TWS 2015: Reorganization and Realignment

While others were partying and ringing in the new year, I spent a quiet evening on the couch with my dog, Jackson. We reflected on the past year and realized that Tara White Studio, as a craft business, needed some reorganization and realignment. The first step in addressing these would be to draft a business plan.

This is something I have never actually done before, so I was a bit nervous to get started. After a quick Google search I came across a post from Etsy’s blog (of course, why didn’t I think to check there?). The post, How to Write a Creative Business Plan In Under an Hour, was exactly what I was looking for. In her post, the author included an example business plan for her fantasy business. This was not the text-heavy word document that I had initially envisioned. It was very visual and fun but included all of the pertinent information for a successful business plan.

Since this was my first attempt at this document, I decided to base mine off of her example, but added my own flair. In an effort in keeping it all on one page it may be a bit busy, but since it is a plan for myself, I am happy with it.

Tara White Studio 2015 Business Plan

The most difficult parts for me were coming up with a value proposition, assessing the market need and proposing the solution to that need that my business fulfills. These parts are definitely going to be works in progress and one of my goals for the year is to reevaluate them and make them a bit more specific.

The fun parts were adding up my expenses, revenue and calculating my profit. Since 2014 was not as successful as 2013, I set my revenue goal for 2015 in between the two other values. However I also plan to spend less on expenses. One of my goals for this aspect of the plan is to start utilizing my expense planner again or look into a Quickbooks account.

Back in 2013, I made an active effort to post on social media and this blog. At the time I did not think it was impacting my business, however after looking back at the past two years I’ve realized that this was the biggest difference between 2013 and 2014. This year, I plan to boost my social media presence through increased Instagram posts and more personal stories here. I will also be taking more advantage of some of the useful tools provided through Facebook Page Insights. Here I was able to find a graph summarizing all the people who have liked my page, including gender and age. Interestingly, the percentage of women versus men is comparable to that of my Etsy customers. I hope to use this information to reach out to and provide better products to my potential customers.

Last but not least, were my milestones. I admit these are modest but every small thing means something and can provide inspiration and drive for moving forward. In the past year my notable moments were surpassing 200 likes on the Tara White Studio FB page, 2 sales resulting from custom requests through FB and of course, completing my business plan!

I am very excited for the year to come and all the work I plan to do. I wish you success in your own ventures.

~Tara W.

Oh and I almost forgot, I also reorganized my small and humble work space. Enjoy some pictures below!

Craft Corner
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Upcycled hanging storage boxes
Craft Corner with re-upholstered and distressed bench from my sister

 

 

My Little Corner – fitting a studio into a small space

My husband and I love the beach cottage we call home, but living in such a small place has its drawbacks. I find it difficult to keep clutter to a minimum while still being able to express myself creatively. I know I briefly described my studio space in my first post, but I think I made some real progress with it this weekend, so here’s more!

Our downstairs is open concept – the kitchen, living and dining rooms have no walls between them. Upstairs is one big bedroom, no separate office or anything. My first thought was to take over part of the bedroom – there’s a perfect corner for it. Unfortunately, I do a lot of my creating at night and my husband works the early shift. I couldn’t be up there with lights on and potentially making noise while he’s asleep.

I ended up taking over the dining table, which was awesome while I was in the middle of a project because I could have all my supplies out at once on the table and had a huge workspace. But it was a major eyesore if it wasn’t all cleaned up. About a month ago, we realized that we really didn’t need a dining table. We hadn’t hosted anyone for dinner, that is, inside… we have a beautiful deck and it is great for summer entertaining which is when this place is really awesome! And, I hate to admit it, we always end up eating in the living room while watching tv, a product of how we were both raised, I guess! So we sold our dining table to my sister, who didn’t have one and has a ton more space for it.

I ended up buying a walnut-colored trestle desk and matching bookcase on Amazon. I also ordered a matching stool, that was recommended to go with it, but it was way too high for the desk. Having already assembled the stool, it would have been more of a hassle to try to return it. Instead I am selling it to a coworker. For the past few weeks I’ve been using the desk chair from our desk upstairs. While it functioned well enough for the time being, I found the rolling feature to be very annoying. I end up sitting cross legged and would roll away all of a sudden! I also hated looking at the giant, black, high back monstrosity of a chair, it was definitely designed for men! Finally, yesterday I found a gorgeous yet very comfortable occasional chair at Marshalls of all places. It looks great with the rest of the decor and fits the desk and my sitting styles perfectly!

So here’s what my new space looks like!

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  • I mentioned the desk and bookcase ($125, $93, Amazon.com), the beautiful chair ($99, Marshalls) and the cabinet on the right was inherited from my Nana.
  • I found the task lamp at a local thrift shop for $4 and painted it neutral beige.
  • The rustic magnetic organizer ($15), was made by Frick and Frack Scraps, a fellow Etsy seller (http://www.etsy.com/shop/FrickandFrackScraps).
  • If you couldn’t tell from the photos, I love using decorative baskets and boxes to stay organized. Michaels Craft store has an awesome collection of home decor paper storage boxes ($8 – $14). I picked up a few on my last visit there and they make a huge difference in minimizing clutter. They are shown above on the bookcase and the one on the bottom shelf looks like an old fashioned suitcase, so adorable!
  • Finally, the desktop carousel and storage cube provide a ton of storage space for many of my tools and supplies. I got them a while ago from Michaels and sadly they have to live on the floor for now!

So that’s my OCD craft studio resolution – I am very happy with it, finally, and wanted to share some of my ideas with others struggling with space issues!

Before I go, I want to tell you about an awesome Etsy seller promotion I took advantage of. It was an offer from Moo, a printing company who I hadn’t heard of before. The offer was for 100 free mini business cards, I only had to pay $5 shipping. Well, they came this week and I absolutely love them! They are worth so much more than that! I chose to have images of my items printed on the front, so there are all different ones, almost like trading cards! I will definitely look to Moo for future printing needs!

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