New Year, New Blog Post, New Pricing

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!

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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.

xo
lindsy

Movers Makers Hustlers Shakers

Hi guys! I wanted to jump on here and spill my heart out before things get completely crazy next week and time becomes even more sparse than it already is.

Through social media, I see SO many friends, acquaintances, and people that I’ve never met prepping their small businesses for all the Christmas shopping that’s about to take place and I had to give a shout out and tell you how much I admire all of their hard work. The majority of these small business owners I follow are also mamas and I wonder every single day how they make it look so easy! I know better though - they are busting their booties and killing it because they’re passionate about what they do, and because, let’s face it - we kinda like the crazy and most of us have bills to pay. ;)

As a small business owner myself, I know there is SO much more to running a business than just making the actual product - the behind the scenes for artisans can be absolutely NUTS and more often than not, it’s a one person show. It.is.hard. When people find out that I work a lot in the local coffee shop (its become my home away from home), the response is always the same. “Oh?! How do you make your jewelry there??” I don’t. The jewelry making is only part of what I do. What I do involves soooo much more than that! Those that have a little business like mine are probably nodding their heads, right? There is so much that goes into it all year long, but especially during the holidays when demand is higher. You want to prep and plan as best as you can, but it’s really a guessing game and you’re often left scrambling to try to keep up. It’s nonstop trial and error. Committed small business owners get knocked down, then get back up. They feel defeated, yet they keep chugging along. They get stuck, but they somehow find a way to power through. It can seem like it would just be easier to throw in the towel sometimes, but the feeling is temporary and tomorrow is always a fresh start. I remind myself of this often.

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I ask that you look around you this holiday season and make a list of the small business owners you know that work tirelessly on their craft year round - how can you support them this year? Maybe it’s a purchase? Maybe it’s sharing their social media pages to your friends and family? Maybe it’s visiting them at a show/pop-up/craft fair? Maybe it’s just a like or comment on the products they post? As it becomes increasingly difficult to be seen on social media, every little bit helps and I guarantee we all appreciate it!

I am beyond grateful to all of you that support my small business as I go into my 8th holiday season! Not only do I help support my family by doing what I do, but this business is how my family is able to give back in the capacity that we do. You’re part of a bigger picture and I can’t express how much we appreciate all the things you do to support this! A special shout out to the other businesses in the community that collaborate with chip+chisel - StarCycle Felida, StarCycle Vancouver, Barre3 Camas, Sass Beauty - you guys have been so good to me and my gratitude runs deep.

A huge thank you in advance for considering shopping small with chip+chisel this holiday season - you allow me to be home with my babies yet still maintain (most of) my sanity with this creative outlet of mine. ;)

xo
lindsy

For more ideas on shopping small, here’s an article I read if you’re interested: https://www.tabithaemma.com/7-ways-to-support-small-business-this-year-and-why-you-should/

Beautiful Chaos

So yesterday was a bit of a whirlwind - who can relate??  If you could've seen me at the end of my chaotic day, you would've witnessed me walking in the door at almost 9pm, eating a heaping plate of doritos and avocado while standing alone in a dark kitchen ... i'm calling it a win because avocado is very healthy, my friends.  ;) 

After a rough first half of the day that included my phone dying, having to drag two little girls around while trying to get a new phone while being totally unprepared to be out and about for hours and hours (never good with kids!), then deal with all the hooplah that inevitably surrounds driving across the city to actually pick up the new phone ... well, I wasn't feeling super great by the time I got home. I missed out on hours of prep time and was totally frantic once I actually got into the studio. Life, right?  I was overwhelmed, super tired, and felt totally unprepared.  Don't you hate that feeling when what you really need is to be "on"? Seems like the two go hand in hand more often than not.  Well regardless of how I felt, the shoot (luckily) went off without a hitch!  The models (baby too!) were amazing, the photographer, Whitney Summers, was incredible as always, and to top it all off, we got super lucky with the lighting and a beautiful sunset!

These ladies made the jewelry look gorgeous and they did it all so effortlessly!  I headed home last night with a full heart, feeling so lucky to be surrounded by such strong and big-hearted women.  

I can't wait to share more pics with you guys along with some details about how I was lucky enough to have these ladies come into my life, so stay tuned!  

xo, lindsy

New Year, New Beginnings

Happy 2018 friends!  I'm struggling to comprehend how another year blew right on past me?! Babies are another year older, chip&chisel celebrated its SIXTH anniversary, and I'm finally, after 2.75 years of "momming", figuring out that tricky little thing called balance.  I mean, I don't have *all* the answers (progress over perfection, right?), but I've had a much better handle on things recently and it's been life changing!

After wrapping up what may have been my favorite c&c holiday season yet, I'm ready to jump into the New Year!  With sleeping littles upstairs and tired eyes, I'm ready to wrap up this blog post and hit publish so I can share my updates and thoughts from 2017 and how they're propelling me into the New Year! .  

First things first, you may have seen the Concrete Boom social media post right before Christmas about the sale of that business. In case you missed it, most of you know I co-founded a screenprinted apparel company, Concrete Boom, back in 2016 which then launched this past summer. As business partners and two busy mamas that were trying to juggle family, our regular full-time jobs and run a brand new business efficiently and effectively, we ultimately felt it needed much more than we could currently give to grow it and be successful. We tried to strategize running it on a smaller scale but in the end it seemed impossible to move forward. At this time, as destiny would have it, a new friend, Tara, reached out as another mom looking for an opportunity to be creative and make something her own and a sale was born! :)  I’m so excited to watch her journey unfold and hope you’ll be cheering for her as well. I love to see other women pursuing their passions! Tara is a great fit for the brand and I know you’ll continue to be in great hands. 

So what will I be doing with all of my newfound time?  Oh, I don't know ... sleeping at night again, actually folding the laundry that comes out of the dryer, maybe cook dinner occasionally?  ;)  2017 was a rat race with oh-so-many teachable life lessons. I've chosen to take the positive from all of them in order to let them have the greatest impact on my life. When has anything good ever come from dwelling on less than stellar situations and circumstances? Yeah, never. Ever heard the phrase, "Grow through what you go through"?  That's where I'm at.  I've reflected a lot on those 365 days and have written down the three key points below in my planner to help keep me focused, avoid the burnout, and set myself up for success this year both personally & professionally.  I look at them every morning, expand on their meaning, and take them through my day.

YOU CAN DO ANYTHING BUT NOT EVERYTHING.  Do less and do it well.  I stretched myself so thin this past year and a half trying to run two separate businesses. I’m sure you’re thinking “well, duh!” … don’t worry, I did too. It was hard on me AND my family.  Have you ever read the 5 Love Languages book and taken the test?  My husband and I read it when we were engaged and scored the exact same for each category (compatible much?) with 'quality time' ranking the highest.  He's an amazingly supportive spouse and loves to see me realize my dreams, but if you asked him if he would like a repeat of last year, he would most definitely tell you no.  We had less time together than either of us liked and that's played a huge factor into the planning for chip&chisel in 2018.  Yes, you can do anything you put your mind to … but when you try to do EVERYTHING, it becomes all quantity and less quality.  Makes me cringe.  Choose the things you love and do those.

YOUR CHOICES REFLECT YOUR PRIORITIES.  My priority is my family and my business.  I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home mom ... I'm also not cut out to be away too much. I'm hugely fulfilled by chip&chisel and working hard, but there's a balance between the two that I've spent the past couple months trying to figure out how to actually attain. I made the choice a little over a year ago to go back to operating chip&chisel on my own. Not because I didn't have great ladies working with me, but because staying on a schedule and fulfilling my role so they could maintain theirs felt so overwhelming at that point in my life.  With two little ones and working hours that were super inconsistent and really testing my sanity, I couldn't keep up.  I scaled back.  I took on an amount of work that I could handle on my own and decided I would stick with that for a while. I put Etsy in vacation mode a lot so I could focus mainly here on the website and took care of key pieces of the business, but I was looking to just keep it manageable.  Well then I got bored.  Instead of getting back to "normal" with chip&chisel, I took on a whole new business.  WHY?  I don't have an answer other than that I'm just meant to be busy, BUT ... not in the way that I was up until the sale of Concrete Bloom.  So, I sat down and I prioritized.  I want to be home with my family but I also know that the growth and expansion that was planned for c&c back in 2015 when we launched the website has been on my brain for over two years now.  I'm in the best place I've been professionally since having my girls and I feel good, ready to grow again. chip&chisel is my heart - it's the reason my girls are here (Are you thinking “what?”? Read our story!), it's how I've formed so many great friendships and connections, it's so much of my purpose.  Showing my girls what it means to do something you love, something you're so passionate about, something that allows you to give back (more on that to come!) ... well that's everything to me.  So, with much excitement, I'm bringing back two of the ladies that used to work with me and we're diving into this New Year together!  These ladies know me, they know my brand, they know how crazy I am about what I put out there and how hard it is for me to let go and give pieces to others to manage.  But you know what?  *Because* they know that, I trust them even more.  I have learned that I can't do everything and do it well and that is okay! They will help me execute day-to-day functions in the studio and assist with the growth and expansion that I've been envisioning for some time now.  The help allows me to put my family first while still doing what I love ... connecting with and creating for YOU!

DON'T LET FEAR HOLD YOU HOSTAGE.  Growth and change is scary.  It's so much easier to just do what you've been doing because it's familiar and safe.  But taking risks is how you break out of your comfort zone and do amazing things!  I know, I know - what if you fail?  Yep, it happens.  But it's part of what makes you great!  In every aspect of my life ... as a wife, mama, woman, and small business owner ... I fail at things I set out to do (like keeping this blog post short and sweet). ;) I don't let those moments define me though.  They're life's learning lessons and you'll always encounter opportunities for them.  Consider yourself lucky - growth happens in the midst of difficult circumstances and you'll be a better person for it if you embrace it. 

Do you have a mantra or phrase that you’re bringing with you into 2018?  I’d love to hear it!

I’ve welcomed this New Year with open arms and it feels oh so good! A fresh start, a clean slate, 365 chances to write a new chapter. I am so grateful for your continued support over the years and beyond thankful to have you along on this journey with me, truly.

Sending you big hugs and the best wishes for an amazing 2018!
xo,
lindsy