Monday, May 10, 2010

Some Tough Choices, and A Decision

Five years ago, an idea was born and a little business began. Over the years, time and money had to be allotted elsewhere, but the dream continued to grow and evolve and in 2008, an Etsy shop was opened. Some sales were made and there was the hint of success in the future. A son was born, a break taken, a rebranding and a re-launch. Hopes were high and so was motivation. But there was less time, less money, and while feedback was positive, sales were....mediocre. A new direction opened up - custom invitations. More work, but perhaps more money and the chance to work from home. Numbers were crunched, options were weighed and in the end instincts were trusted. Five years has brought many important lessons, so much fun, and amazing experiences. And although feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, feedback ain't paying the bills.

It is with mixed feelings that I've decided to close my Etsy shop. I can honestly say I've given it everything I am willing to give it right now. But sales are not great and in the end, this is about business, no? I cannot justify time spent away from my son, my friends, my husband, myself anymore. Too much required for too little in return. Running a business is hard work, and if you're going to do it you have to be ready to invest yourself fully and to sacrifice a lot. Now is not the time in my life to sacrifice - I have a chubby-cheeked 8 month old who needs me too much and hopefully more chubby cheeks in the near future. I was starting to lose myself. Free time was a thing of the past, so much time spent marketing, designing, blogging, printing. All fun, but not enough.

Am I sad? Absolutely. Is there a small nagging feeling that I've failed? Totally. Am I at peace with this and sure its what right for me and my family? Definitely. Its been a great ride, but its time to get off. Its time for me to draw and paint and create art for fun again and spend time doing other things that make me happy.

Thanks to everyone who supported me and my shop. I hope you're not disappointed in me - I did my best.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A New Direction?

You know how sometimes you try and steer your life in a certain direction? But the Universe or Life or whatever keeps trying to tug you away in a different one? So you have a choice - continue to press on, despite meeting resistance and that stubborn Universe tugging at your pantleg. OR you can go along for the ride and see where you end up. I think that's what is happening over here. Not a different direction, entirely, but perhaps a narrower focus? Don't mind me and my cryptic musings, I'm just pondering my business and where its going.

I tend to focus entirely on the creative component of my business - I always say I'd be making art and cards even if no one paid me. But ultimately the goal of any business is success and profit, no? And if I'm going to continue, if I'm going to create a business that allows me to stay home with my son, I need to go in the direction of success. And I think its my customers that will tell me which direction that is. I think they're already telling me. So, I'm going to listen.

In the coming weeks, I'll be adding some new visions and ideas into the shop and I'll share them all with you. I'm scared but excited, as I've given myself 6 months to make the shop profitable and successful, so I'm diving in head first. Its make or break time, folks. The pressure is on.e

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cause of the Week - Weekend to End Women's Cancers

By far one of the most popular charities people choose to donate to, breast cancer has touched many of our lives. However, there are other, just as sinister, women's cancers that need our money and attention as well such as Ovarian and Cervical. We have come so far in our fight to end breast cancer, and I think its time to include all women's cancers in that battle.

This is a cause that's weighed heavily on my mind this week. My neighbor, a fabulous, beautiful, put-together woman who is one of the friendliest people you'd ever want to meet, is in hospital right now living out her last days. Her two year-long battle with ovarian cancer is almost over, but she's fought with courage and grace and will leave a proud legacy to her kids and her granddaughter. I can't help but think, if we poured as much time and money and energy into Ovarian cancer research, maybe we could help women like her win their struggles.

So lets do that. Lets help women like her and their families. Lets take the momentum we've gained from the fight against breast cancer and use it to battle all women's cancers. This year, I'm going to walk in the Weekend to End Women's Cancers. Its happening in six Canadian cities, how 'bout you join me?

Monday, May 3, 2010

Good Deed of the Day

Today's good deed comes courtesy of hubs. I am not a mower of lawns. Never have been.Except for the year we were the superintendents of an apartment building and I had to mow that lawn - but that was a riding lawnmower and awesome and therefore doesn't count.

Not to be all "unevolved" and "old fashioned" but I have a dad and a brother, followed by landlords and now a husband - none of whom have ever asked me to mow the lawn, nor would they probably let me even if I wanted to. Men!

Anyhoo, whilst being a lazy bum and reading my book all snuggled with baby and dogs, I spied through the front window hubs doing a good deed that he always does - mowing the neighbors lawn. It was particularly touching today, as said neighbors wife is terminally ill in hospital, so his normally manicured lawn had gotten unruly. But this gesture is standard between our neighbor and my hubs - for the last 3 years whoever mows the front always mows the other person's front lawn too. Ain't it sweet? We have great neighbors. We are lucky people.

So mow your neighbors lawn today. Or, sit back, get your favorite book (I'm reading A Thousand Splendid Suns - AWESOME) and get your hubs to do it. Either way, an easy way to do something nice for someone and get some exercise too!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Cause of the Week - Right To Play

This week's installment of Cause of the Week features one of my favorite causes - Right To Play. The mission of this organization is "To improve the lives of children in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world by using the power of sport and play for development, health and peace" . Sounds good, right? So what's it all about?

Right To Play has 40 top athlete ambassadors to inspire children around the world and generate funding, and a global network of volunteers to carry out its mission on the ground. Through the development of local sports programs, they promote life skills and peace as well as healthy physical and social development. Right to Play is also active in policy research and development. Their symbol, the Red Ball, reads "Look After Yourself, Look After One Another" and I can't think of a better motto for any of us.

If you're looking for a worthy place to send your money, your time or your resources, check out Right To Play. Its a cause close to my heart and one that will hopefully become close to yours.

They like me! They really like me!

Ummmm...can I just say, Booyah!!! That right there my friends, just above this paragraph is MY card from MY shop on THE FRONT PAGE of Etsy! I got home Thursday evening to find that Facebook had put as my status that my shop was on the front page. Although delighted, I was utterly confused until I checked my account and found two message from fellow Etsy sellers telling me that my shop was picked! Thanks Tippy Toes Knits and Buy Some Love! Check out their shops, these girls are uber talented and deserve your business. Special thanks to Tippy Toes for the screenshot.

Those readers that aren't super familiar with Etsy may not realize what a big deal this is. Basically, somebody saw my card and picked it to highlight on the front page, which is seen by EVERYBODY that logs onto Etsy. Its a huge honor to have your item picked from all the wonderful treasures on that site. The views of that card skyrocketed after Thursday and I hope that increased sales will follow.

So somebody certainly did a good deed for me and made my day. Thanks dude:)

Good Deed of the Day

Well, you gotta start somewhere, right? So in the first installment of "Good Deed of the Day", I'm going to highlight an easy good deed that is almost equally inspired by complete and utter laziness.

At my local grocery store, you have to put a quarter in to get a shopping cart which is returned when you return the cart. Now, one of the many logistical nightmares of having a young baby/child is how to get baby and groceries into the car and return your cart, without baby having a tantrum and/or abandoning said baby in the care while the cart is returned.

Soooo, I've started giving my cart away and not taking a quarter from people. Borne out of laziness, partly, but it really puts a smile on people's faces. Its amazing what such a small gesture can do! Yesterday, I gave my cart to a woman and she practically exploded in a grin, wished me a wonderful day and had an extra spring in her step!

Such a little thing can make a difference in someone's day. What did you do today to make someone's day better?