The Future of The Yarn Office

I know it’s been a while; I think of writing (and things to write about) and then I put it off. But today I made an important decision: I’m letting all my etsy listings expire and am closing down The Yarn Office on etsy (my studio space at home will forever be The Yarn Office). In total, I have a very modest overall profit, modest enough that given the time I put into it, I’m more in the hole to etsy than profitable. There’s also the matter of marketing, which isn’t exactly my strong suit despite buying and reading 2 books on how to turn your art/craft into a business. My takeaway that’s been festering for a while is that I’m not a good businessperson and it’s time to move on to something new.

This morning etsy sent email to all shop owners announcing some changes. Listing fees will remain $0.20 per listing, but etsy’s commission on sales is going from 3.5% of the item price to 5% of the item price and shipping. In addition, they’re creating a monthly subscription service called etsy Plus that’s supposed to help your business grow and will roll out etsy Pro for high volume sellers next year. Not subscribing to these plans supposedly won’t affect your search results or access to current tools, but I can’t help but think little vanity shops like mine will be at a disadvantage. In the end, I’ve sunk more time and money into this than I’ve gotten out and so yeah, it’s time to move on to something new.

I said on Instagram that I was going to just let my listings expire over the summer instead of shuttering the whole thing, but the fee change goes into effect July 16 – I may just put the shop on vacation mode then and leave it in case these changes end up being beneficial overall to little cheeses like me. But I doubt it – I think they’ve been catering for quite a while to high volume sellers and factories rather than artisans, and in the 3 years since they’ve gone public, they’ve shifted even more to focusing on etsy’s bottom line, to which I no longer want to contribute without getting something more back. I mean, sure – etsy is a business, but it’s a business for which I’m pretty sure I’m no longer a customer.

I might actually start my own shop here on this domain, or at least create a gallery of work that I’m most proud of and move in more of an art direction rather than a craft direction (which I’ve been sort of trying to do anyway). I also heard about FiberCrafty for the first time today, too, so I might check that out – it sounds like it’s etsy (and Amazon Handmade) but for fiber crafts only. There are lots of possibilities, I just have to figure out what I want to do and what’s going to work for me.

Sunday Thoughts: Kindness & Compassion

“When you look deeply into your anger, you will see that the person you call your enemy is also suffering. As soon as you see that, the capacity of accepting and having compassion for them is there.” —Thích Nhất Hạnh

“It’s so easy to laugh. It’s so easy to hate. It takes strength to be gentle and kind.” —The Smiths

I’ve been reminding myself of these concepts, this way of looking at things, as politics seem to divide us more than ever before. The Others (or, if you like, the oppisition) are still people and as such deserve to be treated first with kindness and respect. I’m positive this sounds extremely naive, but it’s the way I would like to be (and expect to be) treated. Any change starts with me (another naive and simple notion, but one has to start somewhere) and so kindness is the way forward for me. I especially need to remember this in traffic and on Facebook because I lack patience sometimes (okay, a lot) which is a way of  being unkind. 

Bullet Journal

I mentioned yesterday that I started a bullet journal and I thought I’d share some of it today since I actually followed through and used it. What’s a Bullet Journal? The short answer, without popping out to is that it’s a handwritten planner system that you can use in any notebook. Most people use small(ish) notebooks that they can carry with them, but I have a thing for Clairefontaine french-ruled paper and used the last of a 5 pack of cloth-bound 96 page A4 notebooks for my bullet journal. (I used the others for journals & to track workouts.)

There are 3 (or 4) views of time in a bullet journal: annual and beyond in the Future Log, monthly in the month spread, (optional) weekly spread, and daily pages. The idea is that you record everything for future months in the future log, which is organized by month. Then at the end of each month, you create a new month spread, organized by date and day, and record everything from the future log for the following month. Every morning, you’re supposed to check the month log for activities and goals/tasks for that day and record them in the daily pages entry along with anything that wasn’t done (but was on the list for) the day before. I also used daily pages to record other accomplishments of note.

July month log, Jeffrey paws and toe beans.

I had other spreads for tracking things, like a daily habit tracker (basically an adult sticker chart) to keep me accountable for things like drinking enough water, exercise, reading books, etc. I also created an elaborate system for tracking household chores and cleaning that quickly fell by the wayside (along with the actual cleaning).

Also, there’s a whole symbol system for listing items in the journal no matter what the time view/spread is: an open square for tasks, an open triangle for appointments, and a few others that I haven’t been using. When I finish something, I color in the square or triangle. When I partially finish something, I color in half. When I blow something off, I cross it out in one day and write it again in the next day’s entry.

Daily log in my bullet journal and some Jeffrey toe beans.

The problem is that I started to write the same things over and over and instead of this motivating me to stop procrastinating, I just made myself feel worse for not doing the things. By mid-May I’d stopped using even the daily pages. Keeping up with the journal became too overwhelming; I was putting too much pressure on myself to get a large number of things done each day and beating myself up for procrastinating. I’m an overachiever with some things – all in or all out, go big or go home – and am working on being more steady with my efforts.

So in that vein, getting the bullet journal to work for me in a positive way again, I’m trying weekly spreads instead of daily pages. I like being able to look at a whole week all at once and that’s the time frame that I like to look at for setting and accomplishing goals – daily is too often and monthly is a little too broad.

Weekly spread for this week and more Jeffrey paws.

Do you use an analog planner/planning system or a really kick-ass app or online system? I have friends who use the Passion Planner, and others who use Trello for personal/household planning.