. It's a 700 year old tavern mentioned in the writing of Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys and Geoffrey Chaucer.

We drove up to London with a car filled with handmade crafts and cards. We arrived at the pub at 1pm to set up our table near the bar and it opened its doors to the public at 2pm. We were really proud of how our stand turned out. Do you like our head gear?

Sadly the pub never got really busy and although people said they liked our stuff and our stand (the word 'lovely' was used a lot!), there weren't many people buying. I spoke to some of the other stall holders and they seemed to have the same problem. Read more here.



And now its about time to look ahead to 2013!