Wednesday 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

It's that time of year again when all the craft blogs are full of fabulous retrospectives of everything we ever made in 2012.  I did it last year, but once was enough(!)  Much as I love looking at other peoples' collages of work, I will make do with a brief run-down of BigFeetBears' best bits of 2012.  I think I've missed just about every target I set for myself, but there has been some good stuff (green shoots!) too.  For example:
  • Another cracking craft fair at Clare Priory in July;
  • A greater degree of success in creating seasonal bears (okay, they were still a little late);
  • An experiment with hand-dying which went very well - and which I'll certainly do again;
  • Four brand new, one-off designs for realistic bears, using wire armature - a new technique for me;
  • Three teddy bear wreaths - again, new;
  • Three little birds - all completely new;
  • Teddy bear bouquets - I forget how many - all new, new, new!
  • The development of BigFeetBears' Facebook page, and lots of fun on Pinterest;
  • My first sale on Etsy!
The number of bears I made in 2012 was shamefully low - I certainly didn't reach the target of 100.  However, on the positive side, I do have a plan (of sorts) for making the target in 2013.  I think what takes the most time is planning and coming up with new patterns.  Obviously that is kind of what makes it viable - BigFeetBears are different from anything else out there because I come up with my own patterns - but in order to be able to make a living from it, I need to put more time into the actual making side of things.  Maybe.  I was reading Abby Glassenberg's blog the other day, and she said something to the effect that it was selling patterns which made her business viable in 2012.  She does sell patterns for children's toys though, which is rather different.

Anyway, my strategy for 2013 is to relegate the pattern work to the evenings and weekends and to make the creation of what other people have called the 'bread and butter items' the main part of my work.  My bread and butter bears will be those designs which I have already established.  I will put together a plan of bread and butter bears to make, at the beginning of the year, and spend my time working on them primarily.

The thought of so much pre-planning is a little alien, but doing lots of the same design at once will have it's advantages.  It should mean I get better at it for one thing; and I don't need to put all ten of one design in the shop at once - the advantage will be in having stock put aside for rainy days.  And from a marketing perspective, it will mean I can spend a couple of weeks advertising one design - rather than a couple of days here, a couple of days there.

Hopefully, the 'making' process will become easier as a result, and it will leave more time to spend on patterns.  I have a meerkat to finish, and I would like to try making a moose this year.  I have been meaning to have a go at one of the bear-making competitions.  I thought about trying my panda in the 2012 TOBY Awards, but the rules required that the bear entered was actually designed and made in 2012.  Looking back at my blog entries, I have carefully documented the process of producing his design in the summer of 2011.  But, with any luck - and a following wind - I will have a meerkat to submit this year.

I hope you've all had a wonderful, productive year - and best wishes for 2013!

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