Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Year In Review

Wow! I know it's cliche to say, but I cannot believe that New Year's Eve is tomorrow! I spent a bit of time on twitter today, and I saw a few year in review posts and I thought I would jump on that band wagon too.

While many exciting and wonderful things happened for Love Elaine, it was also one of my most difficult years yet personally and professionally. I have to admit, I'm going to be VERY happy to see 2012 in my rear view mirror.

The biggest coup for me this year was getting Love Elaine items into Hallmark stores. It was by far my largest wholesale order to date, and it really helped elevate the business to another level.

I also launched my new full line of aprons on Etsy in the spring. This was a first, as in the past I would only sell Christmas items on Etsy September-December. I far surpassed any expectations I had for the aprons, as they were a hit for Mother's Day! Around the same time, I also made a business decision to hire a photographer for all of my product shots - and boy has it made a HUGE difference! Not only did I find a great photographer in Callie, but I've also made a great friend! Be sure to check out her website if you haven't yet - she's talented and an amazing person too!

I also had my first tutorial published as a contributor for Sew, Mama, Sew! And, I formed relationships with Dear Stella fabrics and Cloud 9 fabrics - sewing samples for quilt market and writing my first downloadable pattern for my Elf Christmas Stockings!

As the momentum built for Love Elaine, my professional career came to a grinding halt in July when I was laid off. But, always one to make lemonade out of lemons, I dove head first into trying to make Love Elaine viable as a full time business. I spent all of August and September sewing samples, having a photo shoot, order fabrics in hopes of ramping up to my best holiday season yet. I launched new products, revamped stockings with new fabrics. Despite my best efforts, I learned one of the hardest lessons yet - in its current form, doing things the way I am now and have for the past 3 years, Love Elaine will never be a profitable business.

It was a really tough pill to swallow, especially since so many people have loved the products as much as I have loved making them. Actually, scratch that. I don't love making them, I love designing them and choosing fabrics and coming up with new ideas. What I do love is making gifts for those I love. What I don't like is production sewing - its too much time for so little reward.

So, as I look forward to 2013 I couldn't be more excited, as I got (another) new job! I start mid-January, the same week as my 30th birthday - I think its a good sign.

As I mentioned before, I'm going to take my time to figure out a new path for Love Elaine. I have a few ideas, one of which includes starting a new blog. I'll share more when I'm ready to launch, and I think this new direction is going to be a lot of fun. Thanks so much to all of my customers and friends for being by my side on this journey so far - I hope you'll all stick around for what's next!

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