I got a dm on Instagram the other day that read: “Brittany–loving all of the products lately. You are officially on a store on the verge of a big brand.” I responded with a big “thank you! That’s the idea! We’re working really hard on it!” This was from a friend of Lars so I was honored that she had noticed our hard work. But if you haven’t noticed then I wanted to let you in on an update–some new territory for us if you will.
If you’re new here, let me give you a rundown (you can read about it here too). I started an Etsy shop about 12 years ago and made some souvenirs for the royal wedding of Kate and William because I thought I was going to marry Prince William (truly I did, lol). Well, if you can’t marry a royal, you make some mugs and sell them on Portobello Road, right?! The shop went wild and the products were featured everywhere around the world. I followed it up with a few products here and there, but ended up focusing my time and energy on DIYs for this site with sponsorships on the blog and social media becoming the main form of revenue.
For the last 10 years it’s followed this path, but in the last few years we started working with companies in a licensing way where we design the products and then another company manufactures them. It’s really a win/win because we do what we do best and they do too. We love these partnerships! Think Casetify (cell phone cases), swimsuits, children’s bedding and more to come next year.
DIYs and The House That Lars Built
Looking back on my decision to focus on DIYs so long ago, I’ve witnessed the joy it’s brought to me, our community, and our team. We’ve been able to do some really fun projects and work with amazing brands and fellow creatives and community. I consider it an honor and a big part of my identity to encourage people to work with their hands because I believe it’s what gets us in touch with our soul, which is our mission. I even wrote a book, Craft the Rainbow, about it.
While I’m not putting DIYs completely to the side, in the last year we’ve restructured our team internally so that DIY projects become a smaller part of our time spent while products in our shop as well as home projects and decor take on more of a role. This is for many reasons. One of them is because during COVID, when we lost a good portion of our sponsorships, I realized we needed a stream of income that wasn’t so dependent on other people. A lot of time with sponsorships, no matter how much outreach we do on our end, the ones that move forward are the ones where people reach out to us. The first part of this year, when there were talks of a recession, it felt very deja vu and once again we thought, we really need to move this forward.
Becoming a full on product-based brand has always made me nervous because of the scale of operation I know it would take to take it where I’d want it to go, the risk in creating your own products, the space, etc. Pretty much, I love having a small team and anything bigger feels daunting, especially with small kids right now. That’s the reason we’ve stayed pretty small and manageable. That said, I’m definitely open to a larger operation as I see the fruits of our labors pan out and we get the right help on our side. I don’t plan on not doing sponsorships, but taking more control of the other forms of revenue that we were managing, just not very well.
With this shift has come some growing pains not just for us, but for our dear community. I can imagine that for our audience that once saw DIYs every single day (literally had a new project every day) accompanied with free printables, tutorials and templates, it might be jarring to see things that you now have to pay for. On the flip side, a good portion of you have always said “Brittany–I don’t want to make it, I want to buy!” We’ve been trying to cater to both sides for quite awhile until I realized, we probably need to lean into one or the other harder.
As a mom with young children and the decision to work full-time (or as much time as I can get–IYKYK) as well as continue to staff a team of people, I needed to focus on the long-term, and that means growing our business as a product-focused brand.
In hind sight, I wish I would have continued to focus on products after the success of the royal wedding collection in 2011 because the market is more saturated than ever and everyone seems to be creating their own brand. There are more things to buy, more people to follow, more newsletters to subscribe to. In a way, it feels like we are starting over especially with new social media platforms, techniques, and strategies that we were once adept at now changing from day to day. It is EXHAUSTING to keep up and frankly, I don’t have the time or interest to always do the job it would need. There are so many voices in the arena and I know that I for one, am oftentimes thinking how I need to cut down on what I buy and consume.
The Lars World
However, our goal here is to provide a refuge of color, pattern, fun, depth, and beauty and we know there are a lot of you out there who believe this too. To me it’s more than buying things for the sake of a great marketing plan, although we do our best at that too ;), but because the item adds intrinsic value to your life. A beautifully made art print, a practical yet pop-of-joy cell phone case, a cozy and delightfully illustrated blanket. Our story is to reinvent basic items to ones that take your breath away.
Thank you for being on this journey with us as we navigate this season. We’ve been trying out a lot of new things this year and will continue to do so next year. If this strikes a chord with you, feel free to continue to support us by following on Instagram, leaving us a comment, sending it to a friend. It’s been a learning time for sure, but feel grateful to have you alongside us as we work it all out!
Limited edition screeprint
I originally started to write this post to share the launch of a new limited edition print in our shop, but it turned into this…ha! Biggest preamble ever, but there you go. It’s a screen printed print that is part of experiment to see if you also like the colorful world we are creating. I have it hung in Jasper’s room right now and adore it. Hope you like it!
You can shop the poster here.