Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!

The Much Ado About You 
Pre-Sale starts today!

I have been so touched by everyone that has commented, and sent me emails, and posted on Facebook, and convo'd me on Etsy, and tweeted and retweeted... you all have really been amazing.  I have no doubt that we are going to reach our goal over the next few days.  I can't wait to see what God does.

Head on over to our shop and purchase your Pre-Sale Planners now.  Remember that the sooner you purchase during the Pre-Sale, the sooner you will get to choose your cover design. 

If you would like more details about how the Pre-Sale is working, please visit our Pre-Sale FAQ page here.

If you have any other questions you can post a comment on my website, or email me at info{at}muchadoaboutyou{dot}com.  I will try to reply within the hour {as long as it is a reasonable hour of the day}.

Thank you, thank you.  I love my readers so much.  I really do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Much Ado About You Pre-Sale Details

Check out my website today for all the details on how you can help SAVE Much Ado About You by purchasing during our Pre-Sale.

Monday, February 20, 2012

How is it Possible???

There is no way that I am old enough to have a 9 year old!

And yet, nine years ago today, this giant thing was being cut out of me:

And now, he is this giant thing:

And he's in the third grade.

And I am old.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Pray for Sharlie!

Do you remember me telling you about Sharlie, the mom that is awaiting a double lung and heart transplant due to Cystic Fibrosis?  {If not, read about it here.}

Well last night she got the call that her new organs were ready!  She is headed into surgery this morning!!! 

My friend Jessica, who is Sharlie's BFF, drove through the night from San Diego to Stanford to be with her friend.  If you would like to follow what is happening, you can follow Jessica on Twitter {@allorahandmade}, or check her blog, as I am sure she will be posting some updates there over the next few days.

Please join me in praying for the surgeons, Sharlie's family, and for a speedy recovery!  Please pray that her body will accept these new organs, and that this will be a source of renewed strength and life for Sharlie.

"For where two or three come together in my name,
there am I with them."
Matthew 18:20

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Thinking, Changes, and a Pre-Sale

I have spent a lot of time in the last couple of months thinking about my business.  Well, let's be honest, I have spent a lot of time in the last several years thinking about my business, but these last few months I cannot. stop. thinking about it.

I think about it in the shower.
I think about it while I rock Penelope to sleep.
I think about it at stop lights.
I fall asleep thinking about it.

All this thought because I just haven't been sure of what the future holds for Much Ado About You.

I am still not sure.

That's where you come in.

Let me explain...

One of the things I love about our planners is that they are very custom.  I love being able to make exactly what each of my customers needs and wants in a planner.  And for the first few years of my business I was able to keep up with those customizations.

But this year Much Ado About You turned a corner.  We went from being a part-time hobby business to a Full-Time Real Business.  And I haven't quite figured out how to make that work.

I am not ready to give up on my business.  I have put so much blood, sweat, and tears into this business {well, more sweat and tears than blood, but I did staple my finger once... and paper cuts are common}, that I die a little death every time I think of giving up.

Not to mention that I have the most amazingly loyal customer base, and a few fans I fear might jump off the deep end if they are forced to find another planner.

Something has to change.  I can't keep up with my business the way it is going, and selfishly... I would love to make a profit this year that would pay me a salary of more than 17 cents an hour.  {I know... it's all about me, me, me.}

So all my thinking has brought Much Ado About You to this place: changes are coming.

Some big changes.

Are you ready???  Let me tell you about them.

The first, biggest, and I'm hoping most revolutionary change is that every planner listed in our shop will be pre-printed and bound so that it can be personalized and shipped THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY.

The good news is that you will no longer have to wait 3+ weeks to receive your order.  You will also be able to order Christmas gifts up until just a few days before Christmas.  That is huge.  This year our Christmas deadline was December 1st, and if any of you are like me, you probably hadn't even thought about Christmas by December 1st. 

The second change is that we will be offering two date ranges for our planners from this point on: an August thru July Academic Year Planner, and a traditional January thru December Calendar Year Planner.  The Teacher & Student Planners {which we have combined into one format} will only be offered in the August thru July date range.

Finally, we have revamped the layouts {don't worry, the general layout is the same... it's just prettier} to include a lot more color and fun.  I am giddy about the changes!  It's something I have wanted to do for a long time, but haven't had the skills.  I got skills.

Now here's the part where you come in.  In order to pull this off, we need to pre-sell some planners.  Preparing the line is going to be a big investment, and we need to make sure that it will work.

So if you love your Much Ado About You Planner and don't want to have to begin the search for the perfect planner all over again, or if you have never ordered one but have been wanting to join Team Much Ado About You... would you consider ordering your next planner very soon???  Yeah, like, in two weeks.

