As another year draws to a close, you start reflecting on all your accomplishments and failures - on everything you've learned, and draw on those lessons to help you move forward.
That's what I've been doing lately, both personally and for my business. I'll just share the business ones here though, since it could get awkward if I do my personal ones. :) Maybe it's a little early for some to be thinking about New Year's Resolutions, but they're on my mind and I need to get them recorded.
I registered my business in March of 2013, though I'd been selling my flowers on Etsy for a few months previous. I didn't really have a grip on what I was getting myself into. I didn't know much about target markets or how to find them, advertising, SEO (search engine optimization), trend watching, or even photography. There have been so very few successes compared to my failures, and at times that has gotten me down and feeling like I should give up. But I've been learning, little by little and I'm really hopeful for 2014. I have so many ideas that I want to put into action, and a few new tricks that I'd like to try. Forgive me, but this post might be a little long. :S
In this upcoming year, I'll be expanding my current product lines. My brain is always at work imagining new designs. So much, in fact, that I'm not sure I'll ever be able to make all of them. I have an idea list that's 10 pages long... seriously (yes I do have them written down). And I just keep adding to it. That's the curse of being creative, I think. My problem is that I'm equally excited about each of them, and that makes it really hard to figure out what to make next.
One of my goals is to produce one new item every week. Even if it's just a set of bobby pins, or a ring. At least one. I might only meet the minimum some weeks, depending on whether or not I'm working on any large projects, and other weeks I might have several new items.
Each month I want to make one bracelet, new design or old. In January I will be finishing my "Sophie" bracelet, which is a design concept I've been working on mastering for a while.
"Sophie" is a three stranded bracelet, meaning that there are three strands of flowers intertwining. But really there are 6 wires. It's been quite an undertaking. But I'm going to finish her up in January, and then hopefully make one more using what I've learned from the original. :)
I'm pretty excited about this one. I know my fans on Facebook love it, so I might actually make the second one for a Giveaway. That's another goal I have. Run my very first Facebook Giveaway. I'm hoping that the giveaway will increase my fans, as it will require anyone wanting to enter to both "Like" my page and "Share" the giveaway post with their friends. I think that having a really neat bracelet will increase the draw.
I'll also be making a few sets of earrings, and trying my hand at making some children's headbands using some 5/8" elastic that I acquired recently. And I'm going to revisit my pattern for Calla Lilies. I've developed one pattern for them, but I wasn't quite happy with it. So that's on the list for January.
Sometime this year, I want to try out this Project Wonderful site that I've been hearing about. It helps you build an ad, then hooks you up with blogs that appeal to your target audience, and if you're the highest bidder, your ad is run on that blog. I have a few other advertising ideas as well.
Spring is Wedding season, and my hair accessories really appeal to the wedding crowd. So I'll be spending the months before designing some new hair combs, tiaras, and such. I also really want to make a wedding bouquet. Hopefully I'll have that ready earlier, just in case I get a custom order for one - I want to have enough time to make it. I'm estimating a full month for a bouquet. :S
I want to attempt to sell my products in local stores. But I won't be doing that until I have quite a few new designs ready to introduce. This will require me to do a bit of research into which stores I want to approach. Cold calls make me nervous. :S I might puke. But it may be what I need to do to get my business up and going.
I also want to do a craft or artisan fair, so I'll be striving to produce enough items for a late Summer or Fall show.
I started my business with just hair accessories, with the intention of later expanding into home decor. You can see in my "Gallery of Designs" that most of my pictures are accessories, with only a few flower stems and wreaths and whatnot. So this upcoming year, you'll be seeing more flower stems, arrangements, wall decor, etc. :) I have so many ideas and I think they're really going to knock your socks off! I'm also going to do some smaller potted plants, like pansies, violets, and geraniums and whatnot.
These are mostly just general guidelines, since I may be lucky enough to get a custom order that might shift my timelines a bit.
Some of the flowers/plants I really want to make next year:
Daffodil (I have a daffodil pin, but I want to make full ones)
Hydrangea (started but not completed)
Mini Rose Bush
Mini Christmas Tree
At the beginning of each month I'll do a post for my goals for the month, and then at the end I'll evaluate how well I've done achieving them. I think I'm going to feature a new flower every month. Maybe plan a few new designs around that flower? Ooooo! That could be a fun challenge!
2014 is going to be a great year! Or else!
Hello everyone! I am Lauren Harpster, the designer behind Lauren's Creations. I am a 28 year old wife, and a mother to three adorable little kids. I've been making French Beaded Flowers for about six years now, and publishing patterns and tutorials for three years.
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