My Month in Review: May 2017

Holy moly, it's already June! How can it be already June? It's gorgeous outside, sunny, and not too warm and I can't get over the fact that the year is almost halfway done. I must sound like a broken record, but does anyone else feel like this year is flying by incredibly fast?

A new month means a new review post! May was exciting - in more ways than one! - so let's dive right in:

MY GOALS FOR May WERE…

  • Finish the setup work for the #getshitdonechallenge and have happy challenge participants!

  • Have another successful shop update (May 16)

  • Organize everything for my next project bag collaboration (coming in June)

  • Book in 5 Exploration Calls

  • Get 3 new coaching clients

  • Get a good amount of yarn partner submissions and at least 70 design submissions for BREEZE (the 2nd book by making stories!)

  • Get 10 more stockists for WOODS

What went well?

Finish the setup work for the #getshitdonechallenge and have happy challenge participants!

The #getshitdonechallenge was hands down one of the most fun and exciting and rewarding and inspiring projects I've taken on this year so far. And I think that I'm not the only one feeling that way, but that everyone who participated (or still participates, it's running until June 5) really enjoyed it. 

A few highlights from the challenge were

  • Getting over 150 signups - more than I had ever dreamt of!

  • Having a super active group of participants helping each other out and encouraging each other in the Facebook Group - I had no idea whether the Facebook Group would be a good idea or not, and it turned out so awesome! It confirmed once more that we're part of an absolutely wonderful community of creative business owners and I couldn't be more thankful for every single one who spent time with us over there.

  • Getting deep in our Live Q&As - especially the last one tackled a few really fundamental issues that we're all facing: fear of rejection, money, sustainability. I loved the comments and thoughts and inspiration! Once more it goes to show that when you open up and are vulnerable that people show up. 
  • Seeing the participants grow - Yes, there are quite a few people who got A LOT of shit done and I'm immensely happy about that! But then I am as happy and proud of the ones who didn't get that much done, but realized a lot about how they work and what they want to change in their daily life and work setup to get more stuff done. This was the ultimate goal of the challenge - to trigger self-reflection and discussion with yourself and others how to set you up for sustainable success!

I am pretty sad that the challenge is already over, but I am also incredibly happy that it was such a success and so much fun! I decided to keep the Facebook Group open and hope to keep it as engaging as it was over the last four weeks. In addition, the #getshitdonechallenge will be back later this year, so if you missed it this time around, come join us next time!

Have another successful shop update

I am putting this under "What went well" because this month was in itself a very successful one for the shop, and it also showed an interesting pattern. 

I did a few things differently and they produced some really interesting results:

Reached out to 3 podcasters (Katie from Inside Number 23, Jaclyn from Brooklyn Knitfolk and Tayler from Wool, Needles, Hands) to sponsor a giveaway: 

This was a super interesting experiment. I chose three podcasters that I thought might have slightly different target groups and fit my brand aesthetic well and sent them two small project bags in a color of their choice each. 

Interestingly enough, all three reviews had different results. One resulted in an immediate uptake of traffic and purchases, another in an uptake in traffic, and more orders trickling in over the new few days, and the third one in no measurable uptake in traffic and orders. I'm not going to disclose which podcast resulted in which because a) that would be mean and b) these results might also be triggered by other factors like how much stock was in the shop when their episodes were released. 

Conclusion: I will definitely do podcast sponsorships again and I'm curious to see if it also has a longer term effect when, for example, they show the bag again in the podcast because they're using it. 

Released a limited edition with print fabrics:

If you've been following me for a while you might know that I released a special accessory line last year with fabrics that were designed by my dear friend Vivian Kvitka. It was called #ihavemyshittogether and I'm still so in love with the fabrics we used! Vivian designed them especially for me and we had them printed to order.

For my May shop update I sewed up the fabric that I still had into large and small project bags for a limited edition. I priced them slightly higher than my normal bags to cover for the additional costs incurred due to the custom design and printing. I had A LOT of fun seeing these come to life, and as they sold out over a week and a half, I'm guessing everyone else did too!

I'd love to do these special editions every once in a while - maybe as a special holiday collection for Christmas and other holidays. Stay tuned for that!

Adding bags to the shop without announcing it prominently:

This is something I've been meaning to try for a while. I'm very curious whether the shop update approach or the approach of having stock ready to ship in the shop is more successful commercially. There's no verdict yet, but I started a little experiment this month by just adding a few bags outside of the regular shop update schedule.

If you look at the order pattern for May, you can see that this most likely did have an effect: 

Visits & orders in my Etsy Shop in May 2017

Visits & orders in my Etsy Shop in May 2017

Visits & orders in my Etsy Shop in April 2017

Visits & orders in my Etsy Shop in April 2017

You can see that the orders were coming in a lot more regularly and less depending on the shop update day. I really like this, and I'll try and keep it up so that I always have a bit of stock in my shop.

Here's the overview of my Etsy stats for May:

Screenshot Etsy May 2017.png

I am super happy and proud because this month is the first month that I hit 1k EUR revenue on Etsy without a collaboration! If you take into account that I sold two bags outside of Etsy May is actually the best month for me ever. YAY!!! 

What didn't go so well

Book in 5 Exploration Calls

This certainly did not go as planned. I booked 2 instead of 5 Exploration Calls, and one of them was a no show :( I try to not feel so bummed about this, and I'm hoping that a few of the #getshitdonechallenge participants will come on board for Exploration Calls in June!

Get 3 new coaching clients

I might also put this under "Undecided" because I actually got 2 new coaching clients, but for some reason this feels like cheating so it goes into this category. I'm super happy with the two new ones, and I hope to convert the one that booked a one time session into a longer-term relationship. Still, below goals for my coaching client acquisition in May - need to pick it up for June!

Get 10 more stockists for WOODS

Well, we got 4. And we had a few really interesting insights - mainly around that I think it might still be a bit too early for yarn shops to commit to stocking us because the launch of the book doesn't happen until November. It's been a great experience reaching out to potential stockists though! I'm hoping to reach out to a few again with a confidential preview after we've done our photoshoot (next week, yay!) to convince them to pre-order :) 

Undecided

Organize everything for my next project bag collaboration

This goes under "Undecided" because I do have all the fabrics and started making the bags, but we still have to decide when to do the update and such. I am super excited about this though and I can't wait to share it with you!!

Get a good amount of yarn partner submissions and at least 70 design submissions for BREEZE (the 2nd book by making stories!)

We had a great response from yarn partners to our call for submissions, and we hit pretty close to 70 design submissions. I think at last count we were at around 60 which is why this goes into the "Undecided" category. We had SO MANY great submissions that it was super super hard to select the 10 patterns that will be in BREEZE - but we have a few exciting new additions to the making stories product portfolio where we were able to include some of the submitted patterns and I can't wait to share more with you!

Unexpected Extras

A new month, a new category! I have this space in my Bullet Journal where I list unexpected extras that happened during the month, and in May a few exciting things happened that I wanted to add:

  • My blog series on Instagram really took off! I loved the discussion in the comments and can't wait to share more about my experiment with you.

  • I submitted 3 blog article proposals to the Craft Industry Alliance and they got accepted. I am so thrilled to be writing for them! 

  • I had a lot of really good applications for the Creative Boss Scholarship and chose three new participants which I'm so excited about!

  • I made enough money to cover my expenses!! I am SO thrilled about this as the past few months have been hard money-wise, especially because I consciously decided to not take on any corporate projects any more. Being able to cover everything I need through my project bag sales, coaching work and special projects (like a custom order for 10 bags this month) feels AWESOME.

The private stuff

May was a great month when it comes to private stuff - I had lovely friends visiting us, spend a long weekend with my mom visiting my sister, and David is coming back from a work trip to San Francisco tomorrow! I've fallen a bit off the band wagon when it comes to working out because I got sick in the middle of the month, but I'm getting back on track. 

The making stuff

FOs:

  • Delamere Dress (test knit for WOODS)
  • Løvenholm Vest (test knit for WOODS)
  • Vanilla Socks
  • Nouri Sweater (for my mom)

WIPs:

  • Tolmie Sweater (came out of hibernation!) 

And to finish it up ...

My goals for June are

  • Project Bag Shop: Have a successful 1st update (June 1)

  • Project Bag Shop: Have a successful collaboration update (mid June)

  • Coaching: Add 3 coaching clients

  • Launch Patreon & sign up at least 5 patrons

  • Launch beta test for mini class & fill beta spots (most likely 6 - 10)