Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy (Almost) New Year!

Hello, and Happy New Year!  As it is New Year's Eve with only 5 hours and change to go until the actual "new" year, I refuse to feel like I am cheating when I say it. ;)

I have had a very busy holiday season, which explains my lack of posts for the past few weeks.  Personally, things were hectic with shopping and various kids activities, mostly holiday performances for band, choir and dance.  There was one week in there where we had a show to go to every single night of the week, and I thought I might lose my mind!  Also, after that last dismal holiday bazaar, I did two more, both of which turned out better than that first one.  One was totally last minute- it was a church bazaar very near my home, and I heard about it only 4 days before it was happening.  Thankfully they were able to squeeze me in, and I had a very nice time there.  I was able to get my booth placed next to a friend from the Salem Etsy Team, and it was great to have a buddy to chat with during the day.  Then we had our Salem Etsy Team holiday sale on December 15th, and it went pretty well too.  I made at least my booth fee back on both of these sales, but did better at the Etsy team sale.  After some reflection and contemplation, I really did learn a lot from the three sales I did this year.  The major one is that at the holidays, people don't want to buy handmade cards- they want to buy cheap cards in bulk from Wal-mart.  Looking back on the last year, I realize that the occasions when I have sold the most cards are the ones where people are buying a special card for a very specific person, such as lovers at Valentine's day, or moms for Mother's Day.  So, lesson learned!  I will not focus on volume production at the holidays, and focus more on producing fewer, high-quality cards, as well as bookmarks, which make great gifts.  And I'll be more prepared for those special occasions and holidays where people are looking for quality, unique cards to give to someone special.

Which brings me to Valentine's Day, 2013!  I am already preparing for this, as I have signed up for a pre-Valentine's Day sale on January 12th.  That is less than 2 weeks away now!  I have some cards made already, and have some additional designs in mind to make before the sale.  I am taking a cue from the sales last year in my Etsy shop and am focusing on cards in masculine colors and designs, but I plan to have something for everyone.  Here are a few examples:

You may recall that last year, I did a few masculine cards and was surprised by the interest and consequent sales of them!  I used some of the same designs this year, but also expanded to include new colors and patterns in the designs.  I made great use of a Sizzix asymmetric hearts die last year, and liked it a lot, but it was small.  This year, I found a new set of dies that have similar asymmetric nesting hearts but are larger, so have used those on the larger cards.  I also got a set of "primitive heart" dies by Sizzix, which is the tall, skinny nesting hearts you see on the last two cards.  They are really cute too!  There are actually 3 sizes, but on the smaller A2 size cards, I can only fit the smaller two.  I like being able to have a variety of styles and shapes.

I am excited about getting these new cards listed in my shop, and will be curious to see the response at the Valentine sale on the 12th.  This sale has about 57 vendors, most of which are corporate (Avon, Scentsy, etc.) with only a handful of handcrafters there.  There will be at least one other handmade paper crafter there, but hopefully our styles will be different enough that we won't be in direct competition. I do enjoy the sales and being able to meet and talk to customers, so I hope it will be fun regardless of the sales!

I hope to be back soon with more Valentine card designs, and an update about the sale on the 12th!