Looking ahead, looking back

My Top 5 business decisions from 2011:

1. Kickstarter campaign

There's no way around it, without Kickstarter I would've been doing the same old, wishing I could find the funds to take Metropolis to the next level. There was an article on WSJ awhile ago that mentioned one of the reasons small, women-run businesses fail is that we're afraid to ask for help and afraid to ask for money. I think that's true, at least in my case. With Kickstarter, I had to come out of my shell and ask beg for help. I swallowed my pride for a higher goal. And now I'm exhibiting at the New York International Gift Fair next week!

2. Changed my lines aesthetic

So many loved the pulp horror theme. I did, too. But I knew a smarter way to play ball would be to remove the niche look, and go more simplistic. More simplistic also meant more “mainstream” and I am very happy with the result. I think that my products look more professional and have given me the confidence to pitch to large companies, like Whole Foods and Henri Bendel.

3. Went to the Open See / Pitched to Whole Foods

Getting the confidence to give the big stores a shot turned out well for me. Granted, Whole Foods is still up in the air, and I have no clue how the outcome of my trunk show at Henri Bendel will go, but I am thankful for all of the opportunities. It has reassured me that big chances are worth taking.

4. Got New Photography

My last photographer is wonderful, I am absolutely not knocking him. When I mean “new” photography I don't mean I went around him, but rather I got a new whole look with a new photog. Lilly is very great to work with and I love the classic look of the gray backgrounds she used… not everything has to be plain and white!

5. Left My Job

You were looking for this one, weren't you? 🙂  Leaving the corporate world and trying to be 100% self-employed is not easy, and the discipline to stick to a schedule and ALLOW yourself off days is always a conscious effort, but the pros are so much better than any con. My stress level has decreased significantly, my depression has improved, and I *feel* better, overall.

Top 5 Mistakes:

1. Expected the Same Results as Last Time 

This is in regards to shows. If a show was good last year, I expected the same result this year. Relying on something as unstable as sales is never, um, bankable.

2. Listened to Others without Researching Independently

I was burned on a few shows this holiday season due to blind belief on the opinions of others. One of the most fundamental rules in the show circuit is: The outcome for one does not mean the outcome for you. My lack of research and desperation to fill my calendar taught me a hard lesson.

3. Constantly Compared Myself to Others

It's a curse that I have to work at putting behind me. I am my own person, Metropolis is its own company. I forget (too often) that Metropolis is a young company, only into its 3rd year, while my colleagues have had the same business, the same aesthetic, for more years than that. I am growing each year, and Metropolis grows each year, too.

4. Be Afraid to Tell Others What I do

Sometimes I'm embarrassed of it…after all, making soap for a living isn't something you hear often. I find it a bit nerdy, to be honest. And I take it to heart a little when someone gives me a weird look, because it IS my passion. Little did I know that the ones who would help me grow the company were the ones who were already in my life. They didn't judge, they didn't find it (very) weird. I just need to let that self-conscioussness go.

5. Didn't Push Myself to Stick to a Schedule

A blog schedule, a work schedule, an exercise schedule (ahem). I worked many times well into the night/early morning. I am in the process of writing out a better schedule for myself that includes off time with my husband, Steven.

The theme for 2012 is: Listen, Learn, Plan.

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