Everyone loves to get fun mail

January 2017 Check In Summary and Report

January 2017 Check In Summary and Report

Over the course of the last few months I have been playing with the idea of sharing my journey month by month through this year. (If you want to read the full post about that go to: How to Write your Own Success Story post.)

I think sharing my journey will be good for me for a number of reasons.

  1. It will hold me accountable to my focus. If I promise to check in regularly and post my results I will be more likely to follow through on the goals I have set for myself this year.
  2. Looking back it will act as a time capsule of the process and growth I have been through throughout the year.
  3. It may help someone else starting out in this industry one day to avoid some of the mistakes I have made and also to share my knowledge to help them save time when they are starting up.

Booth Photo from Urban Craft Uprising Summer 2015

When I first started in the stationery world I made plenty of mistakes and made bad assumptions about so many different things.

I also joined a group of other industry peers, took online and in-person classes, and took on way too much (in the form of going to the National Stationery Show with basically no anything). It was these decisions that slingshot me forward, and gave me years worth of industry knowledge in a very short amount of time.


Sure I am still making mistakes and learning. But that is going to be expected when you take academic knowledge and try to apply it to your own situation. Learning something, doing something, and knowing something are completely different things.

Why have I decided to do share my journey and knowledge?

Whenever I get together in a group atmosphere with other hand made, woman run, business owners–the desire that I have to help and give advice is overwhelming.

I feel obligated to pull others up with me, even those in my industry. I don’t see my peers as competition. (Someone buying my cards is going to do so because of my personal brand style and message. It’s not because it’s a piece of paper with an envelope.)

When we all rise up and move forward–and we bring others with us–it can only be positive for the industry and the world as a whole. Imagine how much change and positivity can be brought into the world if we have a ton of people sharing their light? As opposed to one light trying to do the work of everyone–while simultaneously trying to put everyone else's lights out.

 

A post shared by Adina Segal (@bunnybearpress) on

The Big Goal 2017

Doing my B&O taxes in mid January was a bit of an eye opener for me. I was not even close to where I wanted to be (business wise). If I kept going the way I had been, I was going to be out of business before the middle of 2017.

2016 was a year of big changes for me and my business. It is the foundation on which everything moving forward is going to be built.

I know that this is only the beginning of my story.

At the beginning of 2016 I hadn’t been sleeping longer than 2 hours at a time for months (because baby), I was in the process of redesigning my logo, starting my line of paper goods over from scratch (I scrapped my entire line towards the end of 2015). I also decided to learn and focus on hand lettering, while simultaneously designing and developing the brand for my new website and binging on business podcasts.

I will say it again: 2016 was the year of foundation. I was in learning mode, I was starting fresh, and I was beginning to find my visual and literary voice.

By the end of 2016 I had finished:

  • my new logo and website complete with–
  • a branding foundation and–
  • graphic standards manual
  • sketched over 80 lettering pieces
  • letterpress printed 22 new cards to add to the 7 I carried over from my last line (these 7 had been the beginning of my hand lettering and the response I had received from them was the reason I decided to start everything over again.)
  • designed a wholesale line sheet and launched my new wholesale line

And after going to seanwes conference in October:

  • had massive clarity about where I needed to spend my time and focus in 2017.

My goal for 2017 is to 10X my revenue from last year.

When I write that out it seems crazy, my monthly sales will have to be close to what I made the entire year in order to achieve this goal.

BUT, last year I was focused on building my base and not focused at all on selling. Any sales I made were the result of luck and circumstance.

This year I am making growing my business my job. When I set my mind to something, I know I can achieve it.

So now for the fun reality check. How did I do in January? How did I spend my time?

I am planning on the majority of my money to be made towards the end of this year. I expect my marketing plan to take a little time to bake (relationship building is more of a marathon than a sprint–especially when you want to do it right and actually make long lasting relationships with the people you are going to be partnering with), and as with any retail buying cycles–I am expecting a bit of ups and downs as opposed to steady income.

