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New Year New Intentions

"A goal without a plan is just a wish." -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

At the beginning of 2018 I set a list of intentions for Paper Perennial. Along with thousands of other people at the beginning of the year, I made goals for improvement. What happened to those goals? In my classroom, I encourage students to set specific, measurable goals, and then we need to look ourselves in the faces and honestly reflect on how we progressed on those goals. Goals, resolutions, intentions, whatever we decide to call them are dropped easily when we don't take time to celebrate triumphs, but also examine failures. In a social media world of perfect shots and stories and streaks, I'm taking a moment to examine failure, and set new intentions accordingly.

Last year, I wanted to...

Embrace branding: new product tags and packaging ideas.

This is still a work in progress, and I've learned anything from my failure to truly embrace branding, it's that it will always be a work in progress because it conflicts with my own core beliefs regarding wastefulness an unnecessary charges to consumers. But, I've designed and ordered new packaging stickers and some boxes for small flower items. I still collect and reuse boxes whenever I can, and as for the stickers, I love them! But I often forget to actually use them. So, my 2019 updated intention is to: use the branding that I've invested in, and continue researching ways to build responsible and economical packaging habits.

Develop at least 15 new products.

Success! Although I'm pretty sure I stopped keeping track sometime in February, I know I made at least 15 new products this year to list in my Etsy shop. New jewelry designs, cactus plants, vertical gardens, etc. In 2019, I want to try to focus less on creating lots of new things, so I'd be happy with adding 5-10 at most. But I also want to prune away items that are difficult for me to sustain producing and price accordingly at the same time. This is going to be tough, because I really like making new things! Most of my products are priced in a way that doesn't allow me to make the kind of profit that is sustainable for an actual business rather than a hobby. If I want to be able to approach shops to carry my work, I need to create products that can withstand the markup of an actual shop. My 2019 updated intention is to: develop 5-10 new or improved items that allow me to set prices according to a reasonable wage and profit margin to allow for future marketing partnerships.

Attend another 5 craft shows.

I didn't make it too many craft shows this year; I think I only attended 3. I have, however, spent HOURS of time researching shows and it's hard to find ones that are a good fit for me. They are just so expensive to do the cool ones, and it's hard for me to make enough stock. I did, however, discover the HollandFest in Wisconsin this summer and had a great time! So I'm planning on returning there again. And I'll keep it local with WaucondaFest, too, mostly for funsies, and because my father always drops by to hang out with me. I'm looking into a farmers market or two for this summer. As always, I'm looking for recommendations within an hours drive of Wauconda! 2019 intention: attend 5 craft shows. It seems like a doable number.

Begin blogging on my website.

Well, this started off well, but then I lost my gusto. No excuses, just the truth. It's hard to write when you feel you have no audience, something I've thought more about in regards to my students as well. I'm going to keep the blog up, but I don't know that I have the time to devote to making it really successful. Still, it's an outlet. and I want to pick it up again. Which is why I'm posting this on here! Updated 2019 intention: continue blogging whenever possible, with a goal of at least 6 blog posts for the year.

Host at least 10 paper crafting classes (I've got so many new ideas in the works!)

Oh I fell so short here. Obviously 10 was an unattainable goal. That's almost 1 a month! What was I thinking? I just love doing them, that's what I was thinking. From this failure I've learned that I need to look for a space that I could host these in a more populated area. I really enjoy doing classes, but have trouble reaching a number of people interested enough in taking them! My favorite class was my poinsettia ornament class this year, though. My updated 2019 intention is to: host 5 classes in 2019. It doesn't matter how large they are, as long as there are at least 4 people.

Make it to 300 followers on Facebook, and 200 on Instagram. (Instagram is a cruel mistress sometimes...)

Still at 250 on Facebook, but I've made it to 250 on Instagram now! Woohoo! Go me! I seriously don't know how some people get to the numbers they get to... I'm setting what seems to me to be a modest social media intention for 2019 and that is simply this: make it to 300 followers on Facebook and Instagram.

Pass the 200 sales mark on Etsy.

Definitely made this goal. It was the year of Etsy for me, really; I had twice as many sales on Etsy as I had the year prior. And I learned an important lesson here, too. While I enjoy doing weddings, I don't have to do lots of weddings a year locally to keep my business plan solid. I did a lot more Etsy orders this year, and while it felt more frenetic, especially in the last 3 months of the year, it's clearly a platform that is still a good fit for me, in spite of rising costs for sellers on their site and changes to policies. My new 2019 intention is to: make it to 350 sales on Etsy, and pass the 100 review mark! I love reviews. It makes me so happy to know that people are happy with the things that I make for them.

Develop 1 new partnership...somehow...somewhere...

No new partnerships yet, but still working with Seek & Find! Such a cute shop. And I'm looking forward to the road construction being done so that Felicia can get life back to normal! She's been quite a trooper. Developing a new partnership is hard to do without proper packaging, so that is tied into my other intention. I guess in a way I've developed a loose partnership with Whisk Bakery in Wauconda as the owner generously allows me to use her beautiful shop space to host my workshops on Saturday afternoons when they do fill up. She's so nice, and so flexible! So my 2019 intention has stayed the same: develop 1 new partnership... some way...

2019 marks year 4 for Paper Perennial, and I'm proud of what I've learned and built. I'm excited to see what new items are in store for this year, and what trends will emerge. What intentions are you making for yourself or your business this year? Are you especially proud of anything you achieved in 2018? Share in comments!

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