Business Lessons I've Learned - Or, Why I Have a Lifetime Supply of Hot Pink Tissue Paper

When you first open your business, or even if you've been doing it for a while, you're bound to make some dumb mistakes. In the occasional series "Business Lessons I've Learned," I'm sharing some of the business mistakes I've made so that you don't make the same ones! 

Bonnie Bryant Creative "officially" started in the spring of 2012. I was in law school at the time, TOTALLY miserable. (If there were a "Life Lessons I've Learned" series, it would be "Don't go to law school if you don't actually want to be a lawyer"). I knew I was going to drop out after my 1L finals were done and that I wanted to have a more creative career, but didn't quite know what that was going to be. 

I started the product side of my business then - spoiler alert, my products didn't start making me real money until five years later, so if you just started out and you're struggling, it takes a lot of patience and hard work. 

Back in 2012, I had a vague idea of what I wanted to sell, and really no plan as to how I'd actually make money on it. Business lesson number one: make something that people want to buy. At the time, I was making random stuff and exploring my creativity, not planning it out in a commerce-based way. I was painting wine glasses and making seed bead necklaces, hoping that the customers would just kind of fall out of the sky.

At the time, my passion for branding got WAY ahead of me. I kind of wanted to make jewelry one day, so I made basically the dumbest purchase ever. I decided that if I DID decide to make and sell jewelry, I'd really want nice boxes and tissue paper. (Remember, I wasn't making much jewelry at the time - I was thinking that I MIGHT do it in the future). 

I got a wholesale catalogue and bought a HUGE quantity of kraft boxes, gift bags, and hot pink tissue paper. 

That's not the dumbest part.

If I still had this stuff now, I could easily unload and make some of my money back. 

Why can't I do that? 

Cause I stuck a huge branded label on each and every box and bag. It's an old, out-of-date logo of an old business name that I don't use anymore. So, I basically wasted a few hundred dollars on a bunch of junk I couldn't even resell.

When cleaning out my office a few years ago, I sadly had to recycle the kraft boxes and bags with the big ugly label on them.

I kept the enormous quantity of hot pink tissue paper, though - and every single gift I give has a few sheets of it tucked into the bag.  I don't think I'll ever get rid of it all!

LESSON LEARNED: Don't buy expensive packaging materials before you even have a product for them - and don't stick big labels on them all at once!