I’m sitting here in a dark room willing myself to NOT get sick. Again. For the third time in the past month. I’ve been sick more since my girls started preschool than I have in the almost 9 years since I met my husband. It was a germy end to last year and a germy beginning to the new one.
I had a to-do list a mile long today and it went up in flames by 9am. I can usually push through this kind of thing, but I spent the past few hours just trying to get warm so I finally accepted that I was going to get nothing done today. This blog post though … I’m mustering up the energy for that because I don’t want another day to go by with it still on my list. Lucky for you though, it might be shorter than it probably would’ve been if I were feeling better. ;)
This past six months brought on a lot of positive change. We went to Bend, Oregon for an extended stay and we weren’t sure where we would land when it was over. I closed my studio down before we left with the thought that even if we came back, the age that my girls are at made it pretty tricky on most days to stick to an away-from-home work schedule and I wanted to try out my home studio again. I will say that it’s actually been a great choice for me, even though I have less space now. This setup is temporary though, so I’m confident I’ll survive.
In addition to the closing of my studio, I also stepped away from Etsy. This was probably the biggest thing that happened last year. While Etsy was a great revenue generator, I didn’t feel a connection to it at all. My website is my story, my family, the reason I do what I do. It’s my heart and soul. Etsy wasn’t a place where (most) people care much about the “why” behind the business or the maker - they just have a lot of options in one spot and it’s easy to go there because of the Etsy name. Unfortunately, Etsy has become bogged down in the past few years with hundreds of re-sellers and thousands of mass produced goods that it makes it next to impossible to search and find genuine, handcrafted pieces anymore. Sad, but true. Not to mention the fees … oh the fees. I kept wondering how much it was actually costing me with the fees, time, and energy that it was taking away from pieces of my business that I would rather be focusing on.
I started closing my Etsy shop down here and there throughout last year so that I could focus solely on the website and my pop-ups. With my husband gone on wildland fires in the summer, trainings and overtime shifts fairly regularly, something had to give and of all the pots that I had my hands in, I was willing to cut Etsy without really blinking an eye. Yes, I had to consider the decrease in revenue - I do have a business to run, after all, and this income is how I contribute to my family’s finances - but I tried to look at it as paying for time that I could now focus on growth in other areas of my business. After my husband’s initial shock wore off lol, he agreed that I just needed to do what I felt was right and that it would all work out as it was supposed to. I planned to open up Etsy for the holidays, but didn’t and I’m so glad. I was slammed and could not have kept up with anything else!
One of the things that we work really hard on is instilling a give-back attitude in our girls. The idea that we should always pay it forward and do things for others is a pretty big deal in our house. chip+chisel has afforded us the ability to give back in countless ways, most of which I don’t share with you because giving shouldn’t be about recognition. It’s something that we do because it feels good to help and we want our girls to see that. They know that daddy is a firefighter and helps people and they know that I love my job of creating special keepsake pieces of jewelry and connecting with my customers and the stories that they send me. They’re very different jobs, but both rewarding in their own ways.
I’ve had a couple conversations with my husband recently about the lessening of c+c expenses with eliminating my studio space and putting Etsy on the back burner to focus solely on my website. He knew that my goal was to take those things and pay it forward in some way. I’m sure it would make most business-minded people cringe, but it’s not all about money. Yes, you have your bottom line and all the numbers need to make sense in order to keep operating your business, but … I do love to give back and this is something that fills my cup. This is just another (different) way to pay it forward.
As I’ve done for quite some time, a coupon was sent with orders so that customers could enjoy future discounted purchases. I wanted both return AND new customers to be afforded the best pricing I could give, so I’ve taken into account the reduced expenses going into this year and kicked in an additional percentage of my personal profits to allow for an average price reduction on our listings of 15%. No coupon code necessary - the listings have been updated to reflect the new pricing structure.
You are important and my goal is to always consider how the changes I make affect you as a consumer. I wanted to take this opportunity to give something back to you - my loyal customers - as a way to say thank you for all of your support over the past 7 years. Every time you think of chip+chisel for gifts, share us with a friend or family member, comment or like our social media posts, share our products on your pages, you help us to grow and to be able to give back. You’ve given me the priceless opportunity to be home with my girls while doing something that I absolutely love. They get to watch me do something that my heart is heavily invested in. They’re by my side as I work and are with me on this journey as part of something that was initially built to bring them into our life. Do you know how amazing it is for me to see this all unfold and for them to grow up to know that YOU are the reason that we were afforded the ability to work to build our family? These girls and the love they’ve brought us is because of you. I think that’s pretty incredible.
As we’re already half way through the first month of the new year, I have so many new designs and styles of handstamped pieces in the works and am so excited to roll them out to you! I would love to know what YOU would like to see - no idea is silly and every single suggestion is appreciated. You can comment below, email them to me, or send messages through our social media accounts on FB and Instagram @chipandchisel.
Thank you in advance for considering my little business when shopping for yourself or others - you are beyond appreciated.