2017 Business Goals Review January – March // Sunray Sister

Welcome back sisters!

Following on from my Happy Highlights post – where I reflect each month on the small things that made me smile and the big things that I achieved – today I want to zoom in a little closer to focus on my Sunray Sister 2017 business goals, and think about where to go next.

From now on I will be doing these goals reviews every month (on the Sunday after Happy Highlights), in order to closely assess and re-evaluate my goals (business and personal) as the year progresses.

Here is my original list of goals, as explained in my 2017 business goals post:

  • Focus brand on spreading positivity through creativity
  • Write business plan
  • Stick to products which are sewn/made of fabric
  • Use reduced and sustainable packaging
  • Create YouTube videos
  • Have 60+ items in Etsy shop at one time
  • Have 50+ Etsy sales
  • Get public liability insurance
  • Have a stall at 20+ craft fairs
  • Get products in at least one local shop
  • Attend 5+ Etsy seller monthly meet-ups
  • Increase social media following to 300+ on each platform
  • Use a social media strategy
  • Write blog posts at least one week in advance
  • Gain 20+ WordPress followers

I have highlighted the ones which I have already made some progress with, and will discuss further below…

Write business plan

At the end of January I attended a Prince’s Trust Explore Enterprise course, which focused on starting a business, and gave us all the tools to go away and write a business plan. Since then I have had a 1-1 meeting with a mentor, which gave me a much-needed boost. I now have more clarity and enthusiasm to continue with my ideas, get serious in terms of creating a business, and get back to making products and art again!

Stick to products which are sewn/made of fabric

Even though I have not yet made many new products, I have been focusing on my sewing behind the scenes, and showed a few examples at my first ever exhibition as Sunray Sister a few weeks ago. At the same time, I have realised in the last week that I really want to create drawings and paintings to sell too! Don’t worry, I have a plan for the art to work alongside my dolls. All will be revealed soon.

Create YouTube videos

I have definitely achieved this one! On Valentine’s Day I launched my first video, and have been creating one video per week since then (expect last week!) Check out my channel and be sure to subscribe to support this new branch of my creative tree! Find my latest video below:

Write blog posts at least one week in advance

This goal hasn’t quite been met. But it is certainly at the front of my mind. Writing this blog feels so important, natural and fun to me. I have started planning my weeks more thoroughly overall, using the ‘bullet journal’ system, and just need to find a good time to focus on blog writing.

Gain 20+ WordPress followers

It may not seem like much, but I now have six followers here on WordPress, and this means so much to me. Clicking subscribe means you believe in someone, and want to support and see more of their content. So thank you, thank you, thank you a million times! If you are not subscribed, what are you waiting for? Simply find the little blue follow button in the menu, or click follow in the bottom right corner if you are already signed up to WordPress.

A few small steps. A gradual journey. It’s hard work, but it is so important to keep my eyes and mind open, keep reflecting, make changes if something isn’t working. And keep going.


I hope to see you again this Wednesday, when I will definitely have a new YouTube video! (It finally uploaded after a few failed attempts!) Have a brilliant start to the new week!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

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DIY Embroidered Mini Purse // Sunray Sister Shows You How

Welcome back sisters! How is your week going so far? I’ve managed to get a cold again, and it’s raining outside… but otherwise I’ve been feeling positive, and getting productive; preparing for my first exhibition, reading lots of library books, working at my part-time job and making content for my YouTube channel.

Speaking of YouTube, my second video is now live!!! This week’s video is another episode of ‘Sunray Sister Shows You How’, a craft tutorial teaching you how to make a mini embroidered drawstring purse. Hit play below, or go straight to my channel.

 

What do you think? What videos would you like to see in the future? I made a post recently about all my ideas, but let me know if you have some more ideas for me!

Coming up this Friday on the blog will be a new edition of my music playlist feature, Playtime. Enjoy the rest of the week!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Day 14: LAST DAY! BIG ANNOUNCEMENT! // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Self-Love

How are you sisters? I hope you are feeling super loved right now! Because you are brilliant and you deserve to be loved.

On this final day of 14 days of posts, I would like to share something SUPER special with you…

MY VERY FIRST SUNRAY SISTER YOUTUBE VIDEO!

It’s here! Sunray Sister is all about positivity via creativity, so my channel is going to be all about leading a creative life by: making stuff, learning stuff and finding alternatives in order to love yourself, others and our planet as much as possible.

To make a paper heart bunting…

You will need

  • Newspaper to protect surface
  • Paper – I used 3 sheets of cold pressed watercolour paper
  • Paints – I used red, white and gold acrylics from WHSmith
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Shape template – I made a heart, aprox. 12cm square
  • A sewing machine and thread, OR
  • A hole punch and ribbon

Method

  1. Prepare paint
  2. Paint paper and leave to dry
  3. Trace template onto back of painted paper
  4. Cut shapes
  5. Set up your sewing machine
  6. Sew shapes together on sewing machine, making sure you leave extra thread at either end for hanging up
  7. OR, if you don’t have a sewing machine, simply punch holes either side of each heart, and thread the hearts onto some thin ribbon.

Done!


Starting a YouTube channel is such a massive step for me, so it would mean the world if you could share my video on social media, tell your friends and let me know what you thought! Find me on social media!

After all those posts, I’m feeling rather exhausted, but I have just hit 50 published blog posts! Wow! Thank you so much for being here, and following my journey, I love you all! See you on Friday for a round up of all 14 days, in case you missed any.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

Day 1: Instagram Giveaway! // Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love

Welcome to day one of Sunray Sister’s 14 Day’s of Love! Let’s do this!

I’m kicking off this series with my first ever Giveaway over on Instagram! You can win three of my handmade creations. The giveaway will be running for two weeks, and closes at 5pm UK time on 14th of February, aka Valentine’s Day.

Find out all the details in the Instagram post below, and share with all your friends and family! If you have any questions, please ask.

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Small embroidery hoop decoration
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“you look lovely today”
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Handmade bookmark, “you can do it”
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Pretty fabric on reverse
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Handmade keyring, “dream big”

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What are you waiting for? Enter now to win these three one of a kind creations. Head to Instagram and spread the love.

See you again tomorrow sisters, when I will be celebrating my experience of love! Remember to click follow on my blog to catch every post.

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

January Happy Highlights // Sunray Sister

Good morning sisters! How was January for you? Have you made more progress than ever before? Or have you thrown your goals in the bin? Don’t worry!

Remember above all to forgive yourself, smile, review what you’ve achieved, work out where you need to go, and then move forward.

So today, I want to share the things I am most proud of from January, and those moments that brought the biggest smile to my face.

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My January Happy Highlights recorded in my sketchbook
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I’m really enjoying using an old typewriter to add text to my pages
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This month I did a little collage instead of my usual drawings – I love arranging images and ephemera on a page, I find it really therapeutic

 

Share your happy highlights from January in the comments below, or come and join the party on social mediaInstagram is my favourite!

Tomorrow is the start of Sunray Sister’s 14 Days of Love! If you don’t know what I’m on about, check out that link, and I’ll see you back here tomorrow when I will be launching my very first giveaway! Woo!

 

Peace and love,

Rachel x

New Handmade Creations Coming Soon // Sunray Sister

Welcome back sisters! Here is a quick look at some of my recent design ideas. These will be transforming into beautiful new handmade creations for my next Etsy shop update on Saturday 4th of February, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

And remember, you can’t love anyone else, until you accept and love yourself. So this Valentine’s make sure to make time for you!

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Hoops and cards – coming soon!

Hoops

Classic embroidery hoops with a sweet or motivational message. Using, of course, my hand-dyed fabric. These can be hung up in your home to bring a smile to your face every day!

Cards

You may have seen my illustrated Christmas cards last year, but one of my 2017 business goals stated that I need to stick to textile products only, in order to establish a clear brand. So I am creating some embroidered cards to send to your loved ones!

Bookmarks

Simple fabric bookmarks, with options to personalise with your, or your loved one’s, initials. They will make you want to pick up that book and get reading!

Keyrings

These will be similar to my square brooches, but on a keyring instead!

Zip pouches

Useful and cute, what could be better!? These pouches can be used for anything from stationary to make-up, or just whatever you like.

Brooches

More square brooches made with sturdy kilt pins. Find some in my shop now!

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Bookmarks, keyrings, pouches and brooches – coming soon!

So keep your eyes out for these new products coming to the shop this February!

