Hello 2024

I can’t believe how fast 2023 has flown by and that it’s already time to usher in the new year. This past year has been filled with so many different emotions, happiness and joy alongside sadness and grief. I guess that’s life’s need for balance.

Going into 2023 I knew I needed to slow down a lot. However it’s one of those things that are easier said than done. I think I spent the first few months of the year fooling myself. I took on a lot of projects and said yes to things that I really should have said no to. What actually pushed me to make a change was a discussion from a podcast that I came across.

The topic that was up for discussion was how we spend so much time praying for the blessing but if we are being honest with ourselves, do we actually have the capacity to handle that blessing once we receive it.

Wow. In that moment things changed so much for me. Because if I was being truly honest with myself, all of the things that I had been praying for, if they were given to me at that moment there’s no way I would have been able to successfully handle it all.

This season of life called motherhood that I’m in right now has forced me to slow down whether I like it or not. But being accepting of where I am currently at in life is the difference between being able to slow down and enjoy all the little moments or waking up everyday and fighting with myself over things I can’t control.

Getting to understand my capacity has been a year long lesson and I still don’t think I’ve graduated. While I will always be a work in progress, what really helped me to realize my capacity was sitting down and writing out clear and defined goals that I had for my business.

If you would have asked me what my goals were before having children it would have been an easy and quick response. World domination. No seriously. But since having children, I am no longer the same person I was before. It’s only natural that my goals and dreams would change. To be quite honest with you, I want to paint and make things that give people little moments of joy. Just like the moment of joy shared between two people when they exchange a card. I want a simple life of using my talents in a way that leaves me fulfilled and the world a little brighter. And if we are really getting personal, at some point in the far future I would love to start an art therapy program where I could teach.

Once I realized I was at my limit, defining my short term and long term business goals helped me to decide whether to say yes or no to things. When you know where you’re headed it’s easier to determine if something is going to get you closer to your destination, or take you on a detour.

It was also important for me to see that during this time I could still be productive and lay the foundation for the blessings to come. I had to be intentional with the time I did have so that I could set myself up for success.

So with that being said I’ve spent some time thinking about my business goals for 2024 and here they are.

1. Grow at a sustainable pace through wholesale

Ever since starting my journey with Salty Kai in 2016 I knew my end goal was that I wanted my art on the shelves of cute boutiques across the world. It has taken me years to build the confidence to chase after this. My little shop in Jensen Beach really helped with that. While I will admit the shop was a big detour, it taught me so many things. Including confidence. To have confidence in my work and that it will always find its way to the right people. Because my art is so personal to me and is a part of me, I’ve always had a hard time putting myself out there. I have spent the better part of 2023 growing my wholesale line and working on the accompanying pieces, like my wholesale website and catalog. While getting my product line into shops was not something I actively pursued this past year, I am so thankful for all of the lovely retail stores who discovered me and are carrying Salty Kai in their shops. Whether they found me through social media, or markets I am truly so thankful. It has also helped to build my confidence when I see those reorders come in.

Sustainability is an extremely important thing to me while growing my wholesale accounts. Remember those end goals of mine? Well another lesson the shop taught me is that I need to be in control of the pace that I grow at. I think when things take off too fast it can be hard to find your footing. I am not chasing an endless number of retailers. I want each connection that I make with a shop owner to be meaningful and have purpose. When I had the shop one of my favorite things was the relationships that were created by the artists and small business owners who had their product on my shelves. The ones who checked in on me every now and then to see how their products were selling and cheered my little shop on from afar. It takes time and energy to nurture those kind of relationships, so that’s something I really want to focus on with my wholesale accounts.

Count of total Retailers for 2023: 11

Goal for ending of 2024: 50

2. Take bigger steps towards my studio shed

Would you believe when I told you that even though I’ve had two different storefronts, I’ve never truly had a dedicated studio space in either of them. The first was very small coming in at only 425 sq ft. Looking back if that space would have been used only as my studio then it would have been the perfect size. The second storefront was around 1200 sq ft. But I was so focused on the retail side of things that my own work became a second thought. I love my home and it’s cozy size, coming in at only around 1100 sq ft. But it’s been challenging finding the space for all of my products and production. At the moment my studio is our guest bedroom. Which for now gets the job done. However, do you remember this picture?

