Tag Archives: small business development

Am I putting too many eggs in one basket? ðŸ£

Hi friend,

​I was on my mini sabbatical week last week.

I’ve been taking off every 7th week to rest and recharge since October 2015. 

(This brilliant idea is inspired by seanwes and is THE best self-care strategy I’ve incorporated into my life so far ✨)

I typically stick to my routines during sabbaticals. Getting up at the same time, going to the gym etc. I find that if I don’t follow my routine, I feel more sluggish and low-energy.

For work, I do minimum maintenance, like shipping orders and responding to emails, but no big deadlines. And sometimes I do big picture planning stuff during my sabbaticals.

To me, mini sabbaticals are not exactly a vacation, but it’s time to focus on things I don’t usually prioritize.

(And I’m writing this email the week before, so don’t worry! 😉)

Sometimes, it allows me space to just ponder. 

For example, I created my 2018 revenue chart inspired by one of my heroes, Jen Hewett.

Ta da! This is where my income came from last year.

My overall chart didn’t surprise me. It looks very similar to what I had in 2017. Teaching and video-making took a bigger portion of the pie in 2017, but I’ve been cutting back on them to focus more energy on my product sales, so it makes sense.

Breakdown of my retail sales, though, was a little bit concerning.

Almost 90% of my direct customer sales came from doing shows and markets. No surprise because I upped the game on in-person events significantly last year.

But I wonder how sustainable it is.

Just these couple of weeks, Seattle was hit by heavy snowfall. And if you know anything about Seattle, you know that even an inch of snow on the ground can shut everything down.

Earlier last week, snow hurt the traffic for Seattle Gift Show. The last two days of the show was so painfully SLOW 🐌 Then another show got moved to a different weekend because of snow. And as I write this, I’m wondering if the show for this weekend is gonna get cancelled or if I’m able to get to the venue, and even if the show happens, chances are the traffic is gonna suffer because of more snow in the forecast.

So much of the show’s success is out of my control.

It depends on so many things, like whether or not I get into a show that attracts the right people for my work, what else is happening in the world (like Super Bowl), who your booth neighbors are, where your booth is located, and of course, weather.

I’m not saying I won’t do shows any more, because I genuinely love doing them, it’s totally my jam 😎 and apparently, my #1 money maker.

It makes me realize, I want to make my online shop and wholesale business just as successful so I’m not relying so heavily on revenues from in-person shows.

I’m not looking for a business advice or suggestions today – I have a process of figuring out ideas and strategies that work for my unique needs. I’ll ask for help when/if I need it 😉

When things slow down, whether it was intentional or forced, it creates a space to ask questions.

How are things going? What’s working and not working? Where do I want to go? What could change to make things better? These are some of the questions that are floating in my head right now.

Speaking of growing my online shop, you know my new collection has just launched last week.

(Now THAT is a segue if you ever saw one 😆)

It’s a delightful collection with colorful and happy art – and my shop is always open even during the Snowmageddon ☃️

Grab a hot cocoa, and enjoy exploring the world of cuteness 🐰 from your cozy couch.

Stay warm,

xo

 

Join me on beautiful Vashon Island this spring!

I’ll be teaching my block printing workshop at Camp Thundercraft this spring!

What’s Camp Thundercraft, you ask? In short, it’s a retreat for small creative business owners. 

Throughout the weekend, they offer workshops and classes that are suitable for people at different places in their creative business.

And there will be plenty of opportunities to mingle and connect with other makers, too, of course.

It’s gonna be at Camp Burton on beautiful Vashon Island on the weekend of April 13th through 15th.

Vashon Island is the first place I’d ever visited in the states back in 1995.

I was there for a spring break for a short exchange student program (Vashon high school was our sister school)​ and fell in love with the place and people.

That led me to coming back to study in Seattle after high school in ’96 and the rest is, well, history.

I haven’t been to Vashon for many, many years (probably 20 years by now) and am super stoked to go back there!!

I’m teaching a couple of sessions of my block printing workshops there and will be attending other workshops for myself, too.

You can see the camp schedule, other speakers, and register here.

Let me know if you have any questions. Hope to see you there 👋

xo

p.s. I’m gonna be on my mini sabbatical week, so no new post from me on next Sunday!

What’s in a name?

I’m super excited about my new creative company, Honeyberry Studios!  As you can imagine, a lot of thoughts and energy go into building a brand that represents you and your company.  Today, I want to tell you my thought process behind naming my company 🙂

私が新しく始めたアートとデザイン会社「ハニーベリー・スタジオ」。とってもわくわくしています。会社を始めると一口に言っても、色々考える事がたくさんあります。自分と会社のイメージとなるブランド作りはとても大切なステップです。今日は、どうやってこの名前に行き着いたかをお話しまーす。

I started an Etsy shop called, TeAmi Works, (te-a-me) back in 2010.  I started out by selling my hand-crocheted fingerless gloves.  I wasn’t sure where I would go with it, but I very much enjoyed my experience as a seller and the sense of community I had in the Etsy world, so I kept adding more crochet items.

