Today is my last day of being 30 and I'm actually sad to see it go. I wasn't thrilled about turning 30 (who is, right?), but it turned out to be an amazing year. I don't really like the idea of turning 31. I realized though that the 20's might be gone and now so is 30, today - RIGHT NOW, is the youngest I'm ever going to be again (and that was the exact thought behind this card I made a few weeks ago). So I'm going to enjoy it rather than feeling like an old lady.
30 was a truly great year. I was busy. I changed gears in my life and my business and it made a huge difference. I feel like a new person and am really excited about the direction I'm moving in. Let me tell you a little about what happened this past year.
1. I got a new full time job. The job I was at was draining me. I was bored and feeling like I wasn't going anywhere with it or doing anything to make myself a better designer. It wasn't a bad job, but it wasn't right for me. I accepted a promotion and moved up to a Senior Designer within the same organization, but in a new department. I work at a public university, so a new department basically means a new company. All new management, different project focus, pretty much different everything except the name on the pay checks. So far it's been really great and I'll celebrate my one year anniversary on May 1st.
2. Got a better sense of my creative style. This started with getting a better idea of my personal style. My work is more cohesive and recognizable.
3. Changed gears with my business. When I started out I knew nothing about what I was going to do other than the fact that I wanted to do it. So it really took some work to figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to do that. I think I've done a really good job over the last year in determining what it is I actually want to be doing. This is a process though and it's something that is going to evolve with me as I go.
4. Wrote a serious, professional business plan and set my one, five and ten year goals. I feel so much more confident about the direction of my business and exactly where I'm going.
5. Started sharing my work publicly online on things like Instagram and Behance. This has really made a huge difference in starting to build a name for my company.
6. Put together a better household financial plan. I've always been very financially responsible, but this year we really adjusted how we do things to make sure we are saving as much as we can and also paying off as much debt as we can. We set in a motion a three year plan to have all of our debt paid off except our house, while still be able to do fun things together like go on vacations.
7. I got more courageous this year. I don't want to say that I'm an anti-social person, because that's really not true. I love meeting new people and making friends. I am very socially timid though. I don't like big crowds and I'm uncomfortable around people I don't know. I took some big leaps this year and searched out new groups and communities. I also started engaging with new people more through social media. I also attended a Minted "Mintie Meet-up" and met some great new friends.
8. Got more involved in Etsy Teams and the Etsy community.
9. Updated my brand and created a new logo that fits more with my personal and creative style.
10. Started a greeting card line. This was a major turning point with HPC this past year. It helped me get more products out there and helped to let me define my illustration style. It's a process, but with every new release I feel like I am getting better, more cohesive, beautiful products.
11. Figured out a different more efficient way to produce our products. It's been more cost effective and also lets me test new designs without investing a ton of money that could potentially be lost.
12. Changed our studio to set-up a more production efficient space to meet demands of increased sales.
13. Really focused on quality over quantity. I did this both at home and with the business and products I create. It's helping me create a clutter-free home that we truly love and also helping focus my brand to a very specific style.
14. Set-up a print studio in our basement for block and screen printing that I can get as messy as I want. So much fun!
15. Took on custom wedding invitations clients and started focusing these to hand lettered designs only. That's what I love to do and anything outside of that is distracting me from my goal and not adding to my portfolio.
17. Did an online exhibition with Paper & Stitch.
18. I created an absolute ton of new greeting cards this year. It was really surprising to me to see which ones were popular verses what wasn't.
19. Spent a lot of time refining my hand lettering skills. It's starting to become second nature to me now when at one point a few years ago it seemed almost impossible.
20. Started getting my products ready for wholesale and making connections with local shops and designers. We are very excited to announce we have officially started selling our products wholesale!
21. Built our own privacy fence.
22. Took Linus on a lot of adventures like the cider mill, Downtown Royal Oak, lots of car rides and some vacations.
23. Went to Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC.
24. Drove to the UP for Steve's 30th birthday
25. Spent a weekend in Traverse City, MI with Steve and Linus
26. Installed a new super efficient furnace and central air. We didn't have AC before so we are both so excited about this one.
27. We realized that Steve has a gluten allergy and we switched over to a gluten free diet. It has made a huge impact on how he has been feeling.
28. Started an art collection of different prints from different designers and illustrators to hang up around our home.
29. Handmade a wooden headboard for our bedroom and made this a cozier space for us to relax.
30. Won an online photo contest with my favorite yarn store for a free gift card. This was a joint effort between me and the cat. I took the picture, she looked cute for it.
That's a lot of stuff going on. I'm so excited about getting started on the next year. Stay tuned tomorrow for my 31 in 31 list.
Check out my lists from the last couple years: