When I was a little girl I always loved the end of the year specials on the news. They would go over the highs and lows of what happened that year. I was always so upset if I missed "The Year in Review". As I got older I became obsessed with the top 10 songs of the year or the top 10 celebrities, top 10 books - I still get all sucked in to those stories.
I thought maybe I should do that, well not 10 best things but my Year in Review on the blog. Then I realized that was pretty much the easy way out and I would only be me just cutting and pasting parts of posts I wrote this past year. Instead I am going to share the top ten things I did NOT share with you this year. Sometimes I did not feel it warranted a whole post, other times I did not want to share. Yet, here we are at the end of the year and I figured what the hell I will share what I have learned and what I have NOT blogged about;
1. The End of Warm Biscuit Partnership
Sadly we ended our 6 year relationship with The Warm Biscuit Bedding Company. There was not knock-out drag out fight or an email battle, we just went our separate ways. I will only say that with the tough Economy we need to be paid within our 30 day agreement or have a credit card on file - times are/were/still are tough. Some larger companies are not able to do that - so that is that.
Truth is I really do miss working with them and the friendship I had with their founder, Vicki Bodwell. What I miss most is the collaborative designing her like I used to do. She was and is one of the most creative and talented people I have ever met. Talking to her could be exhausting at times, she would bounce from one idea to another - I could not take notes fast enough to keep up with her very active mind. Yet, even if I was exhausted after the call I was ALWAYS energized, motivated and inspired. I miss those calls.
2. Wall Tiles Fundraiser Project & Then Again
We did another wall tile fundraiser for a local grammar school in San Mateo. The project lasted most of the first part of 2010 and was finished right before school ended. When we ordered the tiles from our supplier and discussed the tiles being hung outside and in the sun, there response was something like (and yes I may be exaggerating, but they did say OK) "Okey Dokey sounds fine by us.....how do you want to pay for that?" What they should have said was, "Um you should not have our tiles hung in direct sunlight because they will fade.....how do you want to pay for that?"
What happened is we had to do the tiles twice, because they were hung in direct sun light. It was an unfortunate incident and I felt awful for the school. However, I did the right thing and I got a discount when we re-ordered the tiles....again for the school. Our supplier apologized for not being forthright and then asked for our credit card number. A hard lesson to learn during a very hard year.
3. No Sales + Late Payments = Late or No Rent
For the first time in the last four years of renting our space we have NEVER not been able to pay rent. This year I got to give the 'ol "Never Say Never" speech. It was a very depressing fact and it was sobering to watch our sales slow down even more than the previous year. If 2008 saw the Economy collapse, then 2009 was flat I would say 2010 just sucked. Almost every one of my channels that I spoke with agreed with me - sales were worse in 2010 then 2009. Other small business owners that I spoke with had similar experiences with their business. So, we paid rent late and sometimes we paid it even later. It was not my finest moment - but we survived.
4. Businesses Are Still Closing Down
Sadly this year we said good bye to some fabulously talented women and businesses in our industry and some other industries. Some of sales channels closed their doors, other companies focussed on direct and some artists closed up shop. I will miss talking shop with these talented women;
- Kristen Sloop of Kootie Bug Designs
- Carrie Sommer of Sommer Designs
- Diane Cullen Page of CCC Gifts
There are countless other small boutique stores and websites that quietly closed their doors this year. Many of them were run by some amazing women that I used to enjoy talking with over the past eight years.
Even though I am amazed and maybe some would say a tad obsessed with artists copying other artists, I am still shocked when it happens. And, it always seems to happen to the very talented Ms. Shelly Kennedy. I almost wish she would just release new products she would put a disclaimer on the back of each piece that says something like;
"This original piece of artwork is great isn't it? Please do not copy it - because I will find out. I will not be happy and it is NOT legal. Did you catch that last part? It is illegal."
I do not know what or if anything happened when Shelly saw this product, her product copied and sold through another channel. I can only imagine and hope she make them stop it.
6. New Blog Home at The Mommie's Diaries....for a short time
After the demise of Silicon Valley Mom Blog this summer I wanted to find a new home where I could write about life with children. I tried it out at Parenting on the Peninsula for a few months but it the end I bit off more than I could chew. I had to blog once a week and it had to be up by 11:00 a.m Sunday morning. I can't even blog on my OWN blog once a week let alone someone elses! And, if you must know I do love me some sleeping in on the weekends when I am not being forced to hall my ass to some softball or soccer game. So there. I sadly had to give my resignation and I no longer blog for anyone but me!
7. 80 Ornaments You Say? Why, Yes We Can!
For the past three years we have gotten a rather huge order from a housing development back East. And this year we got the same order. We give the wonderful customer a small discount andd we make 80 ornaments for them to pass out to their entire neighborhood at their annual holiday party thing. I had every intention of photographing the large order going out and then they were ribboned and shipped, but then I felt sort of weird about it and did not want to be a braggard. So, for the record I am not braggin - just saying it was not all bad in 2010.
8. Celebrity Client Drew Brees & Then Some
Okay, so I have had celebrities before. For the record Charlize Theron has my dog plates, Roy Disney ordered a birth certificate for a relative, Oprah & Ellen have ornaments by me, and Nicole Kidman got a birth certificate for a gift. The woman who wrote Legally Blond once ordered 50 princess plates for her daughter's birthday party. Larry Sanders sent a birth certificate to Adam Sandler and now I have made ornaments and a birth annoucement for the one and only Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.
These are all just cool little tidbits I get to throw out there at cocktail parties and um when I try to impress an ex-boyfriend or a reporter. Until one of these celebs decides to either have their child's room filmed for People Magazine or wanders around outside with my birth certificate around their neck - my business won't be changing much. But still - happy to have 'em and shout out to Mr. & Mrs. Drew Brees and his family .
9. Moving On Down....Not Up
We are leaving our rental space and soon. We need to find smaller and cheaper space. It may even be (though doubtful) in another city. When we got this space we had 4 other employees and it was the smallest space available in Foster City, oh and times were booming. Now - not so much. The thing is we could run the company in about half of the space we use now, and I could work from home more.
We had a perfect place that I was super excited about moving into....and yes, re-decorating smaller, smarter - I had so many ideas. And then while signing the 35 page contract I saw on the last page in itty bitty (well maybe not but still) font there was an extra $255.42 (yes I memorized it) added on to each month's rent. Not that much you say? Well, no it is not - but yes, it sort of is these days. Worst yet was that it was SNUCK in there, had I not paid attention and signed the contract I never would have known. So, I am back to trying to find us a new rental space.
10. Life Is Shorter in 2010
This year has seen many friends get sick, marriages dissolve and worse - people have passed away. I have seen first hand the devastating effects of disease and the loss of loved ones. I have vowed to live more, love better and enjoy life. I realize that it is not the end of the world if business is slow or even if we do close our doors. Life is so short and so precious that I pledge to live each day to all it is worth. When asked this holiday season how business was, I was able to honestly say, "It was not great, but that was fine. I am healthy happy, my kids are healthy - we were good."
Here is to wishing everyone who has taken the time to read/comment/spam my blog a very happy healthy (and maybe wealthy) new year. May you have a better 2011 than 2o10 and may you live life to it's fullest.