Monday, December 21, 2015

Year in Review

What a year!  The big mile stone was launching All Natural Toy Plans on Etsy.  What a neat little experience.  There are some things that I have learned and things that I definitely need to improve on. I have enjoyed talking with people all over the world because of putting things on the internet.  It is very obvious that products sell more than plans, but plans are the product that provide conversations.  Customer service and marketing has always been a struggle.  My shipments are literally is a box.  I finally put my logo on the return address.  I need to put some sort of thank you card in there but really have never thought about it.  I have also learned that people ask for information so I had a couple of business cards printed to carry around.  Still learning Etsy and it is always nice to see a sale on the account.  I am learning that the larger more expensive toys do not sell as well as the smaller ones.  I do not have a lot of small toys in the shop, but hope to change that this year.
Highlights of this year:
  • Two of the biggest were already mentioned.  I started an Etsy store and made enough in sales that I funded my projects.
  • Did a little bit of shop work.  I made the sanding cart this year.  It holds all the supplies for making toys.  All my wheels, pegs, and accessories are in organized drawers along with all my sanding equipment.  This is a great addition to the shop.
  • Completed a bunch of Christmas presents and that was no easy task.  There were 12 sets of nativity keys and 3 nativity boxes.  Sadly I did not find another Christmas project I liked to make this year.  I did figure out the way I wanted to hang my set of keys.  Now I just need to finish it.  I found next year's project.  Now I have to find out if I can use it.
Goals that I had this year:
  • Start an online store front.  That is done and in process.  I can't be done because if I go stagnant it will never grow.  This project was long over due and have had success with it.  This year I fully funded my wood working projects.  Something that I have never been able to do.
  • Continue designing.  I did it again this year.  Made some changes and built some pretty need toys.  This will be an ongoing goal.
  • The scroll saw association has been fun.  There are a lot of good people and fun to be around.  I bring one of my kids to each meeting.  Sometimes they listen, most of the time they play on the phone.  Last year they tried to make me the president and it didn't work.  Maybe this year I will work on their web-based advertising.  They really do not have an online presence.
Favorite projects this year:
  • Favorite is the tow truck.  Simple design that posed some challenges.  It solved some of the problems that I have had with other designs.   The tow truck has also withstood the beatings that my kids have put it though.  A feat that I cannot say with other designs.
  • The second will not make my wife pleased but it was the rubber band gun.  This is one that I did not design.  This project is one of my favorite builds not projects.  It came at a time where I just needed something simple, quick and fun for me.  The trucks and toys are great and fun to watch the kids play with them.  I needed a little bit of stress relief and this provided it.  I do not have any of the rubber band guns in my possession.
Goals for 2016:
  • This is where my business sense falls a part.  I plan on releasing more plans, however, I do not know how to grow the business or promote it.  I have a smaller set of trucks that I am currently working on which are not friendly to small kids (under 3).  This is to hit the lower price point product.
  • I am almost done with the car carrier.  That should be a quick finish.
  • I need to have more kids over to play with the toys that I make.  It really does not do much for my  enjoyment (it is actually a little stressful) but my kids enjoy it and they are proud of the toys.
 Here is to another fun year. 

No comments:

Post a Comment