The metamorphosis of AGBG: 2019 reflections as a maker and small business owner...

2019 was the year of refining, learning and getting organised. Most noticeably, my craft had considerably improved since opening the business in 2017. 2019 birthed a more rapid progression in AGBG than ever before. There really is truth to the notion that if you dedicate hundreds of hours to something you love, you will hone your craft and eventually notice a metamorphosis, a blooming if you will...

To contextualise:
Quitting my full time job in retail at the end of 2018 was in reality delving into the unknown. It was scary, unplanned, financially strained and above all, incredibly tough. Anyone who follows our Instagram might know that I even considered packing the business away on a shelf and giving up entirely! I had little energy for anything.
But time out put things into a greater perspective for how I wanted to finally trust myself to grow as a business. Time gave me the realisation that I had been on autopilot without knowing, pushing myself to churn out creations without thoroughly reviewing the content, let alone the direction I was heading in. I was physically weak, mentally drained and lacking inspiration.
As a maker, that's a tough one to admit.  

A Gift By Gaia 2018 progress
(Here's me bossing some archery after quitting my job and recouping!)

So with time, I began to pay even closer attention to the finer details of my designs in 2019, pouring more time over my pieces and experimenting with brighter & fresher shades. People began to notice and I felt proud.

Simple Crystal Mushrooms blossomed into Crystal Faery House Mushrooms:



Crystal Clay pendants became Intricate Forest pendants that then bloomed into Crystal Forest Statement Pendants! : 

Crystal Forest Pendant Transformation
The sign I needed to transform my energy levels happened in February 2019 - I'll let you in on a secret that it was our best month for AGBG. It was a pivotal point where something tapped me on the shoulder and told me to keep going and not give up. I don't know where you all popped up from, but I love you! The light began to shine again and I gained more confidence.

Leaving Etsy


My decision to leave Etsy in August 2019 stemmed from a new found love and respect for my capabilities as a small business owner and maker. I wanted to stand on my own two feet and not simply rely on another party to represent my work. I think its important to be aware of the ever-changing nature of online platforms & social media, so that if policies turn into something that aren't in your favour you are prepared to try another avenue. I'm thankful for what it gave me but I needed to move on. It was a time for hunkering down indoors whilst the sun blazed outside to teach myself how to put together a website in under two weeks!


But we got there and was blessed with a truly loving reception from people who I didn't even know were anticipating the launch! Followers didn't leave, they stayed and visited my new shop. I found new people to join the tribe. My tears and happy dances around my tiny West London flat were in full swing let me tell you. I even received messages like this which will always stay close to my heart:



And so it began, AGBG didn't feel like just a magickal private outlet for me anymore to get me through a 9-5 job. It became a real business. It became a major aspect that defined me, not just a side hustle that was birthed in the confines of my dingy University bedroom in 2017. I held my head higher, I began verbally telling people who asked that I am a jewellery designer instead of panicking and putting myself down. The power of the spoken word really showed itself to me in all its glory!


Forest jewellery photoshoot

Oh, and AGBG became published for the first time ever, being chosen for the 'Crafter's Corner' of The Magical Times, issue no. 27. We were very happy with this indeed:



And by September, I experimented with launching AGBG's first ever themed collection in time for Samhain:

samhain themed crystal jewellery collection launch

And I want to thank each and every one of you who made that one of my favourite months in the year. 

~

So before I move onto the next blog post about the first upcoming collection of 2020, I'll admit this. Being a small business owner who stands in her power is an ongoing journey of refinement. Its a beautiful, sometimes messy, sometimes organised, colourful path of mistakes, triumphs, secret melt-downs and successes. Any handmade business boss will agree. I often fall into the comparison trap in the world of social media marketing. I'll admit there are days where I feel jealous of another maker's successes, and wonder  what I'm not doing right. I panic about the level of transparency I'm willing to give to my followers in fear of being "too" vulnerable or unprofessional. There are quiet months that still make me wonder if its all worth it, and there are months where I can't see anything but colour, joy and pride. Inevitably, its the nature of running your own business!
 For me in all of my Virgoism, the more AGBG grows, the more hard on myself I become! But in turn, the harder I work, the more I show up for us, the more I care.

~

I am so excited for where we are headed in 2020, both online and offline. Thank you for taking the time to have gotten this far with us, dear Earthling. Until next time!

Holly xx
Founder of A Gift By Gaia