Thursday, 31 December 2009
Happy Old Year!
Photo by The Jersey City Independent via Flickr
What a year 2009 has been! So much has happened that I hardly know where to start for a recap. But first of all I want to say thank you to everyone who has read my blog over the last year, joined in on a challenge, left a comment, subscribed to be notified when I post, or been inspired by one of my tutorials. Thank you to my fellow bloggers who have invited me to write guest posts, featured my work or arranged great collaborations for the New Year.
My stats show that over the year, more than two and a half thousand people have visited my blog, and about a quarter of my visitors have actually come back more than once! Wow! So hello to you, if you're reading this in New Westminster, Beverly Hills (seriously?!!), Lisburn, Queensferry, Groningen, Princeton (Jersey represent!), Kópavogur, Obregon, Doncaster, and yes, even you, Brooklyn.
In terms of Etsy sales, I started off the year just doing my thing, testing things out and seeing what would work. My sales really started to take off towards the end of this year, and I've been listing a few pieces on Folksy, too, where there's been quite a bit of interest but no sales as yet. Next step will be setting up my own site and shop, but I'm putting that on the back burner for a little while as I have so many projects lined up for next year, I want to try to focus on doing a few things well rather than a lot of things, um, acceptably. I've been interviewed on BBC Scotland (radio) and I've co-presented a craft segment on STV, our local TV channel, and I'd love to do some more of this in the New Year.
On top of all this, I've been plodding away at the day job, I planned and did a whole heap of crafting for my own wedding, and I had the most amazing honeymoon in Seattle, Portland, Astoria, Mt. Hood, Vancouver and points in between.
I can't help but compare where I am and what I'm doing now to where I was and what I was doing ten years ago. I was lucky enough to be working in New York for a business incubator, which financed and supported tech start ups with business advice and contacts. I don't think I appreciated at the time quite how much that environment fostered in me the actual mechanics of running a business. I've always had an entrepreneurial spirit, but because I wasn't brought up around anyone who was self-employed, I never really thought it was for me. Working in NY around the time of the dotcom crash also instilled in me the very real prospect of great ideas going horribly wrong, or being way before their time. If you ever get the chance to see the movie startup.com, you should. It's very much of its time and what's more, it's based on a company some of my friends worked for, too, so a very real slice of life.
This very day ten years ago, I was getting ready for a big night out, much in the same way I'm getting ready today. Except then I shared an apartment in Jersey City with five other girls, and now I just have to contend with the cats and the husband - not quite as much getting ready fun. It was frosty outside (same as today) and we were going to a restaurant (same as today). We'd considered doing Times Square but being British and sensible, we were a little wary of crowd situations and personal safety, plus the fact that we thought something was bound to go wrong, severe weather causing cancellation, security threat closing the area, millennium bug causing panic/crushing...
I think we had a fab time, but it was so long ago I honestly don't remember too much now - I do have some photos tucked away which I will post at a later date - that's another thing about this year, we are very much trying to move house as soon as possible so lots of things are packed away in storage right now. I also have some amazing black and white photos that I took the next day of our apartment building from the obs deck at WTC, we took a ferry from the marina outside our apartment over to WTC and made a real day out of it, good times. Some of the fall out from that weekend was that we had to leave the apartment and move somewhere else... but that's another story for another day!
So inbetween that new year and this new year so much has happened. I finished up the first year of my MBA and came back to Edinburgh, in the UK and continued to work in business, this time for a major retail company. After a period of illness I gave it all up to use my brilliant young, dynamic business mind to improve the NHS... that particular project is ongoing, shall we say? All the while I was making stuff in the background, and when I bought my first flat in Glasgow, I started to build my crafty stash in earnest, still making things for a hobby and wondering if there would ever be some kind of market for what I do. Eventually I met my wonderful husband, around the same time that I travelled to Tennessee and saw first-hand how it was possible to make a living from craft and spend all your time doing something you love. I signed up to Etsy later that year and set about making it happen. I couldn't have got as far as I have without belonging to the Glasgow Craft Mafia, too. It's going to take a while before I experience success on a large enough scale to even do this for a living part time, so I can't quite quit the dayjob yet (which, I must admit, I do rather enjoy), but I've hugely enjoyed this great experiment so far, and long may it continue!
With good luck to all of us for a happy and crafty 2010! I'll be back early in the New Year (possibly tomorrow...) to give you an update on my plans for 2010. Whatever you're doing tonight, I hope you have a wonderful time. And thank you again for reading, shopping and sharing over this past year. It has been a real pleasure to get to know you all.