Print me Pretty's Birthday!
Unbelievably - to me, at any rate - today marks the second anniversary of the launch of Print me Pretty. On this day 2 years ago, our website finally went live, after almost a year of preparation.
So much has happened in those 2 years. From a slow trickle of accounts in the first weeks, when I knew the name of each new account holder, to what sometimes feels like an avalanche today! From a handful of public designs in our Market Place to 550 today. From a temperamental printer which needed attention from the engineer on a very frequent basis, to a mostly smooth-running, much happier Minnie (but shh!)
So, what have been the highlights for you in your time with PmP?
Here are some of mine.
- Meeting (mostly via emails, FB and Twitter) lots of lovely customers and seeing so many gorgeous designs. I love seeing what you all produce. It's always fun watching a new design being printed for the first time. (And I love seeing photos of what you produce with your fabric; such a talented crew!)
Cushions designed and made by Kate Marsden of Made by Mrs M; lampshade designed by Sally Goodden, made by Kath Lainton (Genie Lampshades ); sewing bag made by Sarah Jones (Sarah's Sewing Room), 'sewing' fabric designed by Lucy Smith (Love Lucy Illustration) Photos by the relevant maker.
- Being in partnership with so many small businesses. I had no idea, before I started PmP, that so many people ran small businesses from home - although I do think that it is, to some extent, a fairly new phenomenon, because the internet often makes it possible or practical.
- Encouraging people to design with our design competition and challenge. Here are a couple of my favourite winners.
Japanese Garden by Kim Rowe and Little Town by Kaz Lammie
and Brownies showing off their cushions, printed with their own designs:
- Taking part in my first 'show', the JGM Weekender in February.
Not-so-highlights include the enormous number of emails I get every day* - quite a few are junk (how many SEO firms are there in India??), but you often have to open them and sometimes read them to find that out! - and the never-ending nature of being your own boss - but quite a few of you know about that, don't you? When I started, a friend gave me a card which said, 'If you don't like the job, blame the boss'. Sigh!
* I do enjoy reading emails from you, though. I do answer them all - eventually.
If I'm looking back, reminiscing, I also ought to look forward - what's next?
I've been getting a bit of casual help recently, via an agency, but I'm trying to work out the best way forward on the staffing front. I'm going to have to bite the bullet soon and employ someone, but the question is, who? By which I mean, what do I want this employee to do (everything!) and how much can I afford to pay them? (not much!)
Do I need to think about buying another printer? If so, which one? There's actually a choice, now!
What do I need to do to the website? I started to address this via the recent survey. All your answers in that will go into the melting pot before I speak to my web designers, but it's something with which I'm currently grappling - when I have a moment.
I've also been thinking about some sort of tutorial or course for when people sign up, to answer all your early questions in an easy-to-follow way. (Most questions are answered in the Help section, but I think a lot of people don't go there, and sometimes you don't even know which questions to ask, if you haven't tried designing before.)
So I think the next few months could be very exciting and challenging! Watch this space!