All the Metallica fans out there will get the reference of the title of this post. Plus it's one of my all time favourite Metallica songs! However the bell is beginning to toll, and that is where the fun stops...for now. Let me take you on a journey, one that may coming to an end.
A bit of background first. For those who don't know, IWG has actually been going for nearly 5 years. The first couple of years was basically me tinkering around with ideas, designing for someone else whilst still working a "normal" job (define normal lol). Then on December 23rd 2015 I quit my job, went through a Government business scheme, and opened IWG as it is today on May 1st 2016.
As we approach 3 years of doing what I love, and approx 5,000 VERY happy customer sales, it's all gone, well, wrong...
IWG is rapidly going downhill. Ever played Mario Kart and someone has knocked you off Rainbow Road? You watch you car falling into the abyss and have no control over it? Yup, that's where we are
OK, so the "Etsy thing" has seriously damaged our sales - by approx £1000/mth. Yes, even in the quiet months like Jan/Feb. Just to give that some perspective, £1000/mth is around £100/week profit, so im not exactly rolling in it. I work damn hard to make less than most people get on benefits. I do it because I LOVE IT, and, according to most people, YOU love what I do too.
Unfortunately, loving something doesn't pay the bills.
So I have picked myself up, dusted myself down and done so many different things the last few months. Built the website, added 200 items to it. Opened an Ebay Clearance Store. Updated Redbubble. Bought some awesome new official merch that people asked for. Added new design ideas of my own. Started an Ambassador programme with 6 awesome ladies. Offered sales and special offers. Given away vouchers. Ran paid adverts. Plus im massively active on social media as you all know. The end result...?
In the last few months I have given away more in freebies to charity events and samples than I have made in monetary terms. Not that I begrudge that as those of you who know me know I'm a generous guy and have no problem "paying it forward". But, for a business that has been running this long, it's not a good place to be in.
So here we are, at a crossroads...
I have a VERY big decision to make. Right now, 75% of me is ready to pack the whole thing in after May (FACT - most UK business fail within 3 years of opening so i'm NOT going to be part of that statistic). The other 25% of me (which, let's be honest, is down to my fiance Lisa) wants me to continue through this rough patch. Light at the end tunnel etc. But this CANNOT go on as it is.
There is a storm already here, and I'm not sure if IWG has the appropriate protection to weather it (although our hoodies ARE awesome - see, still some humour!)
With the very best of intentions people say they want to help. It's not always about spending money. AWARENESS is invaluable. How many people shop at Primark, Tesco, M&S etc? Why? Because you KNOW about them. They ALL started off as small businesses. Word of mouth spread, and the rest plays itself out. IWG will never be that big, that's ok. I'm happy carving out a decent living. But something has to change...
To wrap this all up, it's simple.....we kill the batman....no wait, change that...I meant to say it's a case of USE US OR LOSE US. At this current rate we WILL BE CLOSED by the summer. Fact not fiction. If you REALLY love what we do, it's simple...
SHARE US ON SOCIAL MEDIA
GIFT SHOPPING? HAVE A LOOK AT iwgcustoms.com
PAYDAY TREAT? HAVE A LOOK AT iwgcustoms.com
INVITE PEOPLE TO OUR FACEBOOK PAGE
BOUGHT SOMETHING FROM US? TELL PEOPLE!
And ultimately, IF you DO buy something from us - thank you. From the bottom of my heart. Don't let us become another failed UK business.
"Use us or lose us" ... I will let Freddie have the last word...He know what to say...