Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Comings and Goings...

Just thought I'd pop in and wish every a Happy (and safe) New Year! Tonight is low-key for us -- playing penny ante poker with the family, eating food and drinking beer with the various siblings. Nothing wild and crazy, but that's the way we enjoy New Years!

I figured I'd take today and reflect over the past year while focusing more on what I'd like to do in 2009... I can't believe how far we've come -- we did our first little farmer's market in March, started selling on Etsy in April/May, and I really feel like we've come a far way. We've refined our products, morphing through different styles, shapes, sizes and prices before we settled on something we truly think is a great deal. We're diving into the world of online advertising -- first with this blog, then with getting our banners posted on other blogs -- though we've got a long way to go.

Above all the changes, though, I think my photography has definitely been the one thing that's improved the most. I definitely don't have an eye for photography -- I'm lucky I can get my objects centered, nevermind in focus. Lighting? Pshaw, yeah right.

Let's laugh a bit, shall we?

First disasterous attempt at photography -- full sun... in the spring... in Florida... Notice the hand shadow and camera cord in the picture? Notice the blindingly white backdrop? Oy vey.

Then, I took it inside and tried to set a nice area up in my spare bedroom. There isn't a ton of natural light in there, so I imported a bunch of lamps and tried to focus them on the black backdrop. Throw in the fact that my camera was a very mediocre, not very good in poor lighting, Nikon and you have a photograph that might actually be slightly worse than the first photos outside. The colors in the blanket are all off, there are shadows everywhere and, well, it's just bad.

Finally, there's this one. It's still not the *best*, but it's heads and tails better than the first two. The lighting is better -- it's in indirect light in my office. The props are nicer -- an antique wooden chair -- and the overall ambience (with the window in the background) is much improved over a flat backdrop. It showcases the sheen and colors of the blanket truthfully without too much glare and the angle seems nice. Plus, I have a better camera so the actual picture quality is improved. It's not perfect, but it's improved.

I'd like to think I've improved a lot of things this year, from my designs to my descriptions on Etsy to my photographs, but I also acknowledge there's a long way to go before I can say that I've done well.

Anyway, after reflection I realized how much work I'd like to get done this year... Just as a treat, I'll let you know what's in store for Made By Moms in 2009 (this is, of course, if the CPSIA gets amended)...

1. We'll be putting out a catalog (like Avon's catalog) that will be distributed to teacher lounges and hair salons throughout the Central Florida area. If you're interested in one, just let me know and I'll mail it to you when I'm done. This is set for release early February!

2. We're starting our organic line of bibs, blankets and burp cloths. This is set for release early February!

3. We're designing a line of plush blocks that will have a ton of stimulating activities for baby -- including rattles, doors and crinkly noises -- they're going to be awesome. We'll be releasing those sometime in May (if this sounds interesting to you, keep an eye on the blog because we'll be giving away a few sets for FREE to those who are willing to review them!).

4. We'll be working on a line of baby loungewear that'll include applique tops and matching pants. This is set to be released sometime near August!

5. We'll be increasing our exposure and advertising by networking with mommy blogs (especially Mom Dot and Mod Mom), increasing our consignment opportunities in Central Florida and working more craft fairs.

So, even with the economy down, we've got an eye on growth!

Thank you to EVERYONE who has helped support our business, either by frequenting our blogs, making us a favorite on Art Fire or Etsy or purchased from us, in 2008. We look forward to meeting so many more people in the upcoming year and hope you'll stick with us as we move along our journey.

You all rock!


No comments: