Thursday, April 28, 2011

Milestones, Perspective, and a Thank You

Three years ago today, I listed my first journals in my Etsy shop.  This was one of the first ones I made.

I remember in those early days trying to find my "voice" in making my journals. What could I do that hadn't been done before, what kind of book could I make that would set my shop apart from all the others on Etsy.  The answer eventually came when I started making something I LOVED.  The basic journal I wrote about  here was the beginning of the journey I'm still on today 3 years later.

This may come as a surprise to some of you, but this journal I made in 2009 is to this day my very favorite to make and to use.
This journal was the best of both worlds - a hardcover journal combined with hand binding - This is the book I love to hold in my hands, and my Go To journal for personal writing.  Unfortunately, it was very expensive to make, took a lot of time and didn't sell very well.  I only made about 6 of them before discontinuing them.  But, you just might see them make a comeback in the future. Now that I have more experience, better suppliers and more awesome tools, I could re introduce them.  Hmmmm.......
The future of journals here at J. J. Boyles are going to look something like this-

I'm saying a fond farewell to my beloved Burgundy and Black Latigo leather and moving in the direction of these hand colored leathers.  The leathers I'm using for these journals are rich and tactile. The colors are delicious (really I could go on and on about them....) and in the end, these things combined will make a journal that is more personal, and unique for just you. There's lots more exciting products to come in the next few months. I'm deep into planning new lines that will be released soon....

Making these things, running my shops and taking care of my family fills my days with happiness. (mostly) But the bottom line is this isn't rocket science; we're not changing the world with these things I make with my hands.  I try to remember the words and thoughts behind my tagline: "It's What's On The Inside That Matters" Writing in your journal just might change your world, having a cool case for your iPad that you use to change your world might be making a difference.  My hope is always that these things you order from me will become a big part of you, and how in some way you're changing the world, and those around you. 

A Thank You
As I was preparing this post for my anniversary, I tried to think of the most satisfying part of having an Etsy shop for these last 3 years.  Making journals and iPad cases is fun, all the things I've learned about working with leather has been invaluable, developing new designs and systems to get them made has been very rewarding, but all these things aren't the best part.   The thing that makes me anticipate each day, and continually work to improve is YOU!  I get such a kick out of talking with you, answering your questions, working with you on something special for your loved one; it makes this job not really work.  3 years ago when I listed that first journal, who knew I would still be having so much fun - all because of you.  Some of you I just get to say "Hello" and "Thank You", and others of you I have the privilege of getting to know a little better.  

You may not know this, but sometimes when I'm sewing the buttons on your iPad case, or wrapping the strap around your journal, I think about you.  I imagine you opening up the box and holding your journal in your hands, or putting your iPad in your new case for the first time. In my heart I hope it takes your breath away, just a little bit, or that you say to the person next to you, "Wow! Take a look at this!"

I wish I could send each one of you a thank you note, and mention all of you by name, but that might be a little long.  So from me, Julie to you, my sincerest Thank You for 3 great years.  Each one of you have made a huge difference in my world!  You're the best, and I hope you'll visit again soon......

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