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Thursday, 26 February 2015

Behind the scenes - February

If you missed the first behind the scenes post last month you can see what I got up to in January here. February has been similarly quiet for sales, as expected for this time of year. It's still busier than last year though and I love it when I can see progress each year. I've been using the extra time to continue building up a stock of notebooks ready for personalising, which will mean I can handle more orders when the shop gets busier as part of the making is already done.

I enjoy not having quite so many orders to do as it also gives me time to be creative and design new products which is one of my favourite parts of my job. Afterall, it's really why I started running say it, as I liked making cards and stationery. There's a new wedding card in the shop made from a gorgeous copper vinyl. It's personalised with the couple's names as this seems to be a really popular option for wedding cards.

Of course, to get a new card in the shop involves far more than just creating a design and making up a sample. I have to think about the numbers and work out if the design will be profitable, taking into account the time it takes to make and the cost of the materials. And I spend a while drafting a product description, thinking hard about the key words customers will use when searching for the item. Then I have to take a million photos and go through them all hoping to find 3-5 that are usable, usually after more than a little editing. Taking photos is probably my least favourite part of running say it. I know a lot of creative peeps really enjoy it, but it drives me up the wall! It seems to take forever and there's never enough light to get them nice and bright. This month I built myself a new backdrop and started to play around with how to get more light onto the object without casting shadows. You can see my new photography set up here (it really is very basic!).

I've started working on a few more new designs too. I try to add at least one new product or range of products to my shop each month, to keep it looking fresh. But I know that in the busy months when I have loads of orders to get to the post office I won't have time to sit down and play around with new designs. So my plan is to make several new products now and get them ready for the shop, but hold off listing so that I still have something new to show later in the year. There are a couple of sneak previews below though!

And finally, I've been doing some shopping! One of the trickiest parts of running say it is ensuring I have the right levels of stock of all my supplies. I don't want to order loads of one particular thing and waste money on it if I never use it all up. But equally, I don't want to run out of crucial supplies when I have orders waiting to be made. One thing I always keep an eye out for is vintage maps and atlases suitable for making into map notebooks. I found a couple of really nice ones on Ebay this month so was excited about that. And I bought some slightly more boring supplies too, like glue and thread.

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