Thursday, October 6, 2016

October Slump

I had high hopes for September.

I  set a lofty goal for using up yarn from my stash... and only got through about half of it.

I had high hopes for two craft shows. Local sale in my hometown in conjunction with townwide garage sale did well two years ago. Barely sold enough to pay for my table this year. Bummer. Other show came within $11 of setting a new record for net sales last year. This year, it ranked in the bottom third. Double bummer.

Buzz Feed featured an article about dragon scale gloves. I had two pairs completed, so quickly listed them in my Etsy shop. I had over 700 views in one week (probably more than in the past year). Did either pair sell? Nope.

When I entered mileage for craft shows and some incidental expenses, I realized that my expenses for the year are higher than my sales. Like $100 higher. Ouch.

There were tears. There was frustration. I said to myself, "Why do I do this? There's no cheese at the end of the maze!"

So I entered October not wanting to set lofty goals or have high hopes for the three craft shows scheduled for October (good thing, because the show on October 1st was another bottom-third show. It was a great show, though, because I met some wonderful people and had some great interaction. I gave out some free gifts and got a lot of baby smiles.) Focus on finishing stuff. Focus on organizing. Spend a little more time cleaning my house. Focus on getting back to healthy habits. Focus on the customers - greeting them, engaging them in conversation, being a bright spot in their day, rather than focusing on sales. Finish off that bag of yarn from the September challenge. If I see a quick little pattern that I think is adorable, just make it!

I started October with several custom orders awaiting completion.
Catnip Mouse order... done

Orange dragon order... done

Girly-Girl airplane order... done

I'm trying to focus on the positive:

  • I'm nearly done with an order I've been putting off for months. (Done!)
  • My yarn stash is lower than it has been in years, thanks to my sticking to my "yarn diet."
  • I have two more craft shows this month that have the potential to get me out of the red. (Well, one of them put me even further in the red... didn't sell enough to cover the table fee)
  • I'm excited about designing some entries for a amigurumi monster design contest
    First monster design done
  • I found a new pattern for an adorable Pumpkin Pie Tissue Holder that has the potential to be a hot seller at fall craft shows, will work on getting a few of those made. (Update... 8 ready to go for craft shows!)
    I've made two so far, and both are spoken for! 
  • Three out of four of the hedgehogs I made from the Woodland Hedgehog pattern have sold... so make a few more! I certainly have enough fun fur yarn! (Update: Made up two more, and one of them sold as soon as I put it on Facebook)
So I will plug away at my two remaining custom orders (the penguin mittens and a mermaid tail order cancelled), make enough pumpkin pie slices to fill a pie plate, and forge ahead with October with a positive outlook.
Penguin Mitts done! 

10/9 Update:
The order for the mermaid tail fell through, so without any orders on hand, I will just keep churning out items that I think will sell quickly at craft shows.
Started: Fingerless gloves. Finished: Mini monster & pumpkin pie tissue holder

After the mermaid tail order got cancelled, I decided to make up a new challenge for myself. Managed to cross off 3 of the 16 squares in one day!

10/12 Update: Today's WIP Picture: on the left is the start of a design for the monster contest. I haven't made much progress on "catasaurus" since last Wednesday's picture! In the center is a Starabella scarf - using up some of the yarn from the September challenge (scarf finished 10/27). And to the right, I made a hat with the bulky black yarn from the challenge, and still had some left over, so now I'm working on matching pawprint fingerless gloves. I did get a custom order for several amigurumi that replaces the lost mermaid tail order, so I will be a busy girl for the rest of the month! 

Another yarn from the September challenge finished off!
Making progress on this list.
Little orders here and there, from posting pictures of finished projects on Facebook, have started to close the gap on my deficit. If I sell enough to cover my table rent at this Saturday's craft show, I will be in the black again. My track record for that show is rather inconsistent... of the three fall shows I have done there, the sales rank #12, #34 & #37 of 43 shows). Even the poor shows, though, had enough sales to cover the table rent. (It ended up #14 with just the sales from the show. If you add in custom orders to be picked up at later shows, it would be #4)

Almost end of month update: 
Two more boxes checked off!

I took a break from custom orders last night and finished up the Starbella ruffled scarf I've been working on. Then I grabbed the partial skein of rust colored worsted weight yarn from my September Challenge bag and started a monster design. It didn't quite work out the way I was thinking, so the planned body became the head, and I went in another direction... then I decided to do curly tentacles instead of legs. Then I had yarn left over, so I added big ears and an elephant-worthy nose. I'm not entirely happy with the eyes... making good eyes on such a small scale is difficult. I'm still debating whether to leave as is, or snip the eyes off and make new ones. I'll probably put him on my craft table tomorrow and see how people react. Maybe a monster-bug loving little boy will want to take him home! 

October 30 update:
Well, good sales at yesterday's show finally got me out of the red. I picked up a few custom orders, and a photographer from a local paper took a picture of me at my table. Let's see if anything comes of that! 

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