I set a big goal for January that is about 45% of what my monthly goal should be (when averaged for the year to 10X). Having just begun my wholesale outreach I was hoping to capitalize on stores buying for Valentine’s Day after the holiday season, so my marketing was aimed at getting my Love and Friendship cards front and center.

Since I am starting from square one I was reaching out to new businesses and boutiques who have never heard of me. I am introducing myself and beginning to build relationships with store owners and buyers.

These were all pretty much cold leads (meaning that they have never heard of me or my line), or they were stores I had worked with before but back when my line was completely different.

January stats:

  • 40 New stores contacted
  • 10 Stores I have worked with in the past contacted
  • 47 Handwritten Postcards Sent
  • 26 Follow up emails
  • 2 Orders*
  • 1 Other Revenue Source (taught a private focused on design for letterpress & printing on letterpress machine)

*note neither one of the orders I received was in direct relation to my marketing outreach.

Analysis:

I was way short of my goal I had set for January (like 60% short). I was banking on stores placing orders from me for Valentine’s Day. This just didn’t happen. Of the responses I received from stores that responded to my emails, I gathered that they were ordering from lines they already had relationships with and that they weren’t bringing in new lines at that time.

This tells me I need to keep in contact with them and keep pinging them every time I have new cards launching or value to add for them. When they see that I am serious, that I am not going away, and that I REALLY REALLY want to work with them, they will give me a shot.

Focus for February

(I am writing this post a little delayed and it is already mid February but I am going to pretend that I am sending this out at the beginning of the month as I plan to do moving forward.)

A post shared by Adina Segal (@bunnybearpress) on

 

February is Valentine's Day month and I will be:

  • doing a couple of pop up shops at the 2 local West Elm's that are in the Seattle Area
  • Sending an epic mailer (that I just finished) out to the stores I have been already connecting with 
  • Getting my product into buyers hands in the form of sending sample packages (This will be a good stepping stone for me to show them the quality of my line)

My income goal for February is going to be half of what I set for January. The reason I set a lower goal for this month is that buyers have likely spent a bunch of money on Valentine's Day orders and NYNow (a big gift and stationery show that happened in the beginning of the month) and they will be most likely holding off on more orders until The National Stationery Show (NSS) in May.

I will be continuing to introduce myself to new stores. Sending postcards, my promo, and samples to stores I have already contacted with the aim of taking advantage of the next buying cycle.

For the creative side of my business:

I am going to be creating some new cards and products to launch in sync with NSS. Even though I won’t be showing in person there, it is a great time to get my line in front of buyers who will be receiving tons of NSS Promo Mailers. Even if they themselves aren’t going to the show, they will be ordering from the brands that are all contacting them and launching new things.

If you want to be notified of when my February progress report posts enter your name and email address to the list below. 

 

 You will receive emails from me about:

  • what I am doing to achieve my 2017-10X goal
  • what are the results I have monthly
  • what worked and what didn't
  • stats about who I reached out to, how I reached out, and what responses I received

As soon as you sign up and confirm your email I will give you access to my Balance Finding Worksheet. (Which you can read more about here.)

 

This Worksheet helps you discover your own goals and to design a life that helps you achieve them.

Balance Finding Worksheet Image







Also in Blog

April and May Check in Report and Summary
April and May Check in Report and Summary

April and May are lumped together in this progress report. Read on to see the stats for the month and to read about the 4 things I have learned over the last 2 months.

Continue Reading →

NSS Mailer Review
NSS Mailer Review

The magical paper wonderland that is the National Stationery Show was just this last week. It is where paper people go to geek out for days at a time but before the show stationery companies go all out on their promotional mailers to buyers. Here is a look at all of the mailers I have ever done.

Continue Reading →

May 2017 New Release
May 2017 New Release

I have designed and created 20 new greeting cards and 6 edge painted notecards! Click through for some sneak peek images!

Continue Reading →