Recently I really haven’t been breaking into the top hundred, in Spoonflower’s design
competitions. I’ve scored 103rd in the neutrals challenge, and 177 in the cheater quilt challenge. Now admittedly, there were over 800 designs in the neutrals challenge and over 500 in the cheater quilt challenge. On top of this both challenges were well outside of my normal realm of designs, while still looking fairly unique to me. Overall I am incredibly pleased with the results, and feel they are rather badass myself.
That said I would always love to place higher. This current weeks challenge (voting started today) Is Halloween Embroidery. I was initially going to skip it as, the theme really didn’t register with me, and I really didn’t get what they want. However after seeing a few other people say the same and stretch the rules a bit. I decided to enter a design I created in the last week. After conferring with a few other people, I was informed that it had embroidery type elements and that it would be really fun to see someone embroider parts of it to highlight the design. Anyway here is my design. Sphynx Halloween stripe as always I would really love to have your vote! Regardless I will be ordering proofs for all three designs tonight. Also all three designs are available for purchase as finished garments on my various POD sites.
My best sales of the year come in the summer where I sell swim trunks. After this my best sales come around Christmas, where I mainly sell ugly Christmas sweaters this one in particular. However in between the two (summer and Christmas) my sales dry up a little. This year I am hoping to counteract that a little, so I am uploading quite a few Halloween designs, some things that can double as Halloween costumes, and some ugly Halloween sweaters! This month I also plan on getting a few breast cancer awareness things uploaded as awareness month is also in October. With both I am trying to keep them different from what you would find anywhere else. There will be some reworked familiar designs, like my Halloween sphynx, as well as all new designs created this year, such as my jack o’lantern faces, and pop culture references such as my lights and letter.
I will keep up uploading as many Halloween/ spooky/horror/costume designs as I can until probably early October, where I will decide it is probably to late to get a Halloween themed item in time. At which point I will start attacking Christmas themed designs with full force. I already have a few worked up, that I’m just waiting until closer to the season to upload, and I got to say I am really excited.
I don’t always get designs uploaded early enough to be purchased in time for the holidays, particularly on spoonflower, where users need designs a few months in advance, so that makers can sew up holiday themed garments and decorations, but I really enjoy the challenge of creating them. peaking of holidays I hope that they are great for you! Thanks as always for reading
Recently I have been slowing my roll on how many designs I churn out. I have a few designs I have been meaning to get to and just haven’t been able to find the time. Some of the designs are as simple as a design I have already done, just in another color, and I still can’t get it done. Maybe its the stress of life, I’ve gotten burnt out on designing, or the time is legitimately not there, I don’t know. That said the designs I have found the time to create recently, I feel have been of a higher quality.
RageOn, one of the POD sites I use has recently changed their uploader. It now has more items I can sell on, but the downside is: I can only upload one item at a time. In the past I could upload a design and say I wanted it on 20 items, and a customer could just scroll through those items and pic the one they want. Now if i want multiple items they have to take up multiple sales slots, which basically just clutters up my store and makes things harder to find for customers. All this said if you ever see a design you like and it isn’t currently offered on the product of your choice, feel free to shoot me a message and I will see what I can do to help you out.
Today I waited anxiously for the winners of spoonflower’s latest contest to be announced, as I was fairly certain I was in the top 50 if not the top 10 (which means I would get free proofing on my design). I did not, they actually proofed the top 72 designs this week because of ties and what not. I came in at 103rd place, which is still rather respectable considering that there were 860 designs in the contest last week. I earned my spot with 91 votes! The even crazier part of this (at least to me) was that there where only 11 votes difference between my design and the design that placed 72nd, and even the winner only had 222 votes.