私は2010年に趣味が高じて、かぎ編みの小物を売る「てあみワークス」というお店をEtsyという、オンラインのマーケットで始めました。初めはどうなることか分かりませんでしたが、お客様との交流や、Etsyというクリエイティブなコミュニティーの一部となれることが楽しくて、品物も増やしていきました。

Before you knew it, I started selling my illustration prints there as well.  I started doing more commission drawing work and loved it, too.  Then I began to feel a little funny calling my shop “TeAmi” because it means “hand-knit” or “hand-crocheted” in Japanese (my native language).  I did more than crochet then, and I wanted to do more.  I needed a new name and identity for my shop!

そのうちに、イラストも出品するようになりました。お客様に頼まれてカスタムオーダーで絵を描く事も増えていきました。そうなると、どうも「てあみ」という名前がしっくりと来なくなっていきました。かぎ編みだけでは無くって、色んな事がしたい!ということで、新しい名前とアイデンティティが必要になりました。

I started thinking of a new name that was as versatile as my crafts.  I thought of just using my name, Yuko Miki, but I mostly work in US, and as simple as my name is (to me), people mess up my name all the time.  So that was a no-go.  Then I thought of using an English word or words that reflected my Japanese-ness, like “persimmon studios” or “chestnut designs” or something like that.  Well, those are very popular, and there are hundreds of companies who use them already.

さて、どんな名前がいいでしょう?アーティストっぽく自分の名前だけ、というのも考えましたが、ここはアメリカ。私みたいな簡単な名前でもよく間違われるのですよ。ということで、それは却下。やっぱり、日本人っぽさをアピールするために、「パシモン(柿)」とか、「チェストナット(栗)」とかを使った名前を考えてはみたものの、それはやっぱり人気があって、他に使ってる会社がすでにいっぱい。

I literally went over hundreds of words that I thought represented my style and vision.  It needed to be simple, warm, and friendly, like my art.  It also needed to have an organic and natural feeling to it – as I get my inspiration from nature and organic things most of the time.

自分が作る物や、会社のイメージに合いそうな単語をいくつも書き並べてみる。これはシンプルで、かつ温かみがあって、親しみやすい物じゃないとダメ。自然っぽくて有機的な感じがするっていうのも大事なポイントの一つ。

I really liked the word “honey” for some reason.  It’s sweet and golden, and it’s good for you!  I started jotting down words that worked well with “honey.”  Then I thought of “honeyberry.”  Many people don’t know that honeyberry is an actual berry.  It is also known as “blue honeysuckle.”  They look kind of like blueberries with oblong delicious edible berries!  Being married to a permaculture designer, I get perks of learning about unusual edible things!  And even if you don’t know what “honeyberry” is, you still get the warm and sweet feelings from it, right?  Yes!  I knew immediately that was going to be the one.

書き並べた単語の中で、なぜか「ハニー」という言葉が引っかかる。甘くて、黄金色。しかも健康にもいい!そこで、「ハニー」と合うような単語もいくつか考えてみる。その挙句に、「ハニーベリー」という言葉が浮かんだ。知らない人が多いんだけど、「ハニーベリー」っていうのは本当にある果物。ブルーベリーに似た感じで、細長くて美味しいベリーなんですよ~。夫がパーマカルチャー関係の仕事をしているから、あまり世間には知られていない、おいしい物の情報が良く入ってくるのですよ。「ハニーベリー」が何かを知らなくっても、甘いような、あったかい気持ちになりませんか?思いついた瞬間に、「これだ!」と直感しました。

After trying out different combinations, I landed on “Honeyberry Studios.”  That encompassed my crafts, arts, graphic design, and who knows what else I’m going to be doing?  Perfect.  My research on the inter-web showed no one else had that domain name, so I claimed it right away.  Honeyberry Studios was born.

色々考えた末に、「ハニーベリー・スタジオ」という名前に決定。そうすれば、手作り小物でも、絵でも、グラフィックデザインでも、他にいろいろやりたい事が全部収まるかな?というわけです。調べた結果、まだウェブのドメインがあったので、即購入!そうやって「ハニーベリー・スタジオ」は生まれました。

I will show you how my “spokescat” Honeyberry was born in my next post 🙂

次回のブログでは、マスコットネコのハニーベリーが生まれるまでのいきさつについてお話しまーす。

space needle b-day card_watercolor