Even as I sit down to write this post, I cannot believe what I am writing. SMARTdesigns is one-year-old today. Wow.
I’ve thought a lot about what I would write about in this anniversary edition of my blog. Should I talk about the journey that I have traveled? Should I talk about the people who have gotten me to where I am today? Should I update you on the progress I have made? In the end, I decided to focus on the future.
If you would like to read more about the journey SMARTdesigns has had this past year, read my Year in Review blog post.
Year Number 1:
Before moving on to Year Number 2, I thought I would write a little summary of what I have accomplished with SMARTdesigns since this day last year. Just a little preface to talking about the future if you will. The English Major side of me refuses to jump right in without at least a short introduction to set the stage
As I write this, my Facebook Page has nearly 600 fans. 581 to be exact. I have met some absolutely incredible people through Facebook and Etsy who I have come to call friends. I have close to 200 Twitter followers, nearly 400 Etsy admirers, and… drumroll please… I have sold over 125 pieces of my artwork.
I have included these numbers, not for a display of vanity, but rather as a way of trying to quantify what I can only refer to with sheer bewilderment as success. And for all of this I have but one thing to say: Thank you.
I have already accomplished so much. At least ten times what I believed I was capable of accomplishing, not in one year, but in several. So now what? Where do I go from here? How do I top myself?
My biggest goal for SMARTdesigns is to start becoming more successful with the artwork I have for sale. I have had a lot of success with my custom designs for businesses, but to be completely honest, I’ve been a little discouraged by the low number of sales I have made for my artwork. Please don’t misunderstand! I absolutely love doing custom work! I enjoy the challenge that each piece brings and I love working closely with my customers to create something special just for them. That said, my real passion is in the pieces I make just for me, just because I feel inspired to do so. Pieces like A Life for All Seasons. In the coming year, I would like to create more artwork and try to market these pieces to the right audience.
I have recently started working on a whole new line of artwork for children. I wrote a couple days ago about my new line of Fairy Tale Artwork and have since started creating artwork with trains. I am anxious to continue making pieces like these for a couple reasons. First, they’re a lot of fun. I really truly enjoy making them. And second, there’s just something special about creating things that will brighten a child’s bedroom. These pieces combine two of my greatest loves: graphic design and children.
Another goal I have is to move the majority of my sales off of Etsy. While I love Etsy and owe them a great percentage of my success, I hope that one day I will outgrow them and their fees. I am already working with my talented cousin to improve this website and set up my own little e-commerce shop here so that future customers will be able to purchase artwork directly from me.
With that in mind, I have absolutely no intention of leaving the All Handmade By ME Team! I plan to continue on Etsy in my capacity as Team Captain for many years to come. I have applied and been accepted into Etsy’s Team Fellowship program where I will be working with the Etsy Admin to test new features available for the promotion of teams. I’m very excited about the program and can’t wait to tell you all what I’m working on for our team! It’s not ready yet, so no spoilers here, but I promise it’ll be worth the wait!
On the subject of the All Handmade By ME Team, another big goal I have is to really get this team out there in the general public! I want people to know who we are and what we stand for so that our handmade items can hope to stand a chance against the cheaper mass produced competition. But, with that said, this isn’t a goal that I can accomplish alone. I need your help. I need you to tell your friends and family about the benefits of buying handmade. I need you to share the All Handmade By ME Team on social media and help us advertise. I need you to talk about, post about, tweet about and blog about our team. You have all been wonderful so far so we just need to make sure we don’t lose momentum!
While my goals for the future are not monetary, I would be lying if I did not include this last one. My overall goal for the future is to one day be able to support myself on my artwork. I know that many (most actually) would say that this is a naive dream, one without the eye of reason, but I don’t care. When I look at everything I have accomplished in just one short year, I am optimistic for the future.
And here’s how I know that this is possible: One year ago, my father told me I was insane. He told me the same thing eleven months ago, and ten, and probably as recently as four months ago. But, in the past couple months, my father, the business man he is, told me that I have accomplished more than he ever imagined. He admitted to me that he was wrong. So dad, I say this to you now and I will say it again on the day I buy my first house with the money I have made as a graphic artist: I told you I could do it.
And now, I turn to the future. I am excited for the road ahead and I can’t wait to travel it with you. Here’s to Year Number 2!