It’s been quite the year in Mallory Shelter Jewelry land. Thinking back on this year, I realized I had been focusing on how tough it was. I often felt like I was fighting an uphill battle to get my name out there, my pieces just right, my customers happy, and so on. What I failed to acknowledge is how many strides I also made in 2015. Some bigger than others, but still strides nonetheless.
What were these strides, you ask? Here’s a few of note:
- I launched my custom wedding business. This was probably my most exciting initiative in 2015. It’s still VERY new, but I took on many more clients that I had anticipated, and I’ve absolutely loved working with so many men and women to create unique engagement rings and wedding bands. I’m working on a made-to-order wedding band line to fully launch in 2016 (you can see a few pieces already up here), and I can’t wait to continue growing this portion of my business.
- Speaking of weddings…I got married! I decided to plan my wedding during my busiest time of year (smart, I know), so I went straight into holiday-work-mode after returning from my honeymoon. The wedding itself was simple and exactly what I hoped, and of course I loved making our wedding bands.
- I expanded my line into nine new stores in six states. This felt like a huge learning curve, but one with big rewards. I learned a lot about pricing, designing line sheets, reaching out to stores, etc, and I still feel like I’m totally off my game with this one. However, I was so proud to be able to expand my line outside of DC into some really awesome stores. This is a huge priority for me in 2016 – if you have any store recommendations, please leave them in the comments!
- I hired an accountant. Sexy, I know, but this was BY FAR my biggest victory in 2015. I came to the realization (way too late), that numbers are not my strong suite. I was spending countless hours trying to learn accounting software that was way over my head. So I bit the bullet and hired a lovely accountant who has made my day-to-day life immensely easier, and has given me a way strong picture of how my business is operating.
- I moved into a studio! After over a year of working out of my one bedroom apartment (and slowly driving my husband insane in the process), an opportunity came up for me to love into a workspace with a few other awesome local artists. I didn't feel that i was *totally* ready to make this jump, but it was too good to pass up, and i'm SO glad I took the risk. Being able to have a dedicated workspace has allowed me to become way more organized, and also made a distinct separation between work and home life (although the computer is still my enemy...working on that this year!).
- I invested in myself (financially, at least). Again, not the most glamorous, but this one made me feel super successful. I was able to take a lot of my income from this year and put it back into some courses I’ve been wanting to take, jewelry production classes, paying off part of my student loans and my wedding, and purchasing a much-needed new laptop. In 2016, my biggest priority is investing in myself mentally and physically as well – hopefully that means more rest days!
So what’s in store for 2016? My biggest goal is to make my successes and well-being a much higher priority. I’m well aware there will still be the day-to-day battles that every small business owner faces, but I also think there’s a whole lot of room for encouraging my own personal growth, along with the growth of other creatives I deeply admire.
As we dive into the new year, I hope everyone can take a moment to pause and reflect on the victories that 2015 offered. Thanks for a great year, and looking forward to another one!