I thought it might be fun to look back at some of the highs (and lows) of running Asking For Trouble this year so I’m giving out awards.
The biggest was undoubtably finishing my book, even though that technically happened 3 times (manuscript deadline, print deadline, new publication date print deadline). I didn’t even get to celebrate that much as it was all a big secret. I’m looking forward to sharing a lot more next year.
Favourite new products
I couldn’t think of much when I started making notes for this but a quick look back and I have so many favourites. I’ll restrict myself to four.
- The wooden bumblebees on sticks I created with my dad haven’t been super popular but I love them so much.
- Designing washi tape has long been a dream and I’m so happy with how they turned out.
- Deciding not to make any more enamel pins was a little terrifying, but thankfully you all loved my wooden pins as much as I did.
- After the huge task of writing a book, it was really enjoyable to make a short illustrated zine about My Japan Favourites.
Most surprising fails
It’s always pretty gutting when you spend a long time on something you think everyone will love and it just doesn’t sell.
Despite all the enthusiasm about my 100 Day Project, only a handful of people gave something back by picking up the mini book I created with all the characters. The matching surprise boxes also still haven’t quite sold out 3 months later, though at least the people who have bought them have loved them.
Best business purchase
Best customer suggestion
No offence, but customer/follower suggestions are often clueless at best, not understanding how much time and money goes into creating a new product. All praise to the customer who asked if I could make my cloud brooches into keyrings. I couldn’t think of a reason not to and they turned out really well and became one of my most successful products this year.
Most hated tasks
Forever number one: waiting in line at the post office. Luckily, I only have to do this for wholesale orders, tubes and tracked/signed packages, (which is why I don’t encourage the latter two). I was able to bring all my mail straight to the delivery office over Christmas and it was so good I might have to try and change my shipping cut offs so I can do this the rest of the year too.
Looking back I made a lot of huge decisions this year. My biggest was making efforts to reduce the amount of plastic packaging I use. In a few short months, I changed over to mainly using cardboard boxes, tissue paper and paper bags instead of bubble mailers, bubble wrap and cello bags. I started out offering a choice but the response was so overwhelmingly for recyclable options that I’m making plastic a special request.
The other big change was my Patreon. I became so tired of no-one seeing my social media posts due to algorithms and people expecting everything for free. Now I create things for my patrons, who are willing to pay a little bit of money each month to help me keep writing and designing. And let’s not forget my new logo – I still love it!
Best blog series
I spend A LOT of time writing blog posts, even though I know that very few people read blogs any more. I do it for myself and so I can point people there when they have questions about Japan, selling on-demand etc.
My favourite series of posts was definitely Plan Your Japan Trip as I got to write about so many practical areas of trip planning like budgeting, flights, hotels and traveling solo.
One of my Twitter followers spotted what looked VERY MUCH like my Lucky Clover card as a collectible item in a PS4 Spider-Man game. Same colours, same font (a commercially licensed font btw!), similar clover. Best of all, the back of the card was exactly the same as mine, even though I had never shared that online so they must have seen the real card. It was too bizarre and hilarious to be mad about really.
Thanks for following along this year – hope you had some favourites too.