Who else felt like that last 6 months just flew by? Clearly, I have not been able to keep up on these blogs as I had originally planned. I always have tons of working projects behind the scenes, and sometimes one project gets put on the back burner if I see that another one needs more attention. The thing to remember is that I’m doing most of this myself, so I’m doing my best to learn how to give myself a little more grace and forgiveness during these times when my workload is very intense.
I guess the best way to describe this feeling I’m having is that I’m still actively in the rebrand phase. Even though it's been 6 months, I’m finding that people have not recognized me both online and at my booth because I’ve made so many changes. I’m still reaching new clients and every season brings on new challenges that have not yet been faced this year with the new identity of the business.
With that being said, let me give you a recap on what’s been happening since the new year. After this, I will shift into updating you monthly so you don’t miss a thing!
The first couple months of the year, as I moved through show and convention applications, I realized I hadn’t correctly planned my calendar. The shows I was looking to get into for this year had already closed their applications in December/January and earlier; this means that I need to start applying during the current year for shows happening the following year. So this summer (as in right now!) I’m applying for the shows I want next year. I reworked my spreadsheet and put dates on my calendar, so that now this process happens for me in the summertime.
Another major issue I’ve run into while applying for these larger shows is licensing. So. Much. Research. Yeah, that’s a whole project in itself that I’m working on; I’ll have to keep you posted.
I also introduced a BUNCH of new collections!
At the end of January, on the 29th, I renamed my Fine Collection (the pieces that end up in the glass case) to Jackee’s Collection in honor of my sister. Her birthday is, of course, on the 29th, so keep an eye out annually for something for her :]
I released Sweet & Sour in February for Valentine’s Day. Some of those pieces are still available from that collection if you'd like to check them out!
In March, I had planned a collection called Lucky Charms. However, I ended up changing course and made only a single 4-leaf clover for the month, as something spontaneous came up! A good friend of mine, Christine, messaged me about the Anime Impulse show happening that month at the fairgrounds in Del Mar; they had some vendors drop out last minute and so some booth spaces had opened up. In less than 5 minutes I was able to snag one, and then I was off to create a plan for anime themed jewelry!
I decided to stick with a few of the more popular animes for my new pieces, which of course were for the event, but also as the pieces in my new anime line: Sailor Moon (the Moon Stick), Studio Ghibli (Totoro), and Pokémon (a Pokémon ball). I was able to hammer out this small collection in the 2 weeks before the show.
The event was fantastic and the new anime pieces were an absolute HIT! I ended up selling out of a couple of the designs, and people in general absolutely loved them. The very first Moon Stick went home with Christine that day, who originally helped notify me about the booth opening. Couldn’t think of a more well deserved home! I have to also mention that the crowd at Anime Impulse was some of the nicest people I’ve met at a show. THANK YOU for such a nice weekend; I’m definitely looking forward to doing more!
On the back end, supply chains are still really bad as well. As you know, I moved away from the traditional style of taking customization requests to my Reserve List. I’m thankful I did this, because many of the supplies I order are taking 6 months (or sometimes longer) to finally get to me. Project requests with an open-ended date are the main way I do customs now—and of course with a nerdy twist. (Currently the Reserve List is closed so I can take some time to work through the projects on the list, but if you’d like to submit a request for something customized, keep your eyes out for when it reopens!) In the meantime, I’ve been doing my best to find workarounds or other/new suppliers during all of this.
April came, along with Easter. It was a tricky time for me, because I had lost a pet bunny (Max) the day after Easter of a previous year. This year, sadly, I ended up at the vet the day after Easter with one of my two bunnies, Pickle. It was pretty traumatic. The first emergency vet I went to sent me back home with a date for euthanasia and left a bad taste in my mouth about their bedside manner. I ended up at Pickle’s home vet in North County for a second opinion. He had a lot of obstacles to overcome, but if I wanted to try, they wanted to help. I went back home with a plan and an IV to hopefully help him get through the week so we could explore further options.
Pickle made it through the week, but it was really rough. I’d never cared for an animal in that state before, and it absolutely tore my heart out. At the end of the week, during one of the times in the morning I went to check on him, he took his last little breaths while I held him.
I had a really hard time for some weeks after that and was just going through the motions. I canceled everything except my Saturdays in Vista. I have been, and still am, processing a lot of grief from his death. Getting back into some sort of normalcy in my office was equally hard since it all happened right there on the floor. Then, there’s his little brother, BB, and the two of us had to learn what our new relationship looked like, now that Pickle was gone. (Bunnies will bond with other bunnies, and a bonded bunny’s death can cause heartbreak serious enough to make the remaining bun pass away.)
BB has been a trooper, and we’ve been bonding really well, just the two of us. I’ve rebuilt his house and he now has his own mini balcony that overlooks my balcony that overlooks the city 😏. He of course has his good days and his bad days, and I can tell when he’s especially missing Pickle. He has a stuffed bunny that he loves and grooms, and he has been adjusting well to being by himself. Thanks to everyone who has reached out or stopped by to ask about him. :]
And that just about catches you up and sums up the first half of 2023! In the next blog I’ll tell you the [now] funny story about how I almost missed the San Diego County Fair entry deadline for my jewelry...
See you back here next week!