Tuesday, December 27, 2011

As we wind down the year

For me this is a time of reflection as well as anticipation and planning.  I think when we all look back over the year we find ourselves saying "I wish I did this" or come up with a new years resolution under the theme of self improvement.  A new year plays this trick on us, setting the mental stage that we have a fresh start, that by changing the calendar we are throwing out the old and in with the new.  I happen to think that this is a wonderful thing.   So what is my new years resolution?
Well you're reading it.  I decided to start a blog, that is intended to be focused around my business, with personal insights.  Very odd combination, but let me explain.  Over this past year, my first year of running 'designs by bella' I have been very fortunate to make some good friends, and I enjoyed many conversations and laughs and even tears with my customers, turned cyber buddies.  I realized, as I sat down doing my Virgo thing of analyzing my 2011, that 'bella' was (is) an outlet for me, as well as an opportunity to reach hundreds of people.  To share creativity, to share my designs, and to share a small moment.  I never labeled myself as a vendor, in fact, I wanted to, through my jewelry, was to give  someone a delicate piece, an inspiration of beauty. A number of my designs extend well beyond what is listed on my site, and they are more personal in nature.   Often enough I am ask to create a special piece, by request, and to me that is a challenge, yet the most fun.  Designing for an individual that you don't personally know, creates anxiety for me, because every piece I create, cannot be less than perfect.  But when there is success, it is the most incredible feeling.
So with all that being said, my blog will be personal, as well as business orientated, as that I believe is how I have always felt about 'bella'.
So what is on the plate for this year....well lots to say on this front.  First as a few of you know, I lost my job in November/December 2011.  So I am looking to change that, and actually may have some very good news on that front later today....However, to be clear, this was a blessing.  Naturally a financial disaster as well, but truly a blessing in terms of myself, in terms of 'bella' and in terms of the laforge household. I needed time off, I needed time to reset myself, and I needed that fresh start in terms of career. Having been traumatized in my previous work environment by long hours, unreal expectations, and the usual office politics, I needed time to break bad work habits, to think about my long term goals and to re-energize my work avatar... you know, that person you play in the office.
I also needed time to think.
And I needed time to accommodate my business demands, I am pleased to say that we have tripled our sales this Christmas season from the prior year, and even more pleased to say that 1/3 of my sales was the result of repeat business.   WOW. So I really need to keep going with this 'bella' thing.  Pandora really should look out. LOL
And on that note....I have a ton more product that I am lining up for 2012 as well as for valentine's day.  First you will notice that there are a couple of pieces of fine jewelry.  I wanted to bring the look and feel of diamonds, without the price.  So I found a manufacturer that makes 18ktep white gold jewelry inset with colored crystals.  Perfect for small gifts to mom, or a friend, without spending hundreds.  Next, we will be listing some new "heart" beads in sterling silver in time for valentine's day.  I am going to look into getting some plated silver ones to accommodate smaller wallets, but I have an order placed now for a bunch of sterling silver charms in time for February.
You will also notice some non-jewelry items....well I have been practicing sewing, and found that I could create really neat items, mostly in terms of cushions/pillows, but the ideas I have - I am sure that you will see quite the expansion of items in this area.  My absolutely, new favorite is the dining room chair cushions in gold and brown tones.  I always wanted a set of cushions that were elegant and classy...never found one in stores that was reasonable in terms of price and style....so I made them myself, and my Christmas guests - including my master sewer, mother in law, was even impressed!
Wow - I guess I had a ton to say this morning, if you actually made it through this blog, I hope you find yourselves well, and surrounded by your loved ones, this holiday season.  As you get ready for the new year, remember one thing, that if you don't hold true, to whatever goal you set for yourself on January 1st, it doesn't mean you failed, it just means that the following day can be your January 1st, as everyday is a fresh start.  So don't give up!!
Stay well my friends,
xoxo - Jessica

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