February 29th {Leap Day} thru March 4th we will be holding our first ever 
Much Ado About You Pre-Sale

If you choose to order during the pre-sale, you will not only get $5 off of each planner that you order {yes, feel free to order more than one}, but you will also get to choose your cover design before they are available to the public.  First dibs!  AND, you will also get a very special FREE GIFT as our thank you for your amazing support. 

*Here's the catch: if we don't pre-sell at least 200 planners, Much Ado About You will close its doors {and I will go back to having a clean house}.*  No more pretty planners for you.

So visit our website in two weeks {not our Etsy shop, we are running the Pre-Sale elsewhere} for all the details, and consider helping to save Much Ado About You from becoming another Small Business statistic.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Reality of the Handmade World

I love the Handmade Marketplace.  I'm sure that is no surprise.

I have loved every minute of creating and building my Handmade Business.

I love the community of Handmade Business Owners.

But there is something that I think too few people are admitting, and I think it's time we start to talk about it.

The reality of having a "handmade" business is that you will probably not make money.  I don't say this to be Debby Downer... I say it because it is true, and I think people need to start admitting it so that we can find a solution.

I have many, many friends with handmade businesses.
I have a couple of friends with handmade businesses that are living off their income.
And I have one friend who turned her handmade business into a "real" business and now has a warehouse, a full staff, and a husband who quit his job to run her business full time. 

Last year I read an article in Inc. Magazine about Etsy.  The article stated that in 2010 the 400,000+ sellers on Etsy sold $314,000,000 worth of products.  It went on to say, "Three hundred and fourteen million dollars is an impressive sum, but it amounts to about $785 per seller after commissions - and before taxes.  It seems fair to assume, using statistics that the company has released, that there are fewer than 1,000 sellers who make $30,000 a year or more, and a mere handful who make more than $100,000.  As one of the site's top sellers wrote in a blog post in 2009: 'Your odds of making $10,000 per year [on Etsy] are better than winning $10,000 through the Powerball, though not by a ton.'  The only Etsy millionaires, it turns out, are Etsy shareholders."

When I read this article I was astounded.  Mainly because in 2010 I generated almost $20,000 in sales on Etsy {and I lost money}.  In 2011 I generated over $35,000 in sales on Etsy {and I made about $1300}.

So if I am one of the top selling stores on Etsy, {which according to this article I am} then the truth is... having a handmade shop is not a very successful way to make money.

I think {and this article also pointed out} that part of the problem is that most of the shops on Etsy are run by Hobbyists... people who are doing it because they enjoying crafting in their free time, and not people who are trying to run a successful business.  The problem with that is that Susie Hobbyist sells her handmade invitation for $2 {while anyone running a professional stationary business would tell you that her costs far exceed $2}, so Emmy Entrepreneur, who charges $8 per invitation cannot compete with Susie's pricing. 

So what do we do about this?  What do those of us that would actually like to be paid for our time and supplies do to make our business profitable?  How do we make handmade work???

I don't know for sure what the answer to this is.  If I did, Much Ado About You probably would have made more than $1300 last year.  But I definitely don't think that it is hopeless.

The reality is that most start-ups take three to five years to become profitable, and this handmade craze has really only just started in the last three to five years.  Hopefully that means that more and more of our businesses will begin to turn the corner in these next few years.

But I think the question that I am facing {and I'm sure some of you are too} is can we make it another few years???  And in order to make it, will we have to leave the handmade dream behind and embrace the small business reality of mass production?  And wouldn't it be great for our country's failing economy if we could figure out a way to make this work?

These are all questions that I am wrestling with.  These are all reasons why I'm not sure what the future is for Much Ado About You.

I think the first step is talking about it.  If handmade is going to work, I think we need to start educating our customers on the value of handmade.  We need people to understand that buying handmade will cost more than buying at Target or Costco, possibly a lot more, and then we need to see if there is a market that will value that cost and support it.

What are your thoughts?  Do you have a handmade business that you are struggling with?  Do you buy handmade?  Are you willing to pay more to support Small Business and the Handmade Community?

By the way... don't feel bad if you are not.  I realize that not everyone feels passionate about buying handmade, and that is totally okay.  I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty about shopping at Target or Costco... I shop at both places frequently.  But I think there is room in the market for both.  Do you???

Let's talk about it.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Winner and an Announcement

It's time for a winner!  {Only 1 day late... sorry, I was busy recovering from the CHA.}

Congratulations to afiestymom!  You are the winner of a Spunk & Love book.  Please email me to claim your prize at emmythepaperfreak {at} gmail {dot} com.

If you didn't win, you are in luck!  Megan has {very generously} extended the 20% off to all my readers through tomorrow night {Friday, February 3rd}, so be sure to go order your books and use the code MAAY20.


Also, for any of you that are interested in my business, there is a big announcement over on my website today.  Check it out!