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The Handmade Highway!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy 2010!

Wow, we made it! First, can I be the first one to say that I'm like super grateful that 2009 is over and that I can start my fresh start today. Lord knows I need one. Out with the old and in with the new. Things are changing for this girl this year. Perfect timing too. I had an amazing birthday yesterday and thank you SO much to everyone who blessed me via Facebook, email and phone. You made my day. I also appreciate my girl friends Toni and Crystal for setting me up with a delicious lunch and cupcakes from a cute local bakery. I got my hair done and pretty much just took it easy the rest of the day. It was the perfect ending to a horrible year.

As most people may or may not know 2009 brought a move back to Washington for me and my boys minus my husband. I left him in September and moved back to also help take care of my mother who was having a rough time financially. Things were just rough all year. The economy took a toll on all of us.

Whiff and Sniff Candles reopened under the helm of my husband but that only lasted a few days when I was forced to take it back over. Thankfully, my old customers were still on board and that put a little fire under me to improve a product that I was in love with. We finally have a glossy clear label that doesn't peel off and sticks to the clear shooter cups! Yay! We also have a site we think is beautiful!

With my move back to Washington I also rejoined forces with my mother and her candle site. I'm the brains behind the business and she's basically the brawn. I couldn't do it without her and I appreciate all her ideas and helpfulness that she supplies.This year I plan on finding more wholesale accounts and hopefully getting our items into stores. I would also start to like doing large fairs.

Our blog, The Handmade Guru, has now officially been around on this domain for a year and a half! At least running using Blogger that is. I can't believe it. Sure I miss days here and there but for the most part I blog Monday through Friday and with my girl Ricki's help we are now averaging 60 posts a month! Thank you SO much Ricki for your help. I appreciate it more then you know. I'm also going to be looking for one or two other writers who are handmade lovers to also join us this year. I think the more that we update the more that traffic increases. I also would like to start writing more personal stuff that is business related here. I think I've been around long enough now that I have some pretty important advice to offer all the unique handmade businesses that I encounter. Look for more of that this year! I would like to do more giveaways and also a reader of the week segment on Friday's. If you're interested in being a guest writer just let me know! I love meeting new people who are eager to spread the word.

The Little Black Box has had it's ups and downs. The problem with the economy is two things, 1 businesses are struggling so much that they don't have the extra funds to create samples to send in to ventures like ours and 2 handmade buyers are financially struggling so they can't splurge a little each month on the extra things in life. Instead we're all wondering how we're going to make it and pretty much living month to month. I dropped the rate on the boxes nearly $5 this year. I love what I do. I absolutely whole heartedly LOVE The Little Black Box. I love doing it. I get out of bed each day excited to see what emails I may have in my inbox. I love scouring Etsy and Artfire, interacting with people on social networking sites, and just being at my computer loving handmade. I honestly can't imagine doing anything else with my life right now. I feel full. It makes me feel alive.

Something changed a few days ago, I woke up and was even more determined to plug away. I will not let this business fail like all the rest I see folding around me. I fully believe that our sample boxes HELP the handmade community, not hurt it. This past month I sold 60 boxes locally. 60! 60 boxes as gifts to people who had never heard of handmade or had the appreciation before. I have one customer locally that has been back every month since I got home. I have another who not one comes and grabs her boxes but also snags candles for her and her girlfriends or just shows up with others in tow. I makes me warm.

The people who purchase from The Little Black Box are people who drive handmade. One woman emails me every single month and tells me personally what she thought of the items and also who she purchased from that month. Another woman blogs and takes pictures of her box each month and then emails me a link to her latest blog entry which has since allowed for her friends and family to start purchasing. It's just all so positive and heartwarming.

I just want to let everyone know that I appreciate each and every single person who visits this blog daily, participates or purchases a black box, and scents their homes with our candles. I do it for you. I do it for my boys so they are proud of their mother, and I do it for handmade. Please continue to support local and handmade instead of the large big box retailer. Handmade does not equal junky or poor quality. Handmade is love.

Here's to an amazing 2010!

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