Today is a pretty exciting day for me - marking one whole year of Paper Picnic! Yay! I'm still here, doing what I absolutely LOVE and the business is actually doing okay, dare I say it maybe even well?!
Some things that have been pretty excellent in the last year -
- Became a Core Exhibitor at The Fine & Dandy Market - I LOVE this market! It was one of the first I ever did, and where Paper Picnic took form and actually became a something. Now I'm a Core Exhibitor, there every month and helping out with some aspects of running the market too, which is awesome!
- Crafty Fox Uncovered - back in October I got accepted into Crafty Fox's 'Uncovered' Scheme helping out new businesses in their first year of trading. Didn't think I stood a chance of getting in, and really pushed myself to make lots of new and better work for the event. On the day I was overwhelmed with the lovely comments from customers and a few sales, and went home buzzing!
- Renegade - I think I was still buzzing from Crafty Fox when I found out I'd been accepted to Renegade. This news seemed huge! Still does! It actually filled me with fear a little bit, because so many designer-makers I admire had gone before me and were going to be selling along side me. I packed a whole car's worth of stuff and drove across the UK for the most exciting and exhausting two days of my working life! I was so so happy with how it all went down in the end, and so relieved I'd pulled it off!
- Christmas - best sales yet! Christmas was a huge boost, and gave me a bit of confidence that I could actually support myself from this business and make a real go of it! I worked my wee socks off (whilst also working 30+ hours a week in my part-time job) and I was absolutely shattered by the time Christmas came, but learnt so much about managing a busy business, and have so many plans for next Christmas already! (crazy I know!)
- Valentine's - this was my first real design task of the year, and after the Christmas rush I really enjoyed taking a bit of time out to design something a bit different. I took my time over it, and I think it really paid off. Valentine's actually far exceeded my Christmas sales, and I think it pushed my design in a bit of a new direction which is really exciting for the next few months ahead! :)
One Year On Changes -
This year point seems like a pretty good time to take stock of what's going well, and what's not working as well as it could be. There is definitely a few things I think I could make better, and I'm going to make a point of setting aside time to re-address them!
- Branding - this was the first, and probably the quickest thing I did when I set up Paper Picnic. I think I intended for it to be quite temporary, but kind of liked it, and just never got back to it.
- Cards - maybe I'm just too used to looking at them, but some of the older cards in the range I think could do with a bit of a refresh... I still like the ideas that are there, but I think I could refine the typography etc, so I'm going to go through the whole range and think about what's working and what's not.
- Other products - a girl cannot survive off cards alone! Card's actually were never what I imagined would be at the forefront of my business, but they've just taken off, and I've ran with it. Now I'm getting to the stage where I've got a good selection on the shop, so I can step back from that a little bit and focus on developing other areas of the business. Watch this space!
What's Next -
- More Fairs! - I've just found out that I've been accepted to Crafty Fox again in April, and of course I'm kept busy with The Fine & Dandy every month, so the next few weeks and months are going to be really focused on making the stall look amazing!
- Wholesale - up until this point wholesale has been a scary concept, still is actually. I've been content ignoring it really, because I knew so little about it, and approaching shops asking them if they'd like to sell my work seemed really daunting. Also had my fingers burned a little bit with 'sale or return', so I kinda busied myself with other aspects of the business and let this one go for a while. But it seems like the right time, and this seems like the logical next step, albeit a scary one. So in the next few months I'm going to put a wholesale catalogue together and get myself out there!
- Screenprinting - I've signed up for a screenprinting course with Belfast Print Workshop! It's something that I've wanted to do for forever, I don't know why it escaped me at uni, but now I'm going to properly invest the time into incorporating it into my work!
- More of the same please! - I am LOVING working on Paper Picnic, watching it grow and meeting so many lovely customers at fairs across the country. As long as things continue the way they have been I'll be over the moon with the year ahead. Bring it on! :D
To celebrate a year of Paper Picnic I'm having a little giveaway, or two! One on facebook, and one on twitter. Each prize will have an A4 print (pictured) and a bundle of cards, and maybe a few other surprises thrown in! Details on how to enter can be found here (for facebook) and here (for twitter)! Good luck - entries close on Wednesday 11th March at 12 noon, and the winners announced later that day! :D