One of the nice surprises we got when purchasing our home, was this adorable shed in the backyard. From the moment my husband and I laid eyes on it, we agreed that it would be perfect as my studio. Having the space to work is not just the concern, it’s also being able to do it with a clear mind. My house is not very large which means it doesn’t matter where I go, I can hear the soft and most of the time loud and excited voices of my children. It can become very distracting at times. In 2024 I plan on putting funds to the side from the business so that I can start working on it and building my dream studio space.

Here’s a couple inspiration pictures I’ve grabbed from my Pinterest boards. A girl can dream right?

3. Sharing and teaching

Earlier in the year I had the urge to start a YouTube channel. I told myself I would create videos sharing everything from behind the scenes at markets to instructional videos on different design software and e-commerce platforms. In my phone I have little albums filled with the videos I took the time to record but they never made it off of my phone. Partially because that lack of self confidence kicked back in, but also there was a point that I just became a little disheartened. It became difficult to find quiet moments of the day were I could record without little voices in the background or just even find the time to record at all. I didn’t want to start something that I couldn’t keep up with. But I have so much that I would love to share so I’m not giving up hope! In 2024 I would like share and teach in some sort of capacity. Maybe that will look like a YouTube Channel or maybe that means being more consistent with my blog. It’s fun to think of what that could look like and I’m really excited to explore it some more in the upcoming year.

And before officially bidding farewell to 2023 here are some of my 2023 favorites

Favorite read of the year: Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

This was such a captivating read! I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but when it comes to actual books that what I tend to do. The cover is what initially hooked me. This read like a crossover between Pirates of the Caribbean meets Treasure Planet with all of the fantasy and grand adventures. There were a few times Sage caught me hiding out in the bathroom because I just couldn’t put it down.

Favorite product I created: Christmas ornaments

I don’t think there was any hiding that the Christmas ornaments were my favorite product this year. They were my favorite thing to post about on social media. Ornaments hold so much sentiment and every year when we take out our tree, it’s our favorite thing to reminisce over the memories behind each one. It means a lot knowing that one of my little pieces of art could be a part of a tradition for another family. I have to give my notebooks an honorable mention. They aren’t officially for purchase in the shop yet but they have been a year long journey in the making. It’s been fun researching and developing a new product category for my art. I’ve loved getting to learn new skills which have helped me to bring these notebooks to life.

Mini art prints inside glass ornaments
Glass ornament that contains a painting of Santa and his surfboard in front of a Volkswagen

Favorite little moments:

As my little ones get older the more colorful life becomes. All of the new memories that we get to make with each other turn into my favorite moments that I get to look back on. Here are a few little snapshots from this past year.

Favorite Concert: Conociendo Rusia

Over the years I’ve been to so many concerts but none quite like this. It was intimate and full of love. Mateo of Conociendo Rusia, is an artist from Argentina and it was his first time performing in the United States. You could feel how happy he was and that it was a big milestone for him to be performing so far away from home. It was such a neat experience getting to actively be a part of watching someone’s dream come true.

There is no other way I could close out this blog post than to say how grateful I am for this past year. It’s be an uncomfortable one full of growth. But also one full of love and joy. I will always be so thankful for everyone who continues to support me and my art. For all the faces both new and old that take the time to visit me at market and say hello. And of course all of the support that I’ve received through social media with your likes, and comments and shares. Thank you for being a part of my year and I wish you a new year filled with peace and happiness!

– Renée

2 thoughts on “Hello 2024

  1. Rosemary Badger says:

    😘❤️❤️ you are such an amazing and beautiful soul! Thank you for being you because you spread love and joy! Best in 2024!

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