Amazingly we are already half way through January 2017. Before the year runs away with itself I thought it would be worth taking stock of 2016 in a New Year review and sharing it with you.
This time last year I was just getting back in the studio. I’d had a hip replacement at the tail end of August 2015 and was now fully recovered physically from that. Mentally, truth be told, 2015 had been a tough one. The pain and resulting exhaustion from my hip when I spent more than half a day on my feet made life very difficult before the operation. I just couldn’t find focus in my work. I had also completely underestimated how long it was taking me to get back on my feet, metaphorically speaking, after being on the receiving end of a bullying campaign back in 2011/12. The anger and resentment had gone, more or less, but my self confidence … well … let’s just say it had been better.
In January 2016, looking forward to the year ahead ‘his nibs’, my other half, was on the point of taking early retirement. The plan was that his nibs would join me in my business and help develop it into something truly sustainable. That alone was a pretty daunting prospect. How have things turned out?
Pretty good actually!
On tendering his resignation, ‘his nibs’ was asked if he would consider continuing to work part time for the company, leaving him free two days a week to devote to my business. After discussing this option at length we decided to go for it. This would give us the financial cushion we needed to get things back up and running without creating so much pressure that it would be counter productive for us both. ‘His nibs’ began in ernest in April 2016. Between April and now, his impact has been substantial. So what has been achieved in those 10 months?
The Top Ten
2. More card outlets, locally and further afield including one in Hampshire, some of whom have exclusive card spinners just for my cards. Sales have been very healthy.
3. The introduction of a new product line – ‘Print-in-a-Box’. A range of signed limited edition giclée print in a lovely gift box.
4. A return to several galleries that I had been supplying regularly and two exhibitions, one at The Flat Cat Gallery, Lauder towards the end of last year and one at The Found Gallery in Dunbar over the Christmas period that comes to an end in a couple of weeks time. There are three more in the pipeline for the spring at The Biscuit Factory, The Undercroft Restaurant at Durham Cathedral and Gallery No. 4, St. Abbs.
5. A very successful open studio event in September that in turn had a very positive impact on the launch of my autumn workshop programme.
6. A very successful foray into the Christmas Fair/Market field with Designer Makers Markets at The Witham in Barnard Castle and The Queens Hall here in Hexham.
7. A great start to the spring courses with one of them being fully booked before the New year began.
8. Enquiries coming in for freelance workshops for groups like the Women’s Institute, Embroiderers Guilds and Textile Artist groups.
9. A return to teaching workshops at North Tyneside Art Studios
Not a bad list is it? And the proof of the pudding is a much improved bottom line. Moving into 2017, I feel my confidence in myself returning. Between ‘his nibs’ and I, we can really build on 2016 and create a successful business.