What a year it has been. I’ve been thinking a lot about this past year, starting with Remmy’s attack in early March of 2012, finding out we were pregnant, a busy Spring and Summer tending to Remmy, running Shawnimals, the insanely busy / awesome holiday season, getting our life in order with the coming baby, phew! We’ve all been there on some level.
While it wasn’t the easiest at times, it was considerably easier with your help! By the way, Remmy is doing incredibly well, with no real issues any more. Well, a bit socially awkward, but other than that, 99% herself. It’s amazing, and we love her, and we love you for giving her back to us.
Now we have a baby boy! Brody is nearly 3 months old already, and he’s awesome. Fun, cute, challenging – all of the things you’d expect – and so much more. Jen and I are first-time parents, but thanks to friends and family we’re learning so many, MANY things. But really Brody teaches us the most.
So what’s next? With Brody, come changes at Shawnimals. Some big ones. And honestly, many of them would have come either way…
- Perhaps the biggest, Jen is no longer with Shawnimals officially. This is challenging to say the least, but it was necessary on many levels.
- In addition, while we love him to death, Eric our designer is no longer with us (he’s taking freelance work, by the way)
- Shawnimals is now Monte and myself, and we’re still doing amazing things, albeit more focused and smaller in scale.
This scaling down is giving us an opportunity to get a very clear look at how we’ve been doing things. All of the things. Some are going unchanged, many are being torn down and rebuilt.
The fact of the matter is small business is incredibly challenging right now. It’s hard usually, especially hard right now. We’re also hand-making many of our goods because of our general dislike of the issues and lack of quality with Chinese manufacturing. Hand-making here in Chicago is a joy, but it’s also not entirely sustainable financially. Our fans are the best, and we are consistently humbled by their support and generosity. But even with the help from so many people, we simply can’t function the same as we used to. We’re looking at ways to scale up manufacturing state-side, but it’s an uphill battle.
As you all know, we do an incredible job with such a small team, and we’re proud of that fact. We’re looking at this as the next phase. Getting back to basics in some respects, and, hopefully, in the future we’ll bounce back and grow in new, exciting ways.
Now I should note: Don’t read into all of this too much – we’re not shutting down or anything drastic. But we are definitely changing, which means fewer releases annually, and orders may take a few extra days to ship. But then again, I am a serial entrepreneur and love making things. So while some new releases may not be Shawnimals-related, make no mistake that my creative output will be as prolific as always.
Consequently, I’m looking for work above and beyond Shawnimals. If you know me, you know my work and you know my love of making awesome things. Not just characters and toys, but anything really. Technology, design, small business, art, character development, narrative development, and so much more. So if you have a project or small business, and you’re looking for a fresh yet seasoned perspective from the outside – and you have a budget – get in touch. I’d love to chat, and consult / collaborate to make your awesome thing even awesomer.
Looking toward the future,