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  • A Gentle Check In - 2024 so far, and Thoughts on the Collective

    März 18, 2024 4 min lesen.

    Hello my dear Collective members, how have you been? I hope spring has gently arrived, wherever you are, and that you enjoy the first warm sunrays as much as I am, here in Berlin.

    For today's Collective-exclusive blog post, I want to take a look back at 2024 so far – it's been almost three months, and quite a few things have happened. Some of them very much behind the scenes, so I hope you'll enjoy this!

    2024 started with a very unpleasant surprise.

    I remember this so clearly: I was sitting in my office, the second week of January, staring at our printer's invoice for Issue 11 and our bank account – and realizing that we just didn't have enough money in the bank to pay them.

    The sinking feeling in my stomach, the dread of what this meant, the hard conversation with my husband at the dinner table – the question, really, that I didn't want to hear: Where is the line in the sand, the point at which the magazine just doesn't make sense anymore?

    The next day came the calculations – incoming invoices over the next few months, what we could realistically expect in terms of revenue, how much money I might need to lend the business to keep it going.

    And then, two weeks of intense hustling (as much as I hate this term): How could we make as much money as quickly as possible? A big sale, bigger than any that we'd ever done, long lists of ideas. A call to the printer to sheepishly ask for a payment plan and the relief when our contact person said "yes, that's not a problem at all – how would three installments work for you?"

    I realized we might be able to juuuust make it through without a cash injection or loan, which was such a relief. If, and that was a big if, the next months would be going as planned.

    And then, my creativity dried up.

    After two, three weeks of intense emotions and so, so much work, I felt drained. No energy, no ideas, no creativity left. And that was super scary. After all, I needed my creativity to make sure we'd be hitting the revenue targets in the coming months as well!

    I reached out to my business coach about this, and she reminded me that everything ebbs and flows. Her words of advice have stuck with me: "Make sure you ride that productivity high, for you will inevitably come down from it. So make the best of it while it lasts, and then be okay with resting as well."

    I've leaned into this so hard – okay, more the "ride the productivity high when it comes" than the resting thing, still working on this – and that, together with the systems I put into place for myself last year (planning out launches very early, regularly scheduling in sessions to create Marketing plans and check inventory) have seen me through February and the first half of March without collapsing.

    Also, some of our initiatives have been quite successful!

    The first one that I put into place (after the big sale) was a colorway preorder for some of our most popular yarns from De Rerum Natura. This was actually a customer's idea – she messaged me on Instagram, asking whether it was possible to preorder a specific colorways as she wanted to support us.

    With the help of a lovely little app on Shopify, I was able to set up preorders super quickly – and they were really successful! A lot of people used this opportunity to get the sweater quantities in the colorways they wanted.

    I also put a lot of work into two outreach campaigns; one to yarn shops all over the globe to see if they'd be interested in stocking the magazine, and the second one to companies from the yarn world that I thought might be a good fit for ads in Issue 12.

    The stockist outreach campaign was really interesting: We got 10 new stockists from it; 9 in Europe, and 1 in the US. (None in the UK, interestingly!) They're all wonderful yarn shops and I'm so proud that our magazine will be on the shelves there!

    On the other hand, some of the (lovely) email conversations I had with prospective and past stockists also revealed something I've been suspecting for a while: Knitting magazines and books are just not selling anymore in some shops. I'm not sure why that is – maybe too many have been published in too little time lately? – but it leaves a bitter feeling, knowing that we can rely less and less on stockists to purchase the magazine. (Which, to be clear, I don't blame them at all! It's the right business decision for them – it doesn't make sense to stock product you just can't move.)

    I am also really excited about the ad outreach campaign! We got some lovely new advertisers for Issue 12, and overall the response was really positive.

    What's coming up for us?

    Well, we've just published Issue 11, which was so fun – we're down to the last 150 copies or so, and I have hopes that we'll sell out. We have a Collective- and newsletter-exclusive Spring Cleaning Sale coming up at the end of March, and then our Spring Yarn Shop Update in April (with a new yarn I'm so excited about!)

    I also want to work a bit on the Collective this month. I'm not super happy with the tiers anymore – especially the Sweater Quantity tier – and would love to revisit the benefits that we offer. A first thought is a discount code on every tier, and maybe you have thoughts too? If yes, I'd love to hear them in the comments down below!

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    A Thank You Gift From Us To You - For Supporting Us in 2023!
    A Thank You Gift From Us To You - For Supporting Us in 2023!

    Dezember 04, 2023 1 min lesen.

    Dear lovely Collective member,

    it's almost time to wrap up the year! In just a few short weeks, I'll be taking a few days off to recharge, and I hope you do the same.

    I want to say a very, very heartfelt thank you for supporting us in 2023. Every single contribution to the Collective helps keep the lights on here at Making Stories, and I deeply appreciate every single one of you. You make this work possible!

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    What goes into creating the Winter Celebration (and Box!)
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    November 13, 2023 4 min lesen. 1 Kommentar

    Hi lovely Collective members,

    I hope you had a wonderful November so far! I've been leaning heavily into the coziness this fall – lots of evenings snuggled up under my favorite wool blanket on our couch with a candle lit, a soft WIP on my lap, finishing up final seasons of some of our favorite TV shows. (Which, for the most part were disappointing, sigh!)

    As busy as this time of the year is, it also feels a little gentler this year than last. I'm not sure what it is - am I better prepared? (Now I probably jinxed it...) Is life with a four year old easier than with a three year old? (Yes, definitely, if you ask me.) Is it just luck? (I'll take it!)

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    My 3 Favorite Fall Things (Right Now)
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    Oktober 24, 2023 3 min lesen. 1 Kommentar

    Dear lovely Collective members,

    as most of you are in the Northern hemisphere as well, I hope that you're enjoying the very October-esque weather that we've been having! It's a bit grey, with the occasional ray of sunshine or splash of rain, the leaves are definitely falling, and I've started to pull out the knitwear.

    I decided that for this month's Collective blog post I would do a little roundup of 3 of my favorite fall things! I would also love to hear what you enjoy doing around this time of the year. There are so many great things to do - I sometimes wish I had a few extra days every week to squeeze them all in.

    So, without further ado, here it goes:

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