it's hard for me to put into words how amazing the last year has been. (yup, tomorrow marks one whole year since I opened my Etsy shop and started Ladybird Likes!) like so many crafters, I started my business as a hobby. since I was a teenager I have loved making jewellery. well, if you can call putting random bits of crap onto a chain 'making' but hey! sure, I have dabbled in other crafts since, and even now I occasionally get the urge to start a totally different type of craft business. but I've always come back to making jewellery. it's what I love doing. I barely dared to dream that I could one day be doing this as my full-time job.
to mark the one year anniversary of Ladybird Likes, I thought it would be nice to look back at what I've been up to over the last year... a sort of round-up of all my milestones!
1. reaching (and passing) 1000 sales in my Etsy shop. and the 1000th sale was every bit as exciting as the first, and the second, and the third. every time I check my email and see someone has placed an order I still do a geeky nervous smile and have to tell whoever is nearest to me 'oh someone from California just bought a butterfly necklace' or 'oh a guy in Bristol just bought a robot brooch.'
2. being approached by notonthehighstreet.com to start selling on their website. definitely one of the scariest moments, handing over such a big chunk of money for my joining fee, but hands down the best business decision I made.
3. having my first (but not last!) wholesale enquiry! I hadnt really planned to look into wholesale until 2013 - my plan was to focus on building up the brand and developing new product ranges, and then starting to approach shops. well, it didn't quite work out like that! Ladybird Likes is currently stocked in 15 independent boutiques and websites in the UK (and one in Belgium, and one in Iceland!)
4. selling at my two all-time favourite craft fairs, Bust Craftacular and Renegade Craft Fair. if you'd asked me when I started Ladybird Likes what my dream was, I would have replied 'to have a stall at Renegade Craft Fair.' I never thought that, in my first year of selling, I would be able to do just that! It was definitely one of my favourite moments of 2012, although too much of it passed in a sleep-deprived, caffeinated blur!
5. being published in three awesome print magazines. (I won't share too much on this as I have a separate blog post coming this weekend!)
6. making friends with so many awesome, talented, genuine people. even if I had sold nothing in my Etsy shop, had never made any money from doing this, it would all have been worth doing because of the friends I've made. (cheesy huh?!) but it's the absolute truth. the people I've met both online and in the real world have been so supportive, despite barely knowing/having never met me, and that just blows my mind! I won't rattle off a big long list, you know who you are. I hope you also know how very awesome I think you are!
7. seeing my jewellery being worn by two of my favourite bloggers Kaylah from The Dainty Squid, and Katie from Skunkboy Creatures. (yes, I did send them the jewellery, BUT it was still an amazing feeling!)
8. being able to FINALLY afford to upgrade my digital camera. my old one was starting to die (it is 6 years old, so it's forgivable) and I'd been shooting almost entirely on film to try and save the digital for things like product photos. don't get me wrong, I love any excuse to shoot on film, but the truth was my digital camera was dying and I needed to replace it. I'd considered just buying a cheap DSLR secondhand to use for a couple of years until I could save enough for my dream camera (a canon 7D.) well, after the toughest 3 months or so (the xmas period), working 18-20 hours every day, I managed to save enough to buy myself that canon 7D. and boy was it worth it!
9. hiring an employee. yesterday I officially hired my first ever member of staff. my new employee (who I will introduce on here properly when she starts in 3 weeks) will be helping me out two days a week, with everything from making jewellery, to creating blog content, to helping on photoshoots, and designing graphics. i cannot wait for her to start!
10. setting up a pop up shop. oh yes, I found out on Monday that I'm going to be setting up a pop up shop in Forest Hill for one whole month, alongside Love Ur Look! I will be posting more info on it next week, but it just felt like the perfect way to round off my first year in business!
writing this blog post has been such an emotional experience. the last year has been such a whirlwind, it's only looking back now that I can truly appreciate how insanely lucky I've been. I honestly could not be more grateful to every single person who has bought something from me, visited me at craft fairs, blogged/tweeted/facebooked/instagrammed about Ladybird Likes. without you all this list just would not exist. so thank you, from the bottom of my tiny, overwhelmed heart.