I was only 11 votes away. 11 votes equaled 30 places this week! I’m not drilling this in because I know “you” didn’t vote, and why didn’t you, but because I know often I will feel “what does one vote matter?” Well this week if just one vote (and ten more) my design would have been in a completely different bracket. Not only that but the time I actually managed to break into the top 10, the design that came in 11th place had one less vote than me. As dumb and clique as it sounds every vote really does matter, and I’m lucky to have every one that I get.
Thank you to all the people that have believed in me so far!!! You want to help me out with just one vote this week? you can vote for my newest design here.
Hey I’m back from a brief hiatus…. ok it wasn’t that brief. Taking a break really wasn’t planned, it got late the day I decided to do it, so i decided to do it tomorrow. After I missed a few days I decided I didn’t need to have one every week so no big deal, eventually it became something like a month, and if I didn’t write soon, good luck with me every starting it back up.
Thank God for POD
no not the band “payable on Death” though I did cut my teeth on them growing up, Print on Demand (POD) saved my butt this month. For various reasons we came up a bit short last month, in total we were about a months pay short. Naturally we still had bills to pay, and doing so with that much income “missing” was a little nerve racking. Fortunately I have been doing decently on POD sites, and I leaned heavily on the income I have made from them this year, all our bills got payed without to much drama, and we hardly had to tighten our belts at all.
I normally briefly mention proofing new fabrics, well during my blogging break I actually proofed quite a few designs. I proofed well over 100 designs during my hiatus. I currently have 1063 designs available for sale. I proofed so much I got a little burnt out from designing, and I’m not sure how long it will take to put together my next 42. In the mean time, here is my most recent batch of proofs:
Its a tad blurry, i really need to get better at taking photos. I got in some last minute christmas designs, a few breast cancer awareness designs, as well as some sewing themed designs (which i have meant to do forever)
I haven’t been knocking it out of the park with my contests of late.
319th in “dinosaurs”
439th in “feline frenzy”
606th in the most recent “color blocking contest”
and it doesn’t look like my moth entry is going to do much better. However you can vote for it in this weeks contest now: moths
I may have gone a bit morbid…..
All this said, I believe my entry for next weeks challenge “neutral resort” will do rather well.
A while back I mentioned I had ordered myself a collared shirt with one of my designs printed on it, and that I planned on talking more about it in the future.
I ordered this shirt from the print on demand site artsadd I don’t use the site often, because I haven’t gotten any traffic. The material of the shirt itself is a really thin polyester, but seems to be a decent quality. It being so thing makes it a pretty nice shirt for the summer weather, although it probably wouldn’t be the most ideal for winter wear. My wife the seamstress in the family said that stitching was done well, and the buttons are good, tho she said she will replace them with something that is more fitting for a shirt with this design. One of the coolest things about designing on artsadd is that I could personalize this to my hearts content, adding multiple designs if i wanted. The price is also the lowest I have ever seen for this type of product, half of what I have seen on other sites. Another bonus for me they take Paypal. The only real negative I noticed was that somehow the design prited larger on the back, I wish there was a way to tell the uploader that I wanted the designs uniform, but over all its a pretty minor problem.
The only other thing that could be an issue for some people, is that it is a Chinese company, and China is known for their lax (non existent) copyright laws/ enforcement. I know plenty of artists that have had their designs ripped off, which is hard enough to fight in the US where the laws can actually be enforced. The theory is that having a good design printed through a Chinese company will just make the theft easier. I however am of the mind that if you have a good enough design, someone will steal it regardless. If I spend all of my time worrying about design theft, I won’t be creating new things.
While in Maine I thought of a design that I thought would be cool. So I spent a few days working on it. I was fairly happy with it.
So I decided to see if there were any contests coming up that I could justify entering it in. Turns out that the next contest was “Dog Days” so perfect!!!! While I’m not expecting a win, I did get quite a bit of positive responses to the design. On top of that I have two people requesting I let them know as soon as it is available for sale!! Voting for the design closed today, so I will find out how I placed on Thursday (not that high placements guarantee sales).
