2018 is almost over, so it’s time for us to sit down and do a long, hard, look at what we did right over the course of the last 12 months, as well as what we didn’t do quite as well as we had hoped. So here’s how it went this year.
First – the Disappointing Stuff!
1) Our FaceBook Business Page– Let’s face it, FaceBook just ain’t the same place anymore. In some ways that’s a good thing because I sure did NOT like seeing all that crap that was SO abundant during the 2016 election season! But when FaceBook changed their algorithm they specifically made it MUCH more difficult for you to see posts from businesses. I understand why the changes were made, but its tough for a business to have an impact on FaceBook anymore. In so many ways I feel like any amount of time I spend posting stuff on FaceBook is like shouting in a windstorm (unless the post is in our private FaceBook Group page, that is! Consequently, I spend most of my time & effort on other social media sites now, which I’ll detail more in the next section.
2) Handbag of the Month Contests– 10 years of monthly contests actually came to an end in March of this year. I’d always enjoyed these contests but for some reason, it was becoming harder and harder to field enough entries each month’s contest. Who know why? But even though I never really figured it out, we reluctantly discontinued the contests in favor of something new, which again will be detailed in item#4 below!
3) Instagram (AGAIN) – I don’t know if I’ll EVER really be able to say I totally understand Instagram. I’ve made some progress this year. I have more followers than last year and typically get more action per post than last year, but still, I often feel like a lost ball in high weeds. I do feel proud of myself that I did however finally get the hang of Instagram Stories which quite likely explains what limited growth we’ve had during 2018!
4) Weekly Videos on FaceBook – So I’d been told by my peers (repetitively) that I really needed to add live videos to my FaceBook page in order to resurrect it. So I tried it… for quite a while. It really didn’t come naturally to me. To be honest, I just didn’t enjoy it… at all! I was hoping that since the videos were live events that it would give me an opportunity for some direct contact with customers… but it didn’t. The videos did OK as posts after the fact, but not enough to justify the amount of time and STRESS it took to produce them. No one was happier than me when I discontinued them. 🙂
And now – For the Good Stuff!
1) We added THREE new patterns this year – For the last 8 years, its been our goal to create just TWO new patterns per year. Prior to that time I came to the realization that producing over two new patterns per year was just too stressful, especially trying to get the third one done in time for Fall Quilt Market. But this year I released the Sling Along in June which was MUCH earlier than is normal, which allowed me to get started on our next pattern, the Packlets.
At first, I had no intention of publishing it until after the new year, but then I reasoned to myself what great gift items these Packlets would make, so I pushed HARD and got that pattern done just in time for market (just BARELY)! The pattern did AWESOME and that’s great, but the whole experience reminded me of why I set the 2 pattern limit to begin with! So for 2019, we’ll definitely going back to just two patterns!
2) the FaceBook Group – So… due to the fact that the new algorithm on FaceBook had SO decreased our visibility on the platform (see our #1 disappointment), I decided in January to start a StudioKat Designs Pattern Group! My hope was that this new Group would be more interactive with me AND with each other and even though it started slowly I have been SO happy with this group! I love that everyone is so helpful to each other and that all seem to celebrate each other’s accomplishments!
3) Our 1st Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival – In 2018 we were FINALLY admitted to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival as a vendor. We’ve been trying to gain admission to this show for FOUR years so this was quite exciting, especially since the show is in such close proximity to where we live. We had to take a larger booth (10′ X 15″) than our normal which is 10′ X 10′, in order to get our foot in the door, but this was also kinda good since it gave us the opportunity to “try out” a larger booth size which we’d been toying with for some time. As it turns out, while all that extra space was kinda nice to have, it really wasn’t necessary for us so I think we can table that idea for a good while! All in all, the show was a GREAT success for us and we found Hampton, Virginia to be very pleasant and accommodating PLUS, there were LOTS of yummy restaurants! And here’s the best part… it turns out a 10 X 10 corner booth came open so we’ll be able to switch to that for the 2019 show! Will we see YOU there?
4) Eye Candy – An unforeseen benefit of our StudioKat Designs Pattern Group is that for some delightful reason, folks feel totally comfortable sharing pictures of the bags they’ve been making from our patterns! And oh my! The pictures of these bags were just too scrumptious not to share and that’s when we thought of the “Eye Candy” format! But above and beyond that, I have SO enjoyed getting to know the folks in this group! And its so nice to know that if someone is struggling with an aspect of the bag they’re working on, they can generally rely on getting the help they need in this group pretty much any time of the day!
So…there you have it!
The good, and the not so good from 2018. But hey, if YOU have any comments, or suggestions for improvement for us, now would be a GREAT time to share them! And remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave either or both in the space provided below.
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