Sunday, October 06, 2013

Real Simple Magazine Features My Branches

I have a little business called My Branches (previously called Family Tree Art—real fancy).

Maybe you’ve seen my little tab at the top of this blog and clicked over and maybe you’ve even ordered your own (thank you!) 

Well, back in June, someone contacted me from the magazine Real Simple.  They wanted to include My Branches at the end of one of their articles to run in the August issue.  Insert jaw drop here.  Of course I said YES! and I got to work created a tree just for the picture to run along with my tiny little blurb in the magazine.  And that was pretty much it…after that I never heard from them again and it was just a short wait until the magazine came out. 

Around the time of Luke’s birthday I started getting FLOODS of orders. 

First let me give you some perspective. 

I started this little business in January 2010 and this is my 4th year making family tree art.  I had 20 orders the first year—the only people ordering being friends, family members and friends of family and friends. In 2011, I had a total of only 12 orders for the year.  In 2012 I had 20 orders for the year—most of them coming at Christmas time.  That’s a total of 52 orders for the first 3 years.  It wasn’t much, and I didn’t make much money.  But it also wasn’t a priority, I never advertised (solely word-of-mouth), and I didn’t mind just creating a tree here and there for a little extra cash. 

Fast forward to the week of Luke’s birthday (July 17th) when the orders started rolling in.  The first week was the most stressful and completely caught me off-guard!  I had over 10 that week…and that’s when I realized the August issue must have come out already!  I stopped into the grocery store and snagged a copy to confirm it.  The-Magazine-Feature

It didn’t occur to me when I was corresponding with the Real Simple magazine people that the August issue would come out in July, even though I know that magazines do that.  And then, I was expecting some orders to come from it, but certainly not to the extent that it did!!  I definitely underestimated what this magazine could do for my business. 

Here’s the article it ran behind:The-Article-Before

Here is the page it’s on:The-Full-Page

And here is my little blurb of fame!Up-Close-Magazine-Sampling{I was actually a little annoyed at the magazine people because they sent me this blurb to approve and I told them that “up to 30 branches” was incorrect.  But I guess they didn’t care to change it.  You can actually have as many branches as you want—my biggest tree was 124!!}

The first week I got 10 orders.  The next week I got 8, and then 8 more the following week…things kind of went like that all throughout August and though they slowed down a bit in September, but I still get several orders a week!  My numbers for 2013 are already at 56 orders and we haven’t even hit the Christmas season yet!  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little nervous for all those orders to start coming in! 

With all the business I was getting, I had to really get my act together. 

Previously, I had a small stash of packing supplies that I’d been using.  That ran out quickly and I realized I had to order poster tube boxes in bulk as well as plastic poster tubes to roll up the prints in to mail.  I spent some time researching prices and then ordered 100 poster boxes and 1000 tube sleeves. 

{my shipping supplies shipped to me}IMG_20130729_121128

Then I made mailing labels that I could print off the computer and slap on for my return address.  I stocked up on packing tape and sharpies and found the perfect tote to carry orders in and out of the post office.  IMG_20130910_163232

I still have to get organized enough to skip the going-to-the-post-office-with-two-kids-nightmare part of the process.  But I’ve been too busy to figure out the mail pick up thing.

I even made a clipboard and a spreadsheet that I could keep track of  the orders in the order they came in, basic info (address, family tree name) and checkboxes for what I needed to do with each order (sent off for approval, add leaves, email jpeg, send to printer, pick up, ship, etc).  The clipboard has saved my sanity. 

For a while, I was putting in more hours than a part time job on all these orders.  Making the trees is actually the easy part.  Emailing, Invoices, ordering prints, picking up prints, packaging and mailing is actually the hard and time consuming part. 

Overall it has been a great experience for me and I’ve learned a lot.  It’s been really challenging to juggle it sometimes, but I learned to prioritize.  I learned when to do the dishes and when to let them sit.  I took the kids outside for 1-2 hours every day after Sam’s nap and we got a good daily routine going so that I would have me/chores/family times and specific work times during the day.  And you probably noticed that I took a little blog-vacation and barely posted this summer!  I hope that I can catch up and keep up my blogging, too. 

I’ve been very blessed to have this big magazine feature my little company and I’m excited to roll out the real website that Scott and I have been working on throughout the last couple months.  We’ve got a good base right now and we’re setting a goal to put our website out live by March 1st of next year.  There is WAY more involved in building a website than I ever really thought about before!  So look forward to that and thanks for all the support!!

If you want to check out My Branches for yourself you can click this link!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Congratulations, Katie! So glad you are being recognized for your creativity :)


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