New Year, New….Year!

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Well, it’s really not New Year season anymore….but this past weekend WAS Lunar New Year! Which I’ve, frankly, celebrated since I was a kid. So I’m going to post my resolutions now, for posterity’s sake, because I don’t remember my resolutions for 2017 and I would really like to be able to look back this year and see where I’m at.

My original intent was to outline my resolutions in a video- but it’s been difficult with my schedule, and the weather, and the fact that I live on the first floor of my building so whenever I start, school and work let out and it’s quite noisy. So in the interest of setting my resolutions ~for myself, I’ve decided to write them down! I’ll add in a video soon if I manage to make one!

I’ve been working on this list since November, and have slowly fleshed it out and narrowed it down over the last couple of months. I have decided to divide up my list into two parts- the personal resolutions and the business resolutions.

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First up- the personal!

1. Eat Good!

This means a lot of specific things for me! The biggest thing is that Fidel and I spend a lot of money on eating out because we are busy and we love eating out! While it’s foolish to imagine we will stop eating out (and we don’t want to), we *do* want to limit it to special occasions (date nights, outings with friends, etc!). This also means having and keeping a strict food budget- something I’m really good at and he is still learning about!

It’s beyond that though- it’s also about changing my mindset towards the foods I eat. I have a tendency to be obsessive about food restrictions- I want to end that in 2018! I want to eat when I’m hungry, eat mostly healthy (which for me is LCHF), and I want to cook good foods for myself and make it an adventure and a treat!

2. Wear Fun Clothes!

This one is self-explanatory! It was a resolution of mine last year and I think I’ve gotten better about it, but I anticipate a wardrobe overhaul sometime soon, in that I have a lot of clothing that’s nearly disintegrated and I need to throw some out and get some new! Also tiny sub-resolution: buy leggings that aren’t $3 Forever 21 leggings that fall apart in a day.

(I say, having bought 2 more pairs of F21 leggings literally hours ago)

3. Blog/Vlog/Live once a week

I have already failed at this one! But I’m going to try and blog OR vlog OR do Instagram Live videos more often. I want to have content beyond just Artist Alley reviews.

4. Shop Small

This one is easy because I mostly do this anyway! When Fidel and I moved into our current apartment, we were talking about how great it is that almost any given thing you may want, you can get from a friend or small artist. Fidel says, “Yeah, let’s just make a list of the things we need for the house and get them all from our friends!” to which I responded, “Ok but which friend of ours makes a couch?”

Couches aside, I really enjoy getting shirts and pins and small decorations from my friends and from new artists so I have made it an official goal to do more of that! I got almost all my 2017 Christmas gifts from Etsy and it really made Christmas special.

5. Use the DSLR!!!!

This one is dumb but I’ve been accomplishing it easier- I have a lovely T2i with a competent 24mm pancake lens and I don’t know why I never use it!

(actually I do know why but that is a story for another day) because, now it is time for some business resolutions!

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Business

1. Launch Other Shops

I accomplished this one already! I wanted to open 3 shops: Ugly DIY (now Ugly Homegrown), my Etsy Wholesale, and my independent webshop! I have a lot of work still for Ugly Homegrown- I really want to have 5-10 patterns listed before the fall season.

2. More manufactured items

This was a resolution last year and I did pretty good, but I really need to do more. Every convention I run out of items because there’s a physical limit to how much I can sew! I want to do more t-shirts because they were fun and successful, more hats and pins and buttons and acrylics, and I’m even hoping to get some help sewing my purses. The goal is to focus more on designing and less on manufacturing!

3. Streamline Packaging

I am pretty inconsistent and unorganized about my packaging- I think it works because I’ve literally never sent anyone the wrong package (knock on wood). It’s a normal thing- sometimes things just go to the wrong place! But I can’t actually recall a time this happened to me. That being said, my methods waste a lot of time! I want to start prepping my package goodies in bulk, in advance, and I want to start printing packing slips! Maybe a label printer is in the cards for me, as well!

4. Organize Receipts Weekly

I’ve already failed at this, and I could make a long list of excuses which are all fairly valid, but I won’t! I’ll just say I’ve got envelopes ready and I plan to sit down this weekend and sort/catchup. This also includes going through Mint and categorizing my expenses to cross-check!

5. Do Less Cons, Try Craftshows!

I am being more selective this year about which shows I go to- I (obviously) cut out Mecha, and I’ve decided not to apply for smaller shows as well. So far I have Anime Expo and Momocon lined up, two very large conventions, and I’m going to try and do 2-3x as much for these as I did for cons last year.

My convention prep schedule from last year was not sustainable. That is, I made more than enough to pay rent and they were almost all “worth it”- but I want to try and restructure so I can focus more on wholesale and online sales, and make the profit margin per-convention much larger. I also want to try to expand my market beyond anime conventions and try a couple carefully-selected craft shows!

6. Take classes

Lately, I’ve found myself missing a class structure. I feel like it’s difficult to teach myself things without that structure- so in order to expand my skillset, I’m looking into enrolling in classes, be it language or illustration, degree or non-degree. I think it’s important as an artist to be always pushing yourself and learning new things!

7. Take Myself more Seriously

This is a hard one for me, and it incorporates many sub-resolutions (such as classes, wholesale, bigger shows) etc. I never considered myself a business woman or an entrepreneur, even though that’s definitely what I am. I think it’s caused me to set limitations for myself arbitrarily.

I’ve grown a lot as a business over the years, and one of the biggest challenges I face is to set measureable benchmarks and to follow through with them. So far this year, I’ve already pushed myself to try for things I may not have, and to finish projects I start as well as start projects I may have been too scared to in 2016 and 2017. I look forward to a year full of reviews and more blogging and a bigger, happier Ugly Plants!

 

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