What a week. What a day, really. Well, what a year! Ok, make that nearly 4 years.
Let me back up.
It all started in my little apartment. Kenneth and I were trying to figure out how to make ends meet. Things were looking pretty tight, and I had 2 babies in diapers. I had to do something, and to put a really long story in a nutshell, I got on my knees and prayed, then got to work. In 3 months time I had taught myself how to use photoshop, scan art into a printer and create digital prints. I even overnighted myself a fine art printer, and 2 days later I opened an ETSY shop. That was 1417 days ago. Last night, I sold my 10,000th sale on ETSY (to this lovely lady no less) and I find myself so incredibly sentimental. I'm just speechless. Really? I remember being so overwhelmed with the thought of leaving my babies to go work, when instead I was able to create this at home business where I have been able to stay at home. It's such an incredible blessing. Thank you!
But with that blessing, has come many curses. Curse is a strong word. Let's call them set backs. There are set backs to having work in your home, especially the management of orders, shipments, supplies, boxes (Oh! The boxes!) deadlines, no vacation time and just a lot of work to manage. I'd be lying if I said it was easy. I've had the most loyal help and most wonderful team through the years, all of which have turned out to be some of my dearest friends! But even with help, Sarah Jane Studios has grown to more than I can really handle at home: both in the physical sense and the emotional. So, why not just get more help? I tried going in that direction, and right now, getting more help = more people in my home to manage, oversee and think about. When really, I struggle with having enough space in my brain to get the trash on the curb on the right night (oh ya...Kenneth does that). I've played the game of Tetris all summer, with knowing where to put the least amount of effort for the maximum amount of reward: a business (and life!) philosophy I strongly believe in. And the answer is, to hand all of my products over to companies who can handle things better than I can, and thus free up my time for more mothering, housekeeping and illustrating.
I'm starting to feel free just writing this!
Wow. But after some long, long weeks and months of trying to figure out how to move forward with what I started, and what I want for my family, I have decided to use 2 incredible small companies to fulfill, print and ship all our products. That may not seem like a big deal to you. And maybe you don't really care, cause you will most likely not even notice a difference...well, except that my cute little hand written address label will be replaced with a digital one. Sorry. But it's a big deal to me, because I'm handing over a baby really. Something that I started in the middle of a crisis that has grown too big for my arms to carry.
And to answer any questions, Ann and myself are still who you will hear from just as normal. All will be the same. The products the same, the only difference is that my basement and garage will be a lot less full, and my brain will be a lot less cluttered! Which ultimately means more fabric, books and art for you, and more REAL living for me!
Wow. Big load off my shoulders. Something inside of women, well at least me, thinks that we can just do it all. Well, we can't. We should really be striving to do a few things really well. The important things. And managing a shop from home has come to the point of me not being able to be the kind of mom (or artist for that matter!) that I want to be. And while outsourcing isn't for everyone (It's not the best financial solution, that's for sure!) it is the best for us. And I thought you should know, since you've been the fire behind the machine.
So. Back to where I was. Are you still reading this? Hi there, if you are. Last night I made my 10,000th sale, and I made the final decisions to send my inventory far away (in the USA by the way!) and I'll be shipping it all off tomorrow!
So, what does that mean for the shop? By the end of the day today (August 11, 2011), all embroidery patterns and stationery will be unavailable for a week. Prints, posters and frames will run as normal. So, if you need something before August 18th, today is your day.
I'm off to pack up my stuff! And I hope you know how awesome it's been to share this journey with you. It's a wonderful story, really. Lots of ups and downs, trial and error. Learning as I go. And this new transition is feeling great.
PS: This picture is a favorite view of mine from where we live. I get the "big picture" reminder every day. So lucky!