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Review of 2020...

Updated: Jan 11, 2021

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by Cat's Punky Stuff this year. I have had some incredible conversations and made great connections with folk all over the world. It's been very spiritual and uplifting knowing my special little parcels have bought sunshine and joy to a lot of people.

The year ended as it started, very busily with sending gift wrapped Stuff direct to recipients, commissioned pom poms and drafties and daily trips to the post office. With the exception of a few weeks in mid summer I have been flat out. This time last year I was ranked 190,833 in the world of 1.5 million Etsy shops. Today I just checked and I am 113,541, selling more than 92% of Etsy shops. Needless to say it's clear all the hard work has paid off and boy, has it been hard work

Paul with our hens

Year at a glance

Jan-Mar - Re-wrote the whole of my web site, Etsy shop and Ebay, upgrading photographs, researched tag words and SEO's (search engine optimization)

Apr- Jun- Making like crazy to keep up with demand

July landscaping the garden

Aug-Oct- Making , making, making! I knew it was going to be crazy busy so I ensured I had more in my shop than previous years. I usually have about 160-180 listings, but by October I had 240. I had to make five extra batches of cards in November.

Nov-Dec- Packing orders and daily post office runs. My statistics show I was 138% up on last year. Today I have just 177 listings left

Dec 21st- Next years card designs were painted

Tonight - New Years Eve - Full circle, I am back going through my Etsy shop again so it is ready to be filled with new listings

Posh pins

This year is also the year I spent a bit on investment (as I refuse to pay for advertising) in the form of posh boxes for posting and some Cat's Punky Stuff posh pins. It was crucial to time this investment well and I did it perfectly. I knew folk wouldn't be overly bothered with a metal pin, but I knew if it was pinned to something cute, they would be a cherished gifty. The gift had to be really cheap to make as the pins were 68p each so I came up with the idea of the little robins. It was the best decision I had come up with as they were very well received. It was a brilliant move!

The cute robin gifties with a pin are a complete expression of what Cat's Punky Stuff stands for. It's about beautiful things, exquisitely packed, handmade, hand-crafted and made with love. There's not much love out there at the mo but these little robins made with love, sent with love did brighten some folk's day! By mid November people were repeat ordering, and I didn't want to just send another robin, so instead I upgraded subsequent orders to first class. I never see the point of paying for advertising, and I hate adverts. I tried Etsy's 'off-site' ad scheme once, where Etsy advertise me on my behalf and only take a commission once an item had sold through an ad. I sold some garlands through this scheme for £25 and Etsy charged me £5, that's 20%. As far as investment goes, the little robins and free upgrade postage has created a greater turnover than paying for ads.

It was a big year for new family members. We lost Coco and Theo bunnies within a month of each other, as Coco pined for Theo. It was the worst time, we were inconsolable. When Theo passed we found Mr Bing (black lop rabbit) for Coco, but she never recovered from her loss of Theo passing. We were then left with poor Mr Bing without a bunny buddy and so along came Jessica (white bunny). They are both fabulous, though Jessica does spend an extraordinary amount of time staring at the hare wallpaper?!?

Paul, my husbunny, got honey off his bees for the first time this year. It was the purest, sweetest honey I have every tasted. We handed it out to neighbours and friends who are now eager for next years harvest. The bees are in the fruit orchard two houses down and as the farmers are no longer planting rapeseed, the honey is pure flower pollen. There will be a limited amount available on Etsy next year, presented as a gift item.

We also rehomed some ex-battery chickens. We wanted chickens for their poop for the garden and because they would eat the garden waste. We weren't prepared for their sweetness, own little characters and the joy you get from spending time with them. We got 6 hens from the British Hen Welfare Trust. They had never seen sunshine or felt rain. They'd never had a dust bath or run through the meadow. The first week we got them we spent 2-3 hours a day with them and now they follow us around the garden, come when called and genuinely seem to love spending time with us!

As the year sped by the lavender harvest was soon upon us. As I had worked out that this year I was going to need a lot more lavender, I had to take on some more gardens. All through late August we turned up at various gardens in neighbouring villages to hand snip thousands of lavender stalks. Timing is so important as the best time to harvest lavender is early on a warm, dry morning. For two weeks we were out at 5am to bundle lavender and bring it home to hang and dry. This years stems were much shorter than last year, but the flower heads were significantly plumper. It was a great harvest but for next year I will need even more. I will be going out with a local gardener next summer. He dropped a load of lavender off from pruned bushes but it was a nightmare to bundle together. Next year I will bundle as he prunes and just this one garden will double my lavender stash! The huge lavender wands I designed have done spectacularly well, but they also use a huge amount of lavender. This extra garden with its very long-stemmed lavender will ensure I can make an unlimited amount of these wands.

By September I had added notes on my Etsy shop advising that December was going to be a parcel nightmare.


Even though it is only the end of September please keep in mind that the postal service this year is going to be an absolute nightmare. In order to guarantee you get your Stuff in time for Christmas, please order as early as you can, (though I do not close for Christmas), by the end of November (UK) and mid November (international) might be wise for parcels. Alternatively I am happy to send direct to the recipient, with a gift message, just message me the address you want me to use.

UPDATE: Royal Mail say 18th Dec is the last post date for Christmas 2nd class post, but personally I CANNOT GUARANTEE DELIVERY BY CHRISTMAS FOR PARCELS POSTED AFTER 8TH DEC (UK) AND THE END OF NOV FOR INTERNATIONAL. I worked as a courier for 25 years and feel this year there will be untold problems and issues

Commissioned costume embellishments

Folks must have read my notes as November was insane. I had lots of new fancy Herby Birdies, luxurious drafties in every colour possible and all of my festive, scented cards were sent out worldwide. I was fortunate to be asked to make pom pom flowers for a big UK Christmas event, which was so exhilarating. From the time of ordering to the point of delivery they took just 3 days, guaranteeing me the rest of their pom pom requirements. I LOVED the feeling of contributing to a great event, with really tight deadlines and specific requirements in the brief. I'll be keeping October free next year as I think they'll be a lot of costumes to make for!

The rabbit rescue donation

Not many people can end 2020 on a high, and part of me feels guilty knowing the despair and hardship most folks are suffering through. I am saddened by the fact I have to raise all my prices next year but everything has gone up by up to 20%. On a happier note, on the 8th December I met the rabbit rescue lady at the pet food suppliers so I could pay for their shopping list. We bought them so much stuff some of it had to go in the car. It's always really emotional as I'm very aware, and proud, that every little thing I have sold has contributed to this great amount of food, bedding, hay and new water bottles for the homeless bunnies. All the late nights, the house unkept for weeks, long hours working with wool, printing tags for homemade labels, printing compliment slips, making purpose built boxes for lavender wands, hand stamping parcel paper, ironing and sewing fabric squares for the cards, making LOTS of gifty robins and meeting the requirements of many, many commissions, has been so demanding but incredible, where time management has been of paramount importance. A constant, steady momentum throughout the year has created not just a wealth of beautiful things, but also an abundance of FABULOUSLY GENUINE 5* reviews, wonderfully endearing messages from very happy people and a lot of unexpected personal friendships bought about by the madness of the year.

I usually add my personal goals for the following year here at the end, but you know, I think I'm going to keep it simple. My one goal for next year is to just spread a little sunshine through beautiful things, exquisitely packed, made and sent with love!

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