Celebrating 1 year of business!
It’s been a year since Bonita Ivie Prints (BIP) was launched and there’s so much to be thankful for.
When I first launched BIP in January 2017, I had very few goals or expectations. I’m a glass half empty kinda girl (I’m working on it) and my only goal was to break even in my first year. God has been so kind to grace me with a successful first year and I’ve learnt so much in such a short amount of time. Here’s some learnings I’ve taken away this year that I hope encourages any new or potential small business owners out there:
1. There’s no benchmark for what a healthy or successful amount of sales looks like, so don’t compare yourself to other businesses. Although the 150+ sales I’ve made on Etsy and double that amount at various events have completely exceeded my expectations, I’m so content with where BIP is and the exposure gained over the last 12 months.
2. And on that note, I’ve realised that exposure is just as important as sales. Get yourself down to events and local markets to increase your consumer base and meet other business owners. It’s been such a blessing to be able to connect with some amazing customers and creatives this year. I don’t think doing business in isolation is always beneficial and the peer-to-peer support I’ve experienced has been a God-send.
3. Start small and keep your expenses as low as possible. You won’t believe how much faff I bought during the last 12 months that I have yet to use. I wish I’d really sat down at the beginning of the year to assess what I really needed for my business. Stay in your lane is my motto for business expenses in 2018!
4. Don’t take too seriously the advice from well-meaning people who don’t know the ins and outs of your business. I work full time and was told by a few people my business wouldn’t succeed unless I quit my job… *side eye*. I’m a juggler by nature with very few responsibilities, so quitting work wouldn’t have been necessary and having two different streams of income is a blessing. Assess what works for you, what you can afford to do and whether your business requires your full attention in your first year of business.
5. I can’t do anything in my own strength; seriously, I can’t. Everything I’ve achieved this year wouldn’t be possible without God’s hand in it all. Honestly, I’m winging it but grateful that He chooses to turn the mess into something beautiful, when He really doesn’t have to.
It’s been such an unexpected year, from amazing events such as Africa Utopia and Black Girl Festival, being featured in the Evening Standard and Buzzfeed, and meeting other creatives. My goals are simple – I’d like to continue to work on my brand, create more prints (obviously), build more connections and work on a few collaborations. I’m excited to see what 2018 brings.