An Honest Small Business Review of Bamber Prints' Highs and Lows in 2022
Hello and Happy New Year!
I hope you all had a good Christmas (if you celebrate) and managed to have some relaxing time off. I finished for Christmas on 16th December when I sent out my final order (in line with the Royal Mail strikes) and had planned to do a little work the following week… but that didn’t happen! I decided to have a proper break after a pretty full on December and a rollercoaster of a year in business. Keep reading for an honest overlook at my small business 2022 review.
What a Year
I’ve felt this year has been the hardest to date for my business. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster and I’ve almost given up a few times… scrolling job sites for full and part time roles. This always leaves me with a feeling that there isn’t currently another job I’d rather do, so for now, I’ll push on.
I began my review by looking at my Etsy and Shopify stats and think this screenshot from Etsy perfectly sums ups what I mean by ‘rollercoaster’.
A rollercoaster for sure 🥴...
This year I’ve had a lot more riding on the success of Bamber Prints. 2020 was when I moved back home, unemployed and Bamber Prints became a distraction that provided positivity in a tough year. 2021 was when I started to hope Bamber Prints could be my full time business and I enjoyed experimenting but had a few freelance gigs to back me up. In 2022, I moved out of my family home and began paying higher rent and bills. Lockdowns were over, regular socialising, weddings and holidays were back, which all put a pressure on my business to make money. I lost my regular freelance work, the cost of living crisis hit and Royal Mail started striking. It’s been a year of obstacles. However, to end this pretty bleak introduction on a higher note, these are my shop stats compared to 2021. This chart surprised me as I haven’t felt like my business has been growing this year but I’m thrilled to say it has!
My Etsy sales and visit stats - 2022 vs 2021 🥳
What Went Well
I’ll start with the positives... Here are 5 things that I think went well this year:
- I stuck to my plan of saying yes to more markets in 2023 and took part in a total of 9 events - one was for four days and one was for two. Some were more successful than others but I learnt a lot and ended up having my best ever sales day at one in December!
- I designed some of my favourite collections so far (flower prints and my Christmas collection).
- I designed four Save the Dates for couples, even though it wasn’t a service I advertised. I’ll be bringing more wedding products out in 2023 because of it.
- I spent some time working on my website (and starting this blog) and I’m really proud of how it looks.
- I connected to lots of other small businesses at markets and via instagram and it’s been so valuable having these friendships and people to talk to who understand what it’s like to run a small business.
- (An extra one) I sold the most amount of Christmas cards ever - which I’m so proud of seeing as the cost of living crisis and postal strikes meant less people were buying/sending cards.
Happy moments from the year (left to right)... working in my new flat, a new Christmas product, celebrating two years, one of many markets!
What Didn’t Go So Well
- Sales over summer hit an all time low.
- The sale slumps had a direct impact on my motivation and I had some of my lowest moments in the business and suffered badly from comparison.
- I never sent out my wholesale catalogue even though I finished it in January 2022. This is first on the list this year! Keep nagging me until I do it, please.
- My organisation and planning slipped so I always felt a bit behind.
- On reflection, I said yes to too many markets over Christmas which led to massive overwhelm and I ended up getting sick in my final and busiest week of the year.
Things I Want to do in 2023
- I want to be more organised.
- I was a lot more organised in 2020-2021 and planned out my content and new products in advance. I’m not sure why I stopped but I’ll be spending some time this week mapping out ideas for the year. Hopefully this will stop me designing Christmas products well into November and then having no time to sell them…
- I want to get into a better routine.
- I was almost there but then I moved into my own flat and now my working space is in my living space which seems to have thrown me off and blurred the lines between work and life. Hopefully a routine will help me with this.
- I want to finally send out my wholesale catalogue.
- I have a catalogue ready (which now needs updating with new designs), and I’m determined to be brave and send it out to the list of shops I’ve already made. I would love wholesale to become a bigger part of my business in 2023.
- I want to re-look at my prints...
- Design for specific collections, offer more sizes, cull some that don’t sell and generally give this area of my business a revamp.
- I want to make more money.
- A blunt and honest one to end on but it would really solve a lot of problems..
Word of the Year
I haven’t set any New Year Goals exactly, apart from a rough idea of what I want to achieve (laid out above) but I’ve seen people talk about having a word of the year instead. Something to focus on and come back to when you’re feeling lost. I didn’t know where to start for this but saw a reel on instagram which you screenshot for it to pick for you. I wasn’t expecting to like the word but it landed on ‘Brave’ and I felt like it’s the perfect one.
I think nerves have held me back from doing a lot of things in my business. I often blame motivation but it isn’t always the case… The wholesale catalogue is a prime example and I have quite a few other things on my to-do list that I really want to achieve.
Hopefully I can channel the word and be more brave this year
I wanted to end this blog by saying a huge thank you! Thank you to anyone who has commissioned a drawing, bought from my shop, told a friend about me, liked a post on social media or simply followed along. It all plays a part and I’m so grateful to be here, doing what I love.
Thank you for reading and if I could cheekily direct you to my shop to have a little browse, I’d be very grateful!