Week Eight: navigating a failing business

I am promising myself to be nicer. I have written stuff on my mirror
(in the top right corner so when I need a reminder, I don't actually have to look at myself) 

"One Chapter"

I know you're here for the business details, but mental health has a bold tone in all of this, so I didn't want to not address the elephant sitting on my chest. These little mirror reminders are (hopefully) going to allow me to be kind to myself and be obvious reminders of what my body has to have to keep carrying on. 
I've been forcing myself to take a bath every single night. Warm water helps my joints and the sound of the water is a calm transition to shutting off my ever- running-500-tabs-open mind. 

Sunday, November 20
I woke up and cut a few rompers to whip up today and two peplums for an order that came in mid-week. I am not going to bother cutting and sewing the Friday order yet, because I am going to hope that in the next two days more sell and I can batch produce them. I've made the decision to just remove ALL non-RTS off the site besides a few solid colors and styles that I already have on hand and are quick production items for me. I contemplated not participating in BFCM at all. Me! The queen of yelling at the internet about how this weekend will bring you new customers to strategize and add to the sales funnel. 

I've landed on three days of participation: 

Friday- a one hour 50% off code 
First 10 customers that spend at least $100 get a swag bag. 

(i'll probably drop this to $50) 
swag bag (This includes a handmade stocking by me, two handmade items from other shops I swapped with, and a random Sephora product *I buy the $10 surprise bags* and a few pieces of candy and a $10 off card for their next purchase) It truly has a value of $100+ in each little bag. My fear is not having 10 people spend $100. 
Honestly, it isn't even a fear. It's an educated assumption at this point. 

Saturday- $15 holiday prints from last year

(They aren't RTS but they are simple and can be produced quickly)

Monday-50% off for one hour + $5 GC with every purchase 

I got those rompers made and am sending them off to a shop for a photoshoot she's doing. Can I just say, other businesses who value networking as much as I do are such a treasure right now. Shae, if you're reading this- you are a GEM! 
I also got the two peplums made and printed shipping labels to send out tomorrow. I'm getting photos of all the items in the swag bag today. I'm also going to build duplicates of my theme today and make graphics for each of the days that I am participating. 
I'm sitting back contemplating Tuesday. I always go big on Giving Tuesday during BFCM.

I always make 30-50 grab bags and go live on every platform. Then whatever sales we made that day, I donate to The Warm Place
I cancelled my Friday drop for this week. I had planned on doing a OOAK drop and then using whatever didn't sell between then and Tuesday to at least make a few sells and donate. But I just can't waste the energy. 
Instead, I think I might make a graphic where if you purchase anything on Tuesday, we send a friend of your choice a $10 GC to try out our brand. This way it still feels very "giving" and hopefully it brings us more customers!??


I Don't know. I am way too empathetic because all I keep yelling at myself is "This isn't giving. This is selfish. There's too much selfish motive behind that plan!" 

 WELP! I've just wasted 30min of my day talking you all through my BFCM conundrum. OOF! 



Monday, November 21
This just isn't going well. I hate the mundane work of pre-selling my items, then the money is long gone on bills when I am finally producing the products. It makes me absolutely hate what I do. It's a really bad trap to be in. 

Tuesday, November 22
I spent today hating myself, hating the traffic on this blog and knowing you all are reading my failures and I can't even monetize the damn traffic. Everything feels like a sick joke at my expense at this point. I know this isn't going good. I know I have to step away sooner then later. 
But not a single soul could fault me with lack of attempt. 
I spent most of the day sewing orders and prepping the site. I wasted a good two hours prepping BHUB with my routine, and the number are non existent. I really have to give up on nurturing a community who really doesn't give a shit. 
Silver lining, I have a text, email, social media post, story, and video ready to go for every single day this coming sale weekend. 


Wednesday, November 23
Finalizing everything and ensuring my themes are ready to go. This part sucks, but I am always happy I did the prep work when the week gets here. My fear though this year is even with all the work: graphics, perfect copy, emails, texts, post after post after post and heavily editing so many fucking videos... the fear is even after all this work that the STUPIDLY low prices still won't bring people in. And the few it did bring in will push me to hating production even more. I am dying today- my kidneys are "kicking" and I'm so dizzy I've ran into the walls and furniture at least 20 times. 
Just got to push through- right?! 