The next weeks theme was Dinosaurs, and I also made a design for that. Voting for that begins on Thursday!
I haven’t had near as much response to this design, but I have had one person still request that I let them know when it is available for sale. So regardless of placement, I got the desired exposure I wanted for both the designs.
I’m also hoping to enter a few more contests this month, I can only hope that get half the attention that these two designs did.
For anyone who has been following my wife or I on instagram ( B0rwear or Somecrafters) or on facebook you couldn’t help but noticing that we were getting ready for a steampunk faire. For about a month my fabric and clothing designs took a back burner as I worked on cranking out steampunk art pieces (I’ll get into the steps behind some of them at a future date) For the last week our dinning room table was completely covered, and we were regulated to eating in the living room, while we made final preparations.
We loaded the minivan, packing it to the roof, leaving barely enough room to fit our kids in with us. Then we made the 12 hour drive to my in-laws house in Maine. They live about a hour away from the event, so we try and make this a dual purpose trip, as we are a lower income family, and coming up with the few hundred dollars to make the trip can make things rather tight. That said we had high hopes, we had attended this event last year, and we broke even on our expenses. So this year even if we did poorly, we should at least pay for the gas and tolls there and back, making this a quite reasonable trip to see family.
Last year was a good start, so we upped our game this year, making even bigger, and cooler pieces. We had modest expectations to do a little better than last year, and set some money aside for our planned Christmas vacation. But nothing could prepare us for what happened: We didn’t sell a single thing…. The event was canceled the night before, well, technically it was postponed, but as we are from away it was all rather the same to us. One of the two main event coordinators had a sudden stroke (the other is their spouse), and our hearts truly do go out to them. That said there is no disguising the fact that it was still a mighty blow to us.
After some discussing we came to terms with it (not that we really had any choice). Temporarily things would be rather tight, but wouldn’t permanently damage us. Unfortunately we looked around and we didn’t see any craft fairs or steampunk events we could afford, unless they were 5+ hours away, we did find a local yard sale/flea market to try, but we don’t expect many of our items to really be able to be sold unless we are at a dedicated maker type event, where people are expecting to buy homemade goods. I also might be able to sell some of the t-shirts over facebook, and instagram, but from past experience I might sell up to 5. In the end it mostly looked like we would be holding on to everything until next year.
Resigned we packed the van back up to take EVERYTHING back home, and, honestly, we really were okay with it. However, when we got home, and we began to load things into the empty places we had just removed them from the week before, it hit us like a ton of bricks. The whole process was incredibly heartbreaking. In the end I really don’t have a takeaway point from this, its not going to break us, and we are going to keep on trucking, but, man, did I have to vent, because this sucked. I also think that often we (all crafters, or designers) can be quite quick to share all of our highs, but we don’t necessarily share when everything goes wrong.
Today (or rather the day i originally planned to post this) really sucked, and not in a my depression was flaring up kind of way, it was just a dog of a day. First I work around heaters and dryers, and with the additional heat of summer just starting it was hot as balls. I was printing some shirts for a customer, that were quite a few screens, and nothing wanted to line up, which translates to: it was really hard to print and look ok, and because of that it took me twice as long to get done what should have been a quick job. Furthermore I misremembered what a customer had asked for so I printed some shirts with the wrong color YAY!!! but i’m not going to focus on that, all those things sucked (and some of them could have been costly) They legitimately had a right to make my day awful.
However today was also great. I made a sale or two, something I often forget to be grateful for, now that they happen more frequently. My bosses dad stopped by the shop, and he brought me a soda. This sounds really small, but as I already mentioned I was super hot, and I had just about polished off my tumbler of water, I really needed another drink. I was able to get the last of some designs uploaded so I was ready to order samples from spoonflower this always get me excited, but today I was ordering a whole lot of them!!! and finally my wife texted me to tell me about some time sensitive mail I had gotten. Naturally I assumed it was spam, and marked so falsely so I would open it, or it was bill related in some way, I had been told to look out for some paper work to set up a payment plan for our propane.
My wife sent me a picture, and it was bigger than I expected. So i said “huh maybe thats the shirt I ordered?” to which she said “yeah it was, I just opened it” (because we have the type of relationship where we open each others mail, unless specifically told not to), and she sent me back this picture.
After a rough day this was a thing of beauty. I had ordered myself a colored shirt with one of my designs on it, and had been rather impatiently waiting for it. I love it, and I’ll talk more about it later.
So all in all I guess today was pretty good after all.
This post is in one way or another all about growth.
The new “employee”
The first thing which is really cool, now that it is the summer my wife is determined to help me grow b0rwear, by starting her own Instagram, writing on the blog, and sewing my fabric from spoonflower. Some of her blog posts and Instagram pictures will have to do with the “brand” and some won’t, but they will all sorta tie into the “business” of we are a crafting family who needs to create things. She has also really started taking over the pushing my facebook page, something i’m really terrible with, or at least don’t want feel pushy and do. This is something we planned to get started on last year, but life comes up, and it gets really intimidating. She has latched on with fervor this year tho, already sewing up a few projects (I say as she is actively avoiding finishing a shirt for me, as I type this).
Mile stone numbers
When I proofed my last 42 patterns with Spoonflower I reached 800 patterns available to be ordered as fabric!!!!!! It seems like just yesterday I was announcing I had 500 available, and when I set goals for this year, I said I am not going to say I will have 1000 by the end of the year, because I don’t want to push myself like that, well guess what provided something crazy doesn’t happen: I will have well over one thousand designs ready for people to sew their own personal projects with. by the way here is my newest 42.
The next mile stone I actually haven’t hit yet, but it looks like this week I should hit 500 followers on IG, which pots me one step closer to hitting my goal of 1000 by the end of the year. Follow me at @b0rwear if you want to help get me their, or you want more frequent updates. Also as an added bonus I plan on doing a small giveaway through my IG when I reach 500 (its just a FAY full of samples I ordered, but..)
I’ve come how far?
I’m going to talk real numbers now, sales numbers. I probably won’t do this a ton, but I have stated before I want to be super open about the process here, and offer a really open book example of design. I also wanted to show the evolution from being a nobody to being a fairly well to do designer. With that in mind I’m going to be pretty frank.
I remember telling my wife just a few months ago: “I sell something almost every week, and if i don’t sell something every other week I start to get a little grumpy. I’m almost never getting grumpy!” This was maybe in Oct. of 2018. Before that I was excited if I made a sale every month, and before that I was excited if I made any sales at all. I’ve mentioned before, I started offering my stuff online, on a whim, and have done far better than I have any right to have (particularly with that mentality). As I was thinking the other week, now I start wondering what I’ve done wrong if I don’t make a sale every other day. As I thought about it more I thought “I think I might have actually made a sale every day this month” So I decided to check, with that said here are my numbers from 4 sites for the month of May:
Now I want to be completely honest some of these I didn’t make much money at all. Around half of my sales on RageOn made less than $3, and about half on Redbubble probably made less than a dollar (yay sticker sales) but when you consider that less than a year ago I was happy making a single sale a week, and now its almost every single day, that’s some amazing growth. Its hard to see growth while it is happening, because while it is happening it just feels normal. As I mentioned earlier now I wonder if something went wrong because I’ve gone a “whole two days” without activity, I’m sure to some people like my one design friend that made a whopping one sale last month, that can sound condescending, but a year maybe two ago that was my reality as well. But I get so caught up in now, that its only when I look back I realize that the things I might feel discontent with are actually amazing, and past me would have killed for. Honestly I feel so incredibly blessed, and if you have been part of that, even if it was only giving some pointers, answering some questions, or telling me I could do it, I want to sincerely thank you.
thanks for reading guys, and remember you can do it too.