Thursday, February 21, 2008

daydreaming about changes

I've been thinking a lot lately about the future of my little business. I'm starting to get my groove back and am ready to start putting a little more energy into the store, the blog, and my creative endeavors.

One thing that has happened, perhaps a blessing in disguise, is that orders really almost stopped completely since Baby arrived. I have to admit though it scares me a bit. Even before Baby arrived, orders were slower and fewer between than in years' past and last year was the first year in my history where I didn't do better than the previous year.

When I first started this business over 8 1/2 years ago, there were practically no other small boutiques like Inspire Co. online. I was a bit of a pioneer. Now it's a little like the Gold Rush and I'm one of many. I'm putting myself out there a little to say that. I'm happy that so many people are opening stores like mine and are doing so well. But, well, I'm wondering where I fit into it all.

So these days, in between diaper changes and spoons of applesauce, I'm daydreaming about Inspire Co. and about making some changes, big and small.

28 comments:

Heather said...

I can definitely understand where you are coming from. I haven't been reading your blog very long, but I really adore your site over many others because of the things you offer. I found you through a blog of a blog of a blog, and you have been on my favorites list ever since.

I recently pulled my stuff off Etsy because of what you remarked about sales being low and started my own website because it was more frugal. I definitely think that buying has been heavily affected by the recession in the housing market. I am hoping it will pick back up soon. So, don't worry, I don't think it's you!

Susan said...

I think everyone is just pinching pennies right now (I know I am.) When the economy isn't so great, people usually cut back on discretionary funding first. I think you have a lovely site, and a lovely shop. And you are an "idea person"- always one step ahead of the pack. I'm sure anything you do will be wonderful (and profitable!)

Kelly said...

Amy, nobody does the "small boutique" quite like you! You are a true, glitter-y original!

updycrafts said...

Amy,
you were the first blog I ever read (didn't even know what a blog was), my first online boutique purchase (charm bracelet) and the most unique person I have ever had the opportunity to meet.
Life takes you in so many directions and I know they all make sense to God, not necessarily to us. I know you will be wonderful at whatever you choose to do and will continue to inspire the masses!

Anonymous said...

You go girl!! You are indeed the e-pioneer of all things cute and twee! :)
xoxo
Teresa McFayden

Erin said...

After seeing your baby room... may I suggest that there is a huge need for homespun baby rooms! I think you could do a bang up job of making pretty children's room designs!

Rrebeck said...

Sweetie, you never lost your groove. You just put it on hold a bit while making a little darling's life that much better. You have a ton of fans/friends always ready to stop by and shop, comment or commiserate, don't you worry. And we could all use a change, big or small, every now and then. It keeps us growing and learning. I can't wait to see what you have in store (double meaning, of course) for us next.

xx
becky rourk

Anonymous said...

Amy, you are my very best friend and we have grown together. The good and the bad, we have been there for each other. You inspire me and so many others out there. You are living your dream right here, right now. Don't forget about all the brainstorming sessions and fun times we have had building our sites over the years. Let's go to lunch and get going on all the new ideas I know you have! Make a list and Sweetwater...here we come! I love you girl. XXOO - Deb

Heather - Speckled Egg said...

Hi Amy!
Your blog was my first adventure in blogland. Your ideas and style have always been truly delightful and unique. I honestly can't wait to see what you do next! I am sure it will be wonderful and successful!
Hugs,
Heather

Bari said...

Amy,
You were a pioneer out here on the web! You were one of my first sources of inspiration. I do think the economy plays into it a lot right now. But I know how you feel. It does feel like everyone is rushing toward the same goal. I feel like everyone is doing what I am. It gives me a lot of grief... like I'm running in circles. Trying to not look too much at the world around me and just do what I love is really difficult.

I know that you have fabulous ideas and whatever you decide to do it will be wonderful!
Have fun with baby. And thanks for the glimpse of the cutie nose in your last post... now we need some cutie toes!
Smiles,
Bari

Jen@The Cottage Nest said...

There may be others out there but you are one of a kind. I think the economy is impacting people all over. I hope that you never give up.

*Ruth Harsham* said...

Hi Amy,
Are we in parallel universes or what?? I promise you, I typed almost the SAME EXACT words to Donna Norris at Romantic Homes late last year (ad person I deal with there). She had been keeping on top of me for months encouraging me to get back into the ad world again after a long run of monthly ads...I wrote her almost the exact same story...'biz has dropped off the charts for unknown reasons ('maybe because you QUIT YOUR ADS!', I could just hear Donna thinking!) and I just can't justify the expense, I want to enjoy my daughter while I have her around, I'm restoring a historic home, etc., etc...Christmas 2007 came and went, our home was on a local holiday home tour (LOTS OF WORK! but fun) and then 2008 began and with it a huge new surge of interest, excitement and energy for my biz! I've been redesigning my site, started a blog (I know, I'm late to the game...) and I feel more energized about it all than I did when I started in 1999 (HELLO! Just like you!!). I remember you from 'way back' -- we WERE like the pioneers...I remember your ads in the same mags I was in and I remember keeping up with your website since we were kind of like sisters in the online world, just starting out. So, how weird, how amazing that unbeknownst to us we've been traveling the same road but in different parts of the country. I feel like I'm 'back on the block' now and kind of like "Look out world -- I'm back!" ;) I hope I don't jinx it, though, by so much self-confidence...Who knows, check back with me in a couple months...hope I'm still singing this same upbeat tune! Hope you are, too, sistah! ;)
-- Ruth

paige said...

i love your creative cheerful individualism & always am inspired by you. keep us posted & best wishes as you reflect & refuel
xo

Lori Ann said...

