I like setting goals for my business. I set really lofty goals and try to hit my targets, but when I’m setting those goals I forget that life is often busy and my business goals will undoubtedly take a back seat to the really important things like family. That’s okay, though because goals are a road map and sometimes we need to take detours. It’s impossible to anticipate all the things that will come up during the year, but goals keep me focused especially when I’m pulled in a dozen different directions.
So here’s what my new goals for 2020 look like:
Every year I set a sales goal. It’s usually to double sales of my artwork because to reach my long term goal of doing this as my next career, I need to keep the revenue growing. The way a designer grows sales is partly to create new designs (logical, right?) but also to expand my client base. While I do relatively well on Society6 and Redbubble, I really need to start getting my work out to small companies. I also need to figure out what my niche is and develop a more consistent look to my work.
I’d love to work with other small companies because I think that’s how the economy grows – small businesses joining forces and growing together. Since I have a full-time job and a family, I can’t run my own design firm the way I want right now – but I can start building a base through exhibiting at Premiere Vision again this year, and starting to sell on PatternBank. Those seem to be the logical next steps for growing my business.
Last year I set four goals:
Double my sales, find a consistent brand identity, nail a seamless repeat, and create dozens of new pattern collections. So how’d I do?
Sales – I completely missed this goal. At the beginning of the year, it looked like I would easily double my sales from 2018, but when I looked closer I realized it was largely due to two sites – Society6 and Redbubble. I decided to phase out one site (we’ll call it Old Shop) because the payment margins on another site (we’ll call it $Shop) were so much better. That, coupled with a decrease in production (see below for that explanation) hurt my numbers overall this year. With that being said, I did see over a 400% increase in sales on $Shop. Better margins coupled with cohesive collections made that site the clear winner for me this year. By beginning to phase out Old Shop, I learned that consistency really is important because my sales really declined when I stopped posting there. Naturally with the small margins I was getting paid there it really didn’t impact my overall number that much. Now, I don’t have any remorse over completely deleting Old Shop and concentrating on other ventures.
Brand Identity – This was the hardest one for me because everything I touched shifted something else. I did a summer workshop on finding my artistic style. I thought that gave me a clear idea of what my brand identity should be: clean, Asian-inspired, feminine designs in a muted color palette. But then I looked at my portfolio and realized I had so many patterns that were geometric, bold, really colorful, and definitely inspired by global textiles. So that slowed down my creation of new pattern collections because I began to over-think my patterns and got bogged down in keeping the aesthetic rather than just being creative. In terms of branding I have found a font combination I love and I use it consistently across my social media platforms and I’ve found those muted colors really are my jam – so I’ve been using those color palettes in my work more and more. This isn’t a one year project for me so again, it’s listed as “develop a signature style” in my goals for 2020.
Seamless Repeats – not a problem at all (Thanks, Textile Design Lab!) In fact, I now create ALL of my patterns as seamless repeats because I love doing it.
New Pattern Collections – This was really impacted by my desire for a consistent brand identity. I have been going back to collections I created previously and reworking the designs and colors in my newly refined aesthetic. I think I’ve finally hit a roll with that, but it really did set me back in terms of posting new work. I don’t think it was a bad set-back, though. I think it was something I needed to look at and work on and now that I have a clarified vision of what I want my brand to be, I’m sure I can hit those sales targets this year.
I learned a lot of new things last year and I do feel more focused going into the new decade. I will admit that looking at the overall sales for the year was a bit demoralizing at first, but when I really broke apart those numbers and analyzed them, I felt like I had made a good decision for my business despite the money. In all honesty, I’ve decided to take my design business in a clear direction. A direction where I can see the potential for growth and collaboration and that’s exciting to me.