I’d have to say that overall, 2012 was a good year for Colour and Light! This marks the first year since I started the business (in 2008) that my accounting spreadsheet has a BLACK number at the bottom of it. I’m pretty proud of that.
All of the sale events I was a part of were more successful than I’d anticipated, in some cases very much more so. I did many custom orders over the course of the year, particularly in the latter part. My Etsy sales were down from 2011, but I still sold a few items. I tried out the “variations” option on the molecule listings, and I think I will continue to do that in the future. It’s a great way to offer custom options on the geeky pieces that people love, and the customer pre-pays for the item, so I can create the requested product with the confidence that the buyer isn’t going to disappear on me when I list the finished piece.
My summer sojourn as a Bird Nerd certainly impacted my studio output. Not only was I not physically creating items (including soap…I had no soap to sell at all this year) but thanks to the general lack of internet access while I was away I also wasn’t doing any sort of marketing or promotion, even on a casual basis. I won’t be doing such a long absence this year, and I’m looking forward to being home (and in the studio!) for the summer in 2013. But my bird work is important to me, and I’m not ruling out doing something similar in future years.
Late in 2012 I finally managed to take my recycled bottle glassware to the next level by figuring out how to create a flame-polished rim. This was a particularly exciting development because it led to a deal with my favourite new local craft beer establishment in which I’ll be creating a large number of pint glasses from clear wine bottles, with the logo sandblasted on the side.
This is also great news because now that I can make a REALLY NICE product, I feel that I can charge more money for it! The previous price for my bottle glassware did not reflect the amount of time and work I put into each one, but I never thought I could ask for a higher price because the rims weren’t very nice. As a result, I never felt very enthusiastic about the recycled glassware, even though that is often the thing that draws the most customer interest at a sale event. Everyone seems to love it! And now I have a renewed excitement for that side of my business.
Now that the holiday season is over, I can take a moment and look ahead at 2013. In the immediate future, I have the bottle glassware project to keep me VERY busy, along with a couple of custom stained glass projects I need to finish up. I have the very important goal this year of getting further into the glass fusing. So far I’ve been using my kiln very heavily for creating wine bottle trays and (more recently) annealing the flame-polished bottle glasses. I also made a lot of simple fused glass star ornaments in the lead-up to Christmas. These are great, but I really want to dig deeper into the art of fusing and experiment with producing some nice fused pieces.
I was inspired today by a great sale price to pick up the double e-courses “Business by Design” and “Marketing for Makers” by Megan Auman, who produced the “Pricing for Profit” digital workshop that I found so helpful. I’m looking forward to working through these and hopefully learning some great things to help improve the business side of my business in 2013.
I’m pretty excited about what 2013 has in store for Colour and Light! I hope you’ll join me on this journey!