In January 2017, I got a tax rebate YAY! And I knew straight away what I was going to spend it on. I bought my Heat Press and Silhouette Cameo Cutter. Before purchasing these, I did months and months of research and then I took the leap of buying them, as they weren’t cheap!
I am extremely happy with the Cutter, and so far I haven’t come across a problem with it (touch wood!).
But if I was to buy the Heat Press again, I would get either a swing-away or a draw style press, as when lining up the designs on a t-shirt it is difficult to see what you are doing, and also I have burnt myself quite a lot!
Never the less, a year on and they have done me well! I am now looking at embroidery machines, but I will get to that in next weeks blog post.
Another very exciting thing that happened in January 2017, was that I got my own office/workshop to work in! Before this I would work from my dinning room table, and I would have to pack everything into plastic boxes in the evenings. This made it tough to get into a good workflow. My office/workshop is only the spare bedroom in my house, but it is amazing and has made such a big difference to my work.
Throughout 2017 I have moved around the furniture several times in my workshop, to try and maximise workflow. I always find, in any room, that you can put your furniture in one place and think it is perfect, but it is not until you have lived/worked in that space for a while that you will get a feeling of where everything belongs. Now a year later, I finally feel like it is perfect! But no doubt I will still change things in the year to come!
In June 2017 I did my first ever event! I had a stall at Pride Canterbury 2017.
I was really nervous about it. These were a few of the things going through my head…
– I had no idea of what to expect.
– Didn’t know how many t-shirts to take. 10? 20? 50?
– What Designs do I print?
There was lots of questions I wished I had the answers to, but I had to just go with it and think of it as a learning curve. If I didn’t sell any..then my Designs weren’t right, if I sold out…I didn’t bring enough! We did really well and sold all of our tie-dye t-shirts, but had lots of our cartoon designs left, so now I know that tie-dye is specifically popular for Pride events and the cartoon designs not so much. From this I have decided this year, to take more tie-dye t-shirts, to also print on some of the tie-dyes, and to bring some t-shirts and jumpers with funny quotes on. I also wish that I had asked people what they would like to see when I was there, so then I would have a better idea of what I should do this year, but that is now something I know to do this year!
In June 2017 I also graduated from Canterbury College, this was a big thing for me, as it was taking up most of my time, and because of this, my business was put right to the bottom of my priorities list! It was exciting but also daunting knowing that I would now have more time to focus on my business, as now I had no excuse if I failed!
In September 2017 I had my first proper photo shoot day! It was great fun and we created some really good images and content for both my social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), and my website!
I went over to The Isle of Sheppey, with my friends Darcy and Max. Max is a keen photographer so he took all of the photos for me, and then Darcy and I modelled the clothes.
It was a beautiful day and we came out of it with amazing pictures and some great memories.
This year I need to do lots more of these shoot days, so that our content is fresh and different, but also high quality is a big MUST! and possibly something I lack, as most of the time, it is just me and a camera, and being in front and behind the camera at the same time, has its challenges.
In November 2017, I tried Facebook advertising. Before then all of my sales where simply through word of mouth, and I was doing great! But I watch lots of videos on YouTube about marketing etc, to learn more and they all kept swearing by Facebook Ads. I spent about £60 in total on it, and was VERY disappointed with the results. I got about 23 new page likes and not much engagement. None of the people who went and liked my page interacted with anything, no news post likes, no new orders, so what was the point? I have since gone back to just word of mouth as it was adding up to a lot of money for not much in return. I’m sure Facebook advertising can be beneficial, but I am clearly not doing it in the right way, or perhaps you need to spend a lot to get anything back. But at the moment I can’t afford to payout that much!
I also paid for ads on Instagram, and from this i got over 600 likes just for one image! But when I clicked on the image from my page it only showed around 25 likes… which was my organic likes. Now that the ad has stopped, it no longer says the 600 likes as it only came up when I clicked on it from the notifications (which I can no longer see as it was so long ago). So that felt like a waste of time. I even messaged Instagram about it and they have just completely ignored me. So unless they sort it out, I will not be advertising on there again.
This was just a few highlights of my 2017, there was lots of small achievements and downfalls, but I fear that I would be here all month trying to tell you everything, and you may get a tad bored! This year I will be blogging every week, so I should be able to keep you up to date as we go.
I hope that you have enjoyed this blog post. It was really nice going back through it with you all, and I look forward to moving on wards and upwards this year, learning new things and of course, making new mistakes!
Mistakes are sometimes the best way to learn!
You’ve always got to see the positive in things that may seem very negative at the time!