My new promotional postcard!
I was lucky enough to have been taught to touch type whilst taking my A Levels and over the years have reached the conclusion, this skill has been worth far more to me than my academic qualifications. It drew me to the computer and after teaching myself how to master that, I came into the bear industry with a couple of solid basic skills under my belt, which have been invaluable to my progression as a bear designer, accounts clerk, PR manager, business manager, secretary and so forth ... and that was before I ever worked out what to do with a sewing needle!
Nowadays, I begin every year with a review of my business strategies, dismissing anything that hasn't worked well for me, or is perhaps jaded and developing into new areas I believe may offer potential for progression, making sure I keep a close eye on the industry as a whole, rather than focus too intently on my own tiny niche. One thing I have learned, is that there is always something new to learn whether in the design process, the marketing process, or the administrative process. There's no time for complacency, that's for sure. Sometimes it makes me wonder how on earth I find time to actually make the bears!
So, please, if you are a bear maker working hard to sell your own designs, next time someone gives you a dismissive pat on the head because you work from home, away from the cut and thrust of the 'real' business world, why not take a moment to remind yourself of exactly what you've achieved and what has been involved in the process. I think you'll find you have developed much more expertise than you are usually given credit for!