What's Working, What's Not + a Big Announcement!
I like having my own business. I resonate deeply with being an entrepreneur, and the autonomy of charting my own course is richly satisfying. Ideally, it means I can align my passions, my curiosity and my ever-changing life with earning an income.
But crafting that alignment is not easy, especially as of late. I hope I am in the midst of a transition, and that as I keep on working, testing and trying a clear path will come into focus again.
You, dear reader, are one of my favorite people. You read my blog! I love writing in this place and am fighting to keep it a part of my life, to keep my business solvent. Since you have a special place in my heart, I want to share with you a bit about where I am with Stitched in Color and where we are headed next year.
Things that are Working
Sponsorship Advertising. From my earliest days as a business blogger, I have sold blog advertising. Rather than work with an advertising agency that places a wide variety ads I cannot control, I select companies myself. I have been able to sustain a base of sponsors who feel like a good fit for my readers. Sometimes it is a hassle to manage these spots as shops come and go, their marketing budgets and strategies changing; but overall, I am pleased with the way sponsor advertising provides a consistent base pay for blogging. Advertising does not at all cover the time and cost of materials to produce a blog like Stitched in Color, but it's my only consistent form of income.
Selecting My Own Fabrics. I am proud that while I've formed relationships with lots of stores and lots of fabric manufacturers, I have never allowed companies to control the fabrics I use. Some manufacturers push relationships of exclusivity, as in you can have free fabric if you only sew with our fabric. That doesn't fly here. Anything I sew with I freely requested, some purchased and some gifted on request. That includes fabrics from my sponsor shops. I pledge to be genuine in my fabric choices, because they represent me. I'm keeping it real.
Encoring Popular Classes. My main source of income is the online courses I've written and self-published since 2011. Again, these are working not just because they make money, but because they are entirely authentic. I create classes about subjects that align with my passion and skills. Digital classes allow me to include all the photos and detailed directions you appreciate. This year I encored Penny Sampler as a block of the month program. Next year I may encore Curves or Angled.
Things that are Not
New Patterns. I published two new stand-alone patterns this year: Modern Dresden and Lake Cabin. Both were prompted by reader requests for a pattern after seeing my quilt. Modern Dresden is an innovative pattern with unusual techniques more suited for intermediate quilters. Lake Cabin is a scrap-friendly pattern suitable for any quilter. Sales for both were disappointing, not so much that I won't write new patterns when the mood strikes, but to the point that writing self-published patterns is not a significant revenue stream.
New Classes. The last two online courses I've produced, Patchwork from Scrap and Stitched Holiday, also fell far short of my expectations. Since the sales for these courses were so much less than previous courses, I'm discouraged about creating new ones. I don't know if the sewing course market is saturated or if my topics are not aligning with your interests. But, regardless, so much time (so, SO much time) goes into creating them that I have to be cautious here.
Workshops. This year I attempted to host live workshops. I think these would have been really fun, and I priced them to be worth my time. Unfortunately all of them filled up about halfway, which wasn't quite enough to make anything work. From talking with people who expressed interest but didn't sign up, it seems very hard to coordinate schedules to make live events happen. I'm putting this idea on hold indefinitely.
New + Emerging Things
Freelance Work. As of this fall I am open to opportunities for freelance work in the sewing and quilting industry. I am now writing regularly for the Craftsy blog. I want to maintain Stitched in Color, but need to diversify my revenue stream. Working with other companies actually feels somewhat comforting, giving all the transition I'm going through. I'd like to find other opportunities to use my writing, administrative and design skills in the sewing industry. Feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions!
A Book. And not just any book... a Lucky Spool book! The time is finally ripe for creating a book of my own. I'm so excited to be working with Lucky Spool Media, who produces fantastic books like Savor Each Stitch by Carolyn Friedlander and Walk by Jacquie Gering. It will be such an honor to be included on the roster of Lucky Spool authors.
Lucky Spool is exactly what I was looking for in a publisher when I considered publishing in 2011. I'm glad I didn't just take anything, but waited for the right time. As we've started working together, I am blessed by the true collaborative relationship emerging. I'm super excited about producing this book! The topic is absolutely ideal for me, but I'm not supposed to reveal it yet. Sorry! I can say that it's to be published Fall 2018, so that's not all that long to wait (at least in the print world).
Thank you all for being part of the community here at Stitched in Color throughout the years. Your friendship has been invaluable to me on a personal level and your participation as a reader makes this business possible. There are other ideas I'm throwing around from individual creativity coaching to short courses to pattern sew-alongs. No matter what shows up, I want you to know that I'm always striving to find that magical synergy, when your needs and my passion intersect in a mutually beneficial way. Thanks for your patience as I explore and learn.