Resolutions are not my thing. They always seemed to set me up for failure, never success. In the past couple of years, a dear friend and I have set goals and shared them with one another. Partly it's to help keep one another accountable, partly it's the idea that once something is "out there" and not just in my head or scribbled on a sheet of paper, that it is more tangible and likely to receive my attention. A goal seems more attainable than a resolution.
February is a good time to make our lists. Who can really sit down after all the holiday bustle and say on January 1 what areas of life they would like to improve? I certainly can't. I caught up on sleep that week this year! Taking some time off allowed things to come into focus, and I think I have some clearer ideas of how I want to approach my business this year. Personal goals are staying personal : )
Jumping on the blogosphere bandwagon, I have chosen "balance" as an over-arching goal for the year. I make no promises that I will figure out a magic formula I can follow, because life happens. Things change. Stuff comes up. People are human. There's a whole lot that needs tending throughout the course of the year when you're raising young children, nurturing a marriage, running a business, teaching online, managing a household and still trying to get a decent night's sleep.
Flexibility is a key component of balance, in my opinion, and I understand that different things take priority in different seasons (figuratively and literally). April means building new garden beds and planting seeds. October means lots of craft fairs and sewing. January means rest and reconnecting with my creativity. What does this mean for Dancing Threads RI? I'm so glad you asked!
For the most part, nothing will change noticeably from where you sit. There are new products in the works, new shows to attend, refinement of existing products (and the processes that I use to make them), and a de-emphasis of custom work. Working smarter, not longer hours. I talked in the past about how I get a lot accomplished throughout the day, and I really can't physically add more work hours without sacrificing something like sleep or playtime at the beach (I love the above photo taken at a neighborhood beach here in Portsmouth). In order to improve my time management, custom requests are on hold indefinitely.
If you ask me to make a grocery bag in flip flop fabric, I'll enthusiastically say "Yes!" If you see a lobster bag on Etsy and would like a dozen, just ask! No problem. If you ask me to make a slipcover for your couch, I will gladly recommend some local upholstery shops. See the difference? Just because I CAN sew, doesn't mean that tailoring or alterations are my strong suit. Neither is quilting. Or embroidery. I CAN do all of these things, and you will likely see some of these skills shown here on the blog this year, but if I don't feel that I do them extremely well, I don't feel comfortable selling said product or service.
Creativity--the fun of running a business, is taking a larger role this year. The latest line of applique zippered pouches are a step in that direction.
Re-using, upcycling, recycling, and just plain wasting less is a major goal for my business. Why make an eco-friendly product line if there is a lot of waste in the process? You will see some very creative uses of materials in my studio this year. Some will be products available for purchase, others will be tutorials on how you can make similar items yourself. I have plans for the spools in the bin below. If you follow me on Pinterest, you will have an idea of where I might be going, creatively, this year.
Sewing lessons have been one of the most rewarding aspects of my business this past year. Working with someone who wants to try something new and being able to help that light bulb go off over her head is a bit of magic. Speak up if you or someone you know would like a lesson! Whether you are just starting out, are now ready to work with zippers, or would like to hang out and ask me a zillion questions while you work through a project--I am happy to help. My rates are reasonable if you are here on Aquidneck Island, and I'm even open to the idea of a web cam session for those living outside of Rhode Island.
I love what I do, and I think that moving to a more creative product line, while keeping the things you know and love, sewing more things for myself and my family--these will all help keep me excited to get up at 5am and sew every day. If it becomes a chore, or something I hate, then why keep doing it? I believe these new goals will help make that happen.
Bring on the balance, 2014. I'm ready for you. I know I'm ready for some new products, for staying in the groove of my current product line, for getting more creative and eco-conscious, for making some things for my family, for me, and for sharing those products here in this space. Thank you for following along as I carve out my niche in the world of small business ownership!
As co-owner of Stitchery in Portsmouth, RI, I teach sewing classes to children and adults. Welcome to my blog Dancing Threads RI.