July 13, 2009
So, I am not going to apologize for not blogging, or feel guilty for not being consistent with my blogs like I used to. I used to wake up in the middle of the night and think " I MUST BLOG", now....not so much. It is what it is, I am sure when things pick up I will blog more. I was reading my new BFF's blog tonight (okay she does not know it yet, but I love her books to death and I laugh out loud and snort when I read them) and she said the same thing.
I am not sorry (nor is she) - just been busy, and in her defense she was on a book tour, me not so much, but if you had to deal with two school age children that are not in camp - you may be driven to do crazy things too.
Also, this thang known as "The Recession of 2009" seems to be going strong - and I do not see an end anytime soon. So, for now I am wearing all those hats I used to not wear - in other words, I am doing the dirty jobs for my company. At least the office is sort of clean AND every damn drawer and closet in my home too.... I am just saying - when the going gets tough Jamie gets cleanin'.
New Products for 2009
We (me) released 40 new products
yesterday a week ago. We released them to our channels and on our site. There are some new Name Plaques, some new Birth Certificates and two new products. I am going to address one new product now (the other one, the story is not so uh detailed). One product that came out has been under consideration for over three years, wait maybe more like four years now that I think about it. I swear, time flies when you are having.......um, well running a business. I don't know actually and my brain hurts but the story goes a little something like this:
The History of Our Dinner Dishes
When I started working with Vicki Bodwell of the Warm Biscuit Bedding Company and she and I would have these brain storming sessions every few months. It was usually around the time she was going to put out a catalog. One spring she asked if I could do plates. I searched and searched, and tried to get big white plates - but I could not. I could only get porcelain plates at the time. I could have gone back to hand-painting and getting a kiln and the whole thing, but y' all know how I feel about that. I just figured that it was a lost cause and something I would never be able to do.
Then along came London Edwards, I am sure you all recall that fateful email I got from her. My true soul mate (as a friend, as an entrepreneurial friend - sheesh!). Her and I clicked immediately and set the internet on fire with our emails back and forth, texting on Instant Messenger, the long distance calls and even a few meetings in person. The more we talked the more we decided we wanted to work together - we just could not figure out how. We hashed out a number of different scenarios, yet always coming up without a way to do it. We even started discussing the big white 10 inch plates again, so I did more research.
This time I got a little farther and was able to figure out how to do it and where to get supplies. However, the cost was huge, the investment was huge and the unknown of it not working - too much to lose. We shelved the idea and once again, I let it go.
There Goes The Economy
Now, this past Fall when my sales stopped, or more like slowed down to a snail's pace I got an idea. I decided that I would try ONE MORE TIME to see if I could do these plates I so wanted to do. I brainstormed, I talked to London (of course) , I googled, I called, I emailed - I at least had something to do. Well, it's amazing how willing people are to give you a 'deal' when their business is slow, bad or worst case gone.*
* (on a side note)I have also found that people that used to be jerks in my industry - are really nice these days. I mean like really nice. My Fed Ex driver comes by all the time, just to talk. My mail
man er, woman stops, talks asks if there is anything I need. Even some of my most difficult accounts are super sweet and thankful when we do a favor. All in all at least everyone has the same mentality of 'we are in this together'.
Any hoo - sorry got off topic. So not only was it affordable but making these plates was going to happen. And happen it did. We got the plates, we started designing and we go them to market. Okay, maybe it was not that easy, but we did make it happen and we are making them and I sort of think I kick ass right about now.....well, okay not so much kick ass, but excited. I really, really have tried to figure out to make these for ages (with the help of course with my trusty sidekick).
A New Kind of Plate - Dinner Dishes
So, I have designed 24 new Dinner Dishes. The difference is our plates are only $40.00 and we will ship them in 3-5 business days, I gurantee it. As for designs though, I was very careful and very specific with my designs, wanting to make them look like my designs and my creations. I have to say it is very hard to design in a circle, after always working in squares and rectangles. Also, when you have seen designs out there for years and you are trying to come up with new ones, you have to go to all kinds of resources for inspiration - to make sure you do not copy some other companies design. It was a good exercise for me though, good to cross my t's and make sure I was not getting too close to any other designs. It also took way longer than I ever imagined. The easy route would have been to copy and move on....but I don't play that way. I never have and I never will.
I compare the copying to the easy way out, the road that is so easily traveled, especially like when disciplining children. It was like when my children were babies and I made them cry it out, or I yanked them out of Home Depot when they had a tantrum. I remember friend's stating it was just too hard, too painful and they could not bare to see their little one cry. Ya, well guess what? My mother always said, "If you let your children break your rules as a toddler they will break your hearts as a teenager." Not sure if she stole that quote, or if she made it up herself - but it has helped me take the high road, the hard way with my kids. I take that quote with my business also. I am not ever taking that easy road.....copying is for um, well I can't say that word, it is a bad word - but you get my drift right?
So, even though this is not a real apology, though I do feel bad for not blogging like used to. Truth though is I miss the connection with all the other readers and bloggers - that I could use right about now. I am afraid to even check my stats for fear of crying and curling up in a ball when I know the numbers. But, I am okay with that - I may lose a few
hundred (er thousand) readers but my business has to survive - and if doing everything keeps it going, so be it.
And, truth be told, it has sort of been nice to live in the moment this past 6 months with my kids. True - they are young for once, and even if I don't grow the business as fast as I once wanted - I am still here. And people I ain't going NO WHERE (except for maybe an English class or two, my writing has gotten all slang and all)!