Hey, friends! Within the next week or so, the Handmade Classroom will be undergoing some changes. The first and most significant change will be the name. I have been throwing around the notion of changing the name of my Etsy shop for some time now, and now, with the zest of resolution in the air, I think it is time to make the change.
The Handmade Classroom began with a very specific vision in mind–to bring interactive, environmentally conscious toys and Montessori works to classrooms all over the world. Over the past year or so, that vision has been realized and then some, due in large part to the support of every single one of you. You have no idea how grateful I am to have had such a successful first year as a small business owner! Having said that, I have realized that disassociating myself from the things I make by selling them under a very business-like name does not lend itself to the personal, intimate nature of the work itself. I think many times, people begin a business looking for a catchy name that looks good on a business card–that’s definitely how I started mine! But I’ve begun to realize that the things that have come about as a result of starting this business have become far more a part of me than I could have anticipated. Therefore, I am changing the name of my shop to (drumroll……) my own name!!!! (Aly Parrott, for those of you who are just joining me.)
I think this is a good decision for a lot of reasons, but here are my top three:
1) My name is pretty awesome. I used to hate it, for obvious reasons, but I have come up with many, MANY parrot-related sketches for a logo, website, blog header, sticker labels, tags, and just about everything I had SO much trouble designing for The Handmade Classroom and it’s almost too perfect to resist.
This could go on and on.
2) A small business under a person’s name implies intimacy and personal attention–this person is creating something especially for you, which is a special experience in this world of mass-produced everything.
3) The work I’m producing has more wiggle-room to evolve. I think my shop has a unifying theme of precious, handmade objects that are meant to be played with and touched. There is also a teaching aspect to everything I make–you may only be buying a garland from me because it will look pretty hanging over your mantel, but in every garland, there is a lesson to be learned; the different phases of the moon, or what a storm looks like. Everything I ever make for the rest of my life will have these two things in common. Because that’s been everything I’ve made since I was four years old. The things that are conducive to selling on Etsy will go up in the shop, the things that aren’t will go somewhere else and serve a purpose in their own way, and in their own time. But this way, they can all be sent with the same business card, and seen under the same name–my own! Because (and yes, it sounds really trite, but I’m saying it anyway!) everything I make is a part of me.
[Insert picture of me working *here.* I don't actually have one!]
So, even though I know the transition from one name to another is a tough one, I think it will be a smart decision for myself and for my marketing. I have already begun work on a new logo, banner, blog layout and business card, all of which I will be sharing with you very soon.
Which brings me to my resolutions:
1) BLOG MORE. I feel like Rachel on that episode of Friends where they all make New Year’s resolutions because I never blog after I promise to. I think the name change will be good for keeping that one. I will feel less obligated to just post stuff directly related to my Etsy shop, and more free to post about all of the stuff I love. I miss writing–I’ve been in what Tony Stark refers to as “hardware mode” for the past few months and this post alone has demonstrated how great (for me, anyway) it is getting all of this stuff out of my head. I can also, you know, talk about how much I love superhero movies and Law & Order without readers being like “what the heck does this have to do with making classroom tools?” I’m hoping my blog will take on an identity of its own. I have lots of ideas for series of posts that you will all hopefully enjoy. Don’t worry, it won’t all be about superheros and crime shows.
2) List at least one new thing in my shop every week. I’m getting to the point where I’m tired of looking at the same stuff in my shop. I’m determined that this year will see a more fleshed out shop and if I keep all of these ideas in my head for any longer I might explode. Jen from SewnNatural lists at least three new things a week, does made to order work AND has children (and she home schools!). Sasha from What. No Mints? and Sara from IFeltFuzzy list new stuff in their shops while getting PhD’s. I think, in my indulgent post-Bachelor, pre-PhD, pre-Child, twenty-something life I can handle listing one new thing per week. To start off, here are two new things in my shop!
4 Seasons Garland
Seashell nature table set
3) Take more photos. I have a beautiful Nikon d3100 DSLR that spends way too much time in its bag.
I have about fifteen more food and exercise-related ones I won’t bore you with at the moment.
I will be sharing the process of transition as it evolves. Expect a name change in the next week!
Thanks for sticking with me:) You all rock.