2022 Missteps (Spilling the ‘Tea’ or Coffee in This Case)

Can you believe that 2022 was year 3 of a global pandemic that had massive impact on health and the economy?

Even though I was careful, early in the year I made some big missteps in ordering product based on “internet feedback and interest.” This morning, while doing my homework for my tax returns I confirmed I have some troubling inventory trends with some merchandise. Namely with economy going south, fandom kind of getting saturated with options, and not having a convention presence — I have things sitting in my hands that are well made but have no place to go. [Sale on Etsy,btw]

The numbers I ran this morning are really off and I think I’m confirming for myself the following

  • No new charms for half a year or more; Anything I want to try will become a sticker first. Or I will only make charms by commission or for special events like Fanfest. These products are by far one of the most oversaturated in existence in FFXIV right now with no way for real display. (Itabags/bulletin boards seems most common method.) This means most of the people are falling back into a one and done philosophy with most characters (and maybe a small handful for a favorite) or hanging them on limited wall space.
  • If there is to be a pin… Enamel pins are satisfying to design and have a permanence and quality that charms lack. But you have to make more (to be able to charge less) and I have too many leftovers of good pins.

    I do want to make a Lahabrea pin to reflect his Endwalker design but the numbers aren’t there. One would think I’d be making an Emet-Selch pin, but the truth is there are so many good ones already, don’t feel there’s really something I want to add to this space at the moment.

In examining the projects from last year I think I can honestly say these were interesting and fulfilling in spite of the small numbers involved.

YCH Elpis Standees

From the organization, drawing, and final packaging, I had a lot of fun even while stressing myself out over pulling off the same drawing style for five different customers. Loved hunting down the box solutions though and spent too much time sourcing interior packaging and extras xD. It was a more “expensive” project in terms and a commission experience I enjoyed but not sure yet if I will do another in the future. Maybe.

Endless paper and vinyl Elpis Flower Creation

A lot of time was spent trying to understand the new Silhouette machine and how different papers work inside it. I think a lot of extras have now found their way outside to friends and customers adopting some of the matching products. I have some more work to do to refine one of the interior pieces before I can release it as a file. This project has no real commercial value though; I still ponder taking the flower pieces and making a shop type window display but I. Don’t. Have. A. Display.

The Ancients Calendar

By far one of my favorite projects last year a I created it for my Christmas gift to artist friends and FFXIV friends. I did manage to order extras to put on the shop and was able to sell a few which was a nice bonus. I’ve struggled a lot with print items the last few years, but in the context of something practical it worked out ok.


Again, another project that started with trying to solve the needs of myself and one or two others — making usable notepads and letter paper. I’m glad others decided to pick up some of the extras. I’m considering buying another printer this year (if I get a tax return) so I can do more custom letters (not notepads) in the future. Haven’t decided yet.

Fanfest and 2023 Merchandise

So what next? I’m pretty committed to playing with my Silhouette and experimenting with cut out paper and stickers. However, I have no passion to make money from these haha, so I mostly use it without any commercial intent.

In terms of design time and planning ahead, I’m not too interested in following the trend of “make new merch each patch.” I have too much stuff sitting around. I like practical and custom things to be honest. So it really comes down to Fanfest and whether I get in. Past Fanfests I have created stickers or charms for trade with others. I may do something slightly different this year (because a box of charms isn’t all the practical after the fact) that is more wearable. I will talk about it more if/when I get a ticket via the lottery in March.

I also want to explore making more practical items. I’m going back to the idea of either going to old suppliers (less frequently) for some things like pouches, or creating high end print on demand things like china tea cups. This means I need to think differently in terms of design.

And no, I’m not convinced we’re out of the voodoo situation of the pending recession. While “inflation” seems in a place the Fed is happy with, I side-eye the credit card figures coming out last week and some anecotal things that suggest the consumer is not in a good place. My accountant and financial adviser don’t love my ventures, to be honest so I have to be mindful that the hobby merchandising needs to stay afloat of debt.

In the meantime, I’m spending a lot of time just not making art, but goofing off doing other things. My most favorite project of 2022 has no commercial value but is all intellectual curoisity. Hacking the official Elpis flower has been a blind foray into stuff I have no business doing, but look ma, I made something glow! I have a few other small surprises to show closer to Fanfest or when the weather is warmer!

Comments are closed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: