What else do you do when wool threatens to evict your family?
Monday, August 09, 2010
I love waking up and finding myself in another Treasury! This Teardrop Treasury features some of my stitch markers. I absolutely love that necklace too. I just may have to go back and pick that up for myself. Please show this treasury a little love. With any luck, I'll find myself on the front page again!
And I've promised a few of you a sneak peek of my latest crochet design. The design portion is now complete! I just need to finish the sample, photograph the sample, write up the pattern from my notes, chart the ruffle bit, and make it all pretty.
I love the design process. Picturing something in my head, trying to create it with yarn. Then, as I create, it either bends to my will, or takes on a life of its own, turning into something I never imagined, but love that much more.
And that brings us to the title of this blog entry. Focus.
I've been doing a little soul searching lately. A little yarn and business-related soul searching. See, I find myself forever coming up with ideas. Not just designs, but product ideas. Look at my website and you'll see the past 5 years of just a handful of those ideas. It all began with recycled yarn. Then I started playing with beads and stitch markers. Next thing I know I'm not only beading, but dyeing, pouring resin for Scrabble tile pendants, creating greeting cards with rubber stamps (so far these are only available at shows), making fabric-covered magnets, crocheting teeny tiny granny squares for earrings, etc.
Thing is, I start feeling a little too stretched thin. There are vendors that specialize in only one of each of the products I offer. This is the story of my life. Jack of all Trades. I'd say Master of None, except that I do feel I've just about always held my own. Even back in high school, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. My interests and talents were so varied. I was a straight A student, but had absolutely no direction. When I got to college, things didn't improve. Every time I took a new class, a whole new exciting world would open up in front of me. I had passionate interests in science, literature, psychology, and anthropology. But at the same time, none of these options fed my creative side. As exciting as they were, there was always something missing. And, at the time, I don't think I realized what it was. I ended up majoring in psychology and minoring in English. English was closest to feeding my creativity, but halfway through a semester of grad school for English, I realized that what I was really passionate about was writing. I loved the classics, I loved picking them apart line by line to try to find deeper meaning or alternate interpretations. But what really filled my soul was writing. Graduate school wasn't giving me that. Only writing could give me that. So between that discovery and some financial difficulties, I dropped out.
Now I find myself at a similar crossroads. Certainly this business feeds my creativity. And surrounds me with other creative souls. But I find myself stretched thin, across a vast variety of crafts. So at my last show, I put everything out and decided that only my best-selling product lines would stay.
But um.....they all sold. And they all sold well. I sold more Scrabble Tiles than skeins of yarn, but dollar for dollar, they came up about even. So I kept it all. And they all continue to sell just about equally across the board.
So, this summer, I've been contemplating where to go from here. I haven't come to any firm conclusions. And I've decided that, at least for now, I won't be discontinuing any product lines. However, I did come to a realization....
The creative process for me is as much about creating my business as a whole, creating product lines, and creative marketing. I enjoy challenges. I enjoy learning new skills. Put another way...I enjoy thinking of a new neat product, sourcing all the materials, figuring out the most efficient way to create large quantities, and creating different styles. Granted, once fully created, I start to lose interest. But, I've set myself up well and can manage a decent hourly wage from each product line I've created. And they all sell. Some faster than others, but it appears they're all worthwhile endeavors.
But, the products that keep my interest? That never wane? Dyeing and designing. Every new batch of yarn is a new creation. It's a new opportunity to play with color. And each new design is pure creativity. Even in the writing of the pattern there is creativity.
So my conclusion? To turn my creative focus towards designing and dyeing. With rare exception, I will not be adding new product lines, instead only focusing on the ones I already have.
This is getting long, but I also want to share another issue I've been pondering. Craft shows. I sell primarily to fiber artists of some sort. Sheep and wool festivals are where my ideal customers hang out. However, living in the Midwest, there aren't many shows within a 4-5 hour driving distance. In fact, I only know of 4. And, so far, I only attend 2. But a friend has invited me to share a booth with her at a huge local general Christmas craft show. What can I offer the average shopper? Without spreading myself out even more?
My solution so far:
Scrabble Tile Pendants with an expanded range of images
Magnets with an expanded range of images
Needle-Felting Kits (sold only at shows so far, but already made up and ready to go)
Granny Square Earrings
Possibly some other needle-felted items made from leftovers from blended fibers (another new product already in the works. Oops!)
And um...that's all I got. I'm open to other ideas.
So that's what I've been doing all summer. Coming to this relatively simple conclusion. And pouring resin, beading, dyeing, designing, crocheting teeny tiny earrings, sewing, rubber-stamping,.......and parenting, gardening, running the household, etc. Seems like a lot when I put it that way. :)