Well. What a year, hey? I think it’s fair to say it’s been a rollercoaster – and then some.
There have been all sorts of lows and, unfortunately, many are still very much at the front of our minds, with a seemingly never-ending stream of heart-breaking news and updates from overseas, and, of course, closer to home.
They say, don’t they, that these things are sent to try us and gosh, they really are. If we can get through this, surely we can through quite a lot more than we thought we could (I hope).
But there were some good bits
It’s almost impossible to put the lows to one side and try celebrate some of the good things that have happened this year but, I’m going to give it a go: in the spirit of, you know, Christmas!
One of this year’s greatest highs, personally, was of course launching Haykin in February. After working in PR for almost 15 years, it really was quite the leap of faith but one I’m glad I took (regrets are no fun). It’s been quite the journey, I have to say – mistakes made, lessons learned, knowledge and skills acquired, happiness-in-the-everyday sought and new friends found. None of it has been quite how I imagined but all of it has been exciting, fascinating and rewarding.
I’ve been hugely fortunate to travel to some amazing trade shows in pursuit of colour and simplicity. Maison et Objet in Paris, which I visited twice, was an absolute game-changer – one which really focused my attention and put me in front of some of the world’s most ambitious, highly creative designers and makers. Other buying trips included Formex in Stockholm (which was so cool it hurt), showUP in Amsterdam (which was such a bright breath of design fresh air) and of course the London Design Festival featuring Design Junction and the London Design Fair – both straight-up excellent.
Perfecting my buyer stance at showUP, Amsterdam, last August.
Never one to turn down a bit of lanyard styling: Formex, Stockholm, also last August.
I’ve also been really fortunate to work with some very awesome suppliers and also the super-talented Kim Lawler, too, who helped me realise the Haykin brand and create the shop’s website. That girl can interpret a brief like nobody’s business, I tell you.
Another cool turn of business was moving off-line to do events and pop-up shops. Now, the dream has always been to own and run a bricks and mortar shop, but pop-ups have provided an achievable way of ‘setting up shop’ and selling in person. As well as Christmas fairs, I’d say the absolute pop-up trailblazer was Haykin’s first event at Toast House in Ilkley back in November. It genuinely blind-sided all of us with its success. We never, in a million years, expected so much interest and, of course, sales from such awesome, like-minded folk: I’d go so far as to say this was a personal highlight of the year for me.
And so, on that note, I wanted to thank everyone who not only bought a little something from the shop but to anyone who gave kind feedback or left a sweet comment on Instagram or just ‘liked’ one of my silly (but trying-to-be-arty) pictures or shared a post on Facebook or retweeted something on Twitter or wrote about Haykin in the media (yeah, we got in the Daily Telegraph’s Stella magazine twice y’know 😀 ). In the words of some supermarket strapline or other: ‘Every little helps’. And it really bloody does, so thank you, thank you, thank you.
So, what’s next?
Me, um, floating in the teamLab Floating Flower Garden at Maison et Objet, Paris, last September.
Well, as I said earlier, there have been blips along the way but I’ve made tweaks at every turn to enable Haykin to flourish.
In the last nine months, I’ve discovered what sells well (and what doesn’t); what drives traffic to the site and how best to convert that traffic into sales; who the ‘Haykin customer’ is and what they respond to; what generates the most interaction on social media and, ultimately, how to effectively use my time to ensure each of the above areas function as best they can.
Running a small business, more-or-less on your own, presents all sorts of challenges in terms of time management: you want to do everything but quite honestly, you don’t have all the skills and, very simply, you…Just. Don’t. Have. The. Time (to do everything).
Time is such a sought-after commodity but you can’t make any more of it so you just have to work with what you’ve got!
And so, in 2017, there will be a few changes.
The impetus behind these changes will be simplicity: this applies both to the shop itself (stock, look, feel, day-to-day operation etc) but also on a personal level too: I’ve learned a lot about myself recently and know, now, that a less frenetic, more considered pace is where I need to be heading.
What this means exactly is still to be finalised but I hope you’ll join me on this ‘journey’ (bleurgh) to see…what Katy did next (ha – I’ve searched for years for the right place to use that line!).
But for now, put your out of office on, crack open the Quality Street and pour yourself a sherry or two. You deserve it!
Until next time folks.