Category: Craft and Art

Burnout, Confessions of a Crafter

pet_buttons

I have a confession to make. In the last month, I hit crafter rock bottom with my Etsy shop. After months of preparing small promotional campaigns and larger ones, such as logacat, I got a huge and naively unexpected return over the holidays. I was unprepared.

Throughout November and December, Etsy orders rolled in daily. For a custom seller like myself, this can quickly snowball. With even one back-ordered custom portrait on my plate, I feel the pressure of time. I never imagined having 4 or 6 or 25 on my plate at the same time. I can comfortably create one custom pet portrait in an evening after work, but I did not imagine that I would have a backlog of 3 weeks of evenings filled with working on custom portraits, and yet, that is what happened from early November through mid-January.

cats_bulk

As a result of this wonderful holiday season, I hit complete burnout. I removed listings from my shop, took a few weekends off from all drawing or shop activity, and took a few weeks off from this blog. This is a response that I do not want to repeat, and in the weeks since Christmas I’ve been reworking prices and reexamining the structure of my shop to see what I can do to continue GoodAfternoonan’s growth while maintaining a balance in my life. I don’t want to lose the enjoyment around drawing animals, and I don’t want to give up marketing either because I really enjoy displaying my work.

I’m still not positive about how I’ll grow GoodAfternoonan, but I do know I need to do a few things right now to get on track for a very different year in 2014. These are the changes I’m making right now to avoid burnout.

Shelve Custom Orders

For the time being, I’ve deactivated all custom pet portrait listings in my Etsy shop. Part of what overwhelmed me over the holiday rush was that every order was a custom request. I set my shop up that way because that is what sold the most, but I have spent a great deal of time recently thinking about ready to ship inventory. I want to go in that direction in my shop. In order to develop that inventory, I have to put the custom listings on hold, at least for now, while I design and start making new items. This is why the shop is slowly being rebuilt with dog breed button packs.

Structured Saturdays

I usually spend a good portion of both Saturday and Sunday “working” on my shop. Working includes a lot of time thinking as well. I’m probably guiltier than most of allowing myself to become distracted on the internet during the weekends. I’ve decided to remove Sundays from working on my shop and force myself to truly use all of the time that I have on Saturday instead of wasting a lot of it with mindless browsing. To do this, I will structure my Saturdays as a full GoodAfternoonan workday. This means starting the day with a shower and breakfast before sitting down in my studio. I will no longer stretch the morning in PJs into the afternoon. Symbolically I must turn my Saturday shop workday into something more professional and get more sh*t done.

Learn to say No

Perhaps it’s less about learning to say no and simply more about forcing myself to say no. I am going to have to decide to pass on some of the opportunities that come my way this year in order to get my shop to a balanced place. I want to grow the shop, but for the time being, I’ve decided to say no to trying to do wholesale. Once I’ve built up more product lines, I will revisit this, but for now I’m not even going to research the possibility anymore. That research has become ripe with internet-browsing procrastination. Right now I am just saying no.

Sunday Shopping: Valentines

valentines gift ideas

After a short hiatus, I’m back with a few recommendations for next week’s holiday. Although it might be a bit late to order something custom, here are some great ideas for a unique gift.

One Valentine’s Day, when I was about nine year’s old, I came home in the evening after my Irish Dancing lessons to find a surprise. The day had been a typical grade school kid’s Valentine’s Day. I’d brought a stack of cards addressed to each kid in my class to school. They were corny cards that we’d picked up at Target the weekend before. I’d eaten some candy hearts. I’d gone on with the rest of the day as normal: recess running around, after school activities with my friend Sarah, evening dance lessons. When I walked in the front door, however, I was greeted by a red-haired russ troll doll. He was standing on the coffee table, smiling with arms outstretched holding a heart. My mom had picked him up on her way home from work. It was such a surprise and still stands out as the best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had. So, although i think Valentines is an annoying commercialized holiday, there are great memories that can be created with funny surprises. Frivolous, funny gifts can make anyone smile. Here are some great ones:

  1. Victorian puzzle from steelbrush
  2. bleeding heart with banner from likethepastry
  3. love monster figurine from WhimsyCalling
  4. bear and wolf mook love from ilovegreyskies
  5. X files valentine set from waitominute

Peek into the Studio: New Valentine Items in the Shop

valentine cat magnetSurprisingly crafting here at GoodAfternoonan has not slowed down at all since Christmas. I’ve been working on new product lines, valentine items, shelter fundraising products, and custom listings. Because of this #LogaCat has suffered, but I’m hoping that this time next week will involve a studio peek that includes some fun instagram felines.

beagle_magnet_pack

I added more dog breed buttons to the shop. Now I have pugs, boston terriers, corgis, english bulldogs, and beagles. I’ll have pit bulls and schnauzers very soon.

dog rescue tshirt

I made a second t-shirt design for Jusani. Head on over and support a shelter this month.

custom cat magnet

And finally one of the many custom cat magnets that I’ve made this January. Phew! It’s been a great start to the year.

 

Helping pet shelters in 2014

jusani cat shirt

In 101 things, I had one specific goal related to pet rescue which was to run a sale through my shop to benefit KittyKind, the cat rescue where I got my two fluffballs. I want to extend this theme, though, throughout the year and make an effort to put in more work towards helping shelters. Not only do I want to make people smile with my shop, but I want to be able to help more people experience the joy of adopting a rescue.

yanni

Yanni, our most recent adoptee. Photo credit to exaltr

So when I was approached by Jusani to help out with a few designs for T-shirts which would benefit shelters around the country, I jumped at the opportunity. Jusani is an organization that helps raise funds and awareness for US shelters. My first design was made to help Animal Talk Rescue the only no-kill shelter in Seattle. Watch a video about ATR to learn more about their organization and to see some of the beautiful animals available for adoption.

animal talk rescue tee

You can support them even if you can’t adopt. Just head over to Jusani to buy a shirt and raise some funds up to Animal Talk Rescue. There is only one more day left!! Also, follow Jusani on Facebook to learn more about upcoming shelters.

Peek into the Studio

chico2

This week check out Chico, one of my many holiday pets. This week I also made a bunch of handmade thank you cards to add to my orders. I’m getting the studio more organized so I now have a place to store these little guys and my other packing material.

thankyous