Aah, the snow is falling softly on the landscape, and the wind whipping through the trees. All of our racks and display materials are tucked away for the season as we take a deep breath from the hurry scurry of the Christmas shopping season to thank you for being loyal readers, good customers and encouraging friends. 2012 proved to be an interesting year for us, with small and large breakthroughs. We branched out to Vermillion, and Kent, and returned to old familiar places like Brookstock and Burton. Our year saw amazing growth of sales in new shops which we are so thankful for. We made friends with so many new and amazing people. And we all realized the economy has impacted us all.
So as we finish these last few days of 2012 we remain filled with joy for the season God has given us, thankful for the many blessings, and hopeful that our nation and our economy will rally around and return to a place of stability and strength it once was.
We remain eternally optimistic that the strength and integrity that built America can be restored, and that deep in all of us is a desire to see our country strong, our people working, and our businesses flourishing.
Like the falling snow on the winter landscape, it may look like we are quiet and doing little with the business, but that is far from the truth. We are first taking a big inventory of the remaining stock, and then Steve and I are allowing ourselves a few weeks to catch up on chores at home neglected for the urgency of the business. And we are sitting down to plan out 2013, the direction of the business, and the strategies for the new year. Here are some of the key points we are going to work on:
- Product development: We have had a number of requests, and want to do some research to see how feasible they are, how affordable they are to produce, and possibly develop prototypes.
- Physical Calendar: Determine what events we will be participating in. We have determined we will be strategic, choosing to be selective, and attend shows that were productive for us. No more pitching the tent to sit and make only $20 for the day. Those days are behind us.
- Partner Development: Making new connections with retailers that will allow us to collaborate with them to position our products in their shops. We have a great base now of wonderful partners, and would love to expand this further.
- Funding Sourcing: We are growing more and more serious about sourcing out an inexpensive place to set up a studio. In order to do that we need to source out funding, whether a grant or crowdsourcing funding. It is clear that in 2012 soap production overtook our home, with just about the entire basement and first floor involved. It would be nice to have a place to go to work on soap, and then come home… to a clean and clutter free house.
- Overall Strategy and Course of Direction: We have been sensing a change from setting up the tent and direct selling to a more wholesale focus. We need to sit down to think and pray through the course we choose. Strategic is the word this coming year. We want to be strategic – find our market and supply our market with adequate stock of merchandise.
- Planning down time: Coming off a 4 month long marathon we have become more determined than ever to plan down time in our life. Production overruled anything this fall, and often we were working late into the night to make sure adequate supplies of stock was ready for market. In order to have more down time we want to get a lot of the production done early so that we can minimize the hustle and bustle of the fall shopping season.
- Long Term Strategic Planning: We have been doing planning for the year at a time, but this winter we want to have a five year plan in place, so that we can better direct the business.
So there you have it. Lots of “taking a deep breath” moments, not necessarily relaxing, but getting caught up, and preparing for the new year.
And we again wish to thank you for your encouragement and support, your pearls of wisdom, and the many little and big things you have done to make our lives and the business grow. Blessings to you.