Labor Day Painting Sale & Life Update

Labor Day Sale!-2

This may be the longest it’s ever been since my last update. I’ve been trying to plan better and be more consistent in my business and in life but, as they often do, unforeseen obstacles have gotten in the way.

I guess it’s finally time to admit that our relocation has been more of a nightmare than an adventure. I tried to be optimistic and make the best of it, and I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed certain aspects of life in this area, but “normal moving stress” and obnoxious neighbors gave way to a series of disappointments, specifically a lack of business and personal connections, and finally what I consider betrayal from our friends/Joe’s business partner who we followed here.

This is probably not the place to go into detail, so suffice it to say that they behaved with incredible selfishness and unprofessionalism and, intentionally or not, did a lot of damage to our lives and the gym. And in the end, they weren’t the ones to stick around and deal with it. It’s hard to explain in such vague terms without sounding like I’m being petty, but I’ don’t want to start drama, I just feel the need to share what’s been going on in order to move forward.

It didn’t help that I was, and still am, trying to manage recurring major depression with basically no support system. I think the hardest part was losing faith in myself and other people, because the red flags were all there. We knew better. But whether out of goodwill or desperation, we gave the benefit of the doubt anyway. Either way, it’s shocking to be treated like nothing more than a means to an end by people who said they cared. At least I’ve learned that my instincts are usually right, if I would just listen to them.

As all of this was coming to an end, Joe found out with about a month’s notice that he’d be deploying for the fourth time. We knew this was a possibility and I was honestly never sold on living here, so my backup plan was – surprise! – temporarily moving to Asheville, where I hope the plentiful art, good food, nice people, and beautiful mountains will remind me what it feels like to enjoy life.

You may remember I’ve tried this before, and maybe I’m being stupid, but logistically it’s more realistic this time. We’re just renting and we want to move closer to town anyway, so in between, I’ll put most of our stuff in storage and find a small place for me and the cats.

My online inventory may change a bit as I try to take advantage of local shows, galleries, and other activities, but I plan to keep my shop running and updated. Maybe I’ll even blog and make YouTube videos again! Either way, I’m sure there will be plenty of inspiration for new projects.

So on that note, I’m participating in Etsy’s Labor Day sale with 30% off all paintings in My Shop, including minis, magnets, and ornaments, to try to reduce some of my larger/more damageable stock before I have to pack it. It runs from the August 30th to September 3rd with a preview today.

If you’ve read this far, I want you to know that even though I’ve fallen behind with certain things, it has meant the world to me to have my business and its growing support network to focus on through these struggles. I may have largely gone without friends or opportunities in person, but at least there’s the Internet, right? So thank you guys and I hope you’ll stick with me and see what’s next in the coming months!

New Sale/Clearance Section

It’s been a busy year so far with steady orders since the holidays and lots of new projects as usual. I’m especially excited to be selling more and more of my brand new designs. But at the same time, I have lots of older ones still sitting in my studio, especially since I have all my local stock back.

So I decided to take advantage of Etsy’s awesome new sales features and start an ongoing clearance section. Currently the discounts range from 30-50% off, depending on the item and how long it’s been in my shop. I plan to update it regularly and might even include some newer items to see what happens.

I’m offering everything from art to jewelry to handmade supplies – including my prototype crochet hooks, which will be discounted on an ongoing basis based on availability – and I hope you’ll take a look from time to time! It’s a great way to get a rare deal on a unique item for yourself or a gift!

Click the shop link in the menu or go to the Sale Section right here!

Introducing Planner Accessories!

It’s January again and time for planning and organizing! I have to admit I haven’t yet written down my goals for the year, because things have not entirely slowed down since December. But my shop had a wonderful holiday season – I met some goals, sold lots of new designs, improved my workflow, and got to connect with more of you, both buyers and fellow sellers, on social media – and I have some ideas for this year involving more new product lines, sales, collaborations, and supporting other shops.

For now, I would like to introduce my new planner accessories! I’ve been making more and more cane designs in various themes and I’ve realized I can use them for a lot of other things besides jewelry, in this case, planner clips and planner charms. Each cane design is unique, but because I can get so many pieces out of them, I’m able to make some simple, affordable items.

The planner accessories feature themes from floral to animals to seasonal and more, and the clips come in two sizes and finishes. I have also been using more of the cane slices and leftover resin from jewelry batches to make some adorable keychains.

These are a perfect way to add some fun and cuteness to your planning, or find the perfect gift for a planner-obsessed friend! Check them out at Pastiche Accessories, and stay tuned for more exciting developments this year!

Website Update & Clearance Sale

After careful consideration, I have decided to close my Shopify store for now. I really wanted to have a fully functioning ecommerce website of my own, but unfortunately it has not brought in enough sales to cover the fees or the time I spend updating it. I know I could have done a better job of self-promotion, but right now it’s just not realistic.

This is not necessarily a negative thing. In addition to running my Etsy shops, I finally have my items in two brick and mortar stores, one local and one in another state. Simplifying my online presence a bit will help me keep up with everything.

I’m adding pages to this blog, which will serve as my website going forward and will link to my Etsy. I will also be moving my art listings back over to my jewelry shop, so when you click over to the shop page, everything is in one place. They even offer guest checkout now, which is convenient for new customers.

