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A Year Review: 2017

A Year Review: 2017
What an incredible year 2017 was!  

Instead of planning for the next with a list of resolutions; I'd like to recap the previous 12 months and truly marinate in what I am grateful for.  
Leah Yard Designs reached a few big milestones this year, the most public being the launch of the new website, completing a full holiday market season, and our first local magazine feature.
The behind-the-scenes milestones are a bit bland and boring to retell-- mastering an email campaign platform, learning a few new photoshop tricks, and finally getting those camera settings right are better left celebrated by a happy dance alone...

Here's my 5 proudest (public) moments of 2017:

1. Our 2017 Collection

There is a story of an artist who is commissioned by a King to paint his prized horse.  It goes something like this:

The artist agrees. A year goes by and after hearing nothing from him, the king goes to visit the artist to see how the piece is coming along.  The king walks into the artist's studio only to see him sitting at a blank canvas.  Furious, the king demands that the artist begins painting, and before his eyes the artist creates the most beautiful picture of the kings horse.  The king is baffled.  

The artist then shows the king into another room, which is filled with hundreds of paintings of the kings horse.  Mostly crumpled up or torn, the drafts litter the floor.  It took the hundreds of tries to allow the final painting to be beautifully and easily made.  

The idea of this story is to argue that any completed thing in some way takes our entire lives, experience, failure, drafts, etc., to complete a finished product and make us into an expert.

I love this story.  It truly took my entire jewellery career to refine the 2017 collection as it is.  This is true in every profession, and it will be true in next year's designs.  It is important to remember that we are always learning, growing, improving, and that no one can do exactly what we are doing because it is through our experience, our preference, and our eyes that we create.  

This belief makes me proud of my work, and excited to design new collections-- (it also helps that there's no king's eyes watching).  The 2017 collection is my proudest to date, and I am already excited about the 2018 launch!

2. Website Make-Over

Anyone who has launched a website knows how much work is involved!  We finally made the switch to a supported e-commerce platform; and though it is quite "user-friendly" I don't have one tech bone in my body which made for a challenging journey!  With several tweaks (and meltdowns) we finally launched in the spring.  It was a very exciting milestone and truly up-levelled our little business.

3. Surviving a full Holiday Market Season

Leah Yard Designs has been online for 5 years, but it was finally time to take the leap and present the line face to face!  We took on a full Market Season through November and December.  

It was a whirlwind, but an incredible experience.  Online shopping is wonderful and you can certainly build a brand behind the scenes on the internet, but experiencing the feedback and reactions to the designs firsthand was incredible.  We met some amazing artists and entrepreneurs, and the kindest customers.  Stay tuned for our Spring Market line up, we will be taking part in lots more in 2018!

4. Magazine Feature

We were honoured to be a part of the "I Like Her Style Vancouver" Holiday Gift Guide for 2017!  This local publication is filled with some inspiring entrepreneurs and go-getters!  I felt completely out of my league among such talents and lovely local boutiques such as:
5. Overall Survival and Organization

I know it's a ridiculous title; but there's nothing I am more proud of than the survival of 2017!  

Half of businesses that begin, fail within the first year.  This is a terrifying statistic.  We have been going for 5 years, and though it hasn't always been strong there has been a drive and dedication that has pushed through.  I will always look back on 2017 as one of the most influential times of Leah Yard Designs, and accomplishing the last 12 months doing the best I can is the top of my list!  

Summing up the year has also fuelled some new organization and order to our (chaotic) studio.  New accounting systems and monthly routines will make us even more efficient in 2018, but thats just more of that behind-the-scenes boring stuff. Now please excuse me while I take a moment to do a happy dance.

Last, but absolutely not least, I want to thank everyone for the support in 2017.  I won't name names; but I will say there are a few key people that encourage me, believe in me, and quite honestly, put up with me.  I would be no where without them, and you.

Happy New Year!

xo xo xo 

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