Thursday, November 24
I HATE THIS DAY THE MOST OUT OF THE ENTIRE YEAR. but... let's do this, anyways. I made my one and only NYE item and wanted to perk myself up, so I randomly planned an over the top tulle piece that I can drop in January for Vday, if I make it that far. I'm spending today listing a ton of stickers on the new Etsy. I know it won't bring in big bucks but the planning and executing is already done. I can do this even from a hospital bed. I'm making lists and doing my best to have 15 backup plans at this point. I learned yesterday I don't even make enough now to cover my medication. This is the side of it I really didn't want to reveal, but shit is getting more and more real with every doctors appointment and every failed drop. 

Something has to give. I ran a $15 engagement ad and crossed my fingers that this afternoons kick off sale will bring in a few new customers at the very least.
I'm hoping for at least $500. Last year I did $2700 on Thursday. The year before; $5200 and the year before that a cool $4k even. 
Now I cross my fingers, toes and eyes hoping for $500. 
That's not even monthly gas money these days. 
But, I gotta try. 

It's now 109am on Friday and I am still up hustling. Thinking of what I can do different in the coming months to be less labor inducing and higher profit yield. I tested a few new bow patterns. I can make at least 20 bows in an hour right now and I don't even really know what I am doing. 
I did some market research. These bow makers are selling for $17-25/bow. I even saw a MAJOR bow shop now sells clothes. 
Their brand new bow was $19. A dress on their site was going for $22!!!
When did clothing become less valuable!? 
I'm playing a losing game... 

$ 221.80

Friday, November 25
Remember at the start of the week when I said I was going to be nicer to myself? Can my kidneys see my mirror!? My brain!? I'm losing every fight at this point. Our sale today is actually a little smaller, but I am hopeful sales will hit $300. My goal yesterday was $500 and we did $222. Less than half. 
Worse, it was the hardest I have ever marketed. The most time I have ever put into creating a cohesive strategy and reach, even going as far as making a gift guide and having a heavy Pinterest game. I really don't know what else will bring in a win at this point. I'm spending the day shopping for my niece and nephews with the tightest budget. I spent more on the kids when I was in college then this year. Shit is rough. I lucked out and all my meds are in a "bye month" that are on a 90day supply. It's gonna be a super sad December over here. 

I think the worst part is the realization that Baby Bird really will just be a "hobby" in 2023. It feels like I am losing Kale all over again. I have weaved him so tightly into this business, just like he was inside my body- that the failure of the business feels identical to my body failing us both during his delivery. 
Shit is getting way too real. 
Next week I'll just have to keep it more brief. I love having a raw account, but the reflection of the failures cut way too deep. 
(Honestly, I would have worked longer but I promised my nephew I'd help him with college essays. At least I can say I worked at something today that was successful and helpful) 

Zero Dollars On Black Friday-
Looks like 2023 is going on without baby bird..

Saturday, November 26

You'd think that "shop small Saturday" motivation driven by AMEX would bring people to truly supporting small businesses. 
My hopes aren't very high today- I honestly thought since I hadn't offered solids most of the year, people would be losing their minds to stock up-- so It's hard to find hope that they'll be excited about their once beloved grab bags I am known for. It's 12:08am on Saturday. I just changed my theme over and checked in to ensure all marketing is ready to go. 
Here's to hoping. I won't even make a monetary goal. I just hope to make a damn sale at this point. Even if it's just for one item. 
This is ego bruising to the umpth degree. 

It's now Sunday and my mood didn't change much. I went super hard yesterday making an uplifting post, sharing others' businesses, every single thing I could to ask for some good karma... here's how it panned out; 
12+hrs ( I refuse to actually calculate because I'll cry) 

**I ended up making a few pieces for NYE that I am super proud of, took a long bath and then fell asleep at 740pm and slept over 12 hours. My body was sick f this shit. 


Total Hours-76+++
Total Sales- $298.20  
$3.92/hr (I just threw up-literally!)

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