See you back here this Sunday for a HUGE announcement, bringing together lots of things that I’ve been hinting at recently. I am going to share my big plan with you all! See you then sisters.

Peace and even more love than before,

Rachel x

YouTube Plans! // Sunray Sister

Hello sisters! How are you? I’ve written just over 30 posts on this blog since it launched in October 2016, and I thought it was about time to spice things up a bit. So, I am going to be launching my very own Sunray Sister YouTube channel! Aaaaaaah! I am so excited. A bit too excited!

Today I thought I would give you a taste of the types of video I will be creating. As always I have a million and one ideas, but it’s best to start with lots and then narrow it down. Let me know what you think: anything I should cut out? Anything I haven’t thought of? Tell me down in the comments or reach me on social media.

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Overall idea for channel…

The main point of producing videos for Sunray Sister will be to further promote my message of ‘positivity via creativity’. This means not only making videos about craft and art, but also about having a creative lifestyle and a positive mindset. The channel will be about finding creative solutions, celebrating creativity, leading a positive life, going on adventures and having fun! 

I have put all of my ideas into five categories…

copy-of-copy-of-seize-the-daySunray Sister Shows You How

These videos will be the main feature of my channel to begin with. There will be a wide variety of techniques and materials covered, with clear instructions and a focus on using craft to relax and have fun! I will also include longer projects (such as dressmaking and knitting), spread across a few videos.

seize-the-day-1Sunray Sister Show & Tell

Similar to ‘…shows you how’, but I will be showing you some finished projects instead! These could include new items for my Etsy shop, as well as personal work such as sketchbook pages.

copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-seize-the-daySunray Sister Ventures Out

Let’s go out and explore! These videos will take you on a mini-adventure, anywhere from the woods to the museum.

copy-of-seize-the-day-1Sunray Sister Sings a Song

For this section of the Sunray Sister YouTube channel, I will be re-connecting with music. I love to sing and play piano, and I would love to share this with you!

copy-of-copy-of-copy-of-seize-the-daySunray Sister Gets Personal

The final area of my channel will explore creative and alternative lifestyles, including minimalism and veganism. Plus simple ‘plan with me’ and ‘my routines’ videos, which I love to watch, so I would love to make my own versions!


 

That’s it, all my content ideas!!! Please let me know what you think! I’m feeling so positive about this. I believe it will help me to build my confidence, clarify my thinking, reach a new audience, and it will be a lot of fun!

In the next few weeks my blog schedule is going to be shaken up a bit, so watch out for extra content very soon – more on that this Sunday!

Have an awesome day, and see you back here on Friday for a sneak preview of new hand-sewn goodness coming your way this February!

 

Peace and extra love!

Rachel x

Market Applications and Daily Planning // Sunday Sunray News

Welcome back sisters! In the past week I have been making some progress towards my 2017 business goals. Not much has actually happened, but I have a lot of exciting plans, so this turned out to be quite a long post! Let’s dive straight in…

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Market Applications

One of my 2017 goals is to have a stall at 20 or more craft markets or fairs. So this week I have applied for one, and am in the process of applying for another! The first is actually an art fair, taking place in Bristol this May, aimed at young artists working in all media including textiles, so I think I would fit in well. Fingers crossed!

The second application, which I am still working on, is for Country Living magazine’s pop-up market in April. The deadline is the 20th of February, but entries have to be sent by post, so I better get on with it. Shout out to my mum who found this one for me!

There are so many markets that I have heard about in the past year, and would love to take part in! Here are some examples to research further:

  • Crafty Fox market
  • Native Makers
  • Renegade Craft fair
  • Made London and Made Brighton
  • Etsy made local markets
  • Made in Bristol gift fair

Of course there are also local markets celebrating handmade every weekend, and below are a few which I will be considering:

  • The Harbourside Market (central Bristol)
  • Tobacco Factory Market (South Bristol)
  • The Nails Market (central Bristol)
  • The Frome Independent (near Bristol)

In order to be eligible for most markets I will first need to get public liability insurance; another goal to tick off my list!

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Planning

This week I have been trying to plan each day more effectively, both on a personal level and for more detailed business targets. ‘Use a social media strategy’ and ‘Write blog posts at least one week in advance’, are two of my 2017 business goals, and ‘Plan each day’ is one of my personal goals, and I feel like I have been making a lot of progress with all of these.

