One of my strongest memories from elementary school was a school-wide presentation we were all herded to the gym to attend. On stage, a man and a woman taught us about cold pricklies and warm fuzzies. Obviously, warm fuzzies were good things to share with other people and cold pricklies were not. One of my favorite things about owning my own business and selling handmade is all the warm fuzzies people freely give me. I love hearing what you think about my work, whether you buy it or not, and I really love getting feedback from buyers. One of my favorite things I’ve heard a few times recently is, “I bought something from you awhile ago, and I love it and use it all the time.” Seriously, this sort of comment makes my day. It’s warm fuzzies for me, and I really hope that I’m giving warm fuzzies back to you, too.
Last month, I signed up to participate in Intuit’s Love a Local Business contest. Small, local businesses sign up and then their fans leave comments about the business. Each comment counts as a vote, and at the end of the month, 3 comments are selected and the businesses win a small business grant. Amazingly, and thanks to your kind and generous comments, Anodyne Design was one of the June winners! Thank you to everyone who left a little love for Anodyne Design, and to Intuit for having such a cool program!
I have been thinking hard about how to best use the grant to grow Anodyne Design, and I have a few ideas. But I would also really love to hear from you about how you would like to see Anodyne Design grow and improve, because it if weren’t for all the wonderful people who support me with their love, nice words, and occasional purchases, there would be no point to Anodyne Design. So I’ll share my plan with you, and I’d love it if you would share your ideas in a comment.
In the past month, I have been thinking about the best direction for Anodyne Design. I have been wanting to focus more on developing the business online. In particular, I have been working behind the scenes to create an online shop. I think the small business grant will provide the perfect resource for improving the online end of business. In particular, I am planning to use the grant to:
- Invest in a higher quality camera to improve product photos
- Invest in a proper lightbox (and lights), also to improve my product photography
- Hire a web designer to help me with my online shopping cart
- Develop a comprehensive online marketing/advertising campaign
All of this will help me to launch a lovely new online shop that should provide the best possible shopping experience, and also help me to help spread the word of Anodyne Design and handmade accessories in general.
I am also planning on using the grant to engage in a few less-exciting, but important tasks, including repaying a small business loan and hiring someone to help me make sure all my taxes are nice and orderly. And finally, this grant should help me to start working with more environmentally friendly (and sometimes more costly) materials, such as organic cotton. I always try to make the environmentally responsible choice for Anodyne Design when I can, and a little more capital is going to make that a little easier to do.
So that’s my plan… what do you think– is it a good one? Would you do something different? What do you want to see from Anodyne Design? Please let me know!