I feel like the older I get, the faster time flies. It’s hard to believe that 2021 is over. And what a ride it was! We sat down with our team member Keri to reflect on all the aspects of the past year:
We delved right into the honors that were awarded us this year. It was such an honor to win one of the “Best of 2021” awards in our first year at the Minnesota State Fair. Out of a thousand vendors, we received one of the twelve. At the Stone Arch Festival we won “Best of Wood.” We were also excited to receive an “Invitational Award” at the Madison, WI Art Fair On The Square,” allowing us a spot in next year’s event without the intensive application process. And most importantly, we won the award for the best team in small business history!
Seriously, though! We couldn’t have accomplished all that we did this year without our amazing team!
If I had to narrow down a favorite memory in 2021, I would have to say it was watching and experiencing our team pull off the Minnesota State Fair. Even though it honestly didn’t meet our goals and expectations, it blew us out of the water with what we were able to accomplish with our presentation and what we brought to the table as a team. The Minnesota State Fair experience was a reminder that it’s not always about the end goal. Even though the financial numbers weren’t what we were hoping for, we accomplished so much as a team, and created bridges for future opportunities.
Aside from the State Fair, our biggest challenge this year was our circumstances involving the renovation delays of our Collective Building. Along with many other setbacks, our biggest challenge was when we were shut down while in the middle of creating production for the State Fair, forcing us to move our equipment outside in order to continue working. Nathanael and I would agree that experience would have to be just about the most stressful time in our business to date.
There are always going to be challenges that arise as entrepreneurs, but Nathanael and I have learned to face them head on as a couple and a team. Honestly, we have a really strong Faith. We have a God that’s amazing and we barrel through into the challenges we face. We know that if we’re going in the right direction, it will work out. We also have an amazing relationship with one another, and realize that bumps in the road are all a part of the ride. There is joy in the journey, risks and all.
When reflecting on whether there was anything that we created that felt like it “bombed” this year, there were definitely some collections that weren’t received as enthusiastically as we had hoped for. We also weren’t able to meet the goals that we had for renovating and moving into the Collective building, which also affected our timeline and renovation of the Gallery space. For example, we had booked a wedding for this past December, fully thinking the entire Gallery space would be up and running. However, with our timeline not being met, we had to completely clear out our store space for the weekend to meet that commitment. Yet, even then, we made a great opportunity out of it by opening up our store in the workshop that weekend, and we are so thankful for the support we received.
We had set many goals at the beginning of last year. Some we accomplished, some we did not. Though we weren’t able to accomplish the store move, we did manage to meet our goal of having more local artisan pop-ups. We also hoped to launch a jewelry line, which has now become one of our biggest sellers. We greatly expanded our business with our production work with the laser, leading me into my modern work. We still haven’t figured out the whole physical gift card goal, but we’re working on it!
We also had a goal to have 50,000 followers on Instagram by the end of the year. We are excited that we met and exceeded that goal, currently sitting at 60.5 thousand followers. Our presence on social media is important because it allows us to share our story, moment by moment, which invites people to invest in our company because of who we are and their connection to that.
We are excited to fill the blank pages of 2022! We have goals that we want to see happen. We want to have our store moved and all of our production taking place in our space at The Collective. We’d also like to continue to pursue the artists collaborative space, to further support local artists
This next year, I’d like to explore other aspects of my art and where I can take it. I’d like to move closer to artist/designer and see how my work can be manipulated and changed to be used in different contexts. I’m excited that I am already pursuing new creative paths and partnerships.
This next year we hope to see you at the MN State Fair. We’ve also applied to art fairs beyond our region, so we look forward to those possibilities. We will be showcasing our modern artwork at many art fairs this year. As always, you can connect with us through our website, social media, and in person at our store in Duluth.
To all the people who have supported us during this last, crazy year: Thank you! I think Covid has been a part of shifting people’s mindset into supporting local businesses. We have been so thankful for all the people who have come out to support us. Your participation and investment in the Bailey Builds business is supporting the livelihood of our family and team members, and we are excited to see where the next year leads us.
If you’d like to watch the video version of this recap, please check out our YouTube channel.