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I am using a simple A4 page a day diary. Inside I have post-it notes for my weekly goals, social media schedule and meal plan. These can then be stuck to each day, since they last for a whole week.

I use the actual pages to record any events at the top of the page, then I track what food I am eating. Underneath that I write my to-do list for each day. The tasks are set using any daily goals I have (such as Veganuary, walking and social media posts), followed by tasks from my weekly goals post-it. These daily tasks are also split into ‘Business’ and ‘Personal’. I still feel like this needs a bit more refining, maybe giving each task a specific time in the day.

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My key business weekly goals this week are market applications, daily social media posts, sewing new products and planning my blog. In the past hour I have created drafts for my next 10 or so blog posts! And it feels great! Mainly because I actually have a clear path, and I know where I am taking Sunray Sister next. All I can say is, I’ve got lots of exciting things coming up soon, and lots of hard work too!

(As an example, today is actually Friday the 13th, and I’ve already got Sunday’s post done, and drafted the next few weeks worth of posts, including a BIG surprise coming in February! What!?)

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Phew, I think that’s enough for one post! What big goals have you been working on this week? What positive changes have you made? Let me know in the comments!

In case you missed my latest posts, here’s a quick summary:

Coming up on the blog will be a fun Random Round-Up post on Tuesday, and more on that big surprise that I mentioned, in a special update post this Friday. Hope you have a positive and productive week!

 

Peace and love

Rachel x

Personal Goals for 2017 // Sunray Sister

Hello sisters! How is your week going so far? Today I want to share a few personal things with you, because this business is a huge journey for me, and I want you to know what’s going on behind it. I want you to know what matters to me.

Last month I shared my business goals for 2017. Those goals are about fixed targets and going out of my comfort zone to achieve new things. My personal goals are about coming back to myself, so that I can create my best self. They are about being able to have a solid foundation from which I can jump up to my business goals, and then still have something comfortable to land on!

For my personal goals, I have created four main categories: Health, Habits, Finance and Fun. These are four broad areas which I want to improve throughout the year. Let’s see what’s in each one…

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Health – diet and exercise

In 2017 I will get better at looking after my body and my mind.

I have already made a major change this year by becoming vegetarian. I have always eaten meat, but I suddenly realised that I don’t need to, my body doesn’t need it, and I no longer need to harm animals. What’s more I am taking part in Veganuary, a vegan challenge for January.

I also want to move more, and breathe in more fresh-air. In 2017 I aim to walk outside everyday. Doing a lot of work from home often means I get stuck inside all day. When I get outside I feel a million times better. Obviously I need to build up to doing serious exercise eventually, such as running and cycling.

By eating well and exercising regularly, my mind will become clearer and my body will feel happier. To add to this, I want to revisit yoga and meditation. I have done some basic meditation in the past using the Headspace app on my phone, and I have learnt some yoga moves from a class and books, so I would like to pick these up again in 2017.

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Habits – planning and possessions

In 2017 I will become more organised and have fewer possessions.

Time is my biggest demon. Yet I know that I can conquer it, with the power of lists! And lists! And more lists!!! Plus a lot of willpower. If I want to be self-employed, or at least to begin with be able to juggle a job with running a small business, I need a daily routine. That means no lie-ins, no late nights. It means creating effective to-do lists, daily and weekly schedules, and prioritising.

Aside from all the serious stuff, I need to remember the mundane things. Cleaning and chores. Planning meals and doing food shopping. These basic things often get forgotten. But in 2017 I want to give them a place and respect my chores with a set routine and plan.

Before I can truly see clearly however, I need to get rid of the physical things that are in my way. I’m talking about clutter. Possessions. Stuff. There is a big trend at the moment for minimalism and I think this is great. So over the next couple of months I will be clearing out a lot of my belongings. I might also film the process to share later, when I launch my YouTube channel, which is one of my business goals!

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Finances – the necessary stuff

In 2017 I will be financially secure and be in control of my money.

To me, money is such an abstract concept. Quite similar to time. In the age of plastic cards, and online shopping and banking, I basically never see money. And yet it makes me miserable. So it is another demon which I need to conquer, this time with the power of spreadsheets!!! And possibly an accountant. Money is also quite a private thing, so I won’t say anymore here.

