Seems an eternity since I last wrote a blog. 6 months or more. Been a while I guess. A lot has happened though, and I think this is as good a time as any to get stuff off my chest, and let you all know what is next for IWG Customs...Get comfy, grab a drink 'cos here we go!
So everything was all rosy. We were having a GREAT year. Events were great, people were great. Even had these 2 rascals below getting our custom merch to wear
Yes, don't adjust your phone/computer/tablet .... that is Rick Cosnett from The Flash and Olivia Cooke from Ready Player One wearing OUR custom designs. AND NO I didn't have to pay them or Photoshop them for all the doubters. Google the pics if you REALLY need to! Pretty damn cool for a small 1 man business. Needless to say, 2018 was shaping up to be a very fun year for me.
Oh yeh, I also got engaged :)
Fast forward to December. Xmas rush had started early (again). Orders coming out of my years, plus the immensely popular Wales Comic Con (which we love!). Busy busy busy. Can't remember the exact amount of orders but it was something crazy, well over the 200 mark in a couple of weeks. Working till silly o'clock in the morning, but all worthwhile. These are the sacrifices you make when you work for yourself. In some ways it's like having a baby. No set hours, little sleep and constantly worrying that you are doing your best.
Babies are much harder work for all the mum's & dad's out there :)
So mid-December arrives, time to have a break. Bit of Xmas time off. Feet up, recharge the batteries. Etsy shop closed, stock put away. All good
THEN IT ALL WENT TO SHIT!
I re-open my Etsy Shop on Dec 27th. On the morning of Dec 28th my shop ceases to exist, closed by Etsy due to a complaint from the owners of the game Fortnite over infringement. WTF! Long story short, I made a "Floss Like A Boss" t-shirt design - no logos, no characters To add some irony to this - there are currently over 9,000 Fortnite/Floss Like A Boss items on Etsy. Oh, and the owners of Fortnite are currently being sued by no less than 4 celebrities, including the kid who came up with the Floss Dance).
WOW! JUST WOW!
Ok, so they clearly feel I have crossed a line. I appeal the decision and get a resounding "NO". Oh, did I also mention Etsy have been over-charging non US shop owners since around mid-2018 and STILL haven't refunded them all (myself included). Needless to say I will probably never see that money again.
Everything kinda fell apart after that. Many sleepless nights. Worrying about income, the business, my partner Lisa. Plus we have had some really scary personal stuff to deal with of late. Trying to put a brave face on when everything around me is falling quicker than a pair of knickers on prom night! (I make no apologies for that joke it's one of my faves!)
I pick myself up a bit. Start making plans for THIS website that has been sitting in the background for far, FAR too long. Trying to build it into something people will look at, tell their friends about, and most importantly BUY from. Currently, it's looking good aesthetically at least. Few more tweaks and nearly there. I have opened an Ebay Store too (yes it's called IWG CUSTOMS, no shock there). Added more design options to Redbubble. Looking for new merchandise to add all the time. But it is so damn hard. Trying to do so many things on my own, with a limited budget (losing Etsy has cost me 60% of my sales revenue, so think around £15k). Personal stuff going on. It's all hit me so hard. There are days when I literally want to pack it all in, then days when I feel I shouldn't. Some may call it depression, other's will say I need a kick up the backside. Maybe it's a bit of both.
So here we are, nearly the end of January and I am trying so hard to make it all work again. I reckon I have 6 months at the most. By the summer I will know if it is all worthwhile again. I have one of the strongest wills in the world to succeed, but ultimately I can't make people buy things, no matter how much they love them. January is an odd month, everyone recovering after Xmas excess spending and waiting for that long awaited payday again. I feel your pain, really I do, I wasn't always self employed.
All I can do now is what I have been doing - putting on a brave face, smiling a lot and praying to every deity there is that it will all be ok, and IWG will thrive even more so than before. I love what I do, I love the customers I have met, the smiles when they buy things, the bigger smile from me when I see pics of you all wearing what you have bought. Ask anyone who knows me personally. It's what makes me tick.
In the meantime all I can ask of you (yes you, reading this, you lucky lucky people!) is when you see something you like, tell someone. Share it on your social media. Invite people to like the page on Facebook. Tell a group you are in. Anything really. It all helps. You may be that 1 individual that helps turn everything around (if you are you will be looked after with pizza haha!) Seriously though, you just never know :)
"Failure is not falling down, but a refusal to get up" - Chinese Proverb.
The King isn't dead...he just needs a helping hand.
Peace & Love, thanks for reading