2015 in Review

2015 Year in Review

Happy 2016!   I hope everyone enjoyed a nice holiday break and had some time to unwind and relax with family and friends.  I always like to start each new year by taking a moment to pause and look back over acheivements and milestones of the year before.  After that I set goals both short and long-term for both personal and professional growth.  It’s a ritual I’ve come to appreciate over the years.   Looking back at the recaps over the years make it easier to put things in perspective.  Most of my days I spend head-down in day-to-day tasks, but taking time to really see the big picture really helps me put more intentionality into envisioning my future.

(you can read all my past yearly recaps HERE)

Below are my highlights from 2015

Sales Reps
It was a goal of mine to pick up a sales rep in 2015.  I was fortunate enough to sign with two last year!  The first reached out to me in February, and the second reached out over the summer.  They have definitely helped me get Steel Petal Press® cards out to more retailers than I would have been able to reach on my own.

Paper Source
In the summer of 2014 Paper Source picked up one of my cards and started placing large orders regularly.  In July 2015 they picked up another style, and in the last few weeks of 2015, they picked up 3 more styles!  Paper Source already contributes to a significant chunk of my income, I’m looking forward to that increasing in 2016.

congratulations baby card

I doubled the number of shops that carry Steel Petal Press® cards.  These new shops found me through a variety of venues: sales reps, Etsy Wholesale, at the National Stationery Show, or just randomly reaching out online. I definitely beat my goal of adding 20 more retailers. View my full list of current stockists HERE.

National Stationery Show
I attended the National Stationery Show for my third year in 2015.  I learned a lot from the experience and came out with new ideas for when I exhibit again. I’m taking 2016 off, but that doesn’t mean I’m done with NSS for good.

Steel Petal Press National Stationery Show 2015

Continuing Education
– In June I attended the APA Wayzgoose in Chicago, connecting with letterpress printers from all over.
– And then in July, I flew to LA to be a part of first 1-day Business Camp put on by Tradeshow Bootcamp.
Both were amazing experiences.

I was happy to host three wonderful interns this year.  My internship program is something I’ve been developing since 2012, and I feel great about how it’s evolved.  The program is now a “well-oiled machine” that ensures the experience is fulfilling and worthwhile for everyone involved.  I also love being able to pass on the hands-on knowledge of letterpress to people and students interested in learning the ancient craft.

My first employee, Maranda, left to pursue her own endeavors in the summer of 2015, and I hired Kat to take her place.  And in the last quarter of 2015 I reached another goal of hiring additional part-time employees to come in as-needed to help with shipping, packaging and inventory management.

Studio Move and Retail Space
Last April I started the search to move into a larger studio space.  A studio move was a longer-term goal of mine that quickly became more pressing as I am running out of space in my current space. Last June I negotiated and signed the lease, in July I met with architects to help plan the space, then we waited for city permits to begin construction.  The permits finally came through in the end of November, construction has started and my projected move-in date for the new space is slated for March 2016.  This new space is a huge new endeavor and deserves it’s own blog post.  (To be continued….)

Craft Fairs
I only did two craft fairs this year; Summer Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, and One of a Kind Show Chicago.  I stuck with local fairs (less travel fees) and only chose to participate where I knew sales would make the weekend worth my while.  I broke sales records at both the shows and was able to do some great in-person promotion for the new shop.

Steel Petal Press at One of a Kind Show Chicago 2015

And onto Goals and Plans for 2016
– successfully move to a new location and open a retail shop (that alone should take up most of my year)
– hire additional sales associates for the shop
– get Steel Petal Press® on TV (somehow)
– add more sales reps to my team
– add even more shops to my list of stockists.

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