I find January a strange month, on the one hand, I feel excited for the new year, it’s a fresh start, time to write to-do lists, set goals, and your personal and professional direction for the next 12 months. On the other hand it’s grey and rainy, Spring feels like a lifetime away and all the goal-setting has the self-doubt creeping in. But this is a cycle I go through every year – and co-insides with my post-Christmas period of rest and hibernation – and has become an invaluable process to go through to keep my me and my business happy and healthy.
This pause allows me to look back at all I have achieved, whether it was fulfilling and successful, whether it fitted in with my values, and how I want to live my life. This sometimes brings surprising results that have people saying “but it seemed it starting to go so well” and this January reflection has done exactly that.
Over the last couple of years, my business has been slowly growing, at a pace that worked with my part-time job and my young family. But last year I really pushed myself, with the goal of completing the last three compositions in my Colour Series, and with them finishing, my tea towel, cushion and greeting card range, plus I was really keen on introducing lampshades to my collection as I thought they would look really striking.
Did all this get done? Yes! I really did everything I set out to do and the planning in January last year really help me make this achievable. And this all felt good and I’m very proud of what I created and everything has sold really well. But did it make me happy? In the short term yes, but long term I’m not so sure.
It also turns out that even though everything sold really well, after crunching the numbers I realised to make this side of my business successful I would need to be selling a lot more. This would mean possibly more markets (which means more weekends away from the family) more time marketing my smaller pieces (which I need to sell lots of to make a good return) and possibly going into wholesale (again an area which would need my time to do well, but I don’t think this would make me happy) and ultimately they all take me further away from creating the artwork and establishing me in the art world for what I want to be known for.
What I love about my business is the process of curating vintage items, conjuring up the stories around them, or designing fabulous artworks, elevating them from mundane items to extraordinary works of art. And although I created the last three large compositions, the rest of the year was spent developing my products and marketing my lower-priced items, which is not how I was to be spending my time.
So like many other designer makers, this year I’m pivoting. Some people can’t understand this, especially as it was starting to pick up. But I need to stay true to myself, what I want to be spending my time on, and what works best for my family.
Therefore I have made to decision that in 2023 my focus is going to be moving away from products and onto artworks, commissions, and workshops. I will be launching two large bodies of work, these will be more conceptual and larger in size. My first collection focuses on layering multiple monochrome and metallic coloured found objects creating a multi-layered geometric, almost art deco-inspired series of artworks and I can’t wait to get started.
‘But what about all my lovely tea towels and cushions?’ I hear you say, they will remain on my website for the time being. However, once they’re sold out, they won’t be coming back in stock. So if you have had your eye on something or want to stock up on presents to see you through the year, best be fast.
And to give my first collection of artworks the financial boost it needs I have decided to run a special sale, across my whole website! Initially, this will only be for my VIP email club so they get exclusive access to everything first but this will open to everyone on social media later in February.
This is a direction I certainly didn’t think I would be going, but as I write this I feel calm and confident with my direction. I have some wonderful concepts I want to explore this year and I’m excited to be taking you all along with me on my journey.
Every week I’m going to be writing ‘Last week in the Studio’ giving you a sneak peek behind the scenes at what I’m up to, in journal-style blog posts. My plan is to publish these each Sunday, some weeks I might have lots of say, others not much, but I hope you enjoy these musings as much as I enjoy writing them.
If you would like to get your hands on my exclusive sale code, simply sign up to be part of my VIP club.