It is that time of year when everyone, well, almost everyone, reflects upon what they have accomplished during the last twelve months. For Blue Valley Woodworks, it has been a slow roll to get where we are, but we have accomplished a lot in short order.
For one, we launched this website early in the year and dressed it up more in the last few months. There is still work to be done, as there always will be. It has come quite a way from the stock photos and basic layout. I'm sure if I look, I will find some straggling boilerplate text. More importantly, it has helped to provide focus on where we want to go, where to grow, what products to develop, and where and how to market our work.
We started off making custom pieces, and will still do custom work, as the appeal there is the creativity. But that takes a long time to develop and spread the word.
So what to make and where to sell? As the inspiration for starting Blue Valley Woodworks was from looking at a stack of tree trunk and large limb pieces cut from the Red Oak tree at the house where I grew up, a tree planted when I was barely as tall as the sapling, and believing there was a better purpose for that wood than the fireplace, we started making Black-Iron Pipe Lamps using limb slices as the lamp base. That has been a good start, with several lamps out illuminating the world.
Now the momentum is beginning to pick up. In September, we opened our store on Etsy, where you can shop with us at http://www.BlueValleyWoodworks.store. We have taken some of our custom work and suggestions from others and added to our product offerings with the Makeup Brush Holders and Chalkboard Serving Tray. The makeup brush holders are generating some very noticeable interest, so there may be more opportunity there as a product line. And there are some options in the works for the Chalkboard Serving Tray.
We've been a bit creative with our Tealight Candle Holders using the reclaimed limbs from the Red Oak tree that started all of this. And the creativity does not end there as some custom pieces are in mind for some of the larger limbs and trunk sections. Not to mention all of the other felled trees that have been collected during the year and are seasoning nicely.
The end of November is when we started making strides in earnest with our Etsy store, picking up in both sales and 5-Star reviews. Interest continues to grow and we are anxious to see what the New Year brings there.
With a bit of creativity, a pressing need to get it done, and the use of Canva software, a logo was born. Developing this was a big step in forging the brand identity, and a huge relief to complete. I was surprised at how many organizational items have been completed just by deciding on the logo. Now, to order a branding iron so we can mark our work .........
Here at the end of the year we have one more accomplishment. We were invited to join Handmade at Amazon, an invitation-only Amazon marketplace for artisans to sell their handcrafted works. We applied, were accepted, and have just launched our Handmade at Amazonstore. We are looking forward to getting the store "stocked" with our candle holder products to start. With the Amazon reach and developing that marketplace, the goal of making our pieces available to an even broader audience is now attainable more quickly, and provides a presence in two well established sales channel structures.
As if all of that was not enough, and don't you think it should be, we are looking forward to establishing a wholesale sales channel during the first half of the new year, and, bringing e-commerce capability home to Blue Valley Woodworks with a shopping cart integration. More on that later.
But first things first. I need to press the <save> key, publish this post, and get back to stirring up the sawdust. Thank you for your patronage and support, and here's wishing you a prosperous and Happy New Year in 2018!
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