Dear Amy,
I just wanted to say . . bless you! I am just catching up no the last 6 months of your blog, & wanted to let you know that you and your husband are doing a wonderful thing in becoming foster parents! My son is adopted, a little different circumstances, but I have had off and on contact with his birth mother all these years. Above everything else, I always felt honored to be a part of his life. Every at risk child in this world needs someone to be there . . . and a strong influence. You will be remembered with every child you touch! My son is now 26 . . and even from day one I never thought him any different than a child I would have given birth to! I know you will face many joys as well as some heartaches in this journey . . . BUT . . you will make a difference in the lives of these children! Bless you both!!!
As for business . . . . all will work out . . . Remember . . DO what you love .. . the rest will come!
Lori Ann

Junie Moon said...

Amy, I adore the things you share and the opportunity you provide for purchasing so many delightful things. I try to be supportive of you and others via everyone's blogs, Etsy, etc. And I do, indeed, buy lovely things from all of you. Unfortunately, since I'm not working right now, my funds to do so are limited and I have to be careful in my financial decisions. We are not poor, but I'm not comfortable running amok spending money my husband earns even though he says it's "our money." So, I buy based on what I can get at a bargain price which is not something you probably want to hear but it's the truth. Making things myself has pretty much become my mantra as it is so satisfying to me.

Diane said...

Amy,

I've had my business since 2002, and since after Christmas things have been quite stalled. Definitely slower than same time last year. I think it is the time of the year, the economy... You are so talented, I'm sure what ever you continue to branch into will be great. Glad you and Baby are doing so wonderful!

Diane

Jocelyn said...

I think you will be great at whatever you may turn your hand to. Yes, there are a lot of stores out there, but there is room for everyone.

I would chalk it up to the "wait and see" attitude that's pervading about the economy. Most people are just holding their breaths...

IRENE said...

I have come to know you around Christmas, so I cannot say about years past. But I believe that you have a voice of your own (that is why you are part of what I call my "Sisters in Style" and my favorite reads. So, yes, you may need some time to stand still and listen, and let inspiration flow again. I look forward to many more reads and happy buys. (I was so sorry to not be bale to purchase your Christmas jewellery. Then glad it was sold out.Will you be making anything for Spring/Easter?)

Anonymous said...

Dear Amy: Somedays I absolutely have to drag myself to my little shop... another icy winter day, no shoppers, big stack of bills... why do I do it? I have learned to go directly to the computer and look at your blog FIRST THING every morning for a creative kick in the pants! Whether you're telling about Baby or a new bracelet, you have a real talent for, well, inspiring me to try a little harder and be a little cheerier. You make me remember why I do it -- it's fun!

I've had a shop for 28 years, and the last two have been tough for every small business owner I know, so don't feel alone. Things just change, and we have to change, too. Whatever twist you end up giving to InspireCo, your little light will shine, shine, shine!
-- Kris in Kansas

catherine said...

I remember it clearly the day I found you YEARS ago in a magazine.
I dropped whatever it was I was doing and ran right to the computer,and to your site, I have been here ever since.
you are indeed a pioneer, and one of the best, not to mention the nicest.
Your place always gives one hope, and cheer and a sunny spot to visit.
I hope whatever it is you choose to do you will still remain a voice here to so many.
People are right, it IS the economy and is effecting everyone right now, not to mention the time of year.
It will all change soon.
Change is good. so no matter what
you have many that will always be here for you, as you have for them!
xoxo

McMaster & Storm said...

being an entrepreneur is all about finding solutions to the problems. continue to always adapt and we'll all find a way to do what we love. hang in there!
Love,
Kara & Darcy

Colleen said...

Amy...you sweetie...go with your gut...don't have regrets and never think "what if". Life is short and it's clear that baby is bringing you much joy...as does your business. My oldest is 14 and I am still trying to find that balance. Change is good and if it feels right...go for it!

mo jackson said...

my dearest amy,
i can't remember you makin' any sort'a change without discussin' it with me so you better not do anything without me knowin'....plus with all the mo-bashin' currently underway, i have been avoidin' the mac and instead, am sewin' around the clock. i'm just days from sendin' you a big ol' batch o' bags and springtime chapeaus and beeeutiful eggs covered in flowers and ribbon....so i do so hope any change can accommodate 'em .

you are THE original my dear friend and needed here on the world wide web so whatever you have planned it better not involve a disappearin' act.

by the way, did you know that the latest rumor has it that you and i are really the same person?

your adorin' faux slightly older sister,
mo

Sparkles & More..... said...

Amy, know how you feel but also know that you will make the right choice for you! I adore your shop & all of the wonderful ideas that come from you......very inspiring (no pun intended).

Looking forward to seeing what you do next with inspire co

June

Steph said...

Dear Amy,
I'm sorry it's been so long since I've caught up with you. You've been on my mind so often. As you know, I've sold one business and am now navigating new waters. Your life is so different, YOU are so different than you were nearly 91/2 years ago, it only stands to reason that Inspire.Co would change. We all look forward to whatever you envision...you inspire us all, really, no pun intended.
Be well, my friend.
Steph

Cathy said...

Amy, your items are 2DIE4. Never question yourself OR your niche. Keep positive and keep on plugging.

Everyone's sales are down because of the economy. Spring will boost us all back up again ~ I'm sure of it.

We're all in this together!

Cath

Nermal and Kitty said...

Amy, please , please stick around b/c all your encouragement and good example mean so much to so many. I remember ordering something from you several years ago & you wrote me personal note on my packing slip! I was so impressed. I have been following you ever since. Since advent of Baby, you have shown such a sweet, giving side, you're even better than I thought!
God bless you and your hubby. Nerm

Cheryl said...

Oh Amy...I'm confident this will push you in a new direction...something you never imagined! You are, after all, INSPIRE CO.! :)