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Fun – the nice stuff

In 2017 I will have fun and do things that I love.

There are a lot of things that I love to do, but I hardly ever do them. So this year I am determined to make some time for fun.

I love music, but it has got slightly buried in my life recently. In 2017 I want to start practicing piano and singing regularly again; just for me to start with, and eventually for sharing at gigs and in YouTube videos again.

Of course I love art and crafts as well. This year I want to start building a handmade wardrobe by sewing clothes from patterns that I already own (I have quite a lot of dress patterns!), and I will probably film the process for YouTube as well. I also want to get back into collaging and start a journal that combines collage, drawing, paint and my written thoughts, in order to reflect on my emotions.

I often forget about the people in my life, so I also want to add a final, and most important goal for 2017, to plan special dates with Fraz, my boyfriend. These could be dates out to the cinema, for a walk, for a meal, or dates in to watch a film or play games.

 

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My 2017 personal goals list

  1. Be vegetarian and try being vegan
  2. Walk outside everyday
  3. Practice yoga and meditation
  4. Plan each day
  5. Respect chores and create a routine for them
  6. Plan meals and prepare in advance
  7. De-clutter and become minimalist
  8. Become financially secure and track finances
  9. Practice piano
  10. Learn cover songs
  11. Sew clothes from patterns I already own
  12. Keep a collage journal
  13. Plan special dates with Fraz

 

What are you planning this year? Do you want to change? Are you going to be your best possible self? Let me know about all of your crazy plans in the comments or via social media. You could also follow me on Instagram for more personal insights and daily inspiration.

See you again this Friday for episode six of Playtime. Have a great week sisters!

 

Peace and love

Rachel x

Etsy Shop Update // Dolls and Brooches // Sunday Sunray News

Hello again sisters, and welcome to a new edition of Sunday Sunray News. If you’re new here (HELLO!), this is my weekly update all about new products in my Etsy shop, plans for the near and far future, and any milestones that I reach!

So grab a cup of tea, and let’s see what I’ve been up to this week…

My main news is that I re-opened my Etsy shop after a lovely long winter break. I gave everything a little spring clean with some new photos and writing, and added a couple of new items.

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This is how my Etsy shop currently looks. I have tried to make all of my photos consistent, and I am a big fan of ‘flat lay’ compositions. Other small things include not using a banner; instead of being distracted by a huge image at the top of the page, customers can instantly see my listings.

Old products, updated!

There are three dolls still available from my original batch, but I realised the photos could be improved, so I took some new ones! My photography is not amazing, and I only used natural lighting and basic editing software. I also don’t have a tripod yet…!

Compared to the original photos, I simply did more in the editing stage, by eliminating shadows, and adding brightness and contrast. Plus of course adding the new flat lay arrangements!

Below are examples of the before and after photos, click on each one for a closer look…

Amelie’s close-up; from boring and dull, to interesting and bright!

Subtle adjustments to Austen’s held-by-my-hand shot.

The addition of a flat lay photo adds so much interest to Anouk and her sisters’ listings!

Current new products, and more to come!

Before Christmas I finished two new brooches, which are available now. I also created a few other things, but of course they were made as Christmas presents for my loved ones! Do not fear though, there will be new things coming your way in the next few weeks in the shape of embroidered zip pouches and bookmarks with monograms. Exciting stuff!

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These are the two new embroidered brooches with the messages ‘be kind’ and ‘keep going’, with a third brooch from my original batch which says ‘be brave’.

Sunray Sister is all about positivity and self-love, so these messages are intended to inspire the wearer (and those around them!) to turn the message into positive action. I have the first brooch I made on my Kånken backpack, and it tells me to ‘keep going’ each day!

 

What would you like to see in my shop? As my potential customers, I would love to know what you think of the things that I currently offer, how I present them, and what I could do to improve. You can comment below or reach me on social media.

Coming up on Tuesday I am going to be sharing my personal goals for 2017, as I want you to know the person behind this blog, and what is important to me; I would love to get to know you too! In my final post of 2016 I showed you my 2017 business goals, did you see it? There will be a new series of posts on the blog soon, documenting how I am breaking each goal down into actionable steps, and updating the progress of each one. I am determined to meet them all!

Wishing you all a productive second week of the new year!

 

Peace and love

Rachel x