Happy 2024! It's been a couple of months since my last update, so I'm starting the year with a recap of my holiday season, which was full of family events and activity that kept us plenty busy (in a good way) for weeks on end.
First, New Pottery
I mentioned in my last post that I've been churning out a lot of pottery lately. That pace, combined with a conscious decision to not get too swept up by holiday restock pressure, made shop prep much less stressful than it could have been and still I had a well-performing season of sales thanks to all of you.
I introduced a few new designs to the shop at the end of the year too. The Wreath Mug, with its oversized, round handle that still fits pleasing in your hand thanks to the texture pinched into each one. The Helio Scoop, which reminds me of fossils and saw-toothed sea creatures. The Droplet Jar (currently sold out) that I can't wait to make more of on the wheel. The Anji Espresso Cup and the Enoki Mug, both of which show off a recent favorite glaze that fires with spontaneous washes of acorn, biscotti, and cinnamon.
Our family is preparing for a new addition who's due to arrive in late February. Very soon, I'll turn my attention away from most other pursuits and toward preparing the house for baby. Like the last time around, I have been so fortunate (knock on wood) to enjoy a wonderful pregnancy with minimal symptoms and a growing bond with my growing belly. This second time has felt a lot more relaxed and as a result the time has really flown. I'm already 32 weeks along!
We'll almost certainly stop at two kids, and so every kick, scan, and even each bout of pregnancy insomnia has been extra special to me. I have loved being pregnant and am so grateful for what my body can do. Knowing what I now know about the risks in pregnancy, I count myself incredibly fortunate to have had such joyful experiences thus far.
We celebrated Thanksgiving with two huge family gatherings. This year there was a wonderful raucous energy brought by a notable increase in the number of little ones running around.
We celebrated Christmas three times over, capping it with a party at our place on 12/30 when we hosted 16 family members. It was amazing to see how much more Jasper understood (and thus, was able to get excited about and enjoy) Christmas this year. During the week after Christmas, we took him to Rockefeller Center to see the tree and the window displays at Saks Fifth Avenue, which he was very into because the theme was miniature reproductions of NYC landmarks.
For New Year's Eve, we did a countdown in the evening before Jasper's bedtime, with a couple of noisemakers and accessories that we'd picked up at a nearby dollar store.
On Holiday Season Consumerism
This year, it really felt like retailers' sales and promotions started earlier and lasted longer than ever before. I felt rushed by the many call-to-action emails reminding me not to "miss out" on the "biggest sale of the year" well before I was mentally ready to begin gift shopping.
On the business side, I felt completely overshadowed as a small operation. Because I make in small batches, I'm rarely left with excess stock to try to clear out, and the costs of production are consistent regardless of the volume. Therefore, my production process and pricing model are incompatible with discounting, and so I cannot compete on that front. Fair, consistent pricing in my shop is something I'm generally proud of, but it can be a little harder to stay confident about it during a season of deep, loud discounts.
Some images from the end of the year, starting with a weekend away in Jewett, NY with some friends and their kiddos. We enjoyed breakfast at Day June Luncheonette and the best best best baked goods at Shandaken Bake.
Below, holiday festivities in Manhattan and the view from the Wall Street ferry station.
A Greenpoint bistro, Jasper's 2023 holiday ornament (his favorite dinosaur), our new Meyer lemon tree, and the Queens Science Museum.