It’s funny…regardless of how much I fight it, the end of the year always brings about reflecting on all that has happened the past 12 months.  In my case, I go back a bit further to the end of 2010 because of some things I was working on that were part of 2011’s anticipated direction.

Usually, I do a pretty good job highlighting and celebrating strides the brand has made, but not this time.  This time I’m being MUCH, MUCH harder on myself (don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of good things that happened, but this time around I’m focusing on things that will be changing).  Simply put, chasing reps and retailers and ‘dummying down’ certain designs to appeal to the masses got in the way of staying true to the brand and what makes it so unique, and the reason people connect with it so strongly.

There are plenty of great, straight-forward, simple brands out there that people ‘get’ because, in my opinion, there’s a sense of ‘familiarity’ with what is being sold.  It is what it is.  Appealing to the masses is actually an easier path…but it’s not nearly as original or remarkable.

A creative vision can be a tormenting experience.  Trying to share with the world what is in your head can be extremely frustrating if you don’t have the proper platform to do so.

I’ve not yet had that platform…and that is what is driving me mental.  This website still needs some serious love in order to even come close to sharing the vision (which is part of 2012’s ‘to-do’ list).  The real platform, where I can fully share this vision, comes in the form of a brick-and-mortar Snoloha location.  I’ve already begun the process of looking and meeting on potential space.  I know this won’t happen overnight, and quite frankly, it may take most of the year…but it’s the direction I have to take.

Of course, Seth sums it up quite nicely (sometimes I think he’s in my head):

Gravity is a constraint. If you’re designing an airplane, it would be a lot easier without gravity as a concern, but hey, it’s not going away.

A problem is solvable. A constraint must be lived with.

For years, Apple viewed retail distribution as a constraint. They had to live with cranky independent computer stores, or big box mass merchants that didn’t display or sell their products well.

Using the internet and then their own stores, they eventually realized that this was actually a problem that could be solved, and it changed everything for them.

Want to know more of what’s in my head?  If so, keep reading.  If not…I don’t blame you.

Now let’s assume that this first location here in Traverse City happens, and it works.  Where to next?  Maybe another northern Michigan tourist town?  Or the Pacific Northwest, or California, Colorado, New England…you get the idea.  Another area where Snoloha ‘makes sense’.

It’s been a wild ride growing this concept from an idea in my head (building an international brand around a completely unique concept, a made up word, along with original artwork in an already crowded market from a small northern Michigan tourist town) to something people want to buy and be a part of.

The next time I blog, it will be 2012.  February will mark the 5 year birthday for Snoloha being available for sale in the marketplace.  There’s no question that I’d do things much differently knowing what I know now.  But I guess that’s part of growing a business, and that’s why 2012 will be different.  There will be some great additions and programs to the brand that I’ve been toying with for sometime now.  There will be designs that go bye-bye forever and new ones that I’m sure you will love,  along with new products that complement the brand.

AND finally…are you ready for this one?  I’m going to try my best to ‘like’ social media from both a business AND a personal perspective.  This might actually be even harder to accomplish than opening a store, but I’m gonna work at it.

So on that note…have a Safe and Happy New Year!






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