I just wanted to check in and talk to you today about recognising when and where your business needs to change.
As my business has grown and changed so has my product range. When I first started out I was creating screen printed tote bags, cards and the odd print. It actually took a fair bit of time for me to accept and integrate my illustrated work into the range as well, because for some reason in my head, the plan was screen printed and that was how it had to stay.
NOT TRUE - You have to allow your business room to grow, change and develop organically otherwise you'll be fighting against it.
After I had accepted this it became clear that although my screen printed goodies sold well, so did the illustrated ones...if not better!
After many many hours of screen printing one crazy Christmas to full fill orders on products where the profit margin was tiny I decided that something had to give. At this point I had a couple of options:
1. Outsource all of the printing, material sourcing and receive back the finished product - this wasn't viable due to the volumes I would have to be ordering and the large amounts of money involved.
2. Raise my prices higher to be able to accommodate for all the work that went into the products -Again this was not a viable option, after all, how much can you spend on a tote bag, however lovely?
3. Cut out the products that were no longer working for my business and focus on the ones that were. - The screen printing process that I so enjoyed had started to become a chore and if it wasn't working for the business then why was I doing it?
This felt like a hard decision to make at the time, although the answer was obvious I had mini panics like 'what will my lovely stockists think, they always order this tote bag?' Or 'what about that customer that promised she would buy 1 million tea towels?' (ok, slight exaggeration there but you get what I mean)
In the end of course the answer was to cut them out, and in turn doing this gave me more time to focus on other products that work better for the business and sell better.
I've had to do reviews like this a couple of times now and even products I really liked have had to go because they just weren't working for the business and ultimately I'm happier for it & the business is happier and healthier too.
As the business has grown and gone through these changes I've been able to really identify what works for me and what doesn't, so not only do I know what to get rid of, I also know where to grow.
In January I've taking the time to carefully add new designs to make sure it all stays fresh and lovely, and to make sure my stockists have lots of lovely new stock in their shops too.
As much as it is a faff to get all the figures together and review your business, I would really recommend doing it, so you know where you should be focusing your time in the future.