Our Year So Far
- We started out 2016 moving out of our studio space, which was totally a lifestyle decision, not a money one. It took us over a month to clear out our house to make room for our studio equipment and then actually pack up, move, and unpack everything in.
- After we finally sold our house in April, we spent almost two months living out of our moving truck, with less than a week's worth of clothes in our suitcase. Our business came to a complete standstill as we had no way of shipping orders, receiving stockist checks, or pretty much anything one needs to pay printers and contributors. It also pushed back our entire editorial schedule, so that we could only publish three issues before the end of the year, which further reduced our income this year. (The fourth issue for 2016 is coming up though, we just didn't want to ship during Christmas and New Year's!)
- On top of all of that, one half of our two person team lost his day job earlier this month, which was the only thing keeping us able to pay our mortgage and fill in any cashflow gaps for the business.
What went well.
- Our design is, in our opinion, the best it's ever been.
- Error and typo rates are lower than ever.
- Issue themes have been really helpful in focusing our work and assisting us when we try to explain what each issue "is" to someone who's never heard of us.
- We've been more consistent on social media than ever before, and our response time to social media messages and comments is great right now. We put a big focus on Instagram because 1) we love it and 2) it helps us share our lives every day - we really love showing the behind-the-scenes of our work there.
What didn't go so well.
- Because we're trying to do day jobs to keep the lights on, we have to be very focused on our time management. That means Monday might be stockist work, Tuesday might be shipping orders, Wednesday is customer emails all day, etc. Our email response times haven't been up to our standards because of this. We've already been working to remedy it, but it's a work in progress.
- During all the hard times of this year, we've also realized that our business doesn't work in its current form. Every money problem that could come up has come up in 2016 - from stockists, to contributor payments, to paying our printing bills, it all caught up to us. (In our worst income year by far - great timing, right?) We've been working so hard to fix it all, but we're not businesspeople, so it's taken so much longer than we expected. This manifested itself in having to push issues back further and further - if we had no money, we had no way of printing or shipping. This compounds every season.
What's sparking our change
So from now on:
- We're printing only what is sold during the pre-order period, leaving just a couple hundred issues extra.
- We're shipping everything by ourselves again, rather than delegating it to expensive and slow-shipped shipping houses.
- We're dropping the seasons from our issue titles, because they don't accurately describe the content of our now themed issues, and confuse people into thinking they can only buy a fall issue in the fall, and can't in the winter.
- We're focusing on expanding our freelance design work, making our digital work amazing and our accompanying kitchen products even more useful, to help diversify our income.
- We're switching from high-minimums offset printing back to more-flexible digital printing.
What are the benefits of digital? What makes it different from offset?
Thank you so much for being with us through this wild year - we've found more resolve to keep doing what we're doing, only to be even better in 2017. We hope you love it and see only good things for us next year. <3