My website sales are 1088% YoY (my sales from 1/1/2020-8/31/2020 were 10.88x higher than my sales from 1/1/2019-8/31/2019). I can't believe it either; these numbers seem unreal to me.
My decision to take a break between my jobs (which was kind of scary— I had never left a job without another lined up!) proved to be a very invaluable 3 months for me. I was able to spend dedicated time restructuring and re-thinking the way I was running Pickles. I don't know if these are the exact reasons my sales have gone up so much, but my business does look very different than it did a year ago.
The changes I made can be summarized into 1 big decision: I was going to be less afraid of taking risks and spending money.
1. I took risks:
I am not a risk taker. I think I am maybe too practical so it is difficult for me to “dream big” and “think I can make it,” so it’s taken me a long time to think big-picture and try things that might not work.
I expanded my product categories:
Since 2016, I've been getting requests from customers to make pins. At first, I was very hesitant because there were many of unknowns: sourcing and designing in a form I never had before, plus a lot of upfront costs. When I finally took the plunge and introduced pins last fall, my sales went up like crazy. While my cards are still a huge part of the business (very curious to see what % of sales they end up being this year!), it's undeniable that introducing pins, stickers, notebooks, etc has added a lot of value for customers. Nearly all of my orders are now a mix of different product types, and no longer orders with just cards. (This also confirms what Pei of The Paper Craft Pantry told me about what she looks for in new brands to buy from for her shop, too!)
I started being more intentional on social media:
When I started story-ing like crazy, all my KPI's (engagement, reach, impressions) went up
. I've always known social is a good way to connect with people, but I've started to try and show my face more and post about random life stuff more (building my personality behind the brand). I've loved the chats and connections I made with customers and it's turned out to be so invaluable as more and more customers message me with product suggestions and feedback.
2. I spent money:
But I realized during my 3 month restructuring that I needed to spend money to make money.
Since then, I'm less hesitant about spending money in cases where it will save me time, so I can instead spend that time growing the business.I consolidated and reorganized my workspace into my garage studio:
During my time off, I was able to rethink and remodel our garage into a new studio space
. I consolidated my previous office space with the garage storage space to have just 1 place to work out of and it has been a GAME changer. It saves an incredible amount of time since I can reference products while designing, package orders, etc in just one space.
I hired an intern to package orders and products:
It started becoming increasingly obvious I could not do both a full-time job and Pickles at the same time. I made a commitment to hire ongoing help in 2020 and I'm so happy that my intern / assistant, Faith, now comes over every week to package orders and products. Hiring an intern has saved me SO much time, so now I can focus my time and efforts on thinking of different ways to grow Pickles.
THANK YOU so much if you have contributed to this year of growth, whether you are a repeat customer or recent follower :)
Looking to grow your shop too? I’d love to coach you!