So before I close in about a week, please take advantage of 50% off any remaining items at NoelleLewisArt.com with coupon code “CLOSING50.” Of course, you will still be able to purchase my art, jewelry, and other items any time on Etsy, but I won’t be doing sales like this often! 

I probably could have made things easier for myself (and maybe less annoying for you) with better planning, but much like life, building a business is a learning process. So thanks for staying up-to-date, and please let me know if you have any suggestions! 

Local Update: Handmade Marketplace Booth

About a year after relocating, I finally found a local spot to sell my handmade items. 

If you didn’t read my post about moving, my husband left active duty military to start a gym with some friends. I chose to be optimistic that our relocation would be an adventure and not a disappointment. I guess it’s been a little of both. 

Besides the usual stress of moving and the challenges of adjusting to civilian life, we have had some unexpected difficulties and found ourselves pretty isolated in the life we choose to live as business owners. But we have enjoyed slowing down, spending more time together, and finding little things to appreciate about this unique and interesting area.

I had also planned to get my work into some local shops or galleries, and for a while, my search was very discouraging. But I finally found a new shop in Lebanon that specializes in handmade, recycled, and vintage items from local artists and businesses. As soon as they had a booth I could afford, I reserved it. Now there’s a little display in the back full of my jewelry, accessories, cards, and even a few paintings. 

I’m hopeful that this will be a great opportunity for me, not only as a way to grow my business, but a way to be a little more involved in the community. Check out The Marketplace at the Mill’s Facebook Page, and if you’re local, see my stuff and more in the shop upstairs! 

Website Update – New Platform

Last year I decided to try again with running a website in addition to my Etsy shops. I committed to a six month plan with Weebly, and my bare minimum goal was to make enough sales to cover the fees. It took me almost the full six months, and only one of those sales came from someone I didn’t already coordinate with elsewhere, but it happened (and I appreciate every single order). 

So I’m going to continue running my website, but with a different platform. Weebly was easy to use, reasonably affordable, and had most of the features I wanted. But for a few dollars more (or less, depending on the timeframe) Shopify will give me a couple things that were missing from my site, as well as the ability to sell directly on Facebook and Pinterest.

It’s taken some work to get set up again, and to keep a website going in general, but I’m excited about having even more possibilities for my business. Customers will have more ways to shop, and I hope to be able to focus on doing my best work instead of competing with what’s trendy in a certain marketplace or trying to keep up with constant updates (I’m referring to Etsy, of course, but I will still be taking advantage of their built-in traffic). 

I’m starting with a monthly plan but would love to commit to a year as soon as I can afford it. This would save me a little money, but mostly it would motivate me to make it work. I think most of my failed attempts to branch out in the past were not so much about the platform but the fact that I wasn’t ready and didn’t realize how long it would take to see results. 

This year has gotten off to a rough start but I think things are going in a good direction and I hope I’m right. So if you would like to support my work, please check out The New Shop, share with some friends, or give some feedback here. If you’re a fan of My Facebook Page, you can use the discount coupon at the top of the page for your first purchase! 

New Year Goals

So I’ll be honest, I’ve never been much of a New Year’s resolution person. It seems like they’re usually unrealistic, and I don’t think the date on the calendar makes everything suddenly change (sorry if I’m stepping on any toes). But I do think it’s a great time for evaluating your life and setting goals. 

My husband and I have been spending some time discussing those goals. Joe decided to share his by going live on Facebook, whereas I’m more of a writer than a speaker. Either way, making a record of your goals can make them more effective. Sharing them does the same and can also encourage others.

So I’m going to briefly share some of my goals for the year here, starting with my business goals. 

1. Making $5000 in sales. I’m somewhere in between those who just started selling their crafts and those who actually make a living, so this number might sound like a lot or not much at all. For me, it’s a good balance of ambitious and attainable, and that motivates me. 

2. Finishing one painting every month (and hopefully selling one a month too). My focus has been on jewelry because it’s easier for me to make and sell. I love it, but I also love painting too much to keep neglecting it, however unrealistic it may be. There is something sort of tragic about seeing beauty all around you and not doing anything with it, or doing something and not being able to share it.

3. Speaking of jewelry, I want to narrow down my products to things I enjoy making and my fans enjoy buying. Because really, what’s the point of making a bunch of stuff that’s just one or the other?  I’ve always had a hard time with making up my mind, but I plan to work on getting more feedback, too. 

And now for the personal stuff (but not too personal at the moment).

1. Connecting with and supporting my husband. Our transition to civilian life has been challenging, financially and otherwise, but I’m finally starting to feel like our life is our own, and we’re in it together. I love that our passion for our businesses, however different, is something we can share. So it’s a great time to reconnect and figure out how best to help each other. 

2. Exploring the local area and/or meeting people. I am honestly pretty okay with spending most of my time at home, alone, working or relaxing. Especially having spent the last several years in a place that was very limited in terms of things I wanted to experience or get involved in, and people I could actually connect with. But having relocated, I might be ready to make an effort.

3. Adjusting my schedule. I kind of hate talking about this one. I love my (extreme) night owl life for getting creative work done in those silent, magical midnight hours, but things like errands and plans would be a lot easier if I had just a little bit more daylight.

So I guess that’s it for now. I may not be expecting a miracle year, but I hope I can make the most of it and work toward what’s important to me, and I wish the same for you! 

Do you have some professional or personal goals to work on